Is “six figure” culture income-shaming ordinary earners into depression?

Is is time for five figure earners to rally around a hashtag to show their pride at putting food on the table, without reaching an arbitrary monetary target?

Lots of dollars. Like it? Source: Pixy

Why Is America Obsessed With “Making Six Figures”?

Over the five years I’ve been working as a freelance writer and marketing consultant, I’ve interacted on several online writing communities.

Six figure articles on Medium
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But Here’s A Truth: The Only Meaningful Income Is The One You Need To Make

I’m not a licensed financial advisor, but I do have one thing to say in response to this. I’m confident enough in the accuracy of this that I’m happy prepending it with “this I know to be true”:

  • The level of one’s expenses
  • The cost of living in one’s area
  • The pace at which one needs to save money or contribute to a retirement fund
  • One’s current financial obligations

How And When Did A Five Figure Income Become Shameful?

The unfortunate corollary of six figures becoming entrenched in the minds of many as a (thoroughly flawed) surrogate marker for success is that anything short of that (lofty) target income level appears to be viewed as a hallmark of failure.

  • Is totally unfair to the many earning five figures (or less) who are meeting or exceeding their personal financial objectives
  • Pegs one’s worth as a human to their income. A pernicious fallacy that it’s extremely easy to buy into (disclaimer: I struggle with feelings of inadequacy and depression from time to time when I reflect upon how much less I earn than some of my friends)

Want To Take Action? Tweet — Or Share — Your Pride In Making Five Figures

If you want to do your (little online) bit to combat the spread of income-shaming and six figure income aggrandizement, then consider tweeting or sharing on the social network of your choice a message announcing your pride — and refusal to be shamed — for earning five figures (or less).



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Daniel Rosehill

Daytime: writing for other people. Nighttime: writing for me. Or the other way round. Enjoys: Linux, tech, beer, random things.