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Is $200k the new $100k?
Old 09-01-2015, 06:29 PM   #1
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Is $200k the new $100k?

When I started working it seemed like $100k/year salary was a big deal, it took decades of experience to get there and a lot of people never made it. Now it seems like $100k is not that high a target, a lot of people get there in their 30s and maybe even a few in their 20s if they're programmers or the right kind of engineers. OTOH, average household income in the US is ~$50k, so clearly a lot of people aren't making +$100k.

Is $200k what it takes now to say you've made it?
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Old 09-01-2015, 06:45 PM   #2
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I've never even made $50K in a year so, to me, $100K/yr is a LOT of money. My average income over 20 years of working is under $30K. It's a good thing i'm used to living on $15K or i'd be in trouble.
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:03 PM   #3
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I think a LOT of it has to do with where you live ...

Houston is no doubt booming ... I could see $200k being the new $100k there. Now, $100k in a LCOL area (like the boondocks of Kansas) would be HUGE.

$200k in Northern CA or Seattle is nothing to sneeze at ... $500k would be like reaching the $100k milestone elsewhere

Perspective & area IMO
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:23 PM   #4
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Yes, here in the oil patch, $200 K just became $100 K or a trip to the unemployment office to sign up for $400/week.
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:26 PM   #5
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I think a LOT of it has to do with where you live ...
+1
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:38 PM   #6
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In computers, 100k is just your average senior guy with 10 years experience on the right tech. 150 is kick ass dudes, and 200 is pretty rare, usually directors or large program leads.


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Old 09-01-2015, 07:39 PM   #7
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Wow, I remember when I finally hit $10/hr. I thought it was big time. The next big deal was making $30k when I was 30 YO (I think they called it the 30/30 club). Of course then it was $50k and then $100k and so on.
It's a moving target. Interestingly, making more money didn't increase happiness and actually increased anxiety at the prospect of losing the high paying job.


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Old 09-01-2015, 08:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by soupcxan View Post
When I started working it seemed like $100k/year salary was a big deal, it took decades of experience to get there and a lot of people never made it. Now it seems like $100k is not that high a target, a lot of people get there in their 30s and maybe even a few in their 20s if they're programmers or the right kind of engineers. OTOH, average household income in the US is ~$50k, so clearly a lot of people aren't making +$100k.

Is $200k what it takes now to say you've made it?
When I started my first corp. summer job $10,000 was a big deal (1972)
I thought those people were rich.
Before I retired in 2012 we were in the 200k+ range + RE. Never felt rich but we also banked a lot of it.

Most of my life "rich" were the people that made more than me and poor were the people that made a lot less and that I was always in the
middle. Seemed there were always a lot of both rich and poor.

Since we are retired I feel the most "rich" I ever had even though we
live on the same $$ as we did in our wor$ing life. Most people seem
kind of shocked on how much vacation we take and they kind of want to figure out how we did it. Not sure what to say but having time to travel and being
able to travel had made me feel rich for the first time in my life!
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Old 09-01-2015, 08:15 PM   #9
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Back in the mid 70's, I remember my target was 75k or better and early 80's 150k was my new target. By the mid-late 80's (when I retired) you could not get me out of bed for less then 250k.
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:36 PM   #10
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I took 2 pay cuts after my total pay peaked at $77k in my last year of working full-time (2000) in order to work part-time. I was on the verge of hitting the $50 hourly pay rate (which would have translated to just under $100k on an annual basis) when I ERed in 2008. My annual pay after the first pay cut was in the $40k-$49k range and after the second pay cut it dropped to about $30k. I was living on less than $30k so I didn't need the extra dollars as much as I needed the extra time not working. But most importantly, my shares of the company stock kept exploding in value even with the reduced hours and that was my ticket to ER.
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:36 PM   #11
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It depends on where you live. I live in a cheap part of the US. I only make around $60k but my living expenses are only around $30k.

I have been working in IT for about 15 years and have a comp sci degree. I work for the government and I could make more in private industry, but then I'd stop contributing to my state pension with COLA... Other advantage for staying put is my employer doesn't have to make a profit... As far as I know there has never been a layoff in my dept for the last 40ish years of its existence.
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:37 PM   #12
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I hit 100k in around 36, I'm now 41 and at about 130k. DW is 39 and is sitting at 160k plus some nice biannual payouts. We are both "senior managers" in STEM related fields in San Diego, so we live in a bubble where my buddy here Nords once said, "You are throwing 92 mph fastballs in Yankee Stadium" - plenty of company at this level. $400k gets you a starter home in a semi-good neighborhood with an under performing middle school 30-50 minutes commute from job locations (this is kinda near where I used to live): 1138 Calle Emparrado, San Marcos, CA 92069 - Home For Sale and Real Estate Listing - realtor.comŽ

So yeah, I'd say at least $150k is the new $100k in San Diego.

EDIT: both of us have Masters degrees, FWIW.
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:46 PM   #13
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Is $200k what it takes now to say you've made it?
I guess it depends on your perspective. When I retired almost 4 years ago I was making well over 200k. And while I felt it was a very good salary, I never felt like I "made it". Maybe it's because "some" of my business acquaintances were making a lot more.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:41 AM   #14
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In computers, 100k is just your average senior guy with 10 years experience on the right tech. 150 is kick ass dudes, and 200 is pretty rare, usually directors or large program leads. Sent from my iPhone using Early Retirement Forum
I disagree with these numbers. DS tells me starting salaries for software engineers with 3 years experience are 120K in start ups not including stock options. Starting salaries are higher in established companies such as Google/Apple/Facebook, etc.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:43 AM   #15
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I remember when $10K was executive salary, so I'm not surprised that $200K would now be a right compensation.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:13 AM   #16
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I disagree with these numbers. DS tells me starting salaries for software engineers with 3 years experience are 120K in start ups not including stock options. Starting salaries are higher in established companies such as Google/Apple/Facebook, etc.

So your sample is not representative of the entire market, nor do software engineers make up all of IT.


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Old 09-02-2015, 06:31 AM   #17
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When I started working "make your age" was the big deal for high rollers (not me). $10K was a good annual salary for the rest of us. A calculator I looked at says $10K in 1970 is about $62K today. Sounds about right in terms of a decent salary for a young adult. $100K was a big crossover not too long ago but $200K is quickly approaching the same impact. Would have been quicker still if inflation wasn't so low.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:46 AM   #18
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As noted, where one lives in the country has a lot to do with what's considered fair salary levels. Cost of living in Silicon Valley and Manhattan is entirely different from somewhere in the Mid-West.
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:10 AM   #19
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I started at $1275/mo out if college in 1977, after living on about $3-400/mo in college. I clearly remember thinking 'how will I ever spend that much?'

$100K/mo still seems like a good salary to me, but everyone where I worked had a bonus income component too, some with bonuses larger than salary..
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:28 AM   #20
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DH and I never had a combined income of 100k so really it depends on perspective and to some extent cost of living. I am one who has more spendable money in retirement than when working..l am no longer saving for retirement and a paid off house. It is all good.


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