Achieving a 6-figure income acts as a goal for many working Americans, who associate a higher figure with more money, (potentially) less stress, and a wealthier lifestyle. For most of us, a 6-figure income is something the big names in Hollywood or management command.
At the same time, a 6-figure income might be more achievable than you think, especially in a time when earning money through multiple streams gains ground with each passing year.
We’ll put the 6-figure, 7-figure, 8-figure, and 9-figure income numbers into context for you to show you that while billionaire status comes to most of us through luck, you can achieve a higher figure income if you put your mind to it.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the basics.
A “figure” is a single digit used to describe the annual salary and/or net worth of an individual. The term “figure” typically describes a yearly measurement, but you can also use it to refer to a monthly measurement if it applies.
For example, a 6-figure income is $100,000 or more, as there are 6 digits in the number. Businesses can earn a 6-figure monthly income, however, if they earn more than $100,000 in profit.
When talking about income in terms of figures, 6-figures is often associated with affluence. At the same time, new ways of earning income, especially passive income, allow for more opportunities to earn a 6-figure income, even if you don’t come from money.
The career myth that you have to stay at a job for a decade or two before earning higher pay, such as a 6-figure salary, is no more.
It is possible to earn a 6-figure income strictly from a 9-5 job. As you’ll see in our next section, households around the country qualify as 6-figure income homes when you combine the incomes of both spouses.
At the same time, the further up you go in the figure range, the more income is associated with net worth. While a celebrity might command a 7-figure income, the ratio of reported income versus net worth can vary greatly.
When you’re reading through the numbers we’ve put in the figure ranges below, keep this idea of net worth in mind. Net worth can be harder to visualize, but it is certainly a factor in the grand scheme of the value of a particular person.
To better understand the difference between net worth and salary in calculating figures for an individual, putting it into the context of a business can clarify the concept.
A business may earn $100,000 in profit for the year (income), but the assets of the business could tally at $1 million (partial net worth). Combine the two and you’ve got $1.1 million for a total net worth, which is much more than the $100K profit the company makes each year.
Earning 6 figures a year translates to an income of $100,000 to $999,999 annually. One more dollar on the big end would put you into the 7-figure salary classification.
A 6-figure salary can be broken down into earnings of $8,300 per month up to $83,000 per month.
Careers with an income of 6 figures or more are more common than you might think. For example, here’s a list of jobs that pay 6 figures:
- Marketing and sales managers
- Computer scientists
- Financial managers
- Construction managers
Depending on the field you’re in, you could earn up to 6 figures by moving up in the ranks towards management positions.
A 6-figure income may not always be achievable by one person, but households of two working adults are typically 6-figure households. As long as both adults make $50,000 per year or more, they have a 6-figure income household.
A 6-figure salary is typically associated with management positions, and/or business owners. Workers in fields such as computer science, healthcare, and sales typically earn 6 figures or more.
Salaries of 7 figures calculate out to $1,000,000 to $9,999,999. These people are often referred to as millionaires.
Monthly earnings for a 7-figure salary start at $83,300 and jump to $833,300 per month.
Earning a 7-figure salary is most often associated with the following jobs:
- Movie actors
- Corporate lawyers
- Professional athletes
- Fashion designers
- Investment banking managers
It is possible to earn a 7-figure income via social media, but getting to this point is not as easy as it once was.
Having a 7-figure salary is where the numbers start to divide. Rather than just talking about salaried income, experts typically consider net worth in figuring a 7-figure income as well.
For this reason, 7 figures is more common among celebrities and the elite but less common than a 6-figure income.
Business executives, surgeons, lawyers, investors, and entertainers typically earn a 7-figure income. They can also have a 7-figure net worth as well.
You can achieve a 7-figure net worth by the time you retire if you invest and manage your money right. There are many alternative investments you can take advantage of as well to jumpstart your retirement income.
People who make 8 figures a year or have an 8-figure net worth land in the $10,000,000 to $99,999,999 range. Affluent figures, millionaires who have an 8-figure net worth are often able to rise to the status of billionaire with the right investments.
A $833,300 monthly income is at the low end of the 8-figure salary range, with $8.3 million at the other end of the spectrum.
Many of the jobs that pay 8 figures a year are highly visible to the public. Industries include entertainment and sports. Founder of unicorn startups and hedge fund managers typically earn an 8-figure salary.
Claiming an 8-figure salary is the most common among celebrities, business people and the richest millennials.
Not many people earn more than $10 million per year, so an 8-figure salary is typically associated with net worth. For example, athletes, CEOs, and actors might have an 8-figure net worth. Dwayne Johnson, Sofia Vergara, and Scarlett Johansson are a few celebrities who can claim an 8-figure salary/net worth.
Nearly billionaires, the select few who make anywhere from $100 million to $999,999,999 qualify for the 9-figure salary category. Net worth may make up a large portion of this figure, depending on the circumstances.
Monthly income is in the millions for the 9-figure salary range. Specifically, these people may earn anywhere from $8.3 million to $83 million. That’s per month, which is likely much more than the majority of people will make in their entire lifetime.
Some of the most famous athletes, entertainers, and business executives, such as CEOs, make a 9-figure salary. Jobs associated with the 9-figure status are few and far between but they do carry a lot of responsibility.
Pretty uncommon compared to the modest man, a 9-figure salary definitely includes a measurement of net worth. For most of us, we can only dream of a 9-figure salary, but sometimes shooting for the stars still lands you on the moon.
Household names such as Lionel Messi, Roger Federer, and Oprah are the billionaires associated with a 9-figure salary. Depending on how you look at it, they may work harder than the average American, but they do have more wealth at their disposal.
Increasing your income successfully takes approaching it from the right angle. Here are a few ways you can increase your income and potentially add another figure to your salary.
Asking for a raise at work seems intimidating to a lot of people. The key is to approach it like you’re presenting to a judge. What evidence do you have that you deserve a raise? Answers to this question will help you build your case.
One of the easiest ways to get a raise at work is to compile a list of positive feedback that you’ve received while in that position. If you’ve been particularly successful at completing a project or leading a team, include that in your request. Any other praise you received could be helpful as well.
At the same time, you should consider the reception of your request before you make it. Is the company currently doing well, or are they experiencing losses? Companies that aren’t making profits typically won’t be receptive to raise requests.
If you like the industry that you’re in and you’ve got the education and experience to be competitive, consider hopping to another job at a different company. Find a position that will help you grow and move upward, so you can increase your income by moving up towards a goal, rather than treading water where you’re at. Did you know that there are a ton of high-paying jobs that don't even require a degree?
Changing jobs requires a lot of things, but accepting the first job offer you get could be a mistake. Before you consider the offer, have a figure in mind. This should be the lowest salary you’re willing to take at a new job. It’s a good idea to back up this salary figure with research showing what other professionals in the area are making as well.
At the same time, there are other assets you can take advantage of as well. Besides your main salary figure, you can also ask for other benefits, such as paid time off, stock options, or potential bonuses.
In some cases, making more money requires becoming your own boss and opening your own business. If you feel strongly that you can make it with your experience in the field of your choice, you might even be able to turn your side hustle into your full-time job.
Part of increasing your figures is working on your net worth, which includes your investments. Diverse portfolios are a great way to maximize your investment opportunities while still mitigating risk. There is potential to strike it big with a timely investment, but manage risk according to your appetite for it.
If you decide to stay at your current job, take a position at a new company, or open your own business, you should continue to educate yourself. This helps you improve your overall worth, no matter if it’s for the job you work now or one you might work in the future.
Common ways to continue your education include internships, apprenticeships, online courses, or attending college. You might incur some student loan debt, but if you can find an employer who will help pay for the degree, you could graduate with little to no debt at all.
Earning a 6-figure income or more isn’t all about the money. The key is to find a strategy that works for you, to meet your individual goals. We hope this article has helped you to understand what each of the different figures discussed means, as well as how you can grow your income for a higher figure rating. It might take some time, but increasing your overall worth is achievable.