To reach the threshold of the top 1 percent of income earners in the U.S., you need to make $389,436 a year or more, a 2013 Economic Policy Institute report finds. But the cut off varies depending on how old you are.
To be in the top 1 percent of your age group as a 25-year-old, you'd need to earn $160,000 per year. As a 50-year-old, however, you'd need to pull in $470,000 per year.
That's according to data from a 2014 report by professors Faith Guvenen, Greg Kaplan and Jae Song and adjusted for 2018 inflation rates by personal finance writer Sam Dogen of Financial Samurai.
Dogen points out that, to get an accurate picture of how close you are to being in the 1 percent, you must compare your income to others in your age group, not to the U.S. as a whole. "It's unreasonable for a 25-year-old or 30-year-old to make $470,000," he writes.
How do you stack up? Check out how much you need to earn at every age to be in the top 1 percent below.
It's worth noting that while the earnings thresholds stagnate after age 50, those for net worth continue to balloon. At 30, a $400,000 net worth will put you in the top 1 percent of your age group, but at 50, you'll need more than $7 million to have more the other 99 percent of people your age.
This happens in part because "the more you make, the easier it should be to save and grow your money," Dogen writes, thanks to the effect of compound interest over time.
In theory, as you get older, it should be easier to save and invest more, since "you only need so much for food, clothing, transportation, and shelter," Dogen says. "Everything else is discretionary, which means it's up to you to be disciplined."
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