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# How much is a 6-figure salary?

### Key takeaways

• A 6-figure income is any salary with 6 numbers, so the minimum is \$100,000 and the maximum is \$999,999.
• A \$100,000 salary is above the US median income of \$60,070 for a full-time, year-round worker, according to the US Census.1
• There are many types of jobs with median salaries above 6 figures, including elevator installers/repairers and actuaries.
• You may not need a single 6-figure job to bring home a high income if you're able to supplement a full-time salary with side gigs, investments, and passive income.

Hitting a 6-figure salary is a common money goal, but before you start fantasizing about beachfront homes and vacations in exotic locales, it's important to understand just how wide the 6-figure range is. Here's how much you need to make to reach 6-figure territory and some ways to get there if you aren't already.

### How much is 6 figures?

6 figures is any salary between \$100,000 and \$999,999, or a dollar amount with 6 digits. Similarly, a 7-figure salary means you make \$1 million to \$9,999,999, because there are 7 digits in those numbers; \$10 million to \$99,999,999 is an 8-figure salary.

It may surprise you to know that making 6 figures is hardly the norm in the US—even on the lower end of the range. According to the US Census, about 16% of American households make between \$100,000 and \$149,999, 9% of households make between \$150,000 and \$199,999, and another 12% earn \$200,000 or more.2 But those percentages represent total household incomes where 2 or more people in the home might be working. The percentages of 6-figure earners would be different for individual, rather than household, incomes. In fact, the median earnings of a year-round, full-time worker in the US in 2022 was only \$60,070, nearly \$40,000 away from 6 figures.3

Another caveat: All those earnings numbers represent gross income, not net. That means that just because you've got a 6-figure salary, you won't necessarily see all 6 figures in your take-home pay.

You could use an online paycheck calculator to figure out what your take-home pay would be, accounting for taxes taken out. For instance, a salary of \$100,000 in Boston, Massachusetts could come out to \$2,823 every 2 weeks, assuming 1 deduction each for federal, state, and local taxes.4 Issued every other week, 26 paychecks over a year add up to about \$73,000 that worker would get to keep. Your calculation would likely be different based on deductions you might take for, say, an employer-sponsored retirement savings account, like a 401(k), and/or a health savings account (HSA). Your take-home pay in those cases would be even less, though that money could potentially grow in those accounts. Where you live could also alter your take-home pay; there are 9 states that don't charge income tax on earned income, like a salary.

### Jobs that pay 6 figures

There are many different types of jobs that can offer 6 figures. Certain fields, however, are more likely to offer high-paying jobs, including the following ones with median annual wages of at least \$100,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

• Elevator/escalator installer/repairer: \$102,420
• Data scientist: \$108,020
• Actuary: \$120,000
• Information security analyst: \$120,360
• Software developer/quality assurance analyst/tester: \$130,1605

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook includes various occupations, their median income, and tips on how to get into that field. You can browse jobs by projected growth, and the degrees held by workers in that industry. Spoiler alert: The top 20 highest-earning jobs are all in the healthcare industry, including surgeons, radiologists, psychiatrists, anesthesiologists, and orthodontists. Those roles can all require years of education and training.

Job listing sites, networking sites, and salary reporting sites can also be useful resources for finding 6-figure jobs. But even if a job doesn't pay 6 figures, it might offer benefits, including some monetary ones, that could be meaningful to you, like equity in the company, ample paid time off, schedule flexibility, employer matches to retirement accounts, or bonuses. Be sure to consider the whole package before deciding whether to accept a role.

### How to make 6 figures

Here's the thing about negotiating for a 6-figure salary (either when you're offered a job or when asking for a raise): If you don't ask, you're less likely to get what you want. According to a Fidelity study, 58% of young professionals accepted their current job offer without negotiating, but 87% of those who negotiated got at least some of what they requested.6

Before you ask for more money, research what other people with comparable experience and positions make on salary and employment sites, establish yourself as a thought leader in your field by posting your point of view on networking sites and other platforms, and consider other job offers as a negotiating tactic to enhance an offer or your current salary. And when you do ask, focus on your skills and the value you bring to the company.

Another way to boost your income to 6 figures is to think beyond a single job. In other words, you might not need a job that offers a 6-figure salary on its own to bring in 6 figures in total.

• Depending on your schedule and energy, you could take on a side hustle alongside your full-time job to make more money overall. Just check with your main employer about rules for picking up side gigs, so you don't compromise your primary income source.
• Or you could build a passive income stream, which involves doing some upfront work to collect cash later without much day-to-day effort. Renting out property is a common example of a passive income source.
• If you make certain investments, your money might be able to grow, especially because of compounding (or making gains on your gains).

Of course, whatever salary you make, it's what you keep that can have the biggest impact, so do your best to save some of what you earn. Fidelity suggests the 50/15/5 approach, putting no more than 50% of your take-home pay toward essential expenses, at least 15% of your pretax income toward retirement savings (including any matched contributions from your employer), and 5% of your take-home pay toward short-term savings. Then, build up that savings until you can cover 3 to 6 months of essential expenses.

### How to make the most from your money, no matter how much you earn

Whether you need a 6-figure salary depends on numerous factors including the size of your household (the more people you have to support, the more expenses you'll generally have), lifestyle, goals, and the cost of living in your area. The last element relates to the prices of essentials like housing, food, utilities, and health care. Some places in the country are more affordable than others and could stretch a smaller salary further.

If homeownership is a goal, know that the typical homebuyer had an annual household income of \$107,000,7 per the National Association of Realtors, and the national required household income to buy a median-priced home is \$119,700, which factors in tax and insurance costs, according to Realtor.com.8 Major coastal metro areas require a larger household income. Still, more than a dozen metro areas—including Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and New Orleans—require less than a \$100,000 income to purchase a median-priced home.

If you're fortunate to land a position that pays handsomely (or even if you don't), keep your money potentially growing by considering doing the following:

• Contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement account, especially if your organization matches some of what you chip in. These accounts can come with tax benefits, like pre-tax contributions, which reduce your taxable income; tax-deferred growth, meaning you don't pay taxes on any gains until you withdraw the money; or tax-free growth, where you don't pay taxes on withdrawals if certain conditions are met.
• Contributing to a Roth IRA, HSA, or FSA account can also come with tax advantages like tax-free growth and withdrawals on certain conditions.
• Going even further with investing through a brokerage account. There are no tax breaks, but there are no contribution limits either.

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### How to evaluate a job offer

1. Gloria Guzman and Melissa Kollar, "Income in the United States 2022 Current Population Reports,” US Census Bureau, September 2023. 2. Guzman and Kollar, “Income in the United States,” US Census Bureau, September 2023. 3. Guzman and Kollar, “Income in the United States,” US Census Bureau, September 2023. 4. Paycheck calculator: federal, state, & local taxes, SmartAsset 2024. 5. Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 17, 2024. 6. "2022 Career Assessment Study," Fidelity Investments, December 24, 2022. 7. 2023 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, National Association of Realtors, November 2023. 8. Danielle Hale and Sabrina Speianu, "May 2024 Monthly Housing Market Trends Report," Realtor.com, June 4, 2024.

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