What Is Net Income?

Woman working on personal budget at a laptop.

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Net income is the total amount of money you take home after taxes, benefits, and pretax contributions are taken out of your paycheck.

Key Takeaways

  • Net income is the amount of money you earn after taxes and other deductions are taken out of your gross income.
  • Your gross income can include multiple jobs or streams of income.
  • Once you know your net income, you know how much money you have to spend each pay period.

How Net Income Works

If you’re an employee at a company, you might bring in the same amount of money each week, or different amounts depending on how many hours you worked. Either way, the amount of money you earn is not what you’ll actually get paid. If you only have one job where you earn $60,000 per year, that’s your gross income, or the money you receive before taking out any deductions.

In comparison, your net income is your income minus any taxes, benefits, and pretax contributions. Your net income is a more accurate reflection of how much money you have available to spend. Once you know your net income, you can use that information to create a monthly budget and pay for living expenses.

Example of Net Income

When you’re hired for a new job, you may sign on for an agreed-upon annual salary. If you earn $60,000 per year, that works out to roughly $5,000 per month. However, when you receive your weekly or biweekly paychecks, you may notice that they add up to less than $5,000. Your paystub will outline how much you paid in taxes and benefits and what your take-home pay is.


When you’re negotiating your salary, you can use this gross-to-net calculator to figure out your expected take-home. That way, you’ll know how much money you actually need to get paid.

Gross Income vs. Net Income

Gross Income Net Income
The total amount of money you make before taxes The total amount of money you make after taxes and benefits are taken out
Calculated by adding up the income you earn at your job and any side jobs Calculated by subtracting your taxes and benefit payments from your gross income

To figure out your net income, start by calculating your gross pay. Your gross pay is the total amount of money you earn before paying taxes. If you’ve ever heard someone refer to how much money they earn in a year, they’re usually talking about their gross income.

Determine your gross income by adding up your various income sources. If you’re salaried and just have one job, determining your gross income might be fairly simple. But you might have multiple income sources, including:

  • A side hustle like freelancing or doing DoorDash deliveries
  • A second part-time job
  • Social Security payments
  • Passive income from rental properties
  • Interest earned on investments or interest-bearing accounts

Once you’ve calculated your gross income, subtract federal and state taxes, benefits, and pretax deductions. The money you receive after deductions are taken out is your net income.


If you receive child support payments, this isn’t considered part of your gross income.

Let’s say Sarah earned an annual salary of $50,000 in 2022. Because her company pays her every other week, her gross biweekly paycheck was $1,923.08. Sarah lives in Colorado and is single, so she also has to pay the following taxes:

  • Federal income tax: $163.10
  • Social Security tax: $119.23
  • Medicare tax: $27.88
  • State income tax: $87.50

After paying taxes, Sarah has a net income of $1,525.37 per paycheck. That’s assuming she hasn’t put any money toward retirement or employee benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you calculate net income?

To calculate your net income, take your gross income and subtract any mandatory deductions. These deductions can include state and federal taxes, Social Security payments, and pretax retirement contributions.

Is net income your salary?

No. Your salary is your gross income; it’s the amount you earn before taxes and deductions. Your net income is your take-home pay and the amount you actually have available to spend.

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