Are you wondering how much 6 figures would be?
If you’d like to know what someone means when they mention “6 figures”, you’re not alone.
You may often hear people say “I wish I was in the 6-figure club” or “My goal in life is to be a 6-figure earner” or “I finally made 6 figures last year”.
So, how much is 6 figures and what does this really mean in practical terms?
Achieving a six-figure annual income is a significant personal finance milestone that many people strive to achieve. However, does making six-figures mean that you’ll be able to stop working and retire? What kind of lifestyle can you expect when you reach that six-figure goal? And does it even matter if you make six figures at all?
This article will take a look at many of the most common questions regarding six-figure incomes, including:
- Do you need to make 6 figures?
- Can you retire with 6 figures?
- What lifestyle will 6 figures give you?
- What jobs pay 6 figures?
- How can I make 6 figures after 50?
Keep reading to learn what 6 figures mean in terms of money, and what it could mean for your financial future. I’ll also go into 7, 8, 9, and even 10 figures, too.
Okay, so how much is a figure? And what are figures in money?
Allow me to put my math teacher hat on for a moment (because I got one of those).
You can think of a figure as a single digit. A digit is a symbol we use to form numbers in the Arabic numeral system (as opposed to Roman or Chinese numerals). These symbols are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0.
Every number consists of one or multiple digits. For example, the number 5 consists of one digit. But, the number 853 is made up of 3 digits. And, the number 249,712 has 6 digits.
So, why don’t people say “I make 6 digits”? Actually, some do. But, using the synonym “figures” is much more common when referring to income in whole dollars.
Figures in money terms just means that you’re speaking of the digits before the decimal. For example, if your annual salary totaled $102,628.32, you would ignore the 32 cents and just say you make 6 figures (even though there are 8 in the number).
How much is a six-figure salary?
With all that said, to earn a six-figure salary means you’re making an income between $100,000 and $999,999 per year (thinking of each digit as a figure). When someone speaks of how much they earn annually, they are typically referring to gross income (before taxes and other deductions).
So, if your total gross salary is $110,000 per year, but your take-home pay is $80,000, you would still say you make 6 figures.
Of course, saying you make 6 figures covers a huge range of possible salaries and lifestyles. The possibilities range from a middle class lifestyle to millionaire status. Because of this, many specify their 6 figure income as low, mid, and high, like this:
Low 6 figures = $100,000 to $350,000
Mid 6 figures = $350,000 to $700,000
High 6 figures = $700,000 to $999,999.
And, for those who want to be more vague, they might describe their income as “multiple” 6 figures, which is a 6-figure range between $200,000 and $999,999.
What’s the difference between a 6 figure salary and a 6 figure income?
Using the terms salary, wages, and income can all mean very different things.
A salary is a fixed income for an individual, usually expressed in an annual amount. So, regardless of how many hours you work on any given day, or how many sick days you take in a year, your income remains the same for every pay period.
A wage is an hourly compensation. This means you can increase your paycheck by working more hours. Also, most wage earners can increase their hourly pay by working more than 40 hours in a week and getting overtime.
Finally, your income is the total of all of your income streams. This (for example) could include your regular paycheck, your partner’s earnings, your side gig income, and any profits you make from your real estate rentals. With multiple streams of income, you could potentially build a 6 figure income while making a 5 figure salary.
How much can I make a month earning 6 figures?
If you want to know what a monthly income would be for a six-figure salary, simply divide the annual gross salary by 12.
For example, if your annual salary is $125,000, then your salary per month before taxes would be:
$125,000 / 12 = $10,416.67
Or, if you make an $875,000 gross salary a year, your income each month before taxes would be:
$875,000 / 12 = $72,916.67
How much can I make a week from 6 figures?
Similarly, if you want to know what a weekly income would be for a six-figure salary, simply divide the annual gross salary by 52 (the number of weeks in a year).
Using the same examples above we can calculate this for an annual salary of $125,000:
$125,000 / 52 = $2,403.85 a week
And, again, if your annual gross salary was $875,000, then your gross weekly paycheck would be:
$875,000 / 52 = $16,826.92 a week
How much can I make a day on 6 figures?
A typical year has 365 days, but nobody works every day of the year. For this example, let’s assume you work 50 weeks out of the year, 5 days a week. This would equal 50 x 5 = 250 total working days in a year.
So, with an annual gross income of $125,000, you could break this down to:
$125,000 / 250 = $500 a day
And, again, if your annual gross salary was on the higher end at $875,000, then you would be making:
$875,000 / 250 = $3,500 a day (wow!)
If your goal was to make at least 6 figures a year, you would need to make a minimum average of:
$100,000 / 365 = $273.97 every day
How much can I make an hour if I make 6 figures?
This is probably the number most people want to know. How much do I need to make an hour in order to achieve 6 figures in a year?
First you’d need to figure out how many hours you would work in a year. This could vary widely, depending on how many vacation days, sick leave hours and personal time you take.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you work 50 weeks out of the year. In each week, you consistently clock 40 hours. This would come to an annual sum of:
50 x 40 = 2000 hours
When you divide your 6 figure salary by this many hours, you will calculate your hourly pay:
$125,000 / 2000 = $62.50 an hour
Or, with the higher income:
$875,000 / 2000 = $437.50 an hour (wow again!)
If you’d be satisfied with the bare minimum of a $100,000 salary as a 6-figure earner, you could accept a lower hourly rate. Working 40 hours a week, for 52 weeks of the year, you’d need to make a minimum of:
$100,000 / (52 x 40) = $48.08 an hour
But how much is 6 figures after taxes?
The number of figures you earn is based on your gross income. So, if you make $110,000 a year, then your net income will probably get knocked down to 5 figures after taxes.
Tax bills for 6-figure earners can vary dramatically, depending on the circumstances:
- Are you married or single?
- Do you have dependents?
- Will you claim the standard deduction or itemize?
- Do you have any tax credits?
- Do you have dividend income or any long-term capital gains?
According to MoneyWise, income taxes can shrink a $100k salary down to anywhere between $76,096 and $68,308. The actual amount depends on the state you live in.
In addition, FICA taxes (Social Security, Medicare) take out another 7.65%. This means your actual take home pay could potentially be 32-38% less than your gross salary.
This is a pretty big chunk.
To lower your tax bill, consider putting some of your paycheck into tax-advantaged accounts, like a 401(k) or a Health Savings Account.
What it means to have 6 figures
Someone claiming they have 6 figures is much different than saying they make 6 figures.
Typically, having 6 figures refers to a total, rather than an annual, number.
For example, having 6 figures may mean your net worth totals more than $100,000. Or, saying your retirement fund has reached 6 figures indicates that your investment portfolio is valued at over $100,000.
In addition, having a 6 figure net worth doesn’t necessarily mean you have over $100,000 in cash. This is because your net worth includes physical assets such as your home, vehicles, jewelry and other valuables. If you have substantial equity in your home, you likely have a 6 figure net worth. However, most of it is tied up in your house.
Obviously, having 6 figures is much different than making 6 figures. You could be a 5-figure earner for your entire life, but still retire with a multiple 6 figure retirement fund.
How common is it to make 6 figures a year?
According to the finance and investment website DQYDJ.com, 16.5% of all individual U.S. workers made $100,000 or more in 2021.
Even more encouraging, over 30% of American households broke the 6 figure threshold in 2019.
This isn’t the majority, but it’s not altogether uncommon for Americans to bring in more than 6 figures a year, especially with a dual-income household.
Is 6 figures a lot of money?
According to 2021 3rd quarter BLS statistics, the median weekly income of American workers employed full-time was $1,003, which comes out to $52,156 per year.
This means a $100,000 individual salary is a 92% increase. Depending on where you live, a low 6-figure income could afford you a very nice, comfortable, middle-class lifestyle.
Unfortunately, a recent survey reports that 60% of millennials earning 6 figures or more are living paycheck to paycheck. This can frequently be due to lifestyle inflation, which leaves little room for savings and debt payoff.
This is a good indication that a 6 figure income does not necessarily equal financial freedom. Poor money habits and lack of a sound financial plan can leave 6 figure earners struggling to make ends meet. (Keep reading … next I’ll give you some smart tips on how to practice effective money management with a 6 figure income.)
On the other side of the spectrum, making a high 6 figure income (specifically, over $737,000 a year) will put you in the top 1% of U.S. earners. This amount of wealth could drastically change not only your life, but family generations after you.
What would a 6-figure lifestyle look like?
Considering that the national average salary in the U.S. is a little over $52,000 a year, making six figures would give you quite a boost in terms of the lifestyle you could have. If you’re currently earning an average salary, then making the jump to six figures would essentially mean doubling your income.
Even after taxes, your take-home pay could afford you a comfortable lifestyle. However, how far your income stretches depends on a number of factors, including:
- Where you live
- How much debt you have
- Your tax bracket
- Your healthcare costs
- The size of your family
- Your spending habits
Probably the most significant factor on this list is where you choose to live. Your housing costs will take the biggest bite out of your budget. If you live in a high-rent district, you won’t have much left after you pay the mortgage.
In cities like San Francisco, Washington D.C., New York City, and Honolulu, you almost *have to* make a 6 figure income just to get by. But, if you choose a place with a lower cost of living, you could afford a nice house with lots of financial margin left over.
It’s important to keep in mind that a low 6-figure salary doesn’t automatically guarantee a big house, your dream car, and lavish summer vacations. In fact, there are many people making 6 figures who live paycheck to paycheck. Crushing student loan debt and high mortgages are leaving many 6 figure earners struggling to make ends meet.
If you manage your money wisely, and live within your means, you can avoid becoming a victim to lifestyle creep and live comfortably on 6 figures.
3 common factors that can drastically reduce 6 figures
In the previous section, I mentioned how taxes will take a big chunk out of your gross income. So, even though 6 figures sounds like a lot of money, you’ll actually end up with considerably less after you pay Uncle Sam.
However, this is just the beginning.
There are several factors that can eat up your paycheck, making you feel like 6 figures isn’t enough to live on. This is why it’s so important to stay on a budget, so you can be purposeful about where your money is going.
Here are 3 major factors that can significantly reduce a 6 figure income:
From credit cards to student loans to a large mortgage, debt has the capacity to use up a large percentage of your income.
Breaking the 6-figure barrier may tempt you to move to a bigger house, drive a newer car, and buy cooler toys. But, these financial decisions can leave you with high debt balances that you’ll be paying off for years.
Excessive and inefficient debt can turn a 6 figure income into a poor man’s budget. It will keep you from building wealth and living in financial freedom.
However, with a 6-figure salary you can also use debt in your favor. For example, you could invest in rental properties that make you a profit over and above mortgage payments. You could buy fixer-uppers and flip them to make more money.
If you use some of your 6 figure income to go into debt, make sure it’s working for you, not against you. Pay off your credit card balances in full every month, pay for vehicles in cash, and throw as much as you can at your student loan debt.
Otherwise, your debt will drain your income and leave you stuck in a paycheck to paycheck cycle.
Poor spending habits
Even with a 6 figure income, your spending habits have the capacity to make or break your financial health.
If your spending is out of control, your salary will dwindle away quickly and leave you barely able to pay your bills. In addition, you lose the capacity to save money and prepare yourself for emergency expenses.
Becoming a victim to lifestyle creep is a common issue when a person’s income increases. Also, called “lifestyle inflation”, this tendency to spend more as you earn more will keep you from building wealth. Although you may have nicer things, your bank account will suffer.
Spending recklessly isn’t limited to lavish vacations and major shopping sprees. You can also be irresponsible with your spending by not reducing expenses where you can.
For example, the last time I refinanced our mortgage, I took off $400 from our monthly payment. This is $4,800 a year in savings! If I hadn’t made the effort to find a lower rate, I’d be wasting close to $5,000 of our income every year.
Same goes for insurance policies. Don’t just settle for the premiums you’re paying. Be responsible with the money you make by shopping around when it’s time to renew. You could end up saving thousands of your 6-figure salary that could be used to grow your wealth instead.
Cost of living
If you want to maximize your 6 figure dollars, you need to consider living in an affordable location. Bringing in $100k a year won’t get you much in cities like San Francisco or New York City, which are two of the most expensive U.S. cities to live in.
However, states with a lower cost of living (such as Texas, Mississippi or Oklahoma) will allow you to stretch your income a lot farther.
Housing costs are always your biggest bill, and can take up most of your paycheck if you live in an expensive neighborhood. If you can, find a more affordable location to spend your hard-earned dollars, so your 6-figure lifestyle can better reflect your income.
Now, let’s talk about how you can get the most out of a 6-figure salary.
How to maximize 6 figures
As I noted above, making 6 figures doesn’t automatically give you a financially secure lifestyle. You still have to manage your finances with excellent money habits. If you neglect being intentional with your money, even a 6 figure income will seem much smaller.
However, if you practice these habits on a consistent basis, you can achieve your financial goals with a 6 figure income. You can even grow your salary to greater wealth – possibly 7, 8, or 9 figures!
Here are a few smart financial practices you can use to not only live on 6 figures, but maximize every dollar you make.
Follow a budget
Probably the most important habit you can practice is keeping a budget. A budget is like a spending plan and tracking tool in one. It will help you maintain control of your money and define financial boundaries to stick to.
The first thing you would need to do to create a budget is determine your actual take-home pay.
Based on what I mentioned previously about taxes, let’s assume your net take-home pay is $65,000 a year.
You can calculate your monthly income when you divide this number by 12. This would equal $5,416 each month.
According to Dave Ramsey’s recommended percentages, your budget breakdown should look something similar to this:
A budget is personal, so your categories and percentages will likely be a little different. The important thing is to make sure all percentages add up to 100%, so every dollar spent is accounted for.
Make savings a priority. This is called “paying yourself first”, and this habit will ensure you have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
If you’re paying down debt (see #3 below), start by saving 10% from every paycheck. The best way to make sure this happens is by setting up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings account every payday.
Once your debts are paid off, bump up your savings rate to 15-20%, which is the common recommendation for a retirement fund.
Always keep your savings in a separate account, preferably one with the highest return you can get. Most savings accounts won’t make you much in interest, but an online account will probably have a higher rate.
Pay off (and stay out of) debt
Excessive debt can wreak havoc on your financial, mental, and emotional health. If you want to maximize your 6 figure income, you should make it a priority to pay off your debts.
Start with high-interest credit card balances and car loans. Any interest you’re paying is just money down the drain.
Then start chipping away at student loans, personal loans, and your mortgage. If you don’t pay any interest on medical bills, I would make them the lowest priority.
Once you pay off your debt balances, you can start saving more, investing more, and building greater wealth for your retirement.
Avoid lifestyle creep & cut expenses
If you think a 6 figure income is a license to ignore what you’re paying for common living expenses, think again. After taxes, insurance, 401(k) contributions, and healthcare, that 6-figure salary will quickly shrink to five digits.
In other words, being frugal is still smart even if you’re making over $100k a year. Be intentional about cutting expenses, and your dollars will stretch much farther.
Here are a few ideas to lower your monthly expenses:
- Shop around for lower insurance premiums
- Refinance your mortgage to a lower rate
- Cancel all monthly subscriptions you don’t use frequently (gym, newspaper, cable, etc)
- Comparison shop before spending
- Conserve energy and lower your utility bill
- Get a less expensive cell phone plan
- Create meal plans for home dinners instead of eating out
- Drive an older car (that’s paid off)
Make investments with your money
Finally, one of the best ways to maximize your income is to invest it so it continues to work for you long after you earn it.
This requires forward thinking: a willingness to delay the gratification you’d experience by spending it now, for the benefits (future interest earned) you’ll get later.
If you want to retire comfortably on time, and have enough to support you for 30 years in your old age, learning to invest wisely is absolutely essential.
Use your money to grow your money, and you’ll maximize your 6 figure income.
What percentage of the U.S. makes 6 figures?
Once you break the 6 figure threshold, you’ve made it into the top 15% of U.S. earners. You’d need to make at least $129,000 to be in the top 10%, and $173,000 to reach the top 5%. That ever-elusive top 1% requires a gross annual income of $357,552 for 2021.
How can I earn 6 figures?
The short answer is it depends.
Do you want to go the traditional route and get a college degree? Would you rather pursue a job that only requires professional certification with onsite training? Or do you want to go all in with building your own business?
There are multiple paths you could choose from, but they each have different requirements. For example, you could:
- Go through 10-14 years of education and training to become a doctor
- Go to community college and get a 2-year associate’s degree for a career as a medical tech
- Get additional training for your current job to be qualified for raises and promotions
- Move to an area that pays more for what you’re currently doing
- Use your nights and weekends to build an online business
- Take your savings and invest in rental properties to generate multiple income streams
First, you need to determine what you’re willing to do. How much you’re willing to spend, sacrifice, and persevere to get what you want.
I’m not talking about passion or talent or dreams. If you have a financial goal to make 6 figures, you need to be practical first. Put together a list of jobs that have the potential to make this kind of income. Find out what education or training is required. Research how many years of experience you’ll need to make top earnings.
Yes, there are those who bring in 6 figures from an inheritance, a lottery win, or good investments. These are all possible, but not probable.
Making it to the top 15% of U.S. earners is going to take some hustle. Actually, it’s going to take a *lot* of hustle. You’ll need to be focused on and committed to whatever path you decide.
Investing in yourself and your future is the best way to get on track toward a 6 figure career. Make the time and the effort to get the education and qualifications you need, so you can start increasing your income and building financial security for yourself.
What jobs pay 6 figures (with a college degree)?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 57 out of 808 occupations offer median salaries of over $100,000 . Out of those, 27 require at least an undergraduate degree and the other 30 require a master’s.
This means that you can easily make a hefty investment of time and money in your education before earning the big bucks.
In general, the fields of study that traditionally have the highest-paying median salaries are finance, engineering, law, and medicine. Unfortunately, all of these fields require extensive education and testing before you can even start working.
Let’s take a look at a few of the top careers requiring a degree that will get you an average income of six-figures:
- Average annual salary: $176,000
- Education required: Doctoral degree
- Description: Physicians diagnose and medically treat patients suffering from injuries or illnesses. They can specialize in a specific field, such as surgery, cardiology, or radiology.
- Average annual salary: $119,000
- Education required: Doctoral degree
- Description: Pharmacists prepare and dispense prescriptions, as well as offer expertise in the safe use of these medications.
- Average annual salary: $134,000
- Education required: Doctoral degree
- Description: Dentists clean and repair people’s teeth, fill cavities, and treat issues with gums and other parts of the mouth.
Information Technology Manager
- Average annual salary: $112,000
- Education required: Undergraduate degree
- Description: IT Managers plan and oversee an organization’s technological structure, network security and online operations.
Computer Network Architect
- Average annual salary: $119,000
- Education required: Undergraduate degree
- Description: Computer Network Architects create and present plans for data communication networks, and offer expertise in information security when designing networks.
- Average annual salary: $110,000
- Education required: Undergraduate degree
- Description: Software developers design and build computer programs and software systems for client applications, as well as document and test the software.
- Average annual salary: $105,000
- Education required: Undergraduate degree
- Description: Finance managers use data analysis to advise companies on opportunities to maximize profits. They also create financial reports and develop long-term financial goals for organizations.
- Average annual salary: $106,000
- Education required: Doctoral degree
- Description: Physicists apply their expertise of the interaction between work and matter in a wide variety of professions, primarily conducting their research in a lab or commercial setting. They administer experiments for the purpose of testing hypotheses, making new discoveries, and formulating new theories.
- Average annual salary: $103,000
- Education required: Undergraduate degree
- Description: Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to perform risk assessments of potential events, typically for insurance companies.
- Average annual salary: $137,000
- Education required: Undergraduate degree
- Description: Petroleum engineers design and develop new ways to extract oil and gas from below the earth’s surface. They are responsible for locating and maintaining the world’s oil and gas supplies.
- Average annual salary: $121,000
- Education required: Law degree
- Description: Lawyers advise clients in legal matters, offer representation in court cases, and are responsible for communicating with judges and other lawyers on their clients’ behalf.
Because these careers require extensive education and experience, you’ll want to make sure you have a keen interest in the field you’re entering and aren’t just doing it for the paycheck.
If you dream of having a six-figure job, but don’t want to get a degree, you have options. There are certain high-income skills you can learn that will help you earn a higher salary. And, with the help of the internet, many people are choosing to leave their corporate jobs and follow an entrepreneurial path.
You can always create multiple lower income streams that can add up to 6 figures easily. Taking on some extra side gigs, doing freelance work, or finding ways to make passive income can all work together to put you in the 6 figure club.
Let’s take a look at some jobs that will get you to 6 figures without a degree.
How you can get a 6 figure job without a degree
A decision to pursue a high-paying profession could mean a commitment of 5-10 years before you start making six figures. Even when that happens, you will then need to use your salary to repay any loans you took out to receive your education.
The good news is, you don’t need years of college to make 6 figures. There are plenty of options to generate this type of income without a degree.
With that said, some of these careers do require extensive training. Getting an associate’s degree or professional certifications may even be required. You’ll also need to clock in several years of experience before you hit top-earner status.
Here are a few ideas for jobs that six-figure earners can get without a degree.
Real Estate Broker
- Top earning salary: $112,000
- What’s required: Real Estate license
- Description: A real estate broker, like an agent, helps clients buy, sell, and rent real estate. They have also completed additional licensing requirements and can hire other agents to work for them.
Air Traffic Controller
- Top earning salary: $159,000
- What’s required: Rigorous training, psychological screening and testing, 31 years or younger
- Description: Air traffic controllers monitor and direct in-air traffic, takeoff and landings, and in-air emergencies.
- Top earning salary: $106,000
- Education required: Associate’s degree
- Description: Radiation therapists implement treatment plans from radiation oncologists. They work with X-ray machines and CAT scans before radiation is given.
- Top earning salary: $102,000
- Education required: Associate’s degree in culinary arts
- Description: An executive chef manages a restaurant’s kitchen and is responsible for the quality of the food, creating new menu items, and following food safety regulations.
- Top earner’s salary: Multiple 6 figures
- Education required: Specific training in the industry you sell for
- Description: Salespeople are needed in just about every industry, but those that have 6 figure potential include software, pharmaceutical, insurance, and medical equipment.
- Top earning salary: $106,000
- What’s required: Police academy training
- Description: Police officers enforce laws, investigate criminal complaints, respond to emergency situations, and patrol assigned areas to look for crimes.
- Top earning salary: $160,000
- What’s required: 250 flight hours, flight training, commercial pilot license
- Description: Different from airline pilots, commercial pilots fly aircraft for the purposes of crop dusting, aerial photography, rescue operations, etc.
Nuclear Power Reactor Operator
- Top earning salary: $139,000
- What’s required: Extensive on-the-job training
- Description: Nuclear power reactor operators are responsible for controlling nuclear reactors by monitoring and operating the necessary equipment.
- Top earning salary: $107,000
- What’s required: Associate’s degree in dental hygiene, state licensure
- Description: A dental hygienist examines and supports the oral health of patients with cleanings and inspections, as well as assisting a dentist as needed.
How to create a 6 figure career working from home
If you have that entrepreneurial spirit inside you, as well as a healthy mixture of diligence, discipline, and grit, you can create your own 6 figure income from home.
The internet has created a huge opportunity for content creators to leave the corporate cubicle and forge their own path, which many people have chosen to do. As a result, they’ve created online businesses that generate thousands a month in income.
The great advantage with many online businesses is that you can scale them as high as you’re willing to go. Because nobody sets your salary or hourly wage, your income is only limited by the amount of value you can provide for others.
Just keep in mind, none of these are get-rich-quick schemes. Most will take months of effort with no return, and years of work before you break the 6 figure threshold.
Here are just a few types of jobs to generate a 6 figure business income as your own boss:
Since so much work these days doesn’t require actually going into the office, it’s easy to get started as a freelancer. To do this, you can either expand on the work you already do or start charging for something that was previously a hobby.
Some examples include freelance writing, consulting, or virtual assisting. You can even scale higher with drop servicing, where you outsource the projects you receive from clients.
Digital marketing is a wide umbrella term that encompasses a lot of things. A few examples that fall under digital marketing are graphic design, content writing, advertising, marketing, web design, social media, email marketing, and more.
Businesses are always looking to hire people who excel in these areas and they can all be learned online via YouTube or sites like Udemy.
Do you like to be creative, in a techie sort of way? You can create websites for bloggers and businesses to generate your own 6-figure income. No professional training required!
Knowledgeable and experienced website designers are always in demand. You can find all you need to know for free through Google and YouTube.
Social Media Influencer
Believe it or not, people make lots of money on social media by promoting products for brands.
If you have a social following of a thousand or more then it’s worth approaching a few brands offering to leverage your audience.
You could also create your own products to offer to your audience.
Share your story, your ideas, and your experience to help others create a better life. You don’t need to be an expert – you just need to have a little more knowledge than your audience, and a passion that’s inspiring and contagious.
You can make money through ads, digital products and online courses. Top earning bloggers make 6 figures per month!
Would you rather talk than write? Do you have words of wisdom, encouragement or expertise to share with others? Start your own podcast and create *audible* content.
Through sponsorships and affiliates, there is the opportunity to make 5 figures every month.
This online opportunity can make you thousands every month. Choose a niche (cat toys, succulents, Keto – whatever!) and create a website.
Promote products with affiliate links to start making money in your sleep. You’ll need to drive traffic to your sight, so a good grasp of SEO is required.
Best ways to make a six-figure income after 50
When it comes to amplifying your income a little bit later in life, starting a business or a freelance career is your best bet.
That’s because, at this point in your life, you actually have an incredible advantage over younger people … your work experience. You can leverage this experience to start a business by creating your own product or service.
It’s easy to sell yourself short in terms of what you know. Most people take their expertise for granted and don’t realize that there are a lot of people out there who would be willing to pay you for your skills.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Are you a good writer? There are plenty of opportunities for good writers. You can help people write blog articles, web content, resumes, cover letters, business plans, newsletters, or biographies. You could even take a stab at writing your own book (this has the potential to earn 6, 7, or even 8 figures).
- Are you good with graphic design? Tools like InDesign and Powerpoint are fairly simple to learn and there is a constant need for things like social media graphics, website graphics, logos, product marketing, etc.
- Do you like computers/coding? Even if you’re not working on Artificial Intelligence at Google, there is still a huge need for competent coders. Even an amateur coder can charge a hefty rate for helping other people.
- Do you have experience with accounting? Accounting is one of those categories that few people like to do. If you already know it or can take the time to learn, then you’ll have many opportunities to make some money with this skill.
- Do you speak different languages? There is such a need for competent translators in all different industries. In particular, many international companies will hire you almost exclusively because you can help them do business in other countries. If you don’t already speak a different language, this could start as a fun hobby that you eventually want to try and earn some money with.
It may take several months or even a few years to make it to 6 figures so don’t get discouraged. Just use every opportunity to strengthen your skillset.
Also, consider the type of business you could continue into your 70s if you have to delay retirement for a while. Or, build a business that generates a passive income, so you can receive the monetary benefits even when you’ve stopped working.
Video: How To Make 6 Figures
Do I need to make 6 figures?
The answer to this question is definitely a resounding no. The overwhelming majority of the population does not earn over six figures and hitting this threshold won’t automatically change your life in any meaningful way.
As they say, money does not bring happiness and there are other things in life that are more worthy of your attention than your income.
Here are a few other areas that you should focus your energy on before your yearly income:
- Your fitness and mental health
- Your relationships with your family and friends
- Spending time pursuing your passions
- Your spiritual growth
You’ll find that if you’re not fulfilled in these areas then money won’t add much to your life. Having more money doesn’t make you healthier, less lonely, or more satisfied.
Additionally, when people start earning more money they’ll often adjust their lifestyle to match their new income (a phenomenon known as lifestyle creep). After a few months of earning and spending more money, they grow accustomed to their new life and begin to feel unsatisfied again.
All that said, let’s assume that you’re already feeling fulfilled in other areas of your life and now you want to attack and boost your income. Good for you! The extra money you make can greatly enhance the happiness you already experience.
Is 6 figures enough to retire on?
According to a poll done by Charles Schwab , $1.7 million is the magic retirement number for most Americans based on average retirement age and median salary. Unfortunately, most people don’t reach this number.
This also means that even if you do have six figures saved for retirement (even if it’s $999,999) you may still find it difficult to achieve your dream retirement and ensure financial security into your later years.
However, earning a six-figure income throughout your life will definitely give you a jumpstart towards reaching retirement sooner. By earning more earlier in your career, you’ll be able to build your retirement fund faster and benefit from the growth of compound interest.
Keep in mind, how much you need for retirement will also fluctuate depending on things like your spending habits and the type of lifestyle you want to maintain.
How to build wealth without making 6 figures
As mentioned previously, making 6 figures is not necessary to have a fulfilling and happy life. There are many people who make 5 figures a year and retire millionaires. That’s because building wealth is more about what you end up saving rather than what you’re spending.
Building wealth takes patience, diligence, and consistency. Don’t be discouraged by slow growth, because your savings will increase exponentially over time.
So, how do you build wealth if you don’t make 6 figures?
The same way you build wealth if you *did* make 6 figures:
- Stick to a budget
- Build savings
- Payoff debt
- Cut expenses
- Invest for retirement
These 5 financial practices will get you far toward maximizing your income and building wealth.
You can also look for ways to make more money. More income equals faster growth, so ask for a raise, apply for a promotion, or get more training. If these aren’t options for you, consider a side gig or two. Just $500 extra a month can make a huge difference, as long as you’re funneling that extra cash towards savings.
Lastly, living below your means will give you more financial margin to build wealth. Resist the temptation to keep up with the Joneses. When you spend less than you make, you’ll stay within your budget and have some left over to put in savings.
Writing down your financial goals will help a lot with staying focused on what you need to do to build wealth. Knowing the reasons behind the sacrifices you make today can help keep you inspired and motivated.
What about 7, 8, 9, and 10 figures?
Oftentimes, six figures can act like a psychological barrier. Once you break it you’ll find that it can get easier and easier to make money.
Once you’ve tackled that goal, you can move on to start making seven figures (1,000,000), 8 figures (10,000,000), and even 9 figures (100,000,000).
The sky is the limit!
How much is 7 figures?
Seven figures refers to a number with 7 digits. So, a seven-figure income ranges from $1,000,000 to $9,999,999 a year. If you make a 7-figure income, you have reached millionaire status!
According to the 2021 Global World Report, the United States has by far the most millionaires in the world. In 2020, there were 22 million (or 39.1% of the world total) Americans with a net worth of a million dollars or more.
What does it mean to have 7 figures?
When someone “has” 7 figures, this generally means their net worth is over $1 million and under $10 million. Anyone with this income would be able to support an expensive lifestyle without ever worrying about running out of money.
It’s more common to have a 7 figure net worth than it is to make a 7-figure salary. Most people who have a million dollars or more make 6 figures or less a year. They reach millionaire status by investing their savings in funds such as a 401(k) or IRA for decades, letting compound interest account for most of the growth.
What jobs pay a 7-figure salary?
Many of these 7 figure high-paying jobs are the same as 6-figure careers, just with more experience or specialized skills. A few of these include:
- Entrepreneur / Business Owner
- Investment Banker
- Financial Manager
- Corporate Lawyer
- Specialized Surgeon
- Social Media Influencer
- Enterprise Salesperson
- Business Executive Officers
- Celebrity-level Film or Television Actor
- Blogger or Podcaster
- Professional Athlete
- Real Estate Developer
The list of 7-figure job opportunities will get shorter as you add higher figures to a salary. You would typically need highly specialized experience and skills in an industry with few applicants in order to break the 7-figure salary barrier.
People who make a 7-figure income
To give you an idea of who makes a seven-figure income, here are a few examples of 7-figure earners:
- Kyle Van Noy, New England Patriots linebacker – $6M
- Nancy Brown, CEO of American Heart Association – $2.5M
- Carter Roberts, President of the World Wildlife Fund – $1.1M
- Kaitlyn Dever, Television Actress – $1M
- Joe Scarborough, News Anchor – $8M
- Heather Armstrong, Blogger – $5M
- Graham Stephan, YouTuber – $1.6M
How much is 8 figures?
Eight figures is another way to say 8 digits, and an 8-figure income ranges from $10,000,000 to $99,999,999 a year. If you make an 8-figure salary , you are a multi-millionaire and considered to be extremely wealthy.
What jobs pay an 8-figure income?
If you make an eight-figure salary, you probably own your own successful company, you’re a professional athlete or celebrity, or the CEO of a big corporation.
The compensation included at this income level usually includes a base pay in addition to stock options, bonuses and other monetary benefits.
Here are a few occupations that can make someone an annual eight-figure income:
- Fortune 500 CEOs
- Hedge Fund Managers
- Television or Movie Stars
- Professional Athletes
People who make an 8-figure salary
Here are a few names of people who make over $10 million a year:
- Sean Hannity, News Anchor – $40M
- Patrick Mahomes, NFL Quarterback – $39.8M
- Ryan Kaji, YouTuber – $29.5M
- Jerry Seinfeld, Comedian – $51M
- Stephen Squeri, CEO of American Express – $24M
How much is a 9-figure income?
Nine figures is the same as a number with 9 digits. Therefore, a 9 figure salary would be an annual income between $100,000,000 and $999,999,999.
In reality, you will never find an actual salary with 9 figures. This kind of income always includes a significant amount of additional compensation, such as stock options, bonuses, endorsements, etc.
Most at this level of income will have a net worth of over a billion dollars. Obviously, this is a highly select group of people who are incredibly wealthy, live an extravagant lifestyle, and would never have to work another day in their lives!
To help wrap your mind around this kind of wealth, someone in the 9 figure club would be raking in a *minimum* of $273,962 every day!
What jobs pay a 9-figure salary?
People who make a 9-figure income are at the very top of those industries that can pay out this much money. This includes professional sports, movies and television, and large corporations. The most successful athletes, actors, entertainers and CEOs can pull in 9 figures a year.
People who make 9 figures a year
Here are a few successful earners making over 9 figures a year:
- Tim Cook, CEO of Apple – $265M
- Conor McGregor, MMA Fighter – $180M
- Daniel Craig, Actor – $100M
- Lionel Messi, Soccer Player – $130M
- Tony Xu, CEO of Doordash – $414M
How much is 10 figures?
A 10 figure income means you bring in billions of dollars a year – between $1,000,000,000 (a billion) and $9,999,999,999 (just under 10 billion).
A person who makes $1 billion a year generates an average of $2.7 million EVERY DAY! This is more than most people will ever make in their whole lifetime!
What jobs pay a 10-figure salary?
Ten figure jobs aren’t really a thing. This amount of income comes from more than just a base salary.
Some live on this kind of money because of generational wealth. Others make a ten-figure income from stock options and investments after reaching top positions in large corporations.
There are a few entrepreneurs who have built an empire that draws in this crazy amount of income every year.
People who make *over* ten figures
It’s difficult to pin down an exact 10-figure salary once you get to this level of income, and the list of people who earn this amount is short.
Here are some that have made it to billionaire status with their net worth:
- Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon – $131B net worth
- Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft – $97B net worth
- Warren Buffet, Investor – $82B
- Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook – $62B net worth
- Larry Page, Founder of Google – $50B net worth
What about figures on the lower end?
We’ve talked about 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 figure incomes. Most people in the world will never make this kind of money – in a year *or* in a lifetime.
Normal folk like you and me typically generate 5 figures a year, and others (like college students, part-time workers and the semi-retired) might bring in only 4 figures.
Let’s take a quick look at what these annual salaries look like.
How much is 5 figures?
Making a five-figure salary means you have an annual gross income that has 5 digits. So, anything from $10,000 to $99,999 a year would be a 5 figure salary.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the median salary in the U.S. in 2020 was a little over $51,000 a year. This means that half of U.S. salaries were above this number and half were below.
In other words, the 5-figure salary is what most U.S. earners bring in every year. This is the income range most Americans make and create their lifestyle around. College grads will usually start their careers in the 5-figure range, and many older workers will retire from a 5-digit salary.
However, there are many careers that begin making a five-figure income but eventually increase to 6 digits.
If you follow smart financial practices like budgeting, saving, and investing, a high 5-figure salary can provide you with a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle.
What jobs pay 5 figures a year?
Jobs that pay 5 figures are those traditional careers held by the majority of people. The list is very long for 5-figure jobs, so I’ll list the mean annual wages of major occupational groups, according to Statista.com:
- Food prep and serving – $27,650
- Personal care and service – $32,610
- Farming and forestry – $33,310
- Office and Administrative support – $42,390
- Construction – $53,940
- Educational instruction and Librarians – $59,810
- Arts, Sports, and Entertainment industries – $64,400
- Business and Finance – $80,680
- Architecture and Engineering – $90,300
- Computer and Mathematical – $96,770
People who make 5 figures a year
Those who make a five-figure income may be some of the most important people in your life! Most of those you know personally – your spouse, adult children, friends, relatives and co-workers – likely make 5 figures a year with traditional careers. No famous people on this list!
How much is 4 figures?
A 4 figure earner would make between $1,000 and $9,999 a year. This is not considered full-time income, so most of these workers are part-time employees like college students and the semi-retired.
Four figures would not be able to support even an individual with typical living expenses in the U.S. In most developed countries, this is nowhere near what a minimum hourly wage would be.
For these reasons, most people mention 4 figures as a monthly salary, not yearly.
You might think that getting into the 6-figure club will solve many of your financial problems and bring more happiness into your life. The truth is, it might.
But, a 2018 study from Purdue University found that the point at which a level of income no longer has an impact on one’s emotional wellbeing is only $75,000 a year. This means, in general, even if you make over six figures a year, you’re not guaranteed a more satisfying life. In fact, the study also reveals that once the $75k threshold is reached, life satisfaction tends to decline with further increases in income.
This is important to know before you decide to make a 6-figure income one of your financial goals. If you want to make more money than your current salary, be sure you have a higher purpose than just more happiness in your life.
What’s even more critical to understand is that effective money management and a healthy money mindset are far more instrumental in building a secure financial future. Because, is if you don’t know how to manage your money now, you won’t know how to handle a bigger income later.
Conquer your limiting beliefs.
Be purposeful with your money.
Pay yourself first.
Get rid of debt.
Live below your means.
If you can practice these habits consistently, you’ll achieve financial freedom. With or without 6 figures.
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