Six-Figure Salary: What It Gets You Today

Last Updated by Neiko Johnson on 
August 14, 2021
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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a six-figure salary? Would you like to know what it's like to have a six-figure salary?

If so, you are in the right place! Earning a six-figure salary is the epitome of the earning potential of most people. With this income level, you'll be well above the United States' median household earnings. And that will mean you can afford a comfortable lifestyle.

However, according to statistics, only 9% of Americans earn a six-figure salary. So how do you get to the six-figure salary scale? Keep it here as we dive into various aspects of this level of income. But first things first.

What is a six-figure salary?

A salary of between $100,000 to $999,999 is considered a six-figure income. If you hear someone say they are making a six-figure salary, it means they are making more than $100k per year before tax and other deductions.

Let us break that down a little and make it easier to understand. If you want to make $100,000 per year it would mean the following;

You would have to make $8,333.33 per month or 2,083.33 per week. That translates into approximately $415 per working day. Each hour you have to make $52 to hit the six-figure salary scale.

To be more specifics here is a breakdown of the number:

Low six-figure –$100,000 – $399,000

High six-figure – $700,000 – $999,000

Multiple six-figure –$200,000 – $999,000

If you wish to make the $100,000 per year, assess where you are right now and come up with a plan.

It’s important to note that earning this level of income doesn’t guarantee you wealth.

A lot of factors come into play when creating wealth.

Nonetheless, it’s a good starting point.

Six-figure earning lifestyle

Earning a six-figure income will make you feel like you have achieved the American dream. And with the right budgeting techniques, this kind of salary gives you access to cars, a house, trips, and building wealth.

However, if you are not frugal you can live paycheck to paycheck in spite of earning a good salary.

Let's discuss the cost of living in cities where you can find six-figure salary jobs.

You are most likely to earn a six-figure income from major cities such as New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and Los Angeles California.

The rent and mortgages in these cities determine how much income is available to use.

Below is the approximate rent, you are likely to pay in some of the major cities:

  • Chicago, Illinois – $2,243
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $2,241
  • Baltimore, Maryland – $1,812
  • Los Angeles, California – $3,091
  • Seattle, Washington – $2,950
  • New York City – $3,092
  • Washington D.C. – $2,672

Jobs that can earn you a six-figure salary

If you have dreams of hitting the six-figure scale, then you must find the right career.

The first thing about six-figure salary careers is that they are full-time. Six-figure jobs can be divided into 2 categories

  • Traditional high paying careers
  • Entrepreneurial jobs

Traditional high paying jobs that require a degree


What they do:

They assess risk using statistics to reduce cost, mostly for insurance companies

Average annual salary: $114,000

Education requirement: Bachelor degree in mathematics, statistics, or actuarial science

Finance Manager

What they do: They employ strategies to keep organizations financially stable and sound

Average annual salary: $97,750

Education requirement: Bachelor degree in accounting, finance, or a related field

Petroleum Engineer

What they do:

They create ways to extract gas and oil from the earth

Average annual salary: $75,295

Education requirement: Bachelor degree in civil, chemical, mechanical, or petroleum engineering


What they do: They provide general and local anesthesia during a medical procedure and keep an eye on the vitals of a patient

Average annual salary: $397,900

Education requirement: Medical degree

Software Developer

What they do: They develop software and applications

Average annual salary: $96,250

Education requirement: Bachelor’s degree in computer science


What they do: remove tooth decay, fill cavities, and repair fractured teeth

Average annual salary: $155,600

Education requirement: Doctoral degree in dental medicine

Traditional six-figure jobs that don’t require a college degree

Air traffic controller

What they do: They monitor air traffic including landing and take-offs

Annual salary up to $220,000

Commercial pilot

What they do: Fly commercial planes

Annual income up to $158,000

Elevator installer

What they do: Install and repair elevators

Annual salary up to $110,000

Web developers

What they do: develop and design websites

Annual salary up to $126,000

Entrepreneurial jobs that earn a six-figure income

Entrepreneurial jobs have the highest six-figure income potential. As an entrepreneur, there is no cap on how much you can earn unlike in a 9 to 5 job.

Here are a few entrepreneurial jobs that can make you a six-figure income:

  • Blogger
  • YouTubers
  • E-commerce store owners
  • Podcasters

What impacts your six-figure salary

Even if you make it to the six-figure bracket, there are several factors that affect the value of your paycheck.

You may have obligations that reduce the amount of money available for use.

Here are factors that may dilute your paycheck:

Consumer debt

Consumer debt such as student loans will affect the amount of money left for use. If you took student loans to fund your education, then you need to make payments.

The more you earn the more you are required to pay. It’s important to make plans on how to repay the student loans otherwise it will drain your pockets.

Your home state

The cost of living varies from one city to the other. In general, it will be more expensive to live in larger cities as compared to smaller ones. For example, San Francisco is one city with a high cost of living.

And if you live there then your income may not go far enough because expenses like groceries or housing are so much higher than in other cities.

If you live in one of the top-tier cities, it can be hard to keep up with how much your money goes. You might find yourself living paycheck to paycheck if you are not careful.

How you spend your time

Time is one of our most precious commodities. No matter how we feel about it, every day each and everyone has 24 hours to spend as they please with a limited amount in their life span.

Therefore, the way you choose to use your time will ultimately determine whether or not you are happy.

Most people spend more than 60 hours per week working in order to earn high incomes. That takes away the time they would have spent with their loved ones.

And to compensate for their absence they tend to overspend on them.

For example, you will avoid cooking or doing house chores in order to save time. In so doing they create extra expenses that eat into their earnings.


The tax rate and the tax bracket are dependent on your state. You will take home less money if you live in a high-tax area such as New York, but more if you live in low-tax areas like Texas.

For instance, if you live in Illinois, and your income is over $100,000 then 25 percent of your earning goes to taxes.

Your spending habits

Your lifestyle determines your spending habits. Most people that earn six-figure salaries suffer from what we call keeping up with the Joneses.

The pressure to drive a certain car and live in a certain state drives a lot of people to spend more than they can save.

Is a six-figure salary required to build wealth?

This is one of the most common questions that people ask.

Building wealth is more about how much you save than spend.

In general, it's safe to say that no, a six-figure income is not required to build an impressive net worth but it’s a stepping stone.

For example, if you earn a six-figure salary and spend all of it, you will not achieve your goal of building wealth.

On the other hand, if you earn less and you can save a substantial amount every year then you are on way to building wealth.

And to make it clear let’s say you earn $100,000 and you spend all of it.

While another person earns $50,000 and saves $10,000 per year. In the long term, the person who saves part of their earning is building financial stability and accumulating wealth.

In the pursuit of building wealth, there is no one size fits all. Some people are able to build wealth quickly with a six-figure salary while others may take a little longer.

The key to success is figuring out what works best for you and then doing it!

What do you think?

Is a six-figure salary required in order to build wealth?

How to build wealth without a six-figure income

Building wealth requires that take control of your finances. You will need to get out of debt and start securing your future.

Here is what you need to embark on to build wealth:

Find your why

Building wealth is a long-term journey that will take time. You'll need to work hard and make some changes to your lifestyle in order for it to come together.

But if you're willing to put in the time and effort then these sacrifices could be worth it!

It may seem counterintuitive at first; why would someone choose to eat more meals at home or drive an older car when they have their eyes on something else?

The fact of the matter remains: building wealth requires sacrifice.

Pay off your debt

The first step of any financial strategy is to determine where your money goes. Take a close look at what you owe and account for all the debts.

Once you have the total, it should give an idea as to how much can be used for investing towards long-term wealth goals or paying off debt, which could otherwise harm those same interests.

Make a plan of how you intend to clear off all the debts. That will save you from the high cost of debts in the future.

Live a minimalist lifestyle

Many people are under the false impression that they need to spend money in order to enjoy life. That couldn't be further from the truth, and by cutting out some of your unnecessary expenses you'll see just how much extra cash you have for savings or investments.

Start saving money

Building wealth is not about making a ton of money. It's about saving your hard-earned cash for the future.

And then maximizing the saving to build up an emergency fund, invest in retirement funds or increase income potential through real estate investing.

Invest your money early and often

Investing is an important part of the success equation. Not only do you need to save your money, but you also have to invest it and grow it over time.

If you aren't sure where or how to get started with investments, then consider planning out a strategy so that when opportunities arise in the future they will be easy for you to take advantage of them!

Create additional streams of income

Additional streams of income will fuel the growth of your investment. A side hustle will increase your income. Make sure you funnel those earnings towards wealth-building strategies like investing or real estate.

Making six figures is the pinnacle of success for many people. It's a number that, if you're striving to make it in your career, will feel like an unreachable goal at first.

But with some persistence and dedication – and maybe a few tips from this article! – you can get there in no time.

What does your dream life look like? We want to help you get there!

Article written by Neiko Johnson
Neiko is a personal finance expert and Co-founder of Secret to Finance. Along with his wife Alexis, they learned how to get out of debt and paid off $400,000 in 4 years.

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