How Much Is a Figure?

You’ve probably heard people mention or been part of a conversation where someone talked about 6–9 figures.

The most likely context is a discussion about the salaries or net worths of prominent personalities.

The word ‘figure’ is also used heavily in asset management. It also gets thrown around a lot in finance.

But what does it mean? And how much is a figure, exactly?

We went the extra mile of putting the answers together for you.

What Is a Figure In Money?

Simply put, a figure is a single digit or a number. Any numeral between 0 and 9 is a figure. However, the term figure is mainly a stylish and less cumbersome way to describe someone’s income or net worth.

It’s important to note that a figure only represents complete dollar amounts.

Let’s take the amount of $1,214.50, for instance: somebody might confuse this for six figures because it has six digits. It’s not. It is four figures.

In money, any numbers appearing after a decimal point are not included in the figure count.

How Much Is 6 Figures?

From a numeric perspective, a six-figure is any number between 100,000 and 999,999.

However, the term ‘six figures’ is mostly used to refer to a person’s annual salary — a person who makes six figures rakes in between $100,000 and $999,999 annually.

As it turns out, more than a quarter of America’s working population makes more than $100,000 per year.

What does it mean to have 6 figures?

When someone says they “have six figures,” they are referring to their total net worth, annual income, or the amount they have saved.

Having 6 figures can have a different meaning depending on where you live or what you do for a living.

For example, in certain regions with a low cost of living, having six figures can indicate someone is wealthy compared to others. In others, however, this can just mean you meet the average.

Which jobs pay a 6-figure salary?

Back in the day, a six-figure salary turned heads. However, steady growth across all economic sectors and demand for premium talent means that such a salary isn’t as rare as it used to be.

Decades ago, most people who earned such an amount had a college degree. Since then, the job market has evolved, and papers are not a requirement across the board.

We take a look at both sides of the coin.

Six-figure jobs that require a college degree

Some careers are very competitive, and the demand for professionals within these fields is very high.

However, a certain level of expertise is necessary — i.e., a college degree is required.

So which fields are we talking about, and how much do professionals within these sectors earn?

  • Lawyers: $148,030
  • Actuaries: $120,300
  • Economists: $120,830
  • Financial analysts and advisors: $106,340
  • Anaesthesiologists: $331,190
  • Surgeons: $294,520
  • Computer systems analysts: $102,210
  • Engineers: $104,000
  • Political scientists: $120,430
  • Dentists: $117,770
Six-figure jobs that don’t require a college degree

Talent now pays top dollar, and the possibilities are endless when combined with the ability to sniff out opportunities.

Below are some six-figure professions for which you don’t need a college degree.

  • Software developers: $120,990
  • Sports agents: $116,410
  • Art Directors: $115,430
  • Film producers & directors: $109,950

A 6-figure salary in context

Research shows that almost half of Americans earning more than $100,000 per year reported living from paycheck to paycheck in January 2022.

Such a mind-boggling fact can be explained by a consumer expenditure survey published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in February 2022. The study found that the average annual expenses for American households were $61,334, which translates to $5,111 per month.

This means that most American households where the breadwinner earns $100,000 per year spend more than half of this amount on essential expenditures.

Is a 6-figure salary good?

Will a six-figure salary allow someone to live comfortably? It depends on several things:

1. Which end of the six-figure scale you’re on: someone who earns $900k annually and manages their money well certainly lives more comfortably than their peers earning $100k or $200k.
2. Where you live: an individual who lives in California and earns $100,000 spends more than half of this amount ($46,636) on basic necessities. This is due to the cost of living in the Golden State. Meanwhile, a person living in Louisiana spends $37,586.
3. If you are a breadwinner: imagine that two men earn $200k a year. Now imagine that one of them is a single father and the other a bachelor. If they both earn $200k, the former might be stretched thin by their responsibilities. Meanwhile, the latter will not have such difficulties.
4. Desired lifestyle: you earn $250,000 but want to rent a home in a leafy suburb, travel regularly, and attend concerts? In that case, a six-figure salary might not be enough.

How Much Is 7 Figures?

Seven figures are numbers with seven digits. Any number between 1,000,000 and 9,999,999 is a seven-figure.

Whenever the term seven-figures comes up in a conversation, it refers to the salary of someone earning $1 million or more but less than $10 million.

What does it mean to have 7 figures?

The term seven figures can also refer to someone’s net worth. When someone says they have seven figures, it means the overall worth of their assets is at least $1 million but less than $10 million.

Most people balk at the mention of a net worth of $1 million, but research shows millions of Americans belong in this bracket.

According to Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2022, the number of millionaires in the US increased by 13.5% to 7.5 million in 2021, up from 6.6 million in 2020.

Which jobs pay a 7-figure salary?

Only a handful of professionals have seven-figure salaries. These are usually high-ranking executives in top-tier financial institutions and large companies or coveted talent in sports and entertainment.

Seven-figure jobs that require a college degree

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but Wall Street bigwigs dominate the list of professionals accustomed to a seven-figure bank balance.

Why?

The answer to this is simple. They control the flow of money to consumers, governments, and businesses, making them the lifeblood of the economy.

A 7-figure salary is common for these jobs:

  • Managing directors, investment banking: $1million+
  • General partners, private equity: $2 million
  • Equity partners at law firms: $1.39 million
  • Managing directors of venture capital firms: $1–$9 million
Seven-figure jobs that don’t require a college degree

It’s not just on Wall Street, where people earn seven figures. Marquee names are now worth millions, too, as seen below.

  • Coaches of top-flight sports teams: $1 million–$8 million
  • B-list actors in high-budget Hollywood films: $1 million–$5 million
  • Bloggers with a broad audience: $1 million–3 million
  • Macro social media influencers: $1 million+

A 7-figure salary in context

As already mentioned, the average expenses in American households are a bit over $61k. However, even if someone with, let’s say, a salary of $1 million spent three times that amount, they would still have over $800k left.

People who earn as much can also buy their own homes and cars after a few months of work.

According to Redfin, the median sale price of a home in Detroit in June 2022 was $99,200. If you live in a middle-class city like the Michigan capital, costs such as rent and transportation are likely to be the least of your concerns.

With a seven-figure salary, you should also be able to comfortably cover other budgetary provisions like groceries, health insurance, education, and contributions.

Is a 7-figure salary good?

Yes, it is. Pretty good, actually. A salary within this range would set you apart from most Americans.

In the first quarter of 2022, the median weekly earnings of the 117.5 million full-time wage and salary American workers were $1,037. This translates to $4,148 per month and $49,776 annually.

Therefore, compared to most Americans, those with seven-figure salaries can buy a family home, pay bills, and invest, all the while living comfortably.

How Much Is 8 Figures?

Eight figures is a number with eight digits. A number that falls between 10,000,000 and 99,999,999 is an eight-figure.

As you might have noticed, the term eight figures is commonly used to refer to a salary of $10 million or more but less than $100 million.

People who earn this much are referred to as multi-millionaires and are considered substantially wealthy.

What does it mean to have 8 figures?

When someone says they have eight figures, they earn or have a net worth of at least $10 million but less than $100 million.

An eight-figure net worth on the upper end of the scale is more than enough for a comfortable life in any suburb of your choosing across the US.

On the other hand, an eight-figure net worth on the lower end of the scale is enough to allow you to lead a comfortable life in any middle-class city in the US.

Which jobs pay 8-figure salaries?

There’s no doubt that those who earn as much are hard-working individuals. Their ability to make eight figures consistently hinges on their performance.

Whether it’s meeting revenue targets, keeping audiences glued to the screen, or giving their team the best chance to win, the success formula is inspired by the same principle.

Who are they?

CEOs of S&P 500 Companies

Data from The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) shows that in 2021, the Chief Executives of S&P 500 companies received an average of $15.5 million in total compensation.

Prominent TV show hosts & news presenters

In May 2021, Forbes estimated that celebrated TV show host and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres earned $50 million a year before she called time on her super popular show.

Forbes reports that media personality Howard Stern is the highest-earning radio host in the United States, with an annual salary of $95 million. Political commentator Rush Limbaugh ($77 million) and entertainment host Ryan Seacrest ($65 million) are ranked second and third, respectively.

High profile athletes

According to Forbes, basketball player Lebron James was the highest-paid American athlete in 2022, with an annual salary of  $41.2 million. And that’s not all — his off-field revenue was $80 million!

Steph Curry, another NBA superstar, was the second American on the same list, featuring at the fifth position. He had an annual salary of $45.8 million and off-field earnings of $47 million.

Football legend Tom Brady was also featured on the list with an annual salary of $31.9 million and off-field earnings of $52 million.

A-List Hollywood actors

It’s no secret that top talents in Hollywood earn substantial amounts of money. Data published by Forbes shows that the highest earning actors of 2020 were:

  • Dwayne Johnson – $87.5 million
  • Ryan Reynolds – $71.5 million
  • Mark Wahlberg – $58 million
Musicians and comedians with a huge fanbase

Some musicians and comedians also rake in 8 figures, meaning they also find their place on the highest-earning lists quite often.

According to Rolling Stone, some of the highest-paid musicians in 2021 were:

  • Heavy metal band Motley Crue – $95 million
  • Country music singer Blake Shelton – $83 million
  • Pop star Taylor Swift – $80 million

According to Forbes, Kevin Hart ($59 million), Jerry Seinfield ($41 million), Jim Gaffigan ($31 million), and Trevor Noah ($28 million) were the highest-earning comedians of 2019.

An 8-figure salary in context

Eight figures sure is a lot of money. Still, just to paint you a picture of how much it actually is, let’s put that into perspective.

  • Ten million dollars is 163 times the national average annual expenses for American households in February 2022.
  • Ten million dollars is 9,013 times the 2022 minimum monthly wage ($1,109.5) in the United States.
  • 99.5 million dollars is more than the total value of financial assistance and debt service relief the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lent Mongolia ($99 million) in 2020 to help combat the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is an 8-figures salary good?

There is no doubt that someone who has that much money earns well above the average.

A lookup of where individuals earning eight figures reside gives a rough idea of what kind of lifestyle to expect.

Virtually all of them reside in affluent neighborhoods in houses worth at least $10 million. For instance, LeBron’s Beverly Hills mansion was worth $37 million as of October 2020.

Basking in the security of regular and sustainable income, most of them lead lifestyles they dreamt of as children.

How Much Is 9 Figures?

Nine figures is a number between 100,000,000 and 999,999,999. However, you must have noticed that the term is more synonymous with an exclusive income bracket.

If someone’s annual salary is nine figures, they earn a minimum of $100,000,000 and a maximum of $999,999,999. Or put differently, someone who makes at least $100 million but less than $1 billion.

What does it mean to have 9 figures?

It means your net worth is at least $100 million but less than $1 billion. With such money, you can live an affluent life and not have to worry about a thing as long as your spending is calculated.

What jobs pay a 9-figure salary?

Here are the profiles of individuals who most commonly have a nine-figure income.

CEOs

To be more precise, CEOs of high market cap companies.

In May 2022, Fortune Magazine published a list of the top 10 highest-paid CEOs of 2021. Nine of them earned nine figures.

The CEOs who raked in the highest nine-figure amounts include:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook: $770.5 million
  • NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang: $561 million
  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: $453.5 million
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals CEO Leonard Schleifer: $452.9 million
Hedge Fund managers

According to Bloomberg, the top hedge fund managers braved hostile markets and made $15.8 billion in 2021.

Seven of the top 15 made $1.1 billion or more. The remaining eight made nine figures. Some of them are:

  • David Shaw of D.E Shaw Group: $915 million
  • Ray Dalio of Bridgewater: $529.8 million
  • Bill Ackman of Pershing Square: $528 million
  • Paul Singer of Elliott Management: $476 million
  • Dan Loeb of Third Point: $411 million
Sports personalities

According to Forbes, only three sports personalities earned above $100 million in the May 2021–May 2022 period. However, their earnings mostly came from endorsements, merchandising, and image rights.

Not a single athlete in the world made $100 million from their salary alone.

The three personalities that made nine figures are:

Lionel Messi: $130 million

On-field: $75 million
Off-field: $55 million

LeBron James:  $121.2 million

On-field: $41.2 million
Off-field: $80 million

Cristiano Ronaldo: $115 million

On-field: $60 million
Off-field: $55 million

Entertainers

The entertainment industry is another arable sector where top talents land huge contracts.

For instance, rock artist Bruce Springsteen was the highest earning musician of 2021 after raking in $590 million, according to Rolling Stone. Rapper and businessman Sean “Jay Z” Carter was ranked second after closing the year with $470 million.

A 9-figure salary in context

  • One hundred million dollars is 1,630 times the national average annual expenses for American households in February 2022.
  • One hundred million dollars is 90,131 times the 2022 minimum monthly wage ($1,109.5) in the United States.
  • Five hundred million dollars is more than the average annual earnings of all 17,150 gambling change persons and booth cashiers in the US ($499.6 million)

Is a 9-figures salary good?

Extremely.

Someone with a nine-figure salary stands a good chance of becoming a billionaire. If someone who earns $200 million per year saved half of that each year, they could easily become one of America’s billionaires in ten years’ time.

That’s on the investment side.

As far as lifestyle is concerned, the nine-figure salary bracket is associated with the finer things in life: private jets, private island homes, and custom jewelry worth millions.

Final Thoughts

It is often pointed out that the desire for more money is insatiable.

When a person who earns six figures finally joins the seven-figure club, they will immediately set their sights on eight figures.

If the salary or hourly wage you earn is nowhere close to six figures, you might think getting to this level is beyond your reach, but it’s not. Some billionaires only struck gold in their later years. The inspiring story of KFC founder Colonel Sanders epitomizes this fact.

The key to achieving this is managing your money smartly, living within your means, and having a nose for opportunities. When it’s time to implement a game-changing idea, execution is king.

But a lot of money doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness. You could be worth nine figures and still be miserable.

Finding the right balance between home and hustle is priceless.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I’m a Kenyan journalist and professional writer. I move words around creatively enough to make you reread a piece. In my home office, you will find a quill and a bottle of ink. That’s how seriously I take this craft. Indulge me.

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