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You've probably heard people say they earn 6 figures or have a 6-figure job. But really, what's six figures? How much is 6 figures? What are the common 6 figure jobs? Should you be thrilled to earn six figures? And what factors should you consider if you earn that amount of money?
What is a 6 Figure?
Six figures refer to a six-digit number from 100,000 to 999,999. The figure means that an individual or company earns between $100,000 to $999,999 per month or year. In other words, the income isn't less than or more than a 6-digit number. Depending on the context, 6-figure can also estimate an individual's net worth or value of investments.
Are You Wealthy if You Make 6 Figures?
If you earn six figures, does it make you wealthy? Well, yes and no. While earning a 6-figure salary may signify status and success, it may not indicate that you're wealthy. And that's because the term is relative and subjective.
Besides, the more you earn, the more taxes you pay, higher bill payments, and general expenses. However, some people with six-figure earnings are wealthy because they have good management skills and financial knowledge, which helps them maintain a six-figure lifestyle while making all requisite payments.
Also, where you live can determine if you're wealthy or not, with a six-figure income. For example, living in an expensive city like San Francisco or New York City can take a toll on a 6-figure salary. With that same amount, you can live comfortably in Oklahoma or Texas.
Common Jobs with a 6-Figure Salary
Most people wish to earn a 6-figure salary as it's seen as the financial pinnacle of success. If your dream is to earn 6 figures, rest assured that it's achievable. You can become a six-figure earner with the right financial skills and commitment.
These certified professionals are proficient in statistics, mathematics, and business. An actuary estimates the risks and uncertainty involved in a business, and they work in insurance companies, multinational corporations, and financial organizations.
Actuaries use Excel to perform risk analysis and build financial models. Typically, actuaries specialize in different insurance types like pension, property, life, health, etc. On average, actuaries earn a median annual salary of $105,900.
Depending on the qualifications or certifications, some actuaries can earn up to $150,000.
Air Traffic Controllers
These are traffic control specialists that monitor takeoffs and landings. Their income starts from $125,000 and may rise to $129,750 per year, depending on their experience level. Interestingly, you don't need a college degree to be an air traffic controller.
Anesthesiologists are medical experts responsible for administering anesthesia (local and general) during medical procedures or surgery. This medical personnel also monitors patients' vitals during surgical processes.
Working as an anesthesiologist is quite a risky profession, but it's rewarding considering the 6-figure salary. An anesthesiologist’s salary ranges between $352,700 and $461,500 per year.
These are dental surgeons concerned with oral health. Dentists work with other professionals like dental hygienists and dental assistants, and they help address health problems affecting the teeth and gum.
There are over 125,300 dentists in the United States, and this number is increasing every year. The median annual salary of a dentist is $175,151.
Human Resource Managers
These professionals play a pivotal role in organizations and many companies. Human resource managers are concerned with hiring and onboarding a competent workforce in corporate settings or organizations, and they also manage staff and help drive productivity at the workplace.
The median annual salary for a human resource manager is $126,230. This figure will likely change with an exponential increase of 9.1% by 2026.
These are financial advisors concerned with raising capital for governments, corporations, and entities. With a 6-figure salary of $258,863, investment banking is one of the most coveted careers in the finance world today.
Besides raising capital, investment bankers help build clients' wealth by selling company stock or corporate bonds to investors. To excel as an investment banker, you should know about sales and financial laws. Furthermore, you must be a good analyst and strategist.
Computer and Information Research Scientists
Computer and information research scientists develop new approaches to computing technology and discover innovative uses for existing technology.
They also collaborate with other computer professionals to solve complex computing problems. Computer research scientists create algorithms that are the bedrock of machine learning and cloud computing. Their median annual salary is $117,209.
The job outlook for commercial pilots is projected to increase to about 13% from 2020 to 2030. Commercial pilots fly aircraft for charter flights and go on rescue operations and aerial tours.
They communicate with air traffic controllers to learn about weather conditions. Furthermore, they ensure cargoes are loaded, and aircraft are in good condition for flying. The median annual salary for commercial pilots is $134,630.
Other professions earning six figures include:
Software Developers ($110,140)
Financial Managers ($131,710)
Factors to Think About When You Have a 6-Figure Salary
When you hit the 6-figure milestone, several factors will impact your paycheck. Generally, you will have to deal with various costs and expenses that will eat your salary, and your take-home pay is never the exact amount you earn. Here's why:
Whether student loan debt or credit card debt, debts reduce your income, and high-interest debts will take a huge chunk of your earnings, leaving you a smaller net income. Financial experts advise individuals to pay off debts before splurging. If you earn more, you can settle your debts quickly and become debt-free in no time.
Another factor to consider while earning a 6-figure salary is tax. The higher your income, the higher the tax, which may differ depending on your state of residence. Your take-home pay is the amount left after the tax deduction. If you're earning $100,000 and your tax is 25% of your salary, your official net salary is below six figures.
Cost of Living
The cost of living varies across cities. Big cities are expensive to live in, and this can cause income to dwindle. For instance, living in cities like Washington D.C and San Francisco comes with higher taxes, rent, mortgage, groceries, and childcare.
According to Redfin, a house in San Francisco sells at a median price of $1.6 million. On the flip side, cities like Orlando and Portland have a low cost of living, and that same house worth almost 2 million in San Francisco is worth thousands in Orlando and Portland.
You might want to consider the cost of living when searching for a 6-figure job. Earning a high income in an affordable area may be a better option than taking home a big salary while residing in an area with a high cost of living.
Many people work 40 to 80 hours per week to earn a 6-figure salary. Striving to become high earners by working long hours may hurt your mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. You will also have less time for leisure, family, or hobbies. If you're not willing to make the trade, you might want to rethink your working hours.
In addition, when you work too long, you find that you need to hire people to do things you don't have time for anymore. This includes hiring domestic staff for house chores, a chef to cook your meals, and a nanny to watch the kids. The bills will pile up, and though you're earning more, you'll be spending more on expenses and (maybe) missing out on other life experiences.
People associate six-figure income with happiness, but if you're working a job that affects your mental health or causes stress, where is the happiness? Are you really, truly happy? Or if your high-paying job or business takes you away from loved ones almost all the time, would you be happy?
And that's why if you must earn six figures, it is best to do what you love. Also, something that doesn't consume valuable time you can spend making happy memories with your family and friends.
Now you know how much is 6 figures, jobs with 6-figure salaries, and factors that can affect your income. If you want to earn six figures, go for it! But remember that it doesn't mark the end of financial issues. If anything, you will have more expenses and taxes to pay. Nevertheless, earning six figures is a huge achievement, and you should be proud of yourself if you achieve that.
She started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, which was freedom, so she decided to venture out. She took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by helping them how to save, budget, and invest.