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Six Figure Salary

Six-Figure Salary to Build Wealth

Six-Figure Salary to Build Wealth. A six-figure salary is a goal for many people. There is a certain cache about it. Turn back the clock to before WWII, and six-figure salaries made you very rich. The median income in 1940 was $956 for men and roughly $593 for women. The median income for all households in 2019 was $68,703. Married couples had a median income of $102,308. Single men had a median income of $48,496, and single women had a median income of $34,612. Your peak earning years are from ages 45 to 54, when the median salary is $92,211. The bottom line is that a six-figure salary is still quite a bit of money even today and can help you build wealth.

US Median Income
Six Figure Salary
Six Figure Salary to Build Wealth

Which Jobs Earn Six-Figure Salaries?

A six-figure salary is good to have. A single person will be earning over 2X the median in 2019. You will also equal the median salary of a married couple. But what kind of professions earn six-figure salaries. More than you think. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles many lists, and one is the mean and median salaries by occupation. The table has data on over 1,300 careers. 

The list below is sorted by median salary and includes only jobs with a median salary of six figures. The ones that say $208,000 means at least that dollar value. The usual suspects on the list are doctors, lawyers, dentists, scientists, engineers, IT, managers, and others. Almost all these jobs require a college degree, and in many cases, the jobs require an advanced degree.

JobMean SalaryMedian Salary
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons $    234,990  $        208,000 
Orthodontists $    237,990  $        208,000 
Prosthodontists $    214,870  $        208,000 
Anesthesiologists $    271,440  $        208,000 
General Internal Medicine Physicians $    210,960  $        208,000 
Obstetricians and Gynecologists $    239,120  $        208,000 
Psychiatrists $    217,100  $        208,000 
Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric $    218,850  $        208,000 
Surgeons, Except Ophthalmologists $    251,650  $        208,000 
Family Medicine Physicians $    214,370  $        207,380 
Chief Executives $    197,840  $        185,950 
Nurse Anesthetists $    189,190  $        183,580 
Dentists, All Other Specialists $    194,930  $        183,300 
Pediatricians, General $    184,570  $        177,130 
Dentists $    186,300  $        164,010 
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers $    186,870  $        160,970 
Dentists, General $    180,830  $        158,940 
Computer and Information Systems Managers $    161,730  $        151,150 
Architectural and Engineering Managers $    158,100  $        149,530 
Marketing Managers $    154,470  $        142,170 
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates $    131,850  $        141,080 
Natural Sciences Managers $    154,930  $        137,940 
Petroleum Engineers $    154,330  $        137,330 
Marketing and Sales Managers $    150,400  $        136,350 
Podiatrists $    151,110  $        134,300 
Financial Managers $    151,510  $        134,180 
Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Public Relations, and Sales Managers $    148,740  $        134,120 
Advertising and Promotions Managers $    147,560  $        133,460 
Sales Managers $    147,580  $        132,290 
Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers $    163,480  $        130,440 
Air Traffic Controllers $    127,440  $        130,420 
Physicists $    137,700  $        129,850 
Astronomers and Physicists $    136,480  $        128,950 
Pharmacists $    125,460  $        128,710 
Lawyers $    148,910  $        126,930 
Computer and Information Research Scientists $    130,890  $        126,830 
Purchasing Managers $    132,660  $        125,940 
Political Scientists $    124,100  $        125,350 
Compensation and Benefits Managers $    137,160  $        125,130 
Operations Specialties Managers $    138,590  $        125,040 
Lawyers and Judicial Law Clerks $    147,050  $        125,040 
Lawyers, Judges, and Related Workers $    144,970  $        124,360 
Human Resources Managers $    134,580  $        121,220 
Astronomers $    126,250  $        119,730 
Computer Hardware Engineers $    126,140  $        119,560 
Aerospace Engineers $    121,110  $        118,610 
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $    135,580  $        118,430 
Optometrists $    125,440  $        118,050 
Computer Network Architects $    119,230  $        116,780 
Law Teachers, Postsecondary $    134,760  $        116,430 
Personal Service Managers, All Other; Entertainment and Recreation Managers, Except Gambling; and Managers, All Other $    123,980  $        116,350 
Nuclear Engineers $    125,130  $        116,140 
Training and Development Managers $    125,920  $        115,640 
Physician Assistants $    116,080  $        115,390 
Judges, Magistrates, and Other Judicial Workers $    116,390  $        115,150 
Nurse Practitioners $    114,510  $        111,680 
Nurse Midwives $    115,540  $        111,130 
Actuaries $    123,180  $        111,030 
Mathematicians $    112,530  $        110,860 
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers $    114,270  $        110,140 
Management Occupations $    126,480  $        109,760 
Sales Engineers $    117,270  $        108,830 
Industrial Production Managers $    118,190  $        108,790 
Chemical Engineers $    114,820  $        108,540 
Economists $    120,880  $        108,350 
Electronics Engineers, Except Computer $    112,320  $        107,540 
Economics Teachers, Postsecondary $    123,720  $        107,260 
Miscellaneous Physical Scientists $    110,100  $        107,210 
Physical Scientists, All Other $    110,100  $        107,210 
Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance $      99,990  $        106,920 
Top Executives $    129,920  $        106,180 
Psychologists, All Other $    100,130  $        105,780 
Software and Web Developers, Programmers, and Testers $    109,950  $        105,310 
Medical and Health Services Managers $    118,800  $        104,280 
Nuclear Power Reactor Operators $    104,470  $        104,040 
General and Operations Managers $    125,740  $        103,650 
Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary $    114,130  $        103,600 
Information Security Analysts $    107,580  $        103,590 
Electrical and Electronics Engineers $    108,510  $        103,390 
Miscellaneous Engineers $    107,060  $        103,380 
Engineers, All Other $    107,060  $        103,380 
Engineering and Architecture Teachers, Postsecondary $    112,110  $        101,990 
Electrical Engineers $    105,990  $        100,830 
Source: DividendPower.org (based on Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

States with Six-Figure Salaries

There are more households with six-figure incomes in specific states. States with a mean household income over $100,000 in 2021 are Alaska, Hawaii, California, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington DC, and New York. There are no states with a median income over $100,000 or an average individual income of $100,000.

You can earn a six-figure salary in almost any state, though. However, the flipside is that there are more six-figure salary jobs in states in those locations based on the averages for household income. However, building wealth is probably easier in some states than others despite salary differences due to the expense side and taxes.

For instance, the average household income in Texas is ~$98,362, and it is ~$111,633 in California. I picked these two states due to the many well-publicized Bay area companies relocating to Texas. But after federal and state taxes (Texas has none), FICA, and Medicare, the annual take-home pay is ~$80,384 in Texas and $80,590 in California, according to the ADP calculator. We do not make any assumptions about exemptions and deductions which differ in each state. So you come out a tiny bit ahead in California, assuming your family earns the mean household income. On the other hand, suppose you take the same six-figure salary and move from California to Texas, you come out way ahead. 

Additionally, this simplified calculation did not account for the higher cost of living and housing in California than in Texas. Thus, in this comparison, it is probably easier to build wealth in Texas than in California.

However, low cost of living often comes with lower household incomes and, in many cases, higher poverty rates. The three states with the lowest cost of living are Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, but the average household incomes are $65,648, $77,637, and $84,974, respectively. For perspective, the average household income in Massachusetts is ~$127,461. Comparing Mississippi with Massachusetts, net pay is ~$51,713 to $94,101, assuming you earn the average household income. This substantial difference makes up for the higher cost of living and house prices and should let you build wealth.

Final Thoughts on a Six-Figure Salary is Nice to Have

It is easier to build wealth with a six-figure salary regardless of where you live. However, the expense side matters as well. The cost of living is higher on the west coast and northeast, and taxes are higher, too, in many cases. For this reason, building wealth can be more challenging, but as many bloggers have written about, it can be done. Some tactics for building wealth include negotiating a raise, changing jobs, paying down debt quickly, saving more, and generating passive income from a side hustle.


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Chart or Table of the Week

Negative Returning Dividend Aristocrats
Source: Stock Rover*

Dividend Increases and Reinstatements

I have created a searchable list of dividend increases and reinstatements. I update this list weekly. In addition, you can search for your stocks by company name, ticker, and date.

Dividend Cuts and Suspensions List

I updated my dividend cuts and suspensions list at the end of September 2021. The number of companies on the list has risen to 531. We are well over 10% of companies that pay dividends, having cut or suspended them since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was one new company added to the list this past month. The company was Capstead Mortgage (CMO).

Market Indices

Dow Jones Industrial Averages (DJIA): 34,746 (+1.22%)

NASDAQ: 14,579 (+0.09%)

S&P 500: 4,391 (+0.79%)

Market Valuation

The S&P 500 is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.3X, and the Schiller P/E Ratio is at about 37.9X. These two metrics were down the past three weeks

. Note that the long-term means of these two ratios are 15.9X and 16.8X, respectively. 

I continue to believe that the market is overvalued at this point. I view anything over 30X as overvalued based on historical data. The S&P 500’s valuation came down as companies in the Index reported solid earnings lapping a Q2 2020 that had depressed earnings.

S&P 500 PE Ratio History

SP500 PE Ratio
Source: multpl.com

Shiller PE Ratio History

Shiller PE Ratio
Source: multpl.com

Stock Market Volatility – CBOE VIX

The CBOE VIX measuring volatility was down 2.5 points this past week to 18.77. The long-term average is approximately 19 to 20. The CBOE VIX measures the stock market’s expectation of volatility based on S&P 500 index options. It is commonly referred to as the fear index.

CBOE VIX
Source: Google

Fear & Greed Index

I also track the Fear & Greed Index. The Index is now in Fear at a value of 34. The Index is up seven points this past week. This Index is a tool to track market sentiment. There are seven indicators in the Index that are measured on a scale of 0 to 100. The Index is calculated by taking the equally-weighted average of each indicator.

These seven indicators in the Index are Put and Call Options, Junk Bond Demand, Market Momentum, Market Volatility, Stock Price Strength, Stock Price Breadth, and Safe Haven Demand.

Junk Bond Demand indicates Extreme Greed.

Market Volatility is set at Neutral.

Safe Haven Demand is in Fear.

Stock Price Breadth indicates Fear.

Market Momentum indicates Extreme Fear.

Put and Call Options are signaling Extreme Fear. 

Stock Price Strength is signaling Extreme Fear.

Fear & Greed Index
Source: CNN Business

Economic News

The Commerce Department reported factory orders were up 1.2% in August to $515.7B and follows an upwardly revised 0.7% for July. The report marks four consecutive months of factory order increases. Factory orders are up 18.0% year-over-year. Orders for durable goods reported up 1.8% to $263.6B and followed a 0.5% increase in July. Most of the rise in durable goods was driven by transportation which was up 5.4% to $80.7B. Orders for nondurable goods advanced 0.6% percent to $252.1B.

The US Energy Information Administration reported that US commercial crude oil stockpiles increased by 2.3M barrels to 420.9M barrels for the week ending October 1st. Gasoline inventories increased by 3.3M barrels, while distillate inventories fell by 0.4M barrels. Refineries operated at 89.6% of their operable capacity, as gasoline production decreased an average of 9.4M barrels per day.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a weaker than expected 194,000 jobs were added in September and followed an upwardly revised August jobs figure of 366,000 from 235,000. Impacting the headline number was a 123,000 decline in government payrolls, while private payrolls increased by 317,000. The unemployment rate dropped to a post-pandemic low of 4.8%, down 0.4% from August. Leisure and hospitality added 74,000 jobs, followed by business services (+60,000), retail (+56,000), and transportation and warehousing (+47,000). Local government education dropped 144,000 jobs.

Thanks for reading Six-Figure Salary Is Nice to Have – Week in Review!


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Prakash Kolli is the founder of the Dividend Power site. He is a self-taught investor, analyst, and writer on dividend growth stocks and financial independence. His writings can be found on Seeking Alpha, InvestorPlace, Business Insider, Nasdaq, TalkMarkets, ValueWalk, The Money Show, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and leading financial sites. In addition, he is part of the Portfolio Insight and Sure Dividend teams. He was recently in the top 1.0% and 100 (73 out of over 13,450) financial bloggers, as tracked by TipRanks (an independent analyst tracking site) for his articles on Seeking Alpha.

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3 thoughts on “Six-Figure Salary to Build Wealth – Week In Review

  1. One nice thing about my profession of chemical engineering is that a lot of the jobs are located in places like Mississippi, Oklahoma and Arkansas, the low cost states you mentioned, because of a lot of oil and petrochemical companies are located near oil fields. I spent my entire career in Arkansas making the same level of wages as engineers living in Los Angeles and Chicago and was able to live a rich life for a much lower cost allowing me to save and invest aggressively. A lot of my engineer buddies, like me, retired earlier for that very reason.

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