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How many of you make over $100,000/year?

335 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

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How old are you?

What do you do for a living?

How did you feel once you started earning a six-figure income?

What, if anything, changed?

If your friends earn a lot less than you, does that ever present problems when hanging out?

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335 Comments

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  1. I’m 27, and I’m an attorney practicing in a medium-large midwest city.

    Honestly, not much has changed from how I lived when I was a law student. (aside from hours worked on a weekly basis) The only major increase in my living expenses was that my rent increased significantly when I moved from a college town to to the city I work in. But I’m also presently focusing on paying off student loan debt as fast as possible. At the rate I’m paying I realistically expect it to be gone in another 2-3 years.

  2. I’m 31, and I earn about $120k a year. It can vary depending on bonus, but it’s never less than about $105k. I work for a Fortune 100 Property/Casualty. I can honestly say that I am no more “happy” than I was when I made $30k, but more money does take the stress out of paycheck to paycheck living (it does raise the stakes of lost income, however).

    It doesn’t really present problems with friends because I don’t live a $100k lifestyle. I doubt they have any idea what I make.

  3. I’m 23 years old and I am an international drilling engineer working in remote and hostile locations.

    For me it was a night and day transition. In college I was burdened with bills such as rent, utilities, cell phone and internet with ZERO income. Upon graduating and starting a job overseas I have nearly no expenses as everything is provided for me yet now I am making over six figures. Having expatriate status also dramatically reduces my tax burden.

    In terms of hanging out with friends, the situation has changed. Since some of my friends are still jobless since graduating I’ve offered to fly them to meet me for Vegas trips or football games.

    • How do they react to your offer to fly them out?

    • I’m curious as to how your friends reacted, too. I didn’t realize how offensive this was to some people. To me it was like “Hey, I’d like to hang out with you and this is an easy way to do it.” To many others it reads as “You’re rich and waving money in my face and bragging that you can do this.” This was NOT what I intended and it made me a really unhappy camper to have it interpreted in that way. Money is a touchy subject for a lot of people–particularly when you don’t have much.

      -Erica

    • Erica, this is good insight. Sometimes, it’s not even about perceived bragging, but rather a feeling of indebtedness to the friend footing the bill. That can be pretty uncomfortable despite the good intent!

    • Yayyy, reading your post made me smile =)
      I’ve always said and do dream that if I was finacially able, I would do things for my friends just as you do yours.

    • “International drilling engineer?” This guy is so full of it. Guaranteed.

    • Full of it? Sounds like someone is both jealous and ignorant of starting salaries of drilling engineers, especially oversees. I, on the other hand, am quite familiar with them and he is not full of it.

      People never used to believe me when I told them I was a 22 yr old chemical engineer making 50K (this was a LONG time ago).

  4. I’m 31 and together with my spouse we make 60K (although most of it goes to daycare..if Obama REALLY wanted to help the middle class he’s do something about the daycares haveing to be insured up the like a doctors office incase a kid falls and a greedy parent sees it as a free payday)

    I work in the health care industry doing Stop-Loss

    My friends DO make a lot more than we do (over 100k like yall) but their spending/saving habits are so horrible that they are always broke while we have no consumer debt (I love apartments!) so we live much more comfortably. It evens out so no friendship suffers

    Side note though-Sometimes I want to just shake the hell out of them over their spending. How can you make 100K p/yr and have no 401K or IRA-nothing??! How can you NOT keep the phone bill paid? Oh what I could do with 100K!!!!

    • Chances are you wouldn’t behave much differently than they do

    • Daycares are forced to have insurance for the same reason you are required to have car insurance: if you hit someone, he/she can collect from you (or your insurance carrier on your behalf) to pay for his/her injuries; if a kid is injured at daycare, his parents can collect from the daycare provider (or its insurance company) to pay for the kid’s injuries.

      As much as you complain about the high cost of daycare due to required insurance, I’m sure you’d be more angry if your kid got injured at daycare and you couldn’t collect because (1) the daycare was judgment proof (i.e. had no assets) and (2) was uninsured.

  5. I’m 29 and a government attorney (local government, not Federal). In January I’ll be crossing the 100k threshhold.

    I’ve been making decent to good money since I’ve been out of law school. Since then, I’ve bought a condo and put away good hunks of money toward retirement. My lifestyle costs have gone up, but a lot of that comes from leaving the midwest and returning to the NY metro region, which is a fairly costly place to live. The rest of that comes from being engaged (not that it necessarily increases lifestyle costs per person, but the cumulative effect increases things). I haven’t really upped my lifestyle that much, so I don’t think there’s a significant growth in lifestyle inflation (although now I have furniture).

    I do make more than most of my friends, but it doesn’t really present problems. Most of them didn’t go to college (outside of community college), so they never accumulated the student loan debt that I did. Besides that, we still pretty much do the same stuff we did before — occassionally we get together to eat out, usually we hang out at someone’s home watching bad movies, sports and bsing.

  6. I’m 37, I am a GM of a 3-star restaurant in NYC. I make around $120,000 but it could be a little more or less depending on this year’s bonus. When I first got to the $100,000 mark, I felt like all my years of hard work finally paid off. As a reward to myself for living on way less for a really long time, I literally take 40% of my post-tax pay check and put it into savings…as what I always used to complain about was that I didn’t make enough to live in NYC and save for a wedding or real estate or IRA’s. Now, I do… My friends make less than I do. It’s not really a big deal because I live as if I make less and save the rest…so I’m not sure they get that I make much more. But, perodically when I really really want something…I do let myself get it and it’s usually pretty luxurious and I do see it in their eyes…they probably think I put it on credit but I don’t.

  7. I’m 32-year-old engineer, and I make just over six figures, not including bonuses and stock incentives. Like Jason, I don’t live the lifestyle one associates with six figures, so it doesn’t really affect how I interact with my friends.

  8. DH and I are attorneys and make a combined 270k. It is very, very nice not to have to worry about all the little things that eat into your savings. By the end of this year, we’ll have no debt (graduate loans are all that remains) but our mortgage, which isn’t extravagant by any means–we bought the house when we made way, way less money.

    We haven’t really increased our day to day spending since we’ve been making $$. Our main vice is traveling and staying in nice places and I don’t apologize for it. We can afford it and someday soon, it’ll be difficult to arrange with our kids in school and our busy work schedules.

    Most of our friends do well in the salary department, but they’ve all upgraded their houses, cars, lifestyle etc. Now they’re stuck on the treadmill. I don’t think we’re anywhere near jumping off and saying adios to the work world, but a lower time required job with a corresponding lower salary is truly an option for us in the future.

    • This is very similar to my wife and I. We live in a tiny 1bd/1ba apartment, but will spend quite a bit on travel each year. Also we’ve decided to put some of our hard earned money towards eating better thus increasing our expenses there. All in all, we spend about 40% of our earnings on our day to day expenses as well as travel and food. The rest is put away towards 401k, IRA, and building a cash horde to make sure my wife’s business will weather any storm with relative ease.

  9. I’m 32 years old now and jumped over 100k in April 2000 (185k/yr today). My current title is “IT Architect”, which simply means that I decide how computer networks are going to be setup but don’t have to do the actual setup work.

    My salary went from ~90k to ~120k within days of passing a certification exam that was in high demand at the time (Cisco CCIE). I was more excited about the prestige of the certification than the bump in pay. My parents, on the other hand, loved telling people about their 22 year old kid making over 100k/yr.

    The only thing that really changed is that the more money I made the more I wasted. Bottom line is bad money habits don’t go away as you make more money. Though, an increasing salary does let you fix mistakes.

    • So you’re an IT Architect? I’m 28 and thinking of starting to go back to school and IT Architect was one of the things i was considering…I work as a Hardware Infrastructure Support Tier III right now and are at about 67k. (Yearly bonus included, 62 base) I live in the Tri-State area and with the costs of housing here as well I know I’ve got to do some more to really up my salary if I plan on getting married, buying a place and having kids.

  10. I’m 32, and have made $100k+ for the last 4 or 5 years. I work in Search Engine Marketing and my income comes from a combination of salary, freelance projects and various other side projects.

    The first year I did over $100K, there was a lot of patting myself on the back. Since then, it’s just the norm.

    Most of my friends have no idea how much I make, and I like it that way. I’m driven in my earning, but endeavor to keep my spending at levels more in line with someone making half as much.

    • Err … Are you sure you don’t want your friends to know how much you make ? Why put your website ?

    • Chris,

      How did you get into this field ? What sort of background would be useful and what sort of companies would pay this kind of salary ?

      Are your side projects also in SEM ?