Have you ever wondered what it’s like earning a six figure salary?
Six figures. It’s a dream for lots of people. Recently I read Ramit Sethi’s post about his insights on earning a six figure income and I wanted to share my experience earning six figures.
Growing up my parents were middle class. They busted their ass so we could live a “normal” life in America. But kids aren’t stupid. We saw how hard they worked and how much they loved us. My mom would pick up multiple jobs just to make those vacations to Disney World a reality.
So when I was asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, all I wanted was a six figure income. Six figures was more than my parents income combined. Imagine all the opportunities if I could make more than both of them?
Fast forward 11 years later, I passed my pharmacy boards. I went from making $15 to $65 per hour overnight.
Today I’m going to give you my insights and experiences about a six figure income and show you what it’s really like on the other side.
Insight #1: Money doesn’t make you happy… but it can help shortcut it
When I first started as a pharmacist, I was miserable. Especially compared to college, I wasn’t happy anymore. Why was I miserable with more money?
Here were some of the reason I came up with…
- Adventure: Whether it was going to Vegas for ASHP Midyear, hosting health fairs, or falling asleep in class, it was exciting to do new things and meet people with my supportive friends.
- Purpose: I knew why I woke up in the morning. It was to become a pharmacist and change the healthcare system.
- Growth: Some days were harder than others, but it was rewarding pushing my limits and striving toward my potential.
But things were different in the working world. I became obsessed with making money… and I was miserable because of it.
So I refocused on what made me happy. Things like…
- Rebuilding deep relationships with family and friends
- Remembering why I woke up everyday
- Striving toward my full potential
Money couldn’t buy these things directly. But money could buy lunch/dinner for the people I care about, camera equipment for my YouTube channel, and books and coaching to expand my mind.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can help shortcut it.
Insight #2: Nothing really changes… but you can invest more
Just because you start earning six figures doesn’t mean you have to start living a baller lifestyle. In fact, it’s probably a poor life choice to immediately ball out on high ticket items (beamers, houses, and or a $150,000 rubber duck… WTF?!?)
My lifestyle is pretty much the same as it was back in college. I still love hole in the walls, live off protein shakes, and don’t have TV/cable.
But one thing that changed was my mindset with investing.
The biggest perk of a six figure income is that you don’t need to worry about living paycheck to paycheck and you can focus on investing.
Here are some of the ways I invested…
Money– I started investing more into the market. Want to invest? I have an article here. And it wasn’t overnight. It was actually a slow process.
It started by maxing out my Roth IRA, matching my 401K, and then opening up a taxable account. All I bought were index funds. As I made more money, I experimented with peer to peer lending, stocks, sector ETFs, and now cryptocurrency.
The key to investing is take one step at a time. Keep it simple. Index funds will be fine getting you 90% of the way there. A lot of people just get caught up trying to be “perfect”, give up, and end up doing nothing. Just remember 80% is better than 0%.
Fun– No lie. I still struggle with this. It’s easy to get caught up with the hustle mentality, but having fun is apart of living a rich life. Otherwise what’s the point?
- I traveled around the US (Hawaii, Portland, Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas, and ATL)
- I went to music shows and festivals (21 Savage, Future, Drake, Pretty Ricky, Mya, Amerie).
- Once in a blue moon, I would buy cool toys like a Segway S1 or a Lovesac
This is hard… especially for people like who love working. But with any habit it’s important to have balance and have positive reinforcement for any habit.
Education– I’m not talking about student loans. For me, this meant investing in online business courses, seminars, books, camera equipment, and classes.
And it’s not always so serious. Sometimes you just want to learn cool shit.
When I first moved to California, I took popping lessons with Can. The other day, I went to a business conference where we partied at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Next month, I’m going to a relationships course.
Even if you can learn one thing, it’s 100% worth it. After all when you stop learning, you die. Trust fam.
Big purchases– Every week I set aside some money for my wedding, house, and other big purchases. When you intentionally set up a plan, you don’t have to sacrifice the things you love.
Insight #3: You can buy guac at Chipotle and not feel guilty about it
The other day, I was at Chipotle trying to fit my macros in MyFitnessPal. And then there’s the dilemma… Is it worth the extra $2 for the guac?
Most college kids ask themselves this questionThis is something I used to struggle with during college. But it’s really about those small things that can make or break a “rich life”.
With my six figure income, I still can’t afford to ball out on a Tesla Model X. But it’s I can afford the small things that make me truly happy… like guac.
Instead of feeling guilty, I can tell myself… “It’s okay. This is something you love. It’s okay to spend on the small luxuries of life. You don’t need to live like a refugee anymore.“
When you can enjoy guac guilt free, it tastes that much better.
Insight #4: You can focus on things beyond money
One of the most rewarding things after making six figures is being able to take care of the people you love and give to causes that you believe in.
My mom worked hard so I could be happy. She would show her love by buying that Super Nintendo game or sending me off to summer school. Yes I wanted to go to summer school. I’m weird.
So when I got my first paycheck, I took my mom out to an expensive dinner and massage. There’s no way I can ever repay her, but it feels good taking care of the people you love.
A six figure income allows me to think of other people rather than just myself.
Want a cool tip? If you have an online savings account like Ally or Capital One, create a “gifts” account and put money in it every week. When ever you find something cool, you can either donate or send people cool gifts, like books.
It’s important to know what to expect
A lot of us grow up thinking about the limitless opportunities of a six figure salary. We imagine swimming in money. But the truth is that we don’t need a six figure salary to live a rich life… even though some money helps.
Just to recap…
- Money doesn’t make you happy… but it can help shortcut it
- Nothing really changes… but you can invest more
- You can buy guac at Chipotle and not feel guilty about it
- You can focus on things beyond money
If you currently make six figures, let me know some of your insights in the comments. If you’re working toward a six figure income, what are some things that you would do with that extra money?
Kevin the Refugee