Achievement Unlocked: Six-Figure Salary

I reached a milestone this month. After twenty plus years in the workforce, I finally broke the six-figure mark.

I’m happy. My wife is as happy for me as I was for her when she crossed the line. My manager was happy for me because who doesn’t like giving good news?

Has anything changed because of this? Not really. I get a $130 bump in my take-home pay and that’s about it. Don’t get me wrong though. I’ll take that $130 and use it to increase our savings rate. 🙂

Here’s an earnings chart I pulled from Social Security:

Years and associated salary earnings for that year. 1998-2018

This chart shows the last 21 years of my income growth. It has been slowly increasing year after year. I’m in the IT field, but I started at the bottom and moved my way up. Some things do take longer without a college degree, but they can be done.

I found out after talking with my father that I’ve out-earned what he made during his working career. He was proud of me and said my mother would have been proud as well. It felt both strange and good to be able to talk with him about this.

We never talked about money in my family while I was growing up. It wasn’t a taboo subject. It just was never brought up. I told him I’d wished we had these kinds of talks back then. I always shake my head when I hear others say they had these types of conversations when they were growing up.

This is an example of financial literacy not being passed down from one generation to the next. I feel this is common in the Black community. I don’t like to reinforce stereotypes, but this one at least holds for my family. I promised him I’d start having beginner conversations with my nephews and niece. Even the tiniest bit of knowledge could have a profound effect on their financial futures. I feel like I have to pass that on to them.

Learning about FI (financial independence) has changed the way I view things. Life is richer because I try to find joy in experiences and not in material things. I always wanted things when growing up. It was the reward system I was taught. If you were good, you get a treat. That treat inevitability gets bigger and bigger as you grow up. This isn’t a new topic, but it’s one that I’m learning how to discuss with those around me.

We recently attended an event for those interested in FI and it was illuminating. Being able to discuss these topics without reservation was fantastic. It made me realize I needed to attempt to discuss these things with my family. Something I’d avoided doing because of unknown reasons. Fear? Rejection?

If I model my conversations on the one I had with my father. I think I’ll be alright. I need to make sure that I don’t come across as accusatory or condescending in my tone.

Please pardon my rambling during this post. It started with happiness over a salary increase and then wandered all about. I am happy for the increase and the opportunity it gives me to get closer to FI.

It has also opened my awareness to the need for more financial literacy in my sphere of influence. I have reached one peak on my journey and now I see another one in the distance.

Facing the mountain
Photo by Joshua Earle

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