Who Are The Top 1% Income Earners?

Triangle Showing Top EarnersIt’s trendy to rage against the top 1% nowadays, even though the economy has recovered handsomely since the 2009 lows. Although volatility has returned in 2015 with a massive decline in oil prices signifying weaker-than-expected global demand, continued Eurozone debt issues, and frothy tech/internet valuations, opportunities still abound for those who have enough determination to succeed. Let’s explore who are the top 1% income earners in this post.

From my recent renter screen process as a landlord, I discovered the top 1% are a couple who met in law school at 25 and are now 28 year old 2nd year associates making $380,000 combined. The top 1% is also the 28 year old Google software engineer from Caltech who brings in $350,000 a year and has $400,000 in savings. The top 1% is the 35 year old cardiologist who is finally making over $300,000 a year after 11 years of post high school education and 3 years of residency work at $60,000 a year. By the time he’s 45, he will probably make over $1 million dollars.

Where else can we find the top 1%? Oh yeah, MBA grads who join Wall Street firms such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs at the standard $150,000 base salary and $30,000 sign-on bonus at age 29-30. But, you knew this already since that’s who so many people are demonstrating against. If they can last through the treacherous ups and downs of the markets, the multiple rounds of layoffs every year, the intense pressure of 60-80 hour work weeks, not to mention all the internal political landmines, they too will make over $380,000 a year by the time they are 35 year old second year Vice Presidents.


The following is a list of occupations where the top 1% reside.

Public Schools: Public colleges regularly pay their employees hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The best paid University of California employee is the football coach, with a salary of $3 million a year. Not bad for a job many would say they’d love to do for much less. Practically every single Top 25 head coach in football and basketball makes multiple-six figures. The UC’s last President earned $900,000 and UCSF’s Chancellor, Susan Desmond-Hellman made $450,000.

Politicians: In September 1999, President Clinton signed legislation that increased the presidential salary to $400,000, effective January 2001. This presidential pay raise was the first since 1969, when the president’s salary was raised from $100,000 to $200,000. Adjusted for inflation, $200,000 in 1969 would be worth $930,232 today. On top of the salary and expense accounts, both the U.S. president and vice president are given free housing with plenty of amenities. The White House has 132 rooms, 32 bathrooms, a movie theater, bowling alley, billiards room, tennis court, jogging track and putting greens. Pretty good perks!

Publishers/Bloggers: Bloggers making over $380,000 a year are everywhere, you probably just don’t realize it. Here are some that make the list: Heather Armstrong (Dooce), Darren Rowe (Pro Blogger), Michael Arrington (Tech Crunch), Pete Cashmore (Mashable), John Chow (John Chow), J. Shoemoney (Shoemoney), Perez Hilton (Perez Hilton), Ben Huh (Cheezeburger Network), Peter Rojas (Gizmodo), Leo Babauta (Zen Habits), and many top personal finance bloggers. There are hundreds more that we’ve never heard of. Who knows, maybe even yours truly makes over $380,000 a year from my various online media properties. I’ll never say given I’m a big proponent of stealth wealth.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with BluehostIt’s cheap and easy to start!

TV Journalism: Anchorwomen and men make well over $380,000 at all the major stations in all the major cities. Katie Couric sealed an eye-popping $75 million, 5 year contract for CBS.  Political comedian, Jon Stewart from the Daily Show makes around $15 million a year and has a net worth north of US$50 million. Jon makes his money making fun of politicians and rich people. Documentary-maker, Michael Moore, has made millions from railing against the car, food, and finance industries. Oprah is the queen of them all with mega-billions.

Executives: We then come to all the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies who on average make a somewhat outrageous $10 million a year. If you include the CFOs, COOs, and all other C-level execs, we’re talking about thousands who make in the multi-millions. These aren’t the top 1%. These are the top 0.1%!  Many Directors and VP of Fortune 500 companies all make well over $380,000. You don’t have to be a C-level executive to get there.

Internet Start-Ups: And then there are the founders of all the great internet/tech companies you see today: Apple, Uber, AirBnB, DropBox, Twitter, Google, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and so forth. They are the creators of the tools you use everyday to communicate and entertain yourself with. There are thousands more you’ve never heard of, who get acquired by the gorillas and make millions too.

Professional Sports: Every starting NFL player makes well over $380,000. So do all the members of every NBA team and European soccer league. Men and women who hit fuzzy green balls and whack dimply white balls earn over $380,000. It’s hard for a Nascar and Indy driver not to make over $380,000. Finally, baseball players have incredible multi-year guaranteed contracts that make all other sports envious! They are in the top 1%.

Entertainment Media: When you come home from a long days work and switch on the tube, the stars of your favorite TV sitcoms are well into the top 1%. When you take your significant other to the movies on a Saturday night to watch the highly anticipated Big Momma’s House III, the actors are all in the top 1%. They entertain you and make you laugh, and you go out and support them as a result.

The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person by Financial Samurai


The top 1% of income earners are everywhere. They walk among us peacefully, and often times invisible to you and me.  Why are we trying to hunt them down? They have worked hard to get to where they are and many of them employ thousands of the rest of us 99%. Many of them entertain us with their movies, or their witty morning banter. Some of us even fix our broken bones or mend our melancholy hearts. Even more donate a significant amount to charity. Shouldn’t we say “thank you” to the top 1% instead of eviscerating them?

Do you want to be in the top 1%? It will take a lot of hard work and creativity that’s for sure.  The top 1% are no different from you and me. The top 1% is that kid raising her hand in the front of the class and the scrawny 8th grader who plays JV baseball, but never varsity. The top 1% join you in causes and vote along side of you. The top 1% still have to wait in line at the security check-in and sit in middle seats. The top 1% die from cancer and eat more than they should. The top 1% have loved ones.

Some may have caught a lucky break, while others just inherited it all. Those who didn’t earn their way to the top 1% are a minority. We can’t all get to the top 1%, but we can all certainly try.

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Updated 2H2015



Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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    • Tahoebum says

      Being in the 1% requires sacrifice and hard work. 80% of the millionaires in this country are 1st generation and the opportunities in this country are unlike any other country in the world. Most people are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to become part of the 1%. It took my wife and I 20 years of working before we became part of the 1% and now that we are, we are saving most of our money. We don’t have any boats, RV’s motorcycles or fancy homes. We earn 7 figures each year yet I have never bought a new car. In fact, my car doesn’t even have power seats. There are many 1%er’s like us that don’t show their wealth but prefer to give it to their church and leave some for their children and grandchildren.

    • Fernando says

      I also want to be in the top 1% what I don’t want to be is one of those who think they own the world natural resources and utilize their money to increase their wealth through the destruction of the environment. Oil companies like chevron which cause a lot of damage in Ecuador did not utilize their capital gains to clean the area, besides oil companies there are many others that lobby on a daily basis in Washington taken the power of the people away to avoid any regulations that will protect the environment as well as the bottom 99%.

  1. Sed8em says

    Hi Sam, I have enjoyed the comments related to the great article you put together. I am an evil 1%er. As a neuroanesthesiologist, I went through 17 years of post high school education. Yes that is 17! I am blessed with a loving wife who stuck through it all with me and two healthy children. When I see the protesters I am torn… When in grad school there was a protest walking down the mall. My lab partner and I could see several pretty girls in the crowd so we looked at each other, smiled, and said “Let’s go protest!” We got a picture in the school paper yet knew nothing about what we were protesting! Idiocy of youth.
    Yesterday had lunch with a friend who from scratch built a company with 1000+ employees. He drove his new Ferrari. I asked what the OWS protestors would say about his new car. He replied “They should ask some of my employees families if they felt he should give up, quit, lock the doors, and get rid of the car, and fire them all.”
    I hate being considered the villain, but it is in my nature to work hard. Everyday I wake up thinking of ways to do my work better than I did the day before.
    Maybe I should stop caring about “The People”. I have enough to quit. My friend and I could expatriate, fire our employees, move to Costa Rica, and worry about which wine to have with dinner……But who would be there when the OWS protester gets the emergency call that his mother ruptured her brain aneurysm at two in the morning? Don’t worry, I will be there, but stop vilifying me.

  2. MB1234 says


    I am a 32 year old male filing single, just got my W-2 , made $150,000 roudning to the nearest dollar) in 2011, I’m in the area of finance and capital allocation. I live in a smaller southern city (relative) about 100,000 residents in a 30 mile radius. ABSOLUTLEY, I WOULD GLADLY PAY MORE TAXES; I reliaze I am not in the top 1% , but most likely top 6 % of year over year wage earners. The 5 % left above me are not paying their fair share, BUT it is based on current tax code and they are law-abiding citizens. My theory is simple- WE ALL PITCH IN. If my taxes rise to a 35 % tax bracket or even a new bracket of 32%0 I am all for it! The idea here is not to fight but have a better life for EVERYONE. -A better life for the man on the park bench that cant find work, the elderly grandmother, whomever… I am in the top 6 % and I’m saying RAISE MY TAXES- too many people are hurting and it would be nice if some of the the 10% NOT just the 1% could all pay a few percantage points more to keep public parks open, create more public jobs and not enable others but ensure the tax reveneue ends up where it can improve everyones life.

    See…… the real problem in my opinion ( remember the old saying BTW, “opinions” are like A**holes, everyone’s got one”- so please no bashing. Who can manage the tax revenue in a way that ensures life does improve for the average/ lower 50 % and action is take to bring America back to greatness? The question will come is govt. better or corporate- GOP vs DEMS.- the divide is growing deeper.

    The top, I started FROM NOTHING, no silver spoon and I worked my behind off- but NOT everyone is capable of working the same, or has the same talents that will put them in the top 1% or 6%, etc. bottom line, raise my taxes- bring back the USA we lost…

    • says

      If your belief is, “we all pitch in,” Shouldn’t we start from the bottom 40-57% who aren’t pitching in and paying no federal income taxes? Even just $500 a year from each would help our country greatly.

      • Lenore says

        I don’t think you realize how much 500$ is to someone who makes very little. Those people are already forced to live paycheck to paycheck, so 500$ is insane. I understand and agree with your article, but making the really low income people is not the answer. The real issue is that people in the lower part of the “top 1%” make way way way less than other people they also get grouped with, like billionaires (who often pay very little in taxes). People earning 400k a year shouldn’t be grouped with multimillionaires and billionaires.

        • Juststarting says

          I agree $500 may seem like a lot and nearly impossible to the low income level Americans but it’s all about finances there is always ways to save money but the reality is that most lower class people don’t choose to or know how to save and in return are living paycheck to paycheck.

        • cristoff says

          Multi-millionaires shouldn’t be grouped in with billionaires. The difference between a million and a billion is a planet vs. an entire solar system.

    • William says

      Pitch in for what? More WAR???? Get your sense together all your tax money goes towards is bombing kids in pakistan and starting more WARS. 53% of government spending goes to war.

  3. Adam says

    I’m not in the 1% but I don’t care. There have been legitimate scientific studies and surveys that show that only 10% of peoples happiness comes from materialistic items and money. With that being said, happiness comes from the people you surround yourself with. For instance look at Hollywood stars. They have a lot of money, a lot of cars, and nice houses. However… most of them are constantly attending rehabs due to drug abuse, most of them end up wasting all of their money on materialistic items, and in interviews some of them have stated that they “hate” the life they have. So come on everyone, it’s not about how much money you have, what car you drive, or how big your house is. Be happy with the life you have, and if you don’t like it here in the U.S, go to a different country and see how it works out for you. If you truly want to be in the 1% then get up at 5am everyday and work as hard as you can at whatever you do (companies notice hard working people). I’m not even 21 yet and have been offered countless promotions in my current career because I am early everyday, work at 200%, and always have a smile on my face(I happily declined the promotions due to being a full time student). It will not only make you a better, more responsible person, but you will feel accomplished and proud of earning every dollar instead of getting it handed to you.

  4. Scott says

    First let me say that I am one of the 1%, As many others on this blog have commented, they became part of the 1% by hard work and sacrifice and so did I. It always amazes me that so many people only look at were someone is today and do not take into account what it took to get them there. Personally I wanted the better things in life so I decided to work while my friends were out having fun, when my friends went to spend the weekend at the lake I looked for additional work to do, when my friends came by to show me their new cars that I knew they really couldn’t afford, I just smiled and said nice. I used my own money I had saved during this period to start my own business and really learned what hard work was. I worked from 7 in the morning to 11 at night 7 days a week for over 3 years just trying to get my company up and running. I used to park my crappy car around the corner so my employees did not see what I drove, for the first 5 years in business all of my employees made more money then me. when things started to click and I started actually making some money I kept he crappy car, and the way undersized house so I could invest that money into growing the business. I did this for years while I saw other people driving nice cars, taking nice vacations and going out to have fun on the weekends. I did this by choice so I could provide a better future for myself and my kids (which I missed out on a lot of their childhoods) and that has got me to were I am today, I employ about 300 people who all make a descent living, and I pay millions of dollars in taxes every year ( about 38%). I have done what I have done with no help from the government, none needed, or wanted. So I have to say I know that hard work and sacrifice is what gets you to the 1% so to those who are not willing to do what I have done you have no right to condemn me. Traditional wisdom has always said ,You reap what you sow. So remember if you want to see who is responsible for you particular circumstance then all you have to do is look in the mirror.

  5. Caroline says

    To all these nasty comments targeting the 1% I have to say we try hard to make it here. My Parents were raised in lower middle class families and worked hard to be in the 1%. My dad alone makes around 400000 a year but only because he works stressful 14 hour days just to be able to provide for my family. A top 1% person needs to be able to handle the stress. I am sure only the one percent Person has a job this stressful. By no means is my family rich. We struggle like the rest of the country. Living in one of the most expensive towns in America (we live here because this is were the 1% jobs are) sometimes it is hard to make ends meet. It is really unfair to the 1% that we are being stereotyped as mean etc. we employ a lot of the 99% from the businesses we own. No one but my family knows we are in the 1% only because the way we would be treated is awful. We fight for the 99%! My parents have talked about going to one of the protests! It is not all of the 1% that is crazy. Just like in the 99% some people are crazy some aren’t it is like that everywhere And craziness is determined by the viewer. If people new I was in the 1% I would be viewed as a horrible person, but because People don’t know this I’m not viewed that way.

    • top 5% says

      400,000 a year is the bottom earning of the 1%. what the government should tax the most should be those who make >1M a year. The tax rate should continue to rise up to 95% for those who makes > 20M a year. After the tax, they still have at least 1M net into their pocket. this is far more than enough to live a decent life even in the most expensive place. also why should someone in a family of ~5 live in a mansion enough for 100 people. didn’t we get rid of kings/queens so that the world belongs to everyone, and yet we still strive for living like a king/queen? (many countries still keep their kings/queens as a symbol of corruption) certain things in life should not be capped, such as knowledge and research and education. but certain things should be capped, such as how much one should make and spend on useless things.

      • bryan says

        If the Govt taxed 95% then who in the world would even try to achieve? As it is already, the lower class makes out better by not working or even trying to better their situation. Many people believe (myself included) perhaps a way to help the situation of the low lower class would be to maybe teach them to fish rather than giving them the fish everyday.

  6. Niki (NG) says

    I came to the beatiful and wonderful USA forty years ago. No money, no English or parents. Worked 10 to 12 hours a day six days a week pumping gas and fixing flat tires. At night, I went to shcool. I wanted to be someone one day. I did not know the difference between 1% vs. 99% income earners. My goals were to finish school, get a better job, make more money, have a car and of course, a home with a family. I have been very fortunate to meet all my goals. Currently, I own a company that provides income and benefits for other 20 families. With the exception of couple of employees most of them are in the 99% income earners. However, they are so thankful to have jobs and benefits that they do not complaint. They work hard and come to work everyday. One day they want to be in the 1% income earners. For many years I was a 99% income earner. My first weekly pay check was $62.00 or approx. $2,976 per year. No benefits at all. The American dream is very much alive. I am an example of the American dream. I am proud to be an Amercian living in the USA and be one of the 1% income earner.

  7. Cal says

    There is more to the story, as there usually is. Owning several business’ some of which make money and a couple that do not and require capital infusions can cause a 1%er to have a lower than elite lifestyle. I pay taxes on more that 500k but have to prop up a business that is suffering due to the policies of this crappy administration thus struggle with this economy.

  8. says

    We all agree on 3 things. 1-The governments (federal, state and local) waste money. 2-We all want to pay less tax. 3-Everyone pays tax for some things they don’t support (certain wars, different types of health coverage, etc.), but that’s America.
    What’s FAIR? From a strictly arithmetic perspective, if you have 90% of the wealth, why aren’t you paying 90% of the tax. Some multi-billion dollar corporations pay NO TAX, many 1%-ers pay NO TAX. They don’t NEED the money. Contrary to the popular sound bites, there is NO EVIDENCE that corporate tax breaks create jobs, and many corporation created jobs are outside the US. The middle and lower income people are much more effected by the tax structure than the 1%. The 99% NEED their money to survive. The 1% need their money to make more money.

  9. says

    Sick of all these clueless comments.

    You guys are all complaining about a group of people that you have “straw-manned”; they don’t exist! You’re complaining about people who protest against the top 1% in a very literal manner; people who hate people that work hard to earn their top 1% salary. There is, to my knowledge, no official group that ever furthered such ideals. In essence you guys are all grossly ignorant of the whole point of the Occupy movement, which is to protest bigger issues about government/economics and the nature of Wall Street banking/investing. I don’t know the details of it as I am not one of THEM either, but I can tell you 1% supporters that you are definitely straw-manning the protestors.

    • says

      Not to mention, it is absolutely ludicrous to take the 99% and 1% literally. In that case if someone earns $375k per year they are a hard working 99% and all of a sudden they get a raise and make $380k per year they are suddenly evil due to an arbitrary boolean boundary? Get a grip; people aren’t that illogical.

  10. top 5% says

    this article is exactly the kind coming out of someone who has little to no clue what the world is run. he/she has no understanding of how the mind works. our society is largely misled by the blind who think they know how to live a life. check out Jacque Fresco’s idea. that is what i consider a truly advanced human mind. as long as there is mighty military force, police force, lawyers, gangsters and politicians (the only difference between politicians and gangsters is that politicians normally dont kill their enemies with guns, but with mouths and pens) we see today, we are no better than chimpazees, the only difference is that we can make things like computers, etc.

  11. top 5% says

    first of all, let us think why those 1% make so much money and where does the money comes from. usually these are the people who own a business, making products or selling products. some are the presidents or chacellors of the universities. true certainly they work hard, but one should ask whether that hard work or money they make turn into the following:
    1. people are healthier
    2. people are happier
    3. people are more educated
    4. the society becomes crimeless
    5. the world becomes more peaceful and no need of defense and offense
    if none of these are being reached, what is the point of making so much money?

  12. Charles Kiyimba says

    We all have the potential to become wealthy if we visualize what we want in life, focus on achieving it. Nobody is born to live a life of mediocrity. But what makes people to live ordinary life is their mind. If you focus your mind on getting what you want to achieve and work on it every day, you can achieve. Thanks a lot for this wonderful and motivating article.

  13. Nickolas M. Connery says

    What I found interesting is how LITTLE money you actually have to earn in a year to be counted among the “top 1%” of earners. According to this article, my boss is it the top 1%, and she’s just a Paralegal Manager. I’m a mid-level Paralegal, and yet I count among the top 25%!!

    It isn’t the top 1% of earners, or even the top 0.1% of earners (those who make a few million or so) whose absurd wealth is worthy of condemnation, but the top 0.0001%, those who bring in hundreds of millions, or billions of dollars, and who routinely corrupt our system and can bend the rules that the rest of us must live by. These are the people whose influence in our society should somehow be curtailed.

    To focus popular anger on the top 1% only serves to turn lower-level workers against middle managers who probably work as hard as they do, while ignoring the “royalty” at the very top who are really pulling all the strings.

  14. lance says

    money money money….stop chasing the green printed paper, its not real. take advantage of what little time you have here and experience as much as possible….life is so short

  15. Al Dorman says

    FYI to all the mouth-breathers:
    Occupy’s term 1% doesn’t refer to YOU! It’s a rhetorical slogan that refers to those who are BUYING our politicians, making them prostitutes for the most elite and unaccountable corporations, ensuring continual crises and war-spending. Get a clue.

  16. Bill Chase says

    Somehow you determined or researched the salary number $380,000 and above as the 1% group, and you said these people are all around us–everywhere. I think not. By definition, every one person in a hundred is in this group, so if a thousand people are with me in stadium section B, then ten people are in this high salary group. They must be grouped together because none are around me.

    Would you please give me your reference source so I may know how many average Joes are around me and so I may know what is salary range of average Joes. My perception (in a non-union region) is 80% are making up to $100,000 and about half of them are below $50,000. I would like to have perception changed into reality.

  17. coedk says

    Look, I have to laugh at all of the people on this forum who loath the one percenters. It isn’t as if we don’t know how the market works! It isn’t as if education, regardless of field, will always pau off. I.e. who would pay.one hundred grand a year for someone with no credentials other than a masters degree in Art history from a state college? When they could get a decent computer programmer for 80,000 a year or two accountants for 100,000? I find no quirks with being an employee (good stability, if your half decent in a desired field) and don’t get me wrong everyone can excell in some desired field, the trouble is identifying it before its too late! For example, if you like talking to people become a psychologist, if you enjoy science become a doctor,surgron, or engineer. If you like math, become an actuarian. If you like Englis, history and polotics become a lawyer, etc. even if your passion is something COMPLETELY useless~ become a proffessor! But make NO mistake! All fields require working harder than you can imsgine, competing with a dozen other people, and skill and experiences beyond the other candidates. The thing is though, that in order to stay ncially stable you will always have to live within a budget regardless of how much or how little it is. To get rich is a completely different, and risky, story though. There are many ways to get wealthy~ but ALL require hard work and a different type of thinking than the rest of society. Firstly, invest wisely. There are people who are now millionares because they bought stock in apple when it was down.I, even, know people who became millionares without a highschool education! They did NOT get rich with working as an employee though! Start a company, ride the recession back up by investing in realestate (im talking appartment complexes in the middle of cities, hotels in attractive areas, or bars in areas that will lilely start devoloping onve it recovers. One thing is for sure though, the routes of getting rich are also the ways to loosing everything~ if it were easy than everyone would do it.Oh, and another thing! Get your finger out of your @$$ and stop feeling entitled!!!!

  18. Sweat equity says

    Why hate on the 1% not only do they pay a huge amount in taxes they also hire people and pay payroll taxes on all of their employees. So when it comes to business owners don’t just look the the % they pay on their personal income. Look at personal income plus business taxes, taxes associated with employees, equipment taxes and the list goes on. If the IRS raises taxes on this group of people aka small business what you will see is investment in people and equipment drop sharply. As a small business owner I am the last person to receive payment from the company, we are very successful but there are still times that we go months without a paycheck due to payroll, payroll taxes, social security, unemployment tax, material from our vendors, utilities, fuel, capital equipment and after all that is paid then our bill from the IRS arrives. As a business sometimes the profit you make takes six months for it to be realized after everything. It is disturbing to see people hate on people that take on so much risk and others feel that they should pay more than they already do in taxes.

    “The government is not the solution, the government is the problem”

    – Ronald Reagan

    I don’t believe our country has a revenue problem I believe we have a spending problem.

  19. John C. says

    I am a 25 yo making 19k/month, and I’ll tell you this, it ain’t easy :)

    Most people value security. To make 30k/mth, you can’t get there working a day job.

    Most people value relationships. To make 30k/mth, being a good boyfriend, or even having a consistent relationship isnt easy.

    Society isnt setup for people to make 30k/month. Maybe 2k, 4k, or even 8-10k per month is possible if you follow the rules and work hard. You have to LIBERATE YOURSELF FROM THE RULES to take things to the next step. Perez Hilton didnt start a blog because somebody said this is what you do. He went off on his own. It takes balls to give up your security blanket. It takes confidence. Stop for a moment and think how awesome our country is, we’re a bunch of rule-breakers.

  20. says

    You use $380K as the threshhold for top 1% income. I would note that household income ranking tool on the Wall Street Journal blog marks $380K as top 2%. According to the blog,

    “An annual salary above $506,000 puts you in the top 1%”

      • Trish says

        I love how strong you defend the 1% as if the 99% are crying because we want everything you have but don’t want to work for it. The issue is that we the workers working for businesses you make are YOUR business! We serve your customers and make your products and do the hard physical labor! We aren’t demanding to magically become part of the 1%! We work hard to and the pay isn’t enough to live on. You talk about how hard you worked how much you missed and that life isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is interested in being extremely wealthy. Many people are content working hard @40 hours a week and spending their time embracing life and spending time with their children so they don’t miss out on their childhoods. Yes hard work consuming your life can make you money and some people that is living! For the rest of us we simply want to work hard but rather consume our lives with love and family. Why should we get paid crap when we work hard! Who is supposed to raise kids? Daycare? This fight isn’t picking on people earning 300,000 paying taxes and employing workers, this fight is to the very top eating up small businesses and hoarding ridiculous amounts of money instead of putting back into our economy so the rest of us can work hard, enjoy our family and lives, and not kill ourselves with stress because the pay is so low that utilities, rent, and food are more than our paychecks! Plus the idea that everyone can get an education or start a business or even work 40hrs leaves out a huge group of people that have mental and physical disabilities. These people know that their limitations will limit opportunity for wealth but should it mean that they have to live with nothing? Give those people food and care and stop blaming them for having problems. If one of you suddenly had brain damage and couldn’t work and a bigger shark takes your business you would be here with us.

  21. ap999 says

    well its not all dandy and happy in a lot of cases. Here are some of the top earners who go broke. Now this is just one category, focusing on some of the top paid pro athletes. Many names you will recognize.


    This goes to show you, it does not matter how much you make, its about how much you can save and invest wisely! Sure you could millions every year, but bad financial decisions can have you broke by the time you want to retire if you don’t play your cards right.

  22. Travis says

    I’m 24 years old. I’m a 1% income earner. Last month I earned $77,577.50 in income (after all expenses and paying partners, before taxes), averaging over 40k a month for the year, so this is the first year I’ll be officially in the 1%. Last year I made 134k in income from my business. 2 years ago I made 78k. 3 years ago I was barely getting by in college. I own an internet business, and started it 3 years ago while still in school. I used student loan money that was to pay for my apartment in college to start this business. I worked when friends were partying, and I challenged everything that I was told about making money and being financially secure. Although I’m not a millionaire yet (only 24, and I’m not including the value of my share of the business in my net worth, which could make me a millionaire on paper), I am definitely on the path of becoming a .5%, or even .01% earner soon. I come from a very poor family and paid for everything since I was 16 years old – first car, college, phone, health insurance etc. I’ll pay six figures this year in taxes, but I’d much prefer giving it back to my family than the government. I don’t waste time complaining, it’s not productive. I’d rather work harder to make more money or enjoy life.

    I hear a lot of complaining and pointing fingers waiting for the world to change. Don’t be mad if you were lied to that your education should secure you a good job. That’s not how the world works and that’s not how to make more money. It pretty much boils down to this:

    1. Need – It still amazes me about college graduates complaining that they spent so much money on a degree and don’t make enough money. Follow your “passion” to make money is a myth. No one is going to pay you because you enjoy it. They pay you because you fill a need. Period. Little demand for your service = little pay for your service.

    2. Entry – If the barriers to entry for your position are low, then the pay will also be low. If someone can be taught how to do your job in a matter of a few days, then you can’t reasonably expect to have much bargaining power over how much you make. If you start a business that anyone can start, then you are opening yourself up to a ton of competition and this will likely cause your profits to drop trying to compete.

    3. Control – Want to get the most secure job in the world? Own a business. There you control the variables, don’t have to worry about getting fired and can influence how much you make because you have control over the bottom line. Too scared to do this? Then don’t complain when you get fired because you don’t have control. I have contracts with clients lasting several years or more. That’s security.

    4. Time – If you are paid based on your time, then you only make more money by doing 1 of 2 things – increasing time worked (# of hours if you are paid per hour, # of years if you have a salary) or how much you make per unit of time ($/hour, $/year). How reasonable is it to ask your boss for a 100% increase in pay next year? How reasonable is it to work 24 hours/day for a year? How reasonable is it to work for 100 straight years? Not very. So you are very limited in how much you can influence those 2 factors. But with a business, you separate time from how much you make by influencing 2 units that don’t depend on time: # of products (or services) sold x $profit per product. Much easier to influence these variables. Every successful business follows this type of formula. By the way, if you start a business that depends on your time, then it’s still a job. If you can take a month off and your business will still continue to do well, then you own a REAL business. I took 2 weeks vacation last month and made the most that I’ve ever made in a month. That’s because it’s separate from my time…as a business owner you should create processes and systems that allow your business to run itself. That opens up scale and creates freedom. All of my work is put into growing my business, not maintaining it.

    Want to know why doctors are paid a lot? They satisfy need and entry. Want to know why some businesses fail and some succeed? The ones that fail lack a principle (or principles) from above. The ones that succeed satisfy all of them.

    There you have it. That’s how you make money. No more excuses. Peace.

    • cristoff says

      I agree with everything you say but this one thing:

      “If you start a business that anyone can start, then you are opening yourself up to a ton of competition and this will likely cause your profits to drop trying to compete.”

      I’m 24 this year, actually, and I’ve just finished acquiring my 3rd business. Each of these businesses could be started by anyone tomorrow and could be done with very little training. That’s actually why I bought them, because they’re pretty much turnkey from day one. However, at this point in time, I’m only operating in industries where the work required is something that very very few people would ever consider as a real career path. Think DIRTY work. And…the people that would….don’t have the capital available to start anything. I could be the exception, but this has worked well for several years so far and there’s no real hint of any competition now or coming down the pipeline.

  23. Steve says

    Add to your list white collar middle management couples in every major PROSPEROUS North American city.

    Add to your list commercial or residential real estate sales couples in every major PROSPEROUS North American city.

    Add to your list most any ass kicking tech or online advertising salesperson in every major PROSPEROUS North American city.

  24. says

    Sam- the following is music to my ears: “Why are we trying to hunt them down? They have worked hard to get to where they are and many of them employ thousands of the rest of us 99%. Many of them entertain us with their movies, or their witty morning banter. Some of us even fix our broken bones. Even more donate a significant amount to charity. Shouldn’t we say “thank you” to the top 1% instead of eviscerating them?”

    Your article perfectly illustrates the diverse population that makes up the 1%. Too many people are too misinformed and quick to judge- or envy- a population that does a lot of good.

  25. says

    How much you earn isn’t as important to getting wealthy as is HOW MUCH YOU KEEP and turn into income producing assets.

    ANYONE, 1% or not, can improve their financial life by following the basics:
    >>Set Long-term Financial Goals
    >>>>Using the SMARTER system
    >>Set Short-Term Goals (Milestones)
    >>Track (and Audit) Expenses
    >>Develop and Follow a Spending Plan (aka budget)
    >>Automate Finances
    >>>>Both Savings and Spending
    >>Review and Revise Progress and Plans

    My 2 cents… Leah, the MoneyDiva.com

  26. says

    Giving freely is the secret sauce of abundance. Below is Andrew Carnegie’s view on what being wealthy is all about. I have lived by this for 34 years and it has not failed me. May you soak it in and apply it to your own lives.

    Andrew Carnegie’s Spirit Speaks:
    This then is held to be the duty of the man of wealth. First: to set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him, and after doing so, to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is strictly bound as a matter of duty, to administer in the manner which in his judgment is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community.

    The man of wealth must become a trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer. Those who would administer wisely must indeed be wise. For one of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity. It were better for mankind that the millions of the rich were thrown into the sea than so spent as to encourage the slothful, the drunken, the unworthy.

    In bestowing charity, the main consideration should be to help those who help themselves. It provides part of the means by which those who desire to improve may do so; to give to those who desire to rise the aids by which they may rise; to assist but rarely or never to do all.

    He is the only true reformer who is careful and as anxious not to lead the unworthy as he is to lead the worthy, and perhaps even more so, for in alms giving, more injury may be done by promoting vice than by relieving virtue. Thus, is the problem of the rich and poor to be solved.

    The laws of accumulation should be left free; the laws of distribution free. Individualism will continue. But the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; entrusted for a season with a part of the increased wealth of the community, but administering it for the community far better than it did, or would have done, of itself. The best in minds will thus have reached a stage in the development of the race in which it is clearly seen that there is no mode of disposing of surplus wealth creditable to thoughtful and earnest men into whose hands it flows save by using it year-by-year for the general good. This day already dawns.

    Men may die without incurring the pity of their fellows, sharers in great business enterprises from which their capital cannot be, or has not been withdrawn, upon which is left entirely a trust for public uses.

    Yet the day is not far distant when the man who dies, leaving behind him millions of available wealth, which was free for him to administer during life, will pass away “unwept, unhonored, and unsung,” no matter to what use he leaves the dross which he cannot take with him. Of such as these, the public verdict will then be: the man who dies thus rich, dies disgraced. Such in my opinion is the true gospel concerning wealth, obedience to which is destined someday to solve the problems of the rich and the poor, to hasten the coming brotherhood of man, and at last to make our earth a heaven.

  27. God says

    Money is the root of evil. It is the sum total of your desires quantified by central banks on your slave planet. if you want to be in the top 1% you better give away ALL of your money or you will inherit an eternity of pain. HAHAHAHA! Yes struggle to gleefully live in the 1% ignore me, inherit hell for eternity. Yes, very wise indeed.

  28. Ryan says

    To become a cardiologist, it’s 14 (not 11) years of post high school training. Then, 1 or 2 additional years for interventional or electrophysiology.


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