How does everyone here earn so much?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
pennywise
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by pennywise » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:18 am

GCD wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:05 am
You also have to keep in mind that salary doesn't equate to net worth. I have a good friend whose wife makes around 1.2M, but their lifestyle doesn't reflect it. And that's NOT because they are LBYM! They just make horrible financial and real estate decisions that put them into debt that they are forever trying to out from under. Despite being high wage earners they need Dave Ramsey more than BH.
We had a very interesting conversation with an attorney a few years ago who is a social contact of my husband in a conservation group they are both active in. His practice consists of doing estate planning for top tier individuals, doctors/lawyers/Indian chiefs (ie CEO/COO/CFO level businessmen and women)

He was advising us and surprised us very much by saying that our net worth was that of many of his clients. As midlevel college administrators we always assumed those folks were worth far more than us. As our friend said though, the doctors would roll in and tell him they had a million dollar primary house-with a mortgage of $700K. A second home worth another million-with a mortgage of $600K. Leased luxury cars. Private school tuition up to and including full pay for Ivy League schools if the kids got accepted. And so on. It was a good reminder that as the saying also goes 'it's not what you make, it's what you keep.'

My sense is there are a lot of folks here who are at the stage in life in which many years of cautious living-and yes healthy incomes but not necessarily 1% level paychecks-are yielding those dividends of being able to humblebrag ask if they can retire with their $3-4 million in 401K assets.

magicrat
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by magicrat » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:22 am

Don't underestimate how much you can make in corporate america. I work for a F500 company and about 20% of our salaried US employees make >$200k all in (base, bonus, stock), and about 7%>$200k base salary only.

WineLover116
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by WineLover116 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:27 am

Agreed on the self-selection point. I also think because people can't brag about their investment portfolios or income in polite company, they really let loose on internet hobby boards like this one. I see it all the time on other boards I follow. For example, a woman may feel special - and dare I say elite - because she carries an Hermes Birkin bag. What she can't say in real life, but what she can say on a hobby board, is that hers is super special snowflake because it's completely bespoke (an honor Hermes only bestows on its best ($$$$) customers).
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:43 am
Cuzz35 wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:37 am
I ask myself this same question when I drive around the area I live. It's littered with million plus mansions and people buy homes for $500k just to bulldoze them to build a 2 million dollar home. The 500k one was nicer than my house.

I don't care that I am not as wealthy but I do wonder how there are so many people making that kind of money and what the heck they do.
Most of it is being financed by debt. The debt is backed by investment portfolios and/or income. Big hat, few if any cattle. Don't believe everything you see, alot of it is a mirage built on hope. I see it in my own town, folks are "renting" cars - they get a new one each year; they are running on fumes. The vacations? funded with what ought to be their retirement savings. College for Janey? - Parent Plus loans, student loans, wages, gifts from relatives (maybe?), scholarships. Money in the bank? - what's that? Do you take Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover? Good to go, if not, they are up the creek.
I don't doubt that a lot of people are financing their lifestyles on debt. But I sometimes find this response to be a bit self-serving. Some people also just have more money and their lifestyles reflect that.

staythecourse
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by staythecourse » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:29 am

Honestly, any conversation you have about salary that includes a lot of physicians is going to have 200k salary is going to be common. Then throw in folks who work in corporate, lawyers, and SBO and it is no surprise everyone seems to make a lot of money.

The other, as already mentioned, is selection bias. If one does not make a lot and have expendable money to invest then they are not likely to visit a financial forum dedicated to talking about investing money they don't have. Makes sense.

As mentioned though it is NOT about how much you make, but how much you save. That is the ONLY gross number that matters.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

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BL
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by BL » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:30 am

I don't worry about how much someone is making and I see that some of the higher income folks are lacking in basic money handling and investing skills that could benefit greatly from Bogleheads. Many decisions are not greatly affected by how many zeros or commas are in their investments.

madmartigan
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by madmartigan » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:39 am

bligh wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:07 am
I think that is pretty accurate except for the HCOL set. I have seen a fair number of posts on here by people who are obviously in a LCOL area.

That Venn diagram makes it seem like there is no one in LCOL areas posting on this forum which is not true. :)
I see your point! Perhaps I should have titled it "People who post 'how am I doing' threads?' :)

Jon H
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Jon H » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:46 am

After more than 20 years of earning less than 60K, somehow I recently earned over 200K. I earned it by working very hard.

Who cares?

Its not a competition.

My life isn't any richer with an increased salary or net worth. I still eat the same lunches and wear the same clothes and drive the same car as I did before. I still hang out with the same friends. The only thing that has changed is the size of my portfolio and my sense of financial security. The latter is the result of education here, reading and other self-education, and engaging in financially healthy practices to develop a plan. Before I started all of this a few years ago, I'll admit I was blissfully unaware of what wealth was all about.
Consider gain and loss, but never be greedy and everything will be alright (fortune cookie)

KlangFool
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:48 am

markesquire wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:27 am
OP here. Thanks for the input. As I expected, I think it's largely self-selection.

To clarify, I agree that comparison can kill joy and contentment, and I'm not somehow saddened or worse off because someone else earns more. What I was wondering is whether I (and many others) are not earning what we are worth; that others with similar education and experience and productivity are demanding and receiving significantly more than I am, simply because I never knew what the "going rate" was.
markesquire,

<< What I was wondering is whether I (and many others) are not earning what we are worth; >>

It is very simple.

People that are interested in earning more, they do not wonder about this question. They spend the time and effort to find out the answer and work towards that goal. Meanwhile, others just take and accept whatever it is given to them.

It is a choice. Do you want something bad enough? If you do, you make it happened. If not, you just take whatever given to them.

Life is fair. Effort matters.

KlangFool

knightrider
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by knightrider » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:50 am

I think a lot of life is explained by the 80s movie, "Trading Places". Most people jobs can be easily replaced by anyone far cheaper. The reason they have the job is because they "fit" into the culture of their colleagues... It also boils down to trust. People trust those similar to them.

MinhN
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by MinhN » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:54 am

I am new here and am also bewildered. I earn a slight above average income but try to save as much as possible. With all the doom and gloom in the news about Americans not having much money saved anymore, I'm assuming the Bogleheads forum must be filled with either old folks, high earners, or incredibly scrupulous people. You would be hard pressed to find the average person who struggles day to day to be concerned with what saving vehicle to use.

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Clever_Username
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Clever_Username » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:57 am

markesquire wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:47 am
I'm a relatively new reader here, and I appreciate all of the wisdom and information.

Many of the threads here begin with an OP describing their situation and asking the group for input. I'm often surprised by how many of these posts come from people earning over $200k, which is a very high salary from my perspective, and I'm an attorney living in a high COL city. But that type of salary doesn't seem abnormal in the posts here.
I see elsewhere you're less than a decade into your career (same here, by the way). Many people on this forum are decades into a lucrative career. That's where a lot of it comes from.

I don't let it get to me. I'm a teacher and, for that matter, there's a nonzero chance I'm overpaid (don't tell my school that, please). But I make a lot less than some people 30 years older than I am who are in a higher paying line of work. That doesn't hurt me in any way, and it shouldn't hurt you either.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, _Layer Cake_ | | I survived my first downturn and all I got was this signature line.

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Clever_Username
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Clever_Username » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:58 am

knightrider wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:50 am
I think a lot of life is explained by the 80s movie, "Trading Places". Most people jobs can be easily replaced by anyone far cheaper. The reason they have the job is because they "fit" into the culture of their colleagues... It also boils down to trust. People trust those similar to them.
Trust and cornering the frozen orange juice market. :wink:
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, _Layer Cake_ | | I survived my first downturn and all I got was this signature line.

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Pajamas
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Pajamas » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:00 pm

markesquire wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:47 am
. . . maybe I need some advice on increasing my salary. No one ever taught me how to effectively maximize salary -- in fact, the people who know (higher ups) have every incentive to keep newer employees in the dark. And since joining the workforce after the recession, in my experience the economy is a buyers' (employer's) market, where the employer doesn't need to offer raises/promotions because there's a long line of applicants waiting for your job if you're not happy. In my experience, the only way to get a raise has been to change employers.
You should emphasize this part of your post because this is a good place to get advice about how to increase your salary, and more generally your income, from what I have seen. (That is in general and not necessarily in particular to lawyers, however.) It is true that wages have not kept pace with corporate profits and similar measures of the economy recently.

Also put everything in perspective. Average household income in the U.S. is in the mid-$50k area but varies by state from something like $40k to almost twice that. So there is a huge range of average income in the U.S. even before looking at education, age, physical characteristics, etc.

H-Town
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by H-Town » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:03 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:48 am
markesquire wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:27 am
OP here. Thanks for the input. As I expected, I think it's largely self-selection.

To clarify, I agree that comparison can kill joy and contentment, and I'm not somehow saddened or worse off because someone else earns more. What I was wondering is whether I (and many others) are not earning what we are worth; that others with similar education and experience and productivity are demanding and receiving significantly more than I am, simply because I never knew what the "going rate" was.
markesquire,

<< What I was wondering is whether I (and many others) are not earning what we are worth; >>

It is very simple.

People that are interested in earning more, they do not wonder about this question. They spend the time and effort to find out the answer and work towards that goal. Meanwhile, others just take and accept whatever it is given to them.

It is a choice. Do you want something bad enough? If you do, you make it happened. If not, you just take whatever given to them.

Life is fair. Effort matters.

KlangFool
100% agree!

wrongfunds
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by wrongfunds » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:07 pm

I am always shocked when west coast salaries are mentioned here. I thought we were paid decent wages being engineers in Boston area and all that. But when they start talking about pulling $350K per year at age 33 and only having 3 millions in retirement account, I start feeling sorry for myself having wasted my life on the wrong coast.
Last edited by wrongfunds on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Nestegg_User » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:08 pm

...adding to the mix:

in the later parts of our careers, I was the lower earner at just six figure (but with pension and health insurance in retirement) and spouse was the director level (corner office, just not THE corner office) and together were over $250 k in a MCOL area. but that’s after decades in career with graduate degrees plus credentials and experience... and luck. {we did retire with decent nest egg, over two and a half and a pension... but never were in the country club, etc ...had nice cars (Accord and mid-range domestic) but not “beemers” or “persuades”, were in decent neighborhoods (UMC) in later years but not the very high end. You wouldn’t have known our savings from most outward appearance...
In the early years, we remember trying to save even $100/month, trying to figure out how others could even go “clubbing” (even when single, neither of us did, couldn’t afford to) or even afford new cars. {i even remember picking up aluminum cans off the highway and corner...12 cents a pound then. so even some of us well off now had “challenging” times and can remember them and are grateful for our current lifestyle...think we’ve earned some of that}

Just as we’ve known others that got kicked off the treadmill, usually in late forties or early fifties, and could never get back into high earning positions, we’ve also known those that were in good earning positions that blew through almost all of it... Neither of those type will be posting here or may even know of it.

Also, it appears that a huge number of posters are in high COL areas (Bay Area, NY, DC, Boston, etc) and that will significantly skew the numbers they report... $250+ where we were is significantly different than in those locations.

Even before, you often needed to “sell it” (go get a job at a new location) to significantly increase your comp - - being the “go to” person helped keep you there but didn’t often get you ahead. {It’s nice to hear from those left behind that they needed two (or more) people to do what you did before...it reinforced that it was the right thing to do to bring us closer to market} This is especially true if some major item occurred: new MBA ,CPA, or PE etc. It’s often known that the current employer still thinks of you as the original applicant not as an experienced individual with (now) further credentials. [at eight years in, you’re probably at the cusp of either stagnation in your current position or viewed as not aggressive enough for other employers - - you’ll need to make whatever move you need now or very soon.]
Last edited by Nestegg_User on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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bottlecap
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by bottlecap » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:10 pm

randomizer wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:50 am
I don’t know why people would lie on an “anonymous” forum. Unless they get a pathological thrill out of transgressing.
That’s my wonder, too.

As to the OP, it’s no secret. If you want to increase your salary, you have to make yourself more valuable to your employer.

Or go into business for yourself.

Both involve initiative, persistence, and lots of hard work.

Sometimes, however, increasing your salary is just a matter of changing employers. Keeping an employee is less difficult than attracting one and the main form of attraction is $$.

Good luck,


JT

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VictoriaF
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:11 pm

onourway wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:50 am
Self selection. People who are likely to be interested in investing and finance are more likely than average to have good incomes.
Both: self-selection and selection. Self-selection is a higher likelihood of people to describe their achievements and conceal their failures.

Selection is you paying more attention to posts about unusual achievements than those about ordinary situations.

Victoria
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:16 pm

wrongfunds wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:07 pm
I am always shocked when west coast salaries are mentioned here. I thought we were paid decent wages being engineers in Boston area and all that. But when they start talking about pulling $350K per year at age 33 and only having 3 millions in retirement account, I start feeling sorry for myself having wasted my life on the wrong coast.
Comparison is the thief of joy!
The grass is not greener on the other side, if it is it might be because of all the manure that was laid down before it greened up.
I recall being in the San Fran area during the dot-com collapse, it was not pretty. Cycles come and go.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:19 pm

The ones who do brag. The ones who don't keep quiet on the subject. I'm in the second category.
PJW

Fess McGee
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Fess McGee » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:21 pm

We're high income earners in rural flyover country. I feel we get far more "mileage" out of the LCOL and having no debt vs. the income.

marcopolo
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by marcopolo » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:24 pm

MnyGrl wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:57 am

Yup. A fair amount of humblebrag - "Can I retire now that we have three million?" :D
I don't think that would even come close to qualifying as a humble brag here.

You would get about half the responses saying it was way too risky because a 2% withdrawal rate is likely to fail given high valuations and low bond yields, and even that only gives you $60k to work with, and how will you pay for healthcare, and don't forget about LTC, you better work another 10 years.

:sharebeer
Last edited by marcopolo on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:24 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:48 am
...
Life is fair. Effort matters.
...
Just world hypothesis, a logical fallacy.

PJW

staythecourse
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by staythecourse » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:25 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:19 pm
The ones who do brag. The ones who don't keep quiet on the subject. I'm in the second category.
PJW
Or the ones who do are straightforward or matter of fact and the ones who don't are timid or reserved. That is the great part of life one can attach ANY emotion they want to any fact based on their own perceptions. I don't see the difference in the end. Either way the discussion is about HOW does everyone here make so much and not WHY do some folks talk about it and others don't.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

staythecourse
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by staythecourse » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:27 pm

marcopolo wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:24 pm
MnyGrl wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:57 am

Yup. A fair amount of humblebrag - "Can I retire now that we have three million?" :D
I don't think that would even come close to qualifying as a humble brag here.

You would get about half the responses saying it was way too risky because a 2% withdrawal rate is likely to fail given high valuations and low bond yields, and even that only gives you $60k to work with, and how will you pay for healthcare, and don't forget about LTC, you better work another 10 years.

:sharebeer
This is what I would think (maybe wrong) why folks get intimidated asking questions on this board. You will seemingly see as many folks saying you can't live on 3 million as you do who say you can. Heck, I remember some thread folks arguing 5+ million was not a near guarantee to survive in retirement.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

vested1
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by vested1 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:28 pm

I respect people unless they give me a reason not to, and even then, I'll give them a second and third chance. This has nothing to do with how much they make, or even how much they've amassed. I tend to get overly focused on executing my plan, which compared to most here, is extremely modest, as was my income in working years. It helps to remind myself that I'm not all that. I'd like to think there are many others here who feel the same, and would hope that relative wealth is mere window dressing to many if not most of us. It also helps to think in terms of percentages, rather than dollar amounts when measuring personal progress.

We all strive to do the best we can with what we've been given, and to set goals which are at least slightly out of reach. Maybe it's because of my age, but if there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that no matter how hard you try there will always be someone who achieves more, so there's no point in obsessing over it.

Having a bigger salary or a larger portfolio doesn't make you a better person, after all. If I can leave the world a better place than I found it then I will have achieved my goal. Personal wealth or a higher salary has very little to do with that.

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triceratop
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by triceratop » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:30 pm

I enjoy such posts because it confirms that the ability to earn high income is not at all correlated with inherent knowledge of how to manage one's investments. Because I do not currently earn such a high income this helps in terms of disproving my doubts about my ability to understand finance.

Just to counter the perception that most posters are wealthy, many people would see my posts and think: "this guy is always talking about his taxable account and tax loss harvesting and tax efficiency, he must be maxxing his 401k and IRA already -- impressive! he must be a high earner". But this reasoning is flawed. This is all to say that biases and perceptions can color how you view posts.

In reality: my 2017 gross income excluding dividends was $36,000, and my use of a taxable account is completely unrelated to my skill in filling a 401k/IRA.
livesoft wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:16 am
SuperGrafx wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:00 am
Nothing beats the posts from, say, a doctor with $9 million in assets asking the forum if he has enough to retire. I mean, come on! Kind of makes the rest of us think twice about posting.
C'mon! Does anyone really seriously think twice about posting? When I read such uber-funded posts, I usually laugh at first, then get a twinge of sympathy that those folks are so far out of it. No worries though, the twinge passes quickly.

I don't have that kind of money nor that kind of income, but the uber wealthy don't bother me at all. They have their own set of problems that could make them terribly unhappy for their entire lives.

And by the same token, I don't think twice about posting when someone who makes less than $10,000 a year wants to learn how to invest. I was that person at one time.
At the same time, it amuses me to see someone casually mention a single order TLH'ing 1000 shares of FLRN (~$30/share) when that is perhaps 2 years of savings for me.

It's all very amusing because I suspect the only real difference is time.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

KlangFool
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:30 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:24 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:48 am
...
Life is fair. Effort matters.
...
Just world hypothesis, a logical fallacy.

PJW
PJW,

1) You are what you choose to believe.

2) So what? Even if the world is not fair, you have a choice:

A) Just accept whatever the system gives to you.

B) Transcend the system and fight for whatever that you want out of your life.

3) In any case, effort matters. It does not guarantee success. Nothing in the world does. But, effort gives you a fighting chance.

KlangFool
Last edited by KlangFool on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JoeRetire
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:32 pm

markesquire wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:47 am
So, are those high salaries abnormal in reality but common here because this is a financial forum that happens to appeal to high earners, or are tons of people quietly earning far higher salaries than they let on?
I'm sure it's some of both.

This is a forum for people who have enough money to invest. Since about half of all Americans have no investments at all, clearly this site skews to the higher end of income.

And not everyone who makes $200k+/year advertises that fact.

For the latter years of my career, I was making that much. But always living below our means probably makes it less visible to our friends and acquaintances.
Very Stable Genius

DaftInvestor
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:32 pm

In my case:
1) I work really hard
2) I chose a career that has higher earning potential
3) I work really hard at work - I am not smarter than many of my peers - but I do out-work many of them
4) I continue to improve myself in my spare time to assure I stay relevant in my career
5) I work really hard

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GerryL
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by GerryL » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:33 pm

To the OP:
Many people here are well into their careers, so their salaries (and net worth) will tend to trend a bit higher than the younger cohort. I was never a high earner, but in my last few years before retirement my income was apparently (according to an article I saw yesterday) in the upper 50% for my metro area. Topping out of FICA for a month or two for a few years was my peak.

And remember, it is not all about what you make; it's about what you save for the future -- and how much you spend (or don't spend) in the present. To those 66 year olds who have $3 million saved and ask if they can afford to retire, I would say, "Yes, of course you can -- if you are willing to live within your very substantial means."

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:36 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:30 pm
...
1) You are what you choose to believe.
...
I am a member of the reality-based community.

PJW

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HomerJ
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by HomerJ » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:40 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:15 am
**Actionably and specific to your financial question:

No matter the field but especially for this with higher income streams or potential to have one, amongst the ways to increase income might be:

1. Work harder, longer. Strive for a promotion, raise, etc.
2. Lower debt through paying off existing debt, taking on no new debt, practicing frugality.
3. Maximizing one's assets via "Bogle investment basics".
4. Securing what one has already saved through #3.
5. Exploring alternate income streams concurrent to the existing via, Rental Property, etc, etc, etc.
6. Job or career, or employment, switching. (level up).

There are many examples of very high income earners who retire broke because of any or all of #1-6.

j :D
7. Marry someone who makes more than you. I highly recommend it. :)

But seriously, two college-educated people can easily make $150k together. $75k salaries for each by your 30s or 40s is not unreasonable at all.

And that puts you in the top 15% or so.

$100k salaries for each in your 50s isn't unreasonable either. And that puts you in the top 5% of household incomes.

Remember, lots of different ages on this site. Comparing yourself to someone 20 years older than you and farther along in their career is misleading.
Last edited by HomerJ on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cheyenne
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Cheyenne » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:41 pm

How does everyone here earn so much?
I don't. I just want to be smart and make the most of what I have saved, and I am grateful that so many share their knowledge and experience freely.

coalcracker
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by coalcracker » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:42 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:19 pm
The ones who do brag. The ones who don't keep quiet on the subject. I'm in the second category.
PJW
Outside of this message board, my wife, and my accountant, no one knows how much I earn. Disclosing my true salary here was never about bragging (perhaps this is a meta-brag?). Some DO earn high salaries, and it was exceedingly useful to me to read their (presumably true) stories when I was early in my savings career.

I understand the selection bias, but why would someone lie about their salary on an anonymous message board? :oops:

KlangFool
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:44 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:36 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:30 pm
...
1) You are what you choose to believe.
...
I am a member of the reality-based community.

PJW
PJW,

I came from a country where the constitution discriminate the minority and the government robbed the minority of their education opportunities, properties, and businesses. Unfairness was a fact of life. If we choose to accept that reality and believe that effort does not matter, we would not have survived and thrived.

So, to you, it is a theoretical discussion. To me, it is time-tested and proven life experience.

KlangFool

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:46 pm

coalcracker wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:42 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:19 pm
The ones who do brag. The ones who don't keep quiet on the subject. I'm in the second category.
PJW
Outside of this message board, my wife, and my accountant, no one knows how much I earn. Disclosing my true salary here was never about bragging (perhaps this is a meta-brag?). Some DO earn high salaries, and it was exceedingly useful to me to read their (presumably true) stories when I was early in my savings career.

I understand the selection bias, but why would someone lie about their salary on an anonymous message board? :oops:
Thank you for using the Doh! emoticon to call me stupid.

I made no such claim. Kindly refrain from misrepresenting my plain meaning.

PJW

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Kenkat
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by Kenkat » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:47 pm

This all reminds me of a quote:

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
— George Orwell, Animal Farm

Most here are fortunate to have won the birthright lottery of being born in the right place at the right time. We are awash in riches but wonder if it should be more. Which reminds me of another quote:

Enough.
— John Bogle

staythecourse
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by staythecourse » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:48 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:44 pm

I came from a country where the constitution discriminate the minority and the government robbed the minority of their education opportunities, properties, and businesses. Unfairness was a fact of life. If we choose to accept that reality and believe that effort does not matter, we would not have survived and thrived.

So, to you, it is a theoretical discussion. To me, it is time-tested and proven life experience.

KlangFool
If you can find a way to make that actionable I can say I would LOVE to read about that more. It is always great inspiration to find those who came from difficult backgrounds achieve success.

Good luck.
Last edited by staythecourse on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

marcopolo
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by marcopolo » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:49 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:27 pm
marcopolo wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:24 pm
MnyGrl wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:57 am

Yup. A fair amount of humblebrag - "Can I retire now that we have three million?" :D
I don't think that would even come close to qualifying as a humble brag here.

You would get about half the responses saying it was way too risky because a 2% withdrawal rate is likely to fail given high valuations and low bond yields, and even that only gives you $60k to work with, and how will you pay for healthcare, and don't forget about LTC, you better work another 10 years.

:sharebeer
This is what I would think (maybe wrong) why folks get intimidated asking questions on this board. You will seemingly see as many folks saying you can't live on 3 million as you do who say you can. Heck, I remember some thread folks arguing 5+ million was not a near guarantee to survive in retirement.

Good luck.
In fairness, i doubt the discussion was about whether one could "survive" on $5m, you have to also consider desired lifestyle.

Someone with $5m living a $200k/yr lifestyle has many of the same concerns about their money lasting the rest of their life as someone with $1m living a $40k/yr lifestyle. Sure, they may have more options to cut back expenses if needed, but they are not asking whether they can survive, they are asking whether they can maintain their lifestyle. I think both of them have legitimate reasons to ask the question. I am not sure why we would encourage one and discourage the other. I am firmly in between those two example numbers and believe i have learned a lot from various discussions on both ends of the networth/income spectrum.

To address the OPs original questions:
Why so skewed? There is a lot of selection bias on this forum

How? Many paths: Advanced education in the right fields (Law, Med, High Tech, etc.), Risk taking (Business owners, start-ups, etc), hard work, and often a more than a little luck. Don't discount luck (right place, right time, etc.). Many people are born on 3rd base and think they hit a triple...
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

RollTide31457
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by RollTide31457 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:50 pm

markesquire wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:47 am
I'm a relatively new reader here, and I appreciate all of the wisdom and information.

Many of the threads here begin with an OP describing their situation and asking the group for input. I'm often surprised by how many of these posts come from people earning over $200k, which is a very high salary from my perspective, and I'm an attorney living in a high COL city. But that type of salary doesn't seem abnormal in the posts here.

So, are those high salaries abnormal in reality but common here because this is a financial forum that happens to appeal to high earners, or are tons of people quietly earning far higher salaries than they let on? If the latter is true, maybe I need some advice on increasing my salary. No one ever taught me how to effectively maximize salary -- in fact, the people who know (higher ups) have every incentive to keep newer employees in the dark. And since joining the workforce after the recession, in my experience the economy is a buyers' (employer's) market, where the employer doesn't need to offer raises/promotions because there's a long line of applicants waiting for your job if you're not happy. In my experience, the only way to get a raise has been to change employers.
Been wondering about this too since reading this forum - haha...

Thought making $100k was good until reading how much these people (many very young) are making...

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triceratop
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by triceratop » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:51 pm

Let's try to stay on-topic and avoid personal attacks and inferences of personal attacks. Also, as a reminder, politics and political comments are off-limits (even by celebrated authors).
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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badgerland
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by badgerland » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:52 pm

I made $91500 last year. I wouldn't dream of trying to advance to get more money because my work life is literally stress free and I live 10 minutes from work. These idiots posting million dollar figures asking if they're on track to retire are either financially dumb or looking for some sort of assurance from anonymous posters because they're unhappy in life.

ThriftyPhD
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by ThriftyPhD » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:52 pm

bligh wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:07 am
madmartigan wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:03 am
Here's my fun attempt to graphically represent my hypothesis.

Image
I think that is pretty accurate except for the HCOL set. I have seen a fair number of posts on here by people who are obviously in a LCOL area.

That Venn diagram makes it seem like there is no one in LCOL areas posting on this forum which is not true. :)
The green area (Post on Bogleheads) not covered by the blue area (Live in a High COLA area) would represent those outside HCOL, either LCOL or MCOL.

bgf
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by bgf » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:52 pm

coalcracker wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:42 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:19 pm
The ones who do brag. The ones who don't keep quiet on the subject. I'm in the second category.
PJW
Outside of this message board, my wife, and my accountant, no one knows how much I earn. Disclosing my true salary here was never about bragging (perhaps this is a meta-brag?). Some DO earn high salaries, and it was exceedingly useful to me to read their (presumably true) stories when I was early in my savings career.

I understand the selection bias, but why would someone lie about their salary on an anonymous message board? :oops:
i've seen this pop up on here a few times now, but people lie to themselves... constantly... all the time.

take someone who doesn't often get a bonus but received one recently. that person would be far more likely to report their income as including the bonus when describing their salary, even if that person did not expect to make that kind of bonus in the current year.

this kind of thing even happens on anonymous surveys...
“TE OCCIDERE POSSUNT SED TE EDERE NON POSSUNT NEFAS EST"

coalcracker
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by coalcracker » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:56 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:46 pm
coalcracker wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:42 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:19 pm
The ones who do brag. The ones who don't keep quiet on the subject. I'm in the second category.
PJW
Outside of this message board, my wife, and my accountant, no one knows how much I earn. Disclosing my true salary here was never about bragging (perhaps this is a meta-brag?). Some DO earn high salaries, and it was exceedingly useful to me to read their (presumably true) stories when I was early in my savings career.

I understand the selection bias, but why would someone lie about their salary on an anonymous message board? :oops:
Thank you for using the Doh! emoticon to call me stupid.

I made no such claim. Kindly refrain from misrepresenting my plain meaning.

PJW
I apologize, that's not what I meant at all (and I'm certainly not calling you stupid).

Of course it's fine to keep one's finances private on an anonymous, voluntary message board. My point was that I don't understand why one would disclose a false salary.

gotester2000
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by gotester2000 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:59 pm

One observation that I have on this forum is a high percentage of physicians who have very good salaries but are more interested in loan forgiveness than paying off student debt which they can do with a little effort.

donall
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by donall » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:00 pm

Markersquire, you are young. If you read this forum and you are in your 20s you will do fine no matter how much or little you make.

jodydavis
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by jodydavis » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:00 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:30 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:48 am
...
Life is fair.
...
3) In any case, effort matters. It does not guarantee success. Nothing in the world does. But, effort gives you a fighting chance.

KlangFool
These are two very different statements. I agree with the latter. But it's very different from the former. Believing that life is fair may be a good strategy, but that doesn't make it true.

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HomerJ
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Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

Post by HomerJ » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:00 pm

Duplicate.
Last edited by HomerJ on Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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