and the City made every 20-something girl in the 2000s want to pack up
her things and head to New York City. Manhattan seems to hold infinite possibilities.
You can be anyone or anything you want in the
city of over eight million people, but there’s a catch, you need to have
the funds to make it happen. So, could everyone’s favorite foursome really
afford the lifestyles that were depicted through HBO’s lenses? The answer isn’t
exactly cut and dry.
Carrie couldn’t afford to live in
Manhattan as a columnist
With an estimated salary of
around $50,000 (before she started writing books), Carrie
Bradshaw would have never been able to afford to live in Manhattan and
enjoy all of the finer things in life. In fact, it’s pretty much a known fact
that Carrie would have been running on a monthly deficit that would make most
financial advisors cringe.
Sure, the writers suggested she
had a rent-controlled apartment, but even if she found the steal of the
century, she couldn’t afford to keep herself in Manolos
while taking cabs, dining out, and buying as many fashion magazines as she
could get her hands on. It’s just fact; Carrie couldn’t afford to live like an
Miranda’s lifestyle was pretty realistic
was a lot more low maintenance than her three besties. She preferred the
comfort of TiVo than spending her nights out on the town, and she found Carrie’s
Manolo obsession a little ridiculous. Sure, she liked to order in Chinese
takeout and was happy to indulge in a cosmopolitan here and there, but day-to-day,
she was much more frugal than her free-spirited friends. The funny thing is,
Miranda is likely the only member of the group who could afford to live a
little in Manhattan.
According to Payscale, a law firm
partner an expect to make around $300,000 a year before bonuses. Additional
compensation in the form of bonuses and profit-sharing could quickly push
Miranda’s income up to about $500,000 per year. Her only real expenses were her
mortgage, a cleaning woman and takeout dinners.
A home like Miranda’s would have
sold for around $750,000 at the time that she purchased it, according to SceneTherapy.
If she put down the traditional 20% in a down payment, that leaves the Harvard-educated
lawyer with a $600,000 mortgage, which would cost around $3,600 per month. If
she paid Magda $1,000 a month to clean her pad and shelled out $400 a month in
takeout orders, that puts her at about $5,000 per month in necessary living
expenses. After taxes, a lawyer like Miranda would bring in around $21,000 a
month. In short, she can afford her apartment, her maid and her takeout without
Charlotte made an excellent
financial move by marrying well
While little is known about Charlotte’s
upbringing, it is mentioned that she went to Smith College and grew up in Connecticut.
It’s assumed she was from a wealthy family, so one can expect she didn’t start
off her life in Manhattan crippled by student loan debt. Even still, her first
job as an art dealer isn’t all that lucrative. According to ZipRecruiter,
the average art dealer in New York City can expect to make around $61,000 a
That job doesn’t last terribly
long, though. Once Charlotte marries Trey McDougal in Season 3, she gives up
her spot in a gallery to be a wife, mother, and part-time bowl glazer. The marriage
implodes, but Charlotte isn’t left high and dry. Along with her
Park Avenue pad, she also receives a settlement, which is assumed to be worth
around $2 million. In short, Charlotte is financially set until she meets her
second husband, a divorce attorney.
Samantha Jones’ income is hard to
Samantha Jones is a one-woman
show. The sexually liberated public relations director owns her own business.
It’s hard to figure out just how much she would make, but Payscale
pegs a public relations director’s salary at about $140,000 a year. That’s someone
who works for an existing firm, though. Since
Samantha owned her own business, her income would have been far more variable.
In short, she could have made a lot more or a lot less than $140,000 a year.
Based on her lifestyle, she’d need
to make substantially more to get by. Not only does she own an apartment in a trendy
neighborhood, but she has high-end tastes when it comes to fashion
accessories. After all, she was happy to plunk down thousands of dollars on a
Birkin bag. It’s possible that Sammie Jones could make things work, but it’s also
possible that the perpetually-single Samantha had a lot of credit card debt.