Six Figure Salary

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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What exactly is the allure of a six figure salary? Are there six figure vacation destinations that are off limits to those earning $99K a year? How about certain six figure foods that only $100K+ earners may eat? Does the "hundred-thou crowd" party in undisclosed locations with Dick Cheney? Shouldn't Cheney get to party with the "hundred-mil crowd" anyway?

Six figure incomes are associated primarily with two types of people: the landed aristocracy and by-your-bootstraps entrepreneurs. Of the two, it's the Horatio Algers who win us over, not the scions of the chattering classes who were handed their Ivy League educations on Waterford crystal trays. It offends our belief that America is founded on strictly meritocratic principles when the equivalent of living brain donors can ascend to the pinnacles of corporate, political, and social life.

What a Six Figure Salary Means

A six figure salary is but a psychological hurdle that's come to represent myriad things in our corporate culture. The reality is, you're probably better off just below the cusp of the next-lowest tax bracket--at least if you're interested in keeping more of your money. Those who run in the $80K and $90K crowd understand better than anyone that it's not what you make but what you keep.

Let's get one thing clear: a six figure salary in and of itself is not an all-access pass to the Martha's Vineyard club, nor is the designation redeemable for a 100-foot yacht. Usually, a six figure salary provides just enough comfort to whet one's appetite for more sumptuous worldly goods. As many a philosopher has said, people don't own things, things own people.


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