Looking around the table, it was a very startling declaration considering that all of us were college-educated, professionals in our fields. Some of us got graduate degrees and some of us are busy climbing that corporate ladder, putting in more than our fair share of work in order to get ahead. If you had to pick a group of people who are supposed to “make it” in this world, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more representative sample than our little table. Except we were all feeling pretty discouraged about the prospect of our so-called “bright future”.
Could it be true? Is making a six-figure income no longer enough?
But somewhere along the way, things got more complicated. Student loan repayment, rising consumer debt, rising cost of real estate, rising cost of healthcare, rising cost of retirement, rising cost of consumer goods - all of that got in the way of our nifty little plan.
Carlos and I make a pretty darn good living. Together, we make in excess of $150K+ per year before taxes. We have no kids and we currently rent, so for where we are at our income is great. But I wouldn’t consider us well-off by any means. Sure, we are able to save some money, invest in the market, fully fund our Roth IRAs, take advantage of our employer-sponsored 401-K plans, and even go on vacations occasionally, but at the end of the day, we don’t feel like we’re absolutely making a killing. Add to that the prospect of having children in the near future and potentially buying a house, and I’m not so confident that we’re in such great shape to make it work.
Don’t get me wrong, we know how fortunate we are. We are so blessed to be able to live the lives we’re living. But there’s something inherently wrong in the system if we feel less than confident about the future despite earning above the median household income. And how about those who work just as hard as we do (if not harder) but have been afforded less economic opportunities than us? If people aren’t even crossing the six-figure threshold, it becomes even more challenging for them to achieve the so-called “American Dream”.
Sorry for the rant. But as we continue to plan for our financial future we’re faced with the worry that our incomes might not necessarily be enough to fund our future family’s needs. As we process through this we’re left with the realization that we are going to have to think outside the box: we need to create a Plan B and maybe even a Plan C. We need to develop multiple streams of income and create side hustles – all while continuing to live a frugal lifestyle. While it may not have been what we envisioned our lives would be, we can roll with the punches. We’re fully committed to making it work.
What do you think? Is making six-figures not enough?