13 People Share What It’s Like Living On $100,000 Per Year


For most Americans making six figures a year is the dream. We’re told that a “six figure salary,” which is a huge window of numbers, is the best way to be comfortable and live a life of relative comfort. But if you earn $100,000 per year are you rich or are you still middle class? I surveyed 13 twenty to forty somethings — software engineers, fashion designers and one freelance graphic designer — who make at least $100,000 per year. Here’s what they had to say about bringing home a six-figure income.

1. I’m always broke

I went to college thinking that making 6 figures a year would guarantee the good life. It definitely hasn’t been a struggle and I’m single so it’s just me I’m supporting. I grew up pretty working class so $100,000 sounds like a lot of money, but after taxes and all that it really isn’t. I’m almost always broke. Dimitri, 28

2. When you make six figures there are things you just don’t do anymore

The other day I had to catch a train somewhere and I missed it by a few seconds. It was late and I was pretty tired from work and the next train wasn’t for another 20 minutes. Instead of waiting I just got a cab home which set me back 100 quid. That’s something I would have never done before. Charles, 32

3. Not everything has to be a luxury

People think making a lot of money is about buying expensive clothes and all that but really it’s about smaller luxuries, not gold chains or expensive cars. I think everyone has things they would pay a lot of money for and some things they’re super cheap about. I really love records so I go to record stores pretty often and buy whatever I want. But I would never spend more than like $50 on a pair of jeans. It’s not my style. Sarah, 30

4. Even laundry is different

I don’t have to do my own laundry or clean my own apartment! Seth, 37

5. No more “college budgeting”

I definitely don’t feel rich but at least now I don’t have to do that thing I did before where I figured out which bill I would pay late or how little I could eat for the rest of the month to afford to buy a new Marc Jacobs bag or whatever. And that’s real. Megan, 39

6. Freeloaders!

Everyone thinks you should pay for dinner/drinks or that you’re in a position to loan them money. I don’t mind helping out, just an interesting observation. Christopher, 27

7. Availability

I don’t feel any particular way about it to be honest, but I have noticed that when you reach a certain salary threshold your boss or whoever’s paying you expects you to be available 24/7, on the weekend, when you’re ill, when you’re on vacation. There’s always an email or a phone call or something. Brewster, 45

8. Wearing the pants in the relationship

Well, I make more money than my boyfriend and though he would never admit it I think it makes him uncomfortable. It’s like sometimesI want to pay for dinner and it hurts his little ego that I make twice what he makes. But that’s why we’re a couple and we both put money in our joint account every month to save for cool trips. Elizabeth, 40

9. Shopping habits

I’m definitely buying more stuff online than I used to. Seriously, I think I should seek help…I’m forever having packaged delivered! Amanda, 39

10. Whole Foods

Now I get all my groceries from Whole Foods. If the food costs more then it’s got to be better for you, right? Sterling, 28

11. Buying a new laptop

I guess the big difference for me is that when I was in college if my laptop broke I couldn’t really afford to get a new one without calling home. Now if my shit breaks I probably have enough money sitting in my account to go get a new mac without even thinking twice, whether I need to upgrade or not. Jacob, 32

12. No money

I still somehow never have any money. Making more money means buying more things means less money at the end of the month.
David, 34

13. It’s still hard to save

When I was working hourly jobs and stuff I always blew my entire paycheck in one weekend. I don’t do that as much anymore — it would take a LOT for me to blow the whole thing. But I do find that when you’re living from check-to-check like I was before you actually spend more money because you are always left wanting something. When you know you’ve got money you might spend more but you spend selectively. Sterling, 37

Do you think a single person earning $100,000 per year is still middle class? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Author of How To Be A Pop Star.

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