You may have heard people mention the fact that a certain person has a six-figure salary or a successful investor has a seven-figure portfolio. But how much is 6 figures, really?
Or how much is a seven-figure salary or what does it mean to make 8 figures?
It’s fine to throw around these terms like we know what we’re talking about – but it can also be good sometimes to check exactly what this means in reality.
And, most importantly, even how you could get to that level.
How much is a figure?
Let’s start with the basics: how much is a figure.
Simply put, a figure is a number or a digit.
For example, the amount $123,456 has six numbers. So someone earning that amount would have a 6-figure salary.
How much is 6 figures?
This information means that the logical answer to “how much is 6 figures?” is that it refers to any amount between 100,000 and 999,999 (inclusive).
How much is a six-figure salary?
A six-figure salary is any salary that’s more than $99,999 and less than $1,000,000. If someone refers to a six-figure salary, they’re usually talking about what someone earns in a year.
However, you may have spotted something with the previous explanation.
Let’s take the amount $1,234.56. This has six figures in it, no?
Well, yes, that would absolutely be correct purely from a counting perspective.
But when people talk about a 6-figure salary, they’re talking purely in dollars, not cents.
What does it mean to have 6 figures?
If someone says that they “have 6 figures”, they may not actually be talking about their salary.
Instead, this could be referring to their total net worth and would usually be in the context of talking about the value of someone’s investments.
What jobs make 6 figures a year?
While 6 figure jobs are definitely something to aspire to, they’re no longer as rare as they once were.
Inflation and the rising cost of living has meant that salaries have, in many cases, risen as well, making a six-figure salary more common these days.
So let’s see what some of these jobs that make 6 figures a year actually are.
6 figure jobs that need a college degree
- What they do: Actuaries use statistics to do risk assessments to minimize costs, usually for insurance companies
- Median annual salary: $102,880
- What they do: Provide anesthesia (local and general) during medical procedures and keep an eye on patients’ vital signs
- Mean annual salary: $292,369
Computer and Information Research Scientist
- What they do: Create tools and solve problems using computer applications
- Median annual salary: $118,370
- What they do: Keep your teeth and gums healthy
- Median annual salary: $156,240
- What they do: Work for banks, insurance companies and other entities to ensure the long-term health of the company and, often, its clients
- Median annual salary: $127,990
- What they do: Work for oil companies in oil and gas extraction
- Median annual salary: $137,170
6 figure jobs that don’t need a college degree
While you may be able score one of these six-figure jobs without a four-year college degree, they do require extensive training. This includes, in some cases, an associates degree or other professional certifications.
Air Traffic Controller
- What they do: Monitor air traffic, including take-offs and landings
- Median annual salary: $124,540
- What they do: Fly commercial planes with passengers and/or cargo
- Median annual salary: $111,930
- What they do: Clean teeth, examine patients’ teeth and gums, advice on preventative care and support dentists in their work
- Median annual salary: $101,330
- What they do: Install and service elevators
- Median annual salary: $115,880
- What they do: Design and build websites based on client requirements
- Median annual salary: $122,320
Note: Most web developers will have some sort of college education, but if you build your skills up enough, you can definitely get a job in this field without a formal degree.
Just ask Mark Zuckerberg, who seems to be doing pretty well for himself despite dropping out of Harvard before graduation.
Is a six-figure salary good?
A six-figure salary is definitely not bad. After all, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that median earnings in the US are $47,684. This rises slightly for so-called professional workers, whose median annual salary is just over $68,000.
But the question “are six figures rich” isn’t just based on the number itself. In fact, it depends on a variety of factors.
And consider this: according to Nielsen, 25% of households making $150,000 per year or more are living paycheck to paycheck.
That may seem unbelievable to those of us earning less than that. But it turns out your money habits can have a big impact on your financial situation, even when your salary makes it seem like that shouldn’t be the case.
Amount of debt you hold
As found here, the higher your income, the more likely it is your debt will be higher.
Of course, earning more money also makes it easier to pay off your debt – if you choose to.
But with higher income earners taking our large mortgages to fund homes or other loans to support their lifestyles, paying this off can even be hard for those with a six-figure salary.
And going into debt, no matter how high your salary is, is never going to end well in terms of your ability to build wealth.
Where you live
Where you live and the cost of living there has a huge impact on whether a six-figure salary is good.
The classic example is San Francisco, where a family getting by on $117,400 is now considered ‘low income’.
This is clearly due to the fact that so many tech companies are headquartered in the area, with higher than average salaries also pushing up the cost of housing and other expenses.
But it shows well how the question of whether a six-figure salary is good will involve you taking a look at the broader picture.
Your spending habits
Much like those of us who earn less than six figures, your spending habits can really make or break your financial situation.
Lifestyle creep in particular can be bad news for those trying to get their spending under control.
And a significant number of six-figure income earners also suffer from a classic case of “Keeping Up With The Joneses”.
Many in that bracket have talked about feeling the pressure to have the “right” car, home, holidays and education for their children, especially when they’re working alongside other high-income earners who also have those things.
But these things all cost a lot of money – and these costs increase over time.
And much like those who may not be at the level of earning a six-figure salary, if your spending spirals out of control, you’re never going to be able to use that money for actually reaching your financial goals.
How much of your 6-figure salary you save or invest
A 6-figure salary can only really be good if you use it to build your wealth and secure your financial future.
And the best way to do this is to have solid savings and invest, so that your money is working for you.
However, it’s been found that 45% of Americans have no investments at all. And while higher income earners are more likely than others to have the money available to put into investments, many of them are still living paycheck to paycheck for the reasons mentioned above.
So, sure, a 6 figure salary is definitely better than most. But if you’re not using it to set yourself up for the future by increasing your savings rate, how good is it really?
How much is 7 figures?
Now you know how much is 6 figures, the next one in line should be straightforward.
That is, seven figures is anything between 1,000,000 and 9,999,999.
How much is a seven-figure salary?
This is officially when you reach millionaire territory.
That is, a 7-figure salary is anything between earning one million dollars and under ten million dollars per year.
What does it mean to have 7 figures?
As mentioned above, to “have 7 figures” generally refers to someone’s net worth rather than their salary.
And the good news is that having a 7-figure investment portfolio is absolutely not limited to those earning six- or seven- figure salaries.
In fact, having a 7-figure net worth by the time we retire is something that pretty much anyone can aspire to. And the key to it is, as above, simply spending less than we earn and making our money work for us by investing.
Related: 43 Ways to Drastically Cut Expenses
What jobs pay 7 figures a year?
Seven-figure jobs are generally reserved for those who are either supremely talented at some highly specialized work, supremely talented at making money for their employer or supremely talented at timing.
Or a combination of the three.
By this I mean that these kinds of jobs generally consist of the following
- Someone working in a field in which very very few people are specialized and in which their knowledge may be worth a ton of money to their employer or is life or death. See, for example, some very experienced, highly specialized doctors.
- Someone in a position at a company that involves them earning millions, if not billions, for their employer or clients. This is why some investment managers in major firms are paid these kinds of salaries.
- Someone who got into a highly successful company at a good time, probably in its early days, and is now reaping the benefits, including from stock options. Most tech millionaires fall into this category.
Is a seven-figure salary good?
Earning a seven-figure salary is when you’re really with the high rollers.
Safe to say, if you’re earning more than one million dollars per year, you’re doing pretty well.
It would be hard to find someone who’s able to argue that a seven-figure salary isn’t good.
(In fact, after a short time with that kind of salary, you could probably live without a job entirely.)
However, if you’re ever lucky enough to be in the position of having a 7-figure salary, good financial management is still always important.
Even with this amount of money, things can go wrong. Just ask the millionaire lottery winners who go bankrupt within a few years of winning.
How much is 8 figures?
Eight figures is anything between the numbers of 10,000,000 and 99,999,999.
So the answer to the question “how much is an eight-figure salary?” is definitely “quite a lot”.
What jobs make 8 figures a year?
These are the best of the best of the best. But not only do they have to be good at their jobs, they have to be working in fields where they’re earning a TON of money for their employers – or are the employers themselves.
Jobs making eight-figures a year include the following:
- In his final year as CEO of Disney, Bob Iger earned $65.6 million
- Fabrizio Freda, the CEO of Estee Lauder, including all the companies that fall under that umbrella, took home $48.2 million
- The CEO of PayPal, Daniel H. Schulman got a cool $37.8 million
- Brian R. Niccol, the CEO of Chipotle, scraped by on a mere $33.5 million
According to Forbes, some of Hollywood’s finest are on fairly good 8-figure salaries themselves:
- For the actors, Dwayne Johnson earned $89.4 million while second on the list was Chris Hemsworth, whose salary was $76.4 million
- In the case of the actresses, the top earner was Scarlett Johansson at $56 million followed by Sofia Vergara on $44.1 million
There’s a point to be made here about the gender pay gap, but I’ll leave you to see it.
You won’t be surprised to hear that many professional athletes are also well into the eight-figure salary club based on their salaries last year. According to Forbes, this includes:
- Boxer Canelo Alvarez earned $94 million
- Tennis player Roger Federer took home $93.4 million
- Seattle Seahawks player Russell Wilson made $89.5 million
And these aren’t even the top three earning athletes for the year!
How much is 9 figures?
A ridiculous amount.
Specifically, it’s any number between $100,000,000 (yes, that’s $100 million) and $999,999,999.
That last number is one dollar short of one billion, just to try to give a sense of how much it is.
What does it mean to have a nine-figure salary?
Here, we’re talking about people earning more money than most of us can even fathom.
Just to try to give it some perspective, the median annual salary in the US is $47,684. So to earn $100 million, someone on that salary would have to work for 2,097 years..
What jobs pay 9 figures a year?
- The top three highest earnings athletes last year earned 9-figure salaries: Lionel Messi ($127 million), Cristiano Ronaldo ($109 million) and Neymar ($105 million)
- Oprah Winfrey reportedly took home more than $300 million at one stage
- The CEO of Discovery, David M. Zaslav, earned $129,499,005 last year, while Safra A. Catz, the CEO of Oracle (and the only woman in the top 10 highest earning CEOs) had a salary last year of $108,282,333
A 7-figure, 8-figure or 9-figure salary (or more!) are far beyond what any of us can even hope to earn – let alone what we need.
And now you know how much is 6 figures, I’ve got bad news for you: even a 6-figure salary isn’t really necessary.
After all, it’s been found that earning more than $75,000 doesn’t bring you any more happiness.
And if you’re trying to get a bigger salary to increase your wealth, keep in mind that the far more important thing for securing your financial future is effective money management, no matter what you’re earning.
(Well, unless you’re in the 9-figure range, maybe.)
That is, spend less than you earn and invest the rest.
By doing that, you’ll be well on the path to having a 7-figure net worth by the time you retire.