Here's the 'dream salary' Americans want—and how much they actually get paid

John Krasinski as Jim Halpert in NBC's "The Office"
NBC | NBCUniversal | Getty Images

In an ideal world, Americans would like to earn well above $100,000 a year.

Specifically, men say their "dream salary" is $445,000, while women wish they could earn a more modest, but still substantial, $279,000 per year. That's according to a 2018 survey from MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) of 2,000 Americans.

In reality, even the typical American family earns only a fraction of that: The median household income in the U.S. is $61,372.

And even during their peak earning years, the typical American with a BA isn't making six figures: Compensation research firm PayScale found that the median salary for a college educated woman tops out at about $61,000, and for a man at just under $95,000.

Here's the full breakdown of how much full-time workers with a Bachelor's degree earn at every age. PayScale surveyed 972,788 U.S. workers between July 2015 and July 2018.

"Only 25 percent of Americans say they're currently at their dream job," MNU reports, "and the people most likely to have one are those who make a high salary, who are a recipient of a doctoral degree, who are a resident of the Southwest or who is in the Baby Boomer generation."

Both men and women listed a 401(k) match as the most important work perk.

Men said income was the key component of their dream job, followed by flexibility and creative freedom, while women said flexibility, followed by creative freedom and income.

Here's how much Americans make each year based on age and gender
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us