If you ask people what it means to be “rich,” you might get a whole lot of different answers. The term “billionaires” makes eyes pop open, with famous captains of industry becoming celebrities for bringing home huge sums of cash. But it doesn’t take private jets, yachts, and multiple vacation homes to live a comfortable life with a healthy bank account. For most folks, getting past living paycheck to paycheck in a nice house with reasonable amenities and ample free time for fun is “rich” enough.
At the sheer economic level in modern-day America, the magic number where most people begin to approach that sense of financial security is when you break the threshold of earning a six-figure salary. Technically, that means making between $100,000 and $999,000 per year in gross income. Of course, the high end of that range gets you further into the “rich” category. And too close to the lower end might feel like you’re falling short.
The good news is that hitting that sweet spot — let’s call it $150,000 to around $400,000 — is a totally doable career goal. Sure, it means a lot of hard work ahead of you, but it also means setting a realistic milestone to hit in a world with ample opportunity. You can get there through a combination of strategic career choices, a forward-looking plan, and the correct attitude. The following five ingredients can help you make the recipe for reaching that six-figure salary which will make life more rewarding.
1. Frame of Mind
Right off the bat, you need to know that you will need to keep the right frame of mind to reach your goal of hitting that six-figure salary. Project a positive attitude in all that you do. Fortify your confidence with knowledge about your targeted industry and look at every setback as a learning opportunity. Never forget that you are smart and strong. This will not only help keep your energy up, but you will also find your positivity reflected back to you in your interactions with peers, mentors, and clients. And always stay hungry for that next step on the path. Desire will drive you, and prospective employers will respond to it. Imagine being the person you need to be, and you will become that person.
2. Skill Set Journey
When people make major career decisions, choosing a field to grow in is key. You may know folks who have earned substantial degrees in school only to find that the job market in their vertical isn’t very rewarding. If you want to get to that six-figure salary goal, find a sector that offers high-paying jobs. A few areas to consider with plentiful positions include healthcare, technology, finance, policing, engineering, trucking, and marketing. Those are very broad categories with plenty of opportunities at all levels. Research the area that interests you and use resources like Glass Door to see what your earning potential will be.
3. Who You Know
You’ve heard it a million times — it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Networking is one of the most important skills you can have when you’re looking to advance your career to a six-figure salary. Once you have identified the industry you wish to pursue, start meeting people who work within it. Offer to take people out for coffee and interview them about their journey. Folks love talking about themselves; be a good listener. Seek common interests. Maybe this is a person you can go hiking with or join their book club. Think of networking as part of the job, but also see it as a way to make new connections that could lead to lifelong bonds.
4. Coming Up with a Plan
It’s great that you’ve chosen a field, started studying hard, doing all your research, and networking like crazy. That’s a lot of the hard work you will need to do to reach that six-figure salary goal. Now is the time to make a structured timeline of how you will get there. Think of where you want to be in five years and create an outline of steps towards your goals. Imagine it as a to-do list for the long run. Education, research, applying for jobs, setting up meetings — none of it is just going to happen. Make the plan and stick to the timeline. And don’t forget to weave in one key ingredient: perseverance. You’re running a marathon. Keep moving forward, and you will cross that finish line.
5. Negotiating Your Value
At the end of your plan for hitting that six-figure salary must be a realistic assessment of what you’re worth. You’ve amassed knowledge in your field. You’ve hit goals and achieved great things. You’ve fattened up your contact base with more LinkedIns than you can count. That next position you’re interviewing for? Hiring managers need to know just how valuable you really are. Be ready to tell your story and prove that you are worth those six figures. Negotiate with the leverage you have earned and prepare to ask for what you are truly worth.