6 Figures Explained: How Much Is a 6-Figure Salary?

ByJulija A.
March 15, 2022

There are different people in the world; some just need to get by daily and fend for themselves and their families, while others have the means and the ambition to build sustainable wealth for their retirement or help out future generations. Regardless of our life ambitions or opportunities, we all want to lead a comfortable life, whatever that means to someone.

For most people, leading a comfortable life means being a “high-income earner,” and the meaning of ‘high income’ can vary from person to person. Most people sold on the idea of capitalism dream of becoming the so-called “high-income earner.”

While reaching six figures might be the dream for most people, there are those among us who consider even that to be pocket change. In this article, we will talk about what a six-figure salary is and what it means to be a six-figure salary earner.

How Much Is 6 Figures?

We know that figures are digits used to represent numbers. For instance, 26 is a two-figure number made up of two digits. Following the same logic,  6 figures are numbers made up of six digits. In terms of money, it encompasses funds between $100,000 and $999,999.

We often use figures when talking about money and can use them to refer to someone’s income or their net worth.

What Is a 6 Figure Salary?

When we say someone earns a 6 figure salary, this means that the person’s annual salary is somewhere between $100,000 and $999,999. Breaking this down, it’s a monthly salary between roughly $8,334 and $83,333. This also applies to a six-figure net worth or business.

The range of salaries earning  6 figures is quite extensive because there is a tremendous difference between earning $100,000 and $999,000.

Low range: $100,000 - $400,000.

Mid range: $400,000 - $700,000.

High range: $700,000 - $999,999.

This is just a rough categorization, as there is no specific range guideline. Note that there is a difference between an individual’s salary, wage, and income. While wages express an hourly payment, and a salary represents a monthly payment from a job, an individual’s income encompasses all the money they make from their paycheck, investment returns, side businesses, and other income streams.

6 figures mansion

How Common Is a Six-Figure Salary?

These days, a six-figure income is not as rare as it used to be. However, a 6 figures salary is still not that common in the US. 

According to a report by IBISWorld, in 2020, about 30.7% of Americans received a salary of more than $100,000. Similar statistics reported by Statista show that only 10.3% of Americans had an annual household income of over $200,000, though.

Does a Six-Figure Salary Make You Wealthy?

Earning a certain amount of money does not necessarily equate to being wealthy, as the measure of wealth has more to do with how well you manage, save, and invest your funds. Of course, for some people, a 6 figure salary coupled with sound financial literacy and good money management skills such as having a savings account, budgeting and investing, could mean a dream lifestyle. Still, factors such as your cost of living, money habits, and previous debts also play a crucial role, and with the inflation rate and rise in living costs these days, it takes earning in the upper tiers of 6 figures to be considered wealthy in the US.

The six-figure lifestyle could mean different things to different people, especially depending on where they live. For an expensive city like San Francisco in California or New York City, a low range 6 figure salary may not be sufficient for a comfortable lifestyle because of the high cost of living in these areas. If you live in Texas or Oklahoma, you could do more with the same amount. That said, your salary for the same type of job likely won’t be the same, either.

Also worthy of note is that earning a higher salary means paying more in taxes. For instance, if you make about $100,000, by the time your taxes have been deducted, you might end up going home with roughly $70,000. Your real wealth will also depend on how big your household is.

One of the best ways people maximize income is by working remotely for a company based in a high cost-of-living area while living somewhere much more affordable. Even with this life hack, your chances of becoming wealthy through your salary ultimately depend on your money habits.

Professions That Earn Six Figures

Let’s take a look at a few professions that can earn you a six-figure salary in the United States, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Lawyers

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for lawyers in the United States as of May 2020 was $126,930 ($61.03 per hour). To earn somewhere around this figure, you must possess a law degree and a passed bar exam.

Physicians and Surgeons

It’s no news that professions in the medical field often offer high salaries. Years spent learning and practicing medicine come with their perks, after all. Physicians and surgeons in the United States earn a median annual pay of about $208,000, which translates to about $100 per hour.

Being a physician or surgeon means you must have gotten a bachelor’s degree, a medical degree, had around three to nine years of internship and residency programs. Specializations require further training in fellowships, which can last up to three years.

Airline Pilots

Airline pilots fly for specific airlines and transport passengers or cargo on a fixed schedule. We all know how critical the role of a pilot is, and it’s no surprise that they earn as much as they do.

To become an airline pilot, you must have a bachelor’s degree and obtain a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. As of May 2020, airline pilots earn a median (not average!) annual salary of about $160,970.

Human Resource Managers

We all know the important role human resource managers play in organizations. This explains why we find them in just about every industry. In the U. S, they earn a median salary of roughly $121,220, which works out to a wage of $58.28 per hour.

Being a well-paid human resource manager means that you have a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in a related field, as well as years of work experience in a similar role.

Pharmacists

Licensed pharmacists in the United States have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm. D.) and have passed two professional exams before qualifying for their jobs. They have an annual median pay of approximately $128,710 or $61.88 per hour.

Actuaries

These certified professionals have a solid background in statistics, mathematics, and business. They utilize statistics and mathematics to study and determine the financial cost of risk and uncertainty.

We can find them working at insurance companies or as consultants to their many clients. They earn a median annual pay of about $111,030 ($53.38 per hour).

Dentists

Licensed dentists in the United States earn a median annual salary of about $164,010 ($78.85 per hour). Being an average dentist in the US means that you have a degree, have also written and passed related clinical exams, and must be licensed by the state you work in, according to their requirements.

Software Developers

The rise in technological advancements has undoubtedly increased the number of software developers we have today. These days, we have an app or software for just about anything, and we can all agree that they make life and businesses easier to navigate. Software developers earn a median salary of $110,140.

This means that their median wage is approximately $52.95 per hour. While some companies may require you to have a Master’s degree, most usually employ developers with a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or similar fields.

These days, several online academies offer courses that could help you learn how to develop software without necessarily having to finish a full degree. 

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

The advertising sector is also another sector with lucrative job opportunities. Advertising and promotions managers earn an annual income of roughly $133,460, while marketing managers earn a median income of about $142,170. These positions require you to have a bachelor’s degree and working experience in a related field.

Other professions earning a six-figure salary in the United States include:

  • Project Management Specialists ($135,220)
  • Nurse Anesthetists and Practitioners ($117,670)
  • Petroleum Engineers ($137,330 )
  • Aerospace Engineers ($118,610)
  • Nuclear Engineers ($116,140)
  • Computer Hardware Engineers ($119,000)
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineers ($103,390)
  • Chemical Engineers ($108,540)
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists ($126,830)
  • Information Security Analysts ($103,590)

How To Earn a Six Figure Salary

With most things in life, we have to put in the work to achieve the results we want, and salaries are rarely an exception. If earning more is your dream, here are a few helpful tips to help you achieve your goal.

1. Self-Evaluate

Before you set out to earn more, you need to evaluate yourself and determine your talents, strengths, and weakness and how they may affect or influence your desired career path. This, along with your job preferences, will help you determine the most suitable role to choose.

2. Complete the Necessary Training

Regardless of the role you have in mind, you’ll need to be adequately trained or educated in your field of choice. Sometimes, this training may take as short as a few months or years, while for other professions, it may take over a decade. Seeing as the requirements for most high-paying jobs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you’ll likely have to get a university education and go for specialized training.

If you already have a degree or some educational qualifications for the role, it makes it easier to take advanced training in the field to further improve your skills and increase the chances of landing a high-profile job.

3. Provide Exceptional Work

To have a shot at the big bucks, you also need to perform exceptionally in your chosen career path, so you can quickly work your way to the top.

Having a good work ethic, getting on well with your superiors and colleagues, consistently delivering excellent results, and adding value to your organization will all make you the person your bosses think of when it’s time for company promotions.

4. Be a Great Negotiator

Having excellent negotiation skills is one thing that will help you immensely in almost any work field. You need to be a clever negotiator and learn how to demand what is best for you. Of course, figuring out the appropriate time to do so is half the battle.

Always ask your superiors for periodical appraisals and try to figure out what you can be doing better. Never forget to highlight instances of your exceptional performance when demanding a raise or seeking a promotion.

5. Build a Strong Professional Network.

A popular saying goes, “your network is your net worth.” This is mostly true in the sense that those you surround yourself with say a lot about you as a person. You need to actively put yourself out there and create genuine connections with like minds in your industry, as you never can tell where your desired opportunity could come from.

When building your network, seek mutually beneficial relationships; do not network with the mindset of just benefitting from the other person; you should also be willing to provide value as well.

6. Keep Upskilling

You can never know too much in just about any field of work out there. What differentiates the exceptional from the mediocre most times is having mastery of the right set of skills. You could advance your studies by getting a degree or specialized training or simply taking courses that will be beneficial to you.

7. Add to Your Income Stream

These days, most people do not just rely on a single stream of income to achieve their desired financial goals. Having a side business or hustle, being into profitable hobbies, or earning extra dough through investments that bring passive income are common ways people supplement their salaries. You can leverage your skills to earn additional income.

For instance, a doctor could have a side hustle of external patient consultations or could facilitate medical webinars to make money on the side. Having a side business usually requires a lot of extra effort, but investments that steadily yield profits are a great way to consistently get a passive income without having to do almost anything.

Having several income streams increases your chances of earning six figures or more. The idea is to find side hustles that will not interfere with your performance at work.

What Are Seven and Eight-Figure Salaries?

While earning six figures may seem like a huge deal to some people, there are those that have their eyes set on even bigger goals. Yes, people make as high as seven and eight figures, so let’s take a look at those salaries quickly.

Seven-figure Salary

When talking about salaries that go into seven figures, we mean people who earn between $1,000,000 and $9,999,999, or roughly $83,334 to $833,333 monthly.

People that earn this much are considered millionaires. While this may seem impossible to achieve, you need to understand that people did not just wake up one morning earning seven figures unless it’s inherited wealth. Many people started with low-paying salaries and judiciously worked their way up to this level. Getting there requires hard and smart work, consistency, patience, and determination, along with a bit of good business fortune.

Examples of jobs in this category include CEOs and C-level executives, investment bankers, sales executives, corporate lawyers, YouTubers, lifestyle influencers, bloggers, business owners, and less prominent sports celebrities.

Eight-figure Salary

These salaries or income fall between $10,000,000 and $99,999,999. This means earning $833,334 to $8,333,333 each month. This category of people is considered multi-millionaires, and most of those in this category have different income streams, like businesses, investments, sponsorships, endorsements, or multinational companies. We can find the richest company CEOs, music celebrities, world-class athletes, and Hollywood actors in this category.

Famous People Earning Seven or Eight Figures or More

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, a multinational technology company that centers on artificial intelligence, eCommerce, digital streaming, and cloud computing, is the first or second richest person in the world, depending on the day you check. He supposedly earned just $81,840 from his base salary at Amazon in 2020, but if you add his other income streams, compensations, the monthly income was about $1,600,000.

These are all misleading figures, though, and the truth is even scarier. With a net worth of 206.38 billion at the time of writing this article, most of which comes from his Amazon stock prices, Jeff Bezos technically makes more in one second than many people make in a month.

Kylie Jenner

The reality tv star, model, and businesswoman was considered the top-earning celebrity in 2020 by Forbes. She made an annual income of $590 million, most of which came from selling about a 51% stake of her cosmetic company to Coty Inc. in January 2020.

Kanye West

With a net worth of $6.6 billion as of March 2021, the billionaire rapper and musician was named the second top-earning celebrity in 2020 by Forbes. In 2019, he had an annual income of $150 million, and in 2020, it rose to about $170 million. Most of it came from the sales of his Yeezy sneakers collections.

Christiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably one of the most famous athletes in the world. He is the captain of the Portuguese national team and a center-forward at English giants Manchester United. As of January 2022, he earns a salary of 26.52 million GBP, which is approximately $35.8 million.

Ed Sheeran

Edward Christopher Sheeran, an English singer, and songwriter earns a monthly income of about $1 million from YouTube alone and an annual income of $50 million. With a net worth of about $200 million, most of his earnings come from his music career. Ed Sheeran has approximately 50.8 million subscribers on YouTube, which tells you all you need to know about his popularity these days.

Q&As

How much money is 6 figures?

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In money, six figures fall between $100,000 and $999,999.

What is a 6 figure salary?

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A six-figure salary is an annual salary between $100,000 and $999,999. Breaking this down shows a monthly salary of at least $8,334 and at most $83,333, which is a massive difference. How much is 6 figures worth will largely depend on what end of that spectrum you’ll find yourself on.

Can the average American afford the American dream on a six-figure salary?

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This depends on several factors, such as money habits, number of dependents, debt history, location of residence, and your definition of what the “American dream” means to you.  

About author

Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

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