When you begin looking toward a new career path or your first job, your main focus is going to the money that you make along the way. While other factors like passion, education, and experience will be major factors in your decision, income is arguably the most important aspect of any job. But how do you know how far your dollars are going to stretch? How do you know which income goal is right for you? In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at how much six, seven, eight, and nine figures really are. Let’s dive in!
Before we take a look at the different sections below, we need to know what “x-figures” means in regards to your salary or earnings. Each figure is a digit that figures into your earnings. For example, in respect to six figures, the amount you earn will lie anywhere between $100,000 and $999,999. Generally speaking, a six-figure salary is also one that adds up to six figures after you’ve accounted for taxes.
In this guide, six figures is on the lower end of the spectrum. But you can still make good money on a six-figure salary if you’re earning upwards of $200,000 for example. Towards the end of this guide, we’ll talk more about what your salary means and how it ultimately impacts your lifestyle as you continue working in your given role.
Given that six-figure salaries have become more of a common achievement or goal in today’s world, there are actually quite a few positions that can offer you a six-figure salary. A few examples worth looking into include:
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
- Dental Hygienists
- Physician Assistants
- Financial Managers
- Software Developers
- Computer Scientists
- Information Systems Managers
- Marketing/Sales Managers
- Elevator Installers/Repairpeople
- Petroleum Engineers
- Commercial Pilots
- Construction Managers
The majority of high-skill positions that require schooling will land you at least six figures. However, this type of salary may also be earned over time as you upskill and move up the corporate ladder. Take this into consideration when you’re looking for a job with a six-figure salary.
A seven-figure salary means that you’re earning anywhere from $1,000,000 to $9,999,999. As you can tell, this type of salary is actually quite great, no matter where you may live or how much you’re traditionally accustomed to spending. But where can you find these types of jobs where you can bring in this type of money?
Seven figures may sound like an impressive yet unachievable income for many. That being said, there are far more seven-figure roles out there than you may anticipate. Some of the top jobs where you can expect to earn seven figures include:
- CEO (or Other C-Suite Level Positions)
- Specialized Surgeons
- Investment Bankers
- Entertainers (YouTubers, Actors, Singers)
- Professional Athletes
- Fashion Designers
- Real Estate Developers
As you start to make your way to higher salaries, you’ll begin to notice that the job opportunities become more creative in nature. Generally speaking, this is due to the fact that the positions require a tremendous amount of skill or because the people in these careers have started their own businesses and invested in themselves to the point that they’ve achieved great success.
Taking the first steps to launch your own side hustle or pursue your passion while you work your full-time job can be a great way to potentially make your seven-figure income a reality (unless, of course, you want to go after a high-paying job like a specialized surgeon or a corporate lawyer).
If you’ve been keeping up with us throughout this guide, you can guess how much eight figures will be. Those earning eight-figure salaries earn anywhere between $10,000,000 and $99,999,999. Eight figures can go a long way, and those who have this type of income will have no problem affording the thing that they need or want. Of course, this is a much larger sum than our previous section. Where can you find an opportunity to make eight figures?
Given that higher incomes often come with more responsibilities or greater risk and creativity, you’re going to see a lot of the same jobs when you approach these types of salaries or income levels. Many of the jobs that we mentioned above can fetch you the same type of salary here. However, there are a few like hedge fund managers and founders of unicorn start-ups that may be geared more towards eight-figure salaries as they build their career.
Those earning nine figures can easily work their way towards becoming a billionaire with the right spending and investing habits. If you’re earning nine figures a year, you’re making anywhere between $100,000,000 and $999,999,999. With this type of income, you can easily invest it into new businesses or new alternative investments and grow it rapidly. The sky’s the limit.
As per the trend with the previous sections, those who start at the seven-figure level can often also make nine figures if they’re in greater demand or if they have a higher level of skill than others in that industry. Taking some time to research who is making this kind of money and what they’ve had to do to achieve that level of wealth will help you better understand what you might want to pursue in order to make these goals achievable for you. However, nine figures may even be out of the reach of some people unless they’ve built an empire of businesses or created something that a lot of people want.
Most people are acutely aware that the dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. In fact, some people may even be surprised that a six-figure salary has some living paycheck to paycheck. There are numerous factors that can define how well your salary supports you. Some of these factors include:
It may sound crazy for someone with a much higher salary level to be living in debt, but the reality is that some careers require a lot of schooling to be able to get into a certain role. For example, a specialized surgeon earning a high six-figure salary may have to attend a prestigious law school in order to secure their job. Once they have it, they still have to pay off their student loans while balancing car loans and credit card debt. No matter what income level you’re aiming for, remember the cost of reaching your goals and maintaining your lifestyle.
Beyond outstanding debt, where you live plays a major role in how much of your income goes towards living costs. Major cities will often have a higher cost of living than less populated areas. This can mean higher rent, higher costs for certain things like groceries, and other higher expenses. Some people have to go to certain cities in order to get the jobs and salaries they’re looking for. This may be avoidable for some if they can find remote jobs they can do from absolutely anywhere.
Are you someone who may not pay too much attention to where your money is going? When you’re making more money, you may be aiming to have the same lifestyle as your coworkers or those earning the same amount as you. However, those who aren’t aware of lifestyle creep can easily spend more than they can afford to, plunging themselves into debt and making it harder for their money to offer the security it should. Always try to live below your means and avoid frivolous spending that impacts your financial security.
Some factors are outside of our control. For example, we can control how much we spend and look for more affordable alternatives that offer the same level of quality. However, things like the COVID-19 pandemic, product shortages, and rising rent prices aren’t something we can change. Always keep up with the health of the economy and make the necessary adjustments where you can so that you can ensure your income is providing for you in the way you need it to.
Whereas a low six-figure salary may have been stellar in past decades, it doesn’t go as far as it would have in the past. Keeping in mind all of the points above when you’re working on your career and aiming to make money will help you successfully plan for the future.
So, how exactly are you supposed to reach six, seven, eight, or nine figures? How can you ensure that you’re bringing in the money that you need to not only survive but thrive? While there are certainly elements of luck, there are things that you can do to help you work towards financial freedom. Here are a few.
- Feel Comfortable Taking Risks: Those working with smaller incomes know that it’s important to spend your money wisely and take as few risks as possible. However, those who aren’t living as close to the edge need to learn how to feel more comfortable with a higher level of risk as their money grows. If you don’t take chances, you’re going to find it hard to ask for what you want and grow your wealth over time
- Invest Your Money: This is an excellent example of the point above. When you first start investing, your focus will likely be on safer investment opportunities like high-yield saving accounts and bonds. Over time, you can begin investing in ETFs and individual stocks that will pay out dividends. Make sure that you’re not only saving but investing as well. This is a great way to reach your earnings goals and provide you with the income you need to thrive in retirement.
- Invest in Your Education: Investments aren’t just monetary in nature. You can also invest in yourself. For example, you can invest in your education to help you learn the skills you need to advance in your career or the industry you have started a business in. Whether you’re getting a four-year degree or a certificate, always do your research to understand the advantages and disadvantages and whether or not it’s needed to boost your income.
- Always Aim for Income Growth in Your Career: If you’re not gradually making more money, you’re losing it. Stagnant salaries that don’t account for inflation mean you’re earning less over time. Sit down with your boss to negotiate a raise and see if there are any other benefits that you can tap into to boost your income. If you can’t find a raise in your workplace, consider looking at other job openings that come with a higher income and will bring you on board so that you can get the raise you need.
- Look for Ways to Make Extra Money or Create Something of Your Own: As you go higher and higher on the income scale, you’ll find that those earning more have often made their own opportunities. This is why it’s so important to look for ways you can bring in extra income that you can use to invest in your own business or even just grow through investment opportunities. If you’re focused on your career, side gigs like delivering food or helping people get to their destination through apps like Uber may be a way to earn income outside of your 9-to-5. If you’re looking to break away from the daily grind, consider freelancing or starting something like your own blog. You could even start your own digital storefront. No matter what a market needs and what you have to offer, there are plenty of ways to generate wealth outside of a typical job.
As you can see from the above, there’s a potential to earn a lot of money. While some of your income relies on luck, there are ways to work towards what you want and spend your money wisely so that you can hit your goals and start earning more over time. Do you see your income goals here? If so, use the guide above to remind yourself of where you want to be, what factors will impact your journey, and how you can begin focusing on hitting your career or business goals as you level up.