Is a six-figure salary still the status symbol it once was, signifying that its earner has "made it"?

Maybe not. I read a story about how the lifestyle that used to cost $100,000, because of inflation, would cost you nearly $400,000 today.

But even with that, how likely is it that you as a family can crack that $100,000 income barrier? Only nearly 1 in 5 families do. Earning $100,000 is roughly double the average family income, somewhere around $50,000.

The funny thing about money is that if you ask people who earn north of $100,000 if they feel wealthy,  they'll tell you overwhelmingly no. That's because of what economists call the marginal propensity to consume.

Marginal propensity to consume means that as income rises, your wants rise right in tandem with it. So if you earn $50,000 one year and go up to $75,000 the next, you find a way to spend that extra money.

The whole key is as your earnings rise, you should be increasing what you save. The reason people who earn $100,000 don't feel wealthy is because they spend it all.

Remember, increase the percent you save when you get a pay raise. The more you save, the more freedom you earn.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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