Does your family make $100,000/yr?

What do you think the top 20% of families make? $200,000? $500,000? 1 million?! I’ve asked this question to at least 25 different people, and no one has been right. Ever. Everyone has stated upwards of $150,000/yr. So what is the answer?

Do this — take your income. If married, add in your spouse. If you aren’t a wage-earner yet, take your parents combined income. Now, is it more than $100,000/yr? Congratulations! You are in the elite 20% of wage-earning families!

Specifically, the top 20% make $97,032/year.

From a recent NYTimes op-ed, and backed up by readily available US Census data

In 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, the top 1 percent of Americans — whose average income was $1.1 million a year — received 21.8 percent of the nation’s income, their largest share since 1929.

from 1995 to 2000, the long trend toward inequality was interrupted by general prosperity. The richest Americans did best, propelled by stock market gains.

Oh, and next time you elite 20% complain about how you never seem to have money might I suggest you kindly shut your petulant pie-hole and think a bit about the other 80%?


29 thoughts on “Does your family make $100,000/yr?

  1. I can’t add in my wife; it’s currently illegal for me to have one in the state of California.

    “Spouse” might have been a less misogynistic word choice.

  2. Good point. I changed from “wife” to “spouse” per your suggestion.

    However, a bit of quid pro quo in sloppy diction – I think you meant “sexist” rather than “misogynistic”. The later means “hatred or strong prejudice against women.” That’s a bit strong, no?

    My original statement “if married, add in your wife” indicates a behavior that was promoting stereotyping on social roles based on gender, not hatred or strong prejudice against.

    Yet, if you still think misogynist was correct, please don’t tell my mom or fiancee I’m a misogynist — they would get very, very surprised and equally upset.

  3. Instead of complaining about people who make over $100K per year, why don’t you do what I, and all the others making this amount did, and take out student loans (which MUST be paid back) and go into debt for
    $100,000.00 and go to college for 10 years and get a degree?

  4. No complaints about people who make over $100k. The more that do so, the merrier! I just have a lot of complaints about people who make over $100k and complain about not having enough money.

    Although I’ll add another one to the list: people (who hide behind fake emails) and think that anyone can go to college. That is, people who forget that having the brains to go to college and get an advanced degree is not wholly their own doing — they have good genetics and supportive environment to thank.

    Sorry, it’s just not always about you.

  5. I think the point of the posting was less about redistribution of wealth (although I do have my opinion on this) but more about those families making $100k/year to reconsider their complaints about not having enough money. Be thankful that you are fortunate enough to be the 10% of households in terms of income (but I’m gonna bet, not happiness).

    Not that you aren’t deserving of that $100k from your own efforts. I’m sure your Y chromosome and white skin pigmentation were your decision as well.

  6. […] giving to charity. 65% of households with annual incomes less than $100k gave to charity. Granted, $100k/year is the top 10% of families, but that is still fantastic that so many households make room in their budgets to support […]

    • Thank you for your comment.
      My husband and I are both disabled and it really hard sometimes to make ends meet, but I start after Christmas when everything is at a bargan(EXAMPLE) We just became grandparents for the second time. Our first granddaughter’s birthday is in May. We went shopping in a stop and found beautiful clothes for children at 90% off and my total came to over $100.00, but I spent only $32.00.
      I also picked up some Christmas presents for relatives I know just what they need and can use.
      Our son left for Iraq the same day his new baby came home from the hospitalso he has let me know what the guys need and want so I look around fr all of these things and will send a box over once a month. I can see in the back of my mind how happy these people and my grandbabies are going to be and that is a wonderful, wonderful, feeling.

  7. Actually, you’ve got this wrong. The $100K threshold is for the top 10% of individual incomes, not that of households.

  8. About 1/5 of all American households earn six figure incomes. Specifically, 22 million out of the total 116 millions households earn over $100K. (See the Census tables you point to.)

  9. David…my genetics aren’t why my household makes more than $100K. Genetically speaking my wife and I should only be making $30K combined if you think genetics are behind intelligence and wage earning. We both come from very poor economic backgrounds. We were both the first to graduate from college in our respective families. Our families did not “put” us through college. We worked multiple jobs while also attending classes. She took out student loans while I paid as I went. You might say that we’re where we’re at in spite of genetics. Hard work, plain and simple. Budgeting, living within our means. It is an insult to anyone that has worked hard to get where they’re at to simply chalk it up as being born correctly. It is equally insulting to those who perhaps do not earn above $100K to say that the reason is due to some defect. It IS a choice. Some people work hard to succeed, some work just enough to get by, some work the bare minimum, and some choose to not work at all and simply take. I’ll grant you that there are people that truly have no choice; such as the infirm. However, these individuals you’ll find are the exception. In my travels I’ve found that most people live under a sense of entitlement and feel they should not have to work hard. People sell themselves short and don’t give themselves enough credit. If they were to try…REALLY TRY to succeed they would be amazed. Life is NOT short and it is NOT easy. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. P.S. Redistribution of wealth is not the answer, unless you’re a Marxist…which would then be appropriate.

    • I will have to agree with you. Personally I did not think I would ever make over 100,000 a year. I grew up very poor in the hills of WV. My parents were both alcoholics. I worded 7 days a week to make it thru High School and singed up for the US Navy when I was 17 and left one week after graduation. After six years of the Navy, I got out and thought someone would give me a job because I had did service for my country. Boy was I wrong, I quickly found out that I needed a college education so again I went to school during the day and worked at night. I received my AS degree in Radiology after three years and later went back for a certificate in Nuclear Medicine. I have worked night and day for many years and saved my money and taken care of my family. It has been a long hard road along the way. I am very grateful for what I have been able to achieve. And even thought I have worked very hard to achieve much, I have many people to thank. First the people along the way who gave me jobs and a chance to learn from them. Also the teachers who worked hard to make sure I would have something to give back to society. And to my Patients who gave me the chance to serve them. I give thanks every day for my blessings and I pray for others to be blessed as well. May you be blessed with what ever you may choose to do with your life.

  10. XYZ, kudos to you for making the investment in yourself. Even more so if you are not white or female — you are truly defying the odds against you! Gumption aside, what do you think assisted in development of this motivation?

    It is also fantastic you selected not to be born with a severe mental challenge like retardation, which afflicts 5% of the population (also known as your “exception”). That is a rather large exception.

    I personally don’t believe that one’s financial wealth is due to genetics, or self. Rather, it is both (how wish-washy of me). However, in our society (American), I find that one’s personal input is grossly misleading. And when you put data before them — how some people of *equal education* consistently make 1/3 less and the only difference is sex or color of their skin — they mock this and say “I made choices, choices they should have made.” Great job on selecting to be born in the US. You made a great choice on that one as well. Those Chileans sure made a dumb decision to be born there!

    I agree that Americans have a disgusting sense of entitlement. I think your travels, as have mine, have provided you some perspective to come to this conclusion. What can we do to share this perspective (which is a luxury in and of itself, since such travel is rare to most of the human population) with others so we might all benefit?

    Per your last comment — I ask does Marxism always equal redistribution of wealth? If so, then any suggestion of it is tantamount to suggesting Marxism. Otherwise, it seems like you are indirectly attacking the idea of redistribution of wealth by associating it with an often frowned upon economic theory (in the US).

    There is this one thing where this business lied about its financial earnings and caused a mult-billion dollar company to crash and burn, causing thousands of people to lose their jobs and life savings. Is that the answer. Maybe “if you are a capitalist…which would then be appropriate.”

    Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

  11. um David, I don’t understand why you have to be so hateful towards those families who make $100k+. As stated by XYZ, these people make it because they choose to, anyone can make it there if they choose, but then again, whatever you think you can achieve, you’re right, that’s as far as you’ll get. So continue thinking this way and maybe one day Obama will redistribute the wealth for you to reach this impossible goal of making more than $100k

  12. I just came from my 30th high school reunion. I went to school in an economically depressed city with kids whose families were well below the median u.s. income. Interestingly enough, quite a few of them, my self included, put themselves (with parents help) through college. I need to add that those parents did not make much and mine had just put 2 of my brothers through school. I was just dumb enough not to get any scholarships, perhaps it was my poor decision to party the night before my SAT. Either way, I got into college, finished a few degrees and am now considered “rich”. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of us classmates had made it and are very successful. All nonwhite.
    Unfortunately we also had a high number of classmates (the druggies mainly) who had met their demise over the years. The choices we make are the biggest difference. The way we raise our children and the ability to live within our means makes a world of difference.

    check out this website on people not living within their means.

    Have a nice day.

  13. I think you took what you had (which sounds pretty good) and did great with it. And great for your non-white, female students that have beat the odds and did well. That is great news!

    I just wonder about the people that didn’t have parents to help them, or had some tragic family life such has having to raise your siblings while you divorced parents drank, or a family member that abused you, or perhaps a crippling disease in the family.

    I agree with you; the way we raise our children and the ability to live within our means make a world of difference. But what this also means the way your parents raised you and taught you to live within your means made a world of difference to you. They are instrumental in taking you from economically depressed inner city kid to “rich.”

    My point is to raise awareness that our decisions are not entirely our own. That external factors play a large role in them. And the blame game doesn’t get us very far.

    Where does this take us? I’m not sure, but probably not “I selected the path less traveled” back-patting. And probably more “Perhaps I’m more connected to my society than I originally gave credit.”

  14. Down and Out to the top and all over again

    Me and my family came here with nothing but two suitcases in 2000, we had a lot of wealth back in 92 before the war began and everything we had was taken from us, we had to leave the country solders were looking for my father my parents ended up getting divorced back in germany, when we came here my mother did not make a lot of money and i had to work trought high school to help support the family right after high school i started working full time as a sales person now lets list the facts the money was very good all comission based earnings the hours were long 60 to 70 hours a week regardles i was making six figure income i meet my wive a little bit latter in life i meet my wife who was in a similar situation she was going to school and it was tough paying for it every semester today we have a very good life and we both work 60 – 70 hours a week so what i’ve learned its not a matter of college even if you want to make a lot of money it takes a lot of hours and if you are to lazy to work the hours and take the risk that might be involved you do not deserve it.

  15. Both my husband and I are over 60 and both of us are disabled. When I was younger; I worked two and three jobs; not because I had to, but my mom and dad were divorced and mom got cancer. My grandmother came out to take care of mom, but she only got $400.00 a month. This was in the 70’s to the mid 80’s. I would send them extra money to help with their bills and thought by the time I reached retirement I’d be sitting AOK. 10 years ago I became disabled and my husband ended up working two jobs because of my medical. I have a son ; a Major in the Army who used to loan us money, but we ALWAYS payed him back. Now, he’s married and his wife told us we were never to take any more money from him.
    I was shocked. I never thought of ever asking mom or grandma to pay me back and now I have a son getting over $100,000 a year and he doesn’t care if we loose our home or whatever happenes to us and right now if something wonderful doesn’t happen; we are going to loose everything. What ever happened to family values? I even thought of putting an ad in the paper asking strangers to send us $1.00 to help us out, but I know God will help us and what will be will be.

    • its hard to beleive how insane, at times, children become………….how can a son ignore his disabled parents……..really frustrating .(

  16. its hard to beleive how insane, at times, children become………….how can a son ignore his disabled parents……..really frustrating .(

    I hope evrything is OK now………though one year has already passed…….ur reply will be appreciated

  17. I am fortunate to be in the top 10% of wage earners, $100k. Grew up in a very middle class family. I had supportive parents who divorced when I was 16. I joined the army after high school, did not go to college, had a child out of wedlock, got married at 22 and 2 more children followed. I started a small business when I was 28, currently employ 11 others whose income range from $30k-$80k. If we have a good year and all goes well, my personal, taxable income exceeds $100k. There have been 3 yrs since 1995 (’99, ’00 and ’10) where my income was much lower due to the business experiencing loss…there are no guarantees.
    I am not a self made man. It took a lot of people giving me opportunity, then I had to deliver. I read this once, but after many years, I think this is the most basic formula that, if followed, yields good results: “Be on time. Do what you say. Finish what you start. Say, Please and thank you.” Again, there are no guarantees.


  18. I agree with many comments above. Not everyone comes from a supportive environment. Not everyone starts out equally but America at least offers you opportunity. I am a female that grew up in a single parent home (my parents divorced at age 8). My Mom and I lived with my grandmother and we got $25 a week in child support. I never grew up with a car, and we only had one small black and white television. I paid for my own college education and for my own MBA. I always scored average on standardized tests but always got As and Bs because I put in the time to get good grades. I am considered very intelligent as an adult and make well in to the 6 figures. I have worked hard all of my life-worked full time while paying my way through graduate school. Despite my income I rarely take fancy trips, I hardly ever eat out and I dont even have cable television. I live a fun full life but I dont waste my money. I almost own two homes outright and did this through tight budgeting. I walk my dog near an apartment community and I was shocked to see an empty box for a 55inch television. I have a 40in tv but I won it in a sales contest-I never would have bought it. How does a renter afford or need a 55in television? I go to stores where clerks make minimum wage and they talk about buying fancy Coach bags for themselves and 55 inch televisions as gifts for their boyfriends for Christmas-probably putting it on a credit card that she will never pay off…then claim bankruptcy and continue the cycle again or just cry poor….. I think the country is a mess and I think more people deserve to make a better living wage but I also think there are a lot of lazy and wasteful people out there too. I have earned every cent I make and I give most of it away now in taxes….I have never been a “taker” of the system and doubt much will be left for me in regards to social security or Medicare when I retire so I will have to continue to live frugally and save for the inevitable-no system will be there to save me. Everyone talks about the 1% but if you were born in the US you hit the human jackpot….half of the WORLD lives on a dollar a day-YOU ARE THE 1% of the PLANET……..

    • Sunshine: Thanks for your comments. Both my parents are immigrants. When I travel back to their homelands, I’m reminded how much a supportive environment, rich in opportunities, matters for later success.

      However, your frustrations with how people spend their money is focused on one population. Bad money management and consumerism knows no socioeconomic class. Wealthy people spend money (and more of it); poor people spend money (and less of it), and often on what others consider stupid things. Rather than be frustrated, continue counting your blessings that you hit the jackpot by being born in the US.

      Your point about how the US is the 1% is spot-on. I remind my friends of this when they make 1% comments. Why limit your population to just the US? The average household earns $50,000/year. This is the top 0.98% of individual incomes in the world. If you are an average American, you are the 1%! Welcome!

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