If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, it can be confusing when you’ve heard people mention their “x” figure salary, right?
Thankfully, the answer to “how much is a figure” is pretty straightforward. One figure equals one whole-number digit in a person’s salary or net worth. Some jobs pay more than others, of course. Lucrative jobs pay high salaries, and these ‘figure’ groupings make for a classy way to refer to these large incomes.
What Is a “Figure” in Terms of Money?
A figure is simply a number. A’ figure’ often refers to digits about someone’s annual salary or net worth. You can refer to any salary in ‘figures’ of complete dollar amounts, but people often use this terminology to refer to anything above a five-figure salary (six figures or more).
This doesn’t include decimals, of course. The term ‘figures’ refers directly to the number of whole digits in a person’s income or net worth (not just what their jobs pay, but investments as well). That means a salary of $10,000.99 is not six figures, but $100,000 is.
The median salary in America is five figures, or more specifically, around $70,000. Here, we’ll discuss six-figure jobs and above, including seven-figures and eight and nine-figures.
- The word ‘figure’ describes how many ‘figures,’ or whole number digits in a person’s salary or net worth are. One figure = one digit.
- How much is 6 figures? Also, 7, 8, and 9 figures.
- Earning six figures is more common than you might think.
- You can earn a six-figure salary without a college degree.
- Making seven figures isn’t impossible with the right investments.
- There are ways to significantly increase your salary with the right moves (to a nine-figure income? Maybe not, but it’s not impossible!)
What Do 6-Figure, 7-Figures, 8-Figures, and 9-Figures Mean?
What do the various figures mean when referring to how much money people make? The number of figures directly refers to the number of whole digits in the whole number. So, 6 figures would be $100,000, and 7 figures would be $1,000,000, for example.
There is a large range within each figure’s range, of course. Both $100,000 and $900,000 are technically 6-figure incomes, but there’s quite a difference between the two.
The lower end of the spectrum is often referred to as ‘low.’ For example, $100,000 would be considered a low six-figure salary. The range goes from $100,000 – $400,000.
The same goes for ‘mid’ and ‘high.’ A mid-six-figure salary would be towards the middle of the range, or between $400,000 – $700,000. A high six-figure salary would be at the top, between $700,000 – $999,999.
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How Much Is 6-Figures?
A person earning a six-figure salary can earn between $100,000 – $999,999.99. This is typically a reference to gross wages (before taxes). A six-figure salary can provide a very comfortable way of life in many places, even at the lower end.
According to Indeed, here is a list of some common 6-figure jobs:
- Product manager – average annual salary of $102,216
- Creating the vision & strategy for a specific product
- Planning with various teams to deliver the product as specified
- Curating a product’s release
- Physician assistant – average annual salary of $106,021
- Provide patients with physical exams
- Prescribe medications
- Work with specialists as needed
- Software engineer – average annual salary of $107,812
- Troubleshoot software errors
- Develop software from the design to implementation stages
- Maintenance of current software
- Sales engineer – average annual salary of $108,291
- Arrange meetings with clients (prospective & current)
- Delivering sales presentations of technical products & services
- Developing technical marketing strategies
- Economist – average annual salary of $110,145
- Studies commerce trends and related data
- Interprets a variety of research to predict future commerce trends
- Preparing budgets based on economic factors
- Architect – average annual salary of $110,437
- Develop concepts for buildings
- Securing permits from relevant agencies
- Creating floor plans & blueprints for building projects
- Director of finance – average annual salary of $111,556
- Establishing a company’s budgets with ongoing assessments
- Overseeing personnel within the accounting department
- Creating financial forecasts to build strategies
- Nurse practitioner – average annual salary of $116,603
- Care for patients, focusing on the whole patient
- Emphasis on preventing disease and improving health overall
- Can work alone or alongside a doctor with varying degrees of responsibility
- Data scientist – average annual salary of $122,525
- Interpret raw data in large batches
- Creating algorithms to mine data stores and create business opportunities
- Data analytics for trends and solutions
- Owner-operator driver – average annual salary of $276,499
- Drive long distances with large loads of cargo
- Loading & unloading various types of cargo
- Planning driving routes and communicating with dispatchers
While most of these opportunities for earning six figures require a college degree – or at least some level of education – there are some 6-figure jobs you can land without a college degree.
How Common is a Six-Figure Salary?
Six-figure jobs aren’t as common as one might think.
About 34% of American households fall into this range of six figures, although that’s per household, not per person. Only about 5.4% of individuals earn six figures.
How Much Is 7-Figures?
A person earning a seven-figure salary can earn between $1,000,000 – $9,999,999.99.
These incomes of seven figures often combine salary and investments, more than just salary alone.
While achieving this income level of over a million dollars can be challenging, a healthy salary and intelligent investing decisions can get you there.
Most often, seven-figure jobs involve starting at the bottom of the totem pole and working up over the course of your career. There are exceptions, of course.
Here are some common seven-figure income careers:
- Entrepreneur – you can create seven figures or more with the right business idea. There are always new, innovative products and services needed in the world.
- Consultant – if you’ve got a mind for business but don’t want to go the entrepreneur route, you can help other businesses increase their revenue.
- Influencer – if you’ve got a real knack for social media and innate magnetism, you can make a career by promoting products to your audience.
- C-level executive – if you’re a natural leader with an iron-clad work ethic, you could work your way up to a top leadership spot with a seven-figure salary.
- Investment banker – do you love investing and dealing with stocks? As an investment banker, you can advise your company to make the right moves. The more money you make them, the more you can make for yourself as well.
Regardless of your career, you can land in the seven-figure range earning over a million dollars annually with some critical financial moves. You can do this with multiple income streams, smart investments, and residual income opportunities such as real estate.
If these sound out-of-reach, other seven-figure jobs don’t require a college degree. With the right level of training and some time, you can achieve this level of financial success without the need for higher education.
Here are a few ideas:
- Air traffic controller
- Power plant operator
- Real estate broker
And, of course, there’s always entrepreneurship, as mentioned above. Owning a small business can be risky, but hard work and dedication can pay off financially.
How Common is a Seven-Figure Salary?
Unsurprisingly, earning seven figures is much rarer than earning six figures. Only about 0.35% of Americans earn this level of income. That’s roughly three out of every 1,000 people.
How Much Is 8-Figures?
A person earning an eight-figure salary can earn between $10,000,000 – $99,999,999.99. That’s a pretty hefty sum!
Not just any job comes with eight figures, so this salary is pretty rare. It’s much easier to land eight figures through strategic investing than looking at jobs or careers with eight-figure salaries (although most require a college degree or exceptional talent of some kind).
Only a few jobs have this earning potential independently (without adding investment income to the mix).
Here are a few examples (as of 2021):
- Top company leadership, such as CEOs
- Timothy Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.: $98,734,394
- Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corporation: $54,946,310
- Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, Inc.: $40,823,725
- Professional athletes
- Roger Federer, tennis: $90.7 million
- Canelo Alvarez, boxing: $90 million
- Tom Brady, football: $83.9 million
- High-level actors
- Tyler Perry: $97 million
- Dwayne Johnson: $87.5 million
- Ellen DeGeneres: $84 million
- Other celebrities, such as musicians, authors, and performers
- Rolling Stones: $50.9 million
- Taylor Swift: $38.7 million
- Suzanne Collins: $80 million
How Common is an Eight-Figure Salary?
Earning eight figures a year is exceedingly rare, as such an amount is considered extremely wealthy. These eight-figure jobs are demanding, often high-profile, and require many years of working up the ladder.
About 0.043% of U.S. households report net worth figures of eight digits.
How Much Is 9-Figures?
A person earning a nine-figure salary can earn between $100,000,000 – $999,999,999.99.
That’s over $100 million! The vast majority of those within this income range refer to a net worth of more than just a person’s salary at this level.
Only a handful of people in the world earn this much money. If you’re a professional athlete or work in the entertainment industry, it’s easier due to the larger paydays.
That said, your financial health is your own business, and you can create whatever figure income you dream of if you work hard enough and make the right moves.
- Top hedge fund managers: can make upwards of $700 million
- High-level actors
- Jerry Seinfeld: Net worth $800 million
- Jack Nicholson: Net worth $400 million
- Tom Hanks: Net worth $350 million
- CEOs of large companies
- Peter Kern, CEO of Expedia Group, Inc.: $296,247,749
- David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.: $246,573,481
- Patrick Gelsinger, CEO of Intel Corporation: $178,590,400
- Professional athletes
- Lionel Messi, soccer: $130 million
- LeBron James, basketball: $121.2 million
- Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer: $115 million
How Common is a Nine-Figure Salary?
Earning nine figures is incredibly rare: only around 300 people worldwide can claim this status.
What Salaries Are Good?
Surely, the sound of a six-figure salary is good. But is it good enough?
How far your annual income stretches depends on various factors, so the answer to that question is purely individual. Some people earn six figures a year and find themselves living paycheck to paycheck and still focusing on saving money as much as possible because their financial health needs attention.
Others, however, can make six figures stretch pretty far, taking their high income and growing it to earn even more money.
Even those earning seven-figure salaries, eight-figures, or even a nine-figure salary can find themselves in financial trouble. It’s not just about the money you earn but how you save money, your financial goals, and your investment portfolio.
Here are some factors that help determine if your average salary or net worth is enough:
- Amount of debt – as your figure net worth rises, your debt will likely rise as well, resulting in your money not stretching as far as it used to.
- Cost of living – not all locations are created equal. High-paying jobs make for a richer lifestyle in smaller areas with fewer expenses versus more densely populated cities.
- Spending habits & lifestyle creep – even one million dollars isn’t that much money if your expenses outweigh your income. A six-figure income can be plenty with a more frugal budget, whereas a seven-figure salary can barely make ends meet when overspending beyond your means.
- Are you investing money? – making money via investments is a surefire way to keep your income growing whether you’re rocking six figures, nine figures, or anything in between. The stock market is a tried-and-true tool to make your extra money work for you. Not enough Americans utilize this tool.
Tips & Tricks to Reach Six or Seven Figures
So, investment bankers might make a ton of money, but what about a ‘regular’ person’s income?
If you want to increase your income up to six figures, seven figures, eight figures, or even nine figures, there are ways to do so. Granted, these large-figure salary numbers are high (some over a million dollars!).
It will likely take some time to climb to this level, but it can be done.
- Start your own business.
- Find a well-paying side hustle.
- Make smart investments to expand your passive income.
- Continue educating yourself in your field.
- Request salary increases and/or other benefits as your skills increase.
Our Takeaway on Money Figures
Although the answer to the question “how much is a figure” might be simple, the answer to “how many figures rich do I need to be to live comfortably” is a little more complicated.
While a large-figure salary won’t eliminate your problems, growing your income and professional skills can be tremendously satisfying. Whether you currently make a 6-figure salary and dream of making more, or you’re just starting in the professional world and trying to ‘figure’ out what figure salary you’re aiming for in your career, this guide should prove helpful.