How much money you need to earn to be in the top 1% in your 40s
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- To be among the top 1% of income earners in your 40s, you need to pull in more than $400,000 a year.
- Median incomes for people in their 40s hover around $50,000, signaling vast income inequality.
- The wage gap between the top 1% of earners at ages 25 and 49 is $336,000, but median incomes between the two ages differ by only $11,000.
The top 1% of 45-year-olds pull in at least $458,000 a year.
As a 25-year-old, reaching the top 1% of incomes in the age group is tough; you'd need to earn $116,000 a year. Being in the 1% of earners at 35 is even harder, as you'd need to make $291,000. By 45, though, it may seem downright impossible.
Consider the gap between those whose incomes fall in the top 1% and those who earn the median income at different ages. The gap between the top 1% of earners at ages 25 and 49 is $336,000, but median incomes for the two ages differ by just $11,000 (the median income for 25-year-olds is $39,000, and $50,000 for 49-year-olds).Here is the full breakdown of the top 1% of incomes for people in their 40s:
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This analysis has limits, however - surveys like the ACS don't capture everyone at the top, like celebrities and financiers, and some researchers prefer to use alternate forms of data, such as tax records, when studying those at the top of the income and wealth distributions.
Overall, however, the data offer a compelling snapshot of the distance between those comfortably at the top and those struggling in the middle.
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