earning six figures

How My Life Changed After Earning Six Figures

I’ve spent the majority of my life being a low-income earner. I grew up low-income, in a single-parent household that was on food stamps for the better part of a decade.

Honestly, I never expected to be someone who was earning six figures. I just kind of figured I’d get along on $20,000 a year until I hit it big in Hollywood by writing the next Casablanca and winning an Oscar.

But starting Bravely and working for myself has put me into six-figure territory, a space inhabited by only 6% of American women. And now that I’m here, I don’t plan on leaving.

earning six figures

What Changed About My Money By Earning Six Figures

Two major things: I invested more and saved more! Turns out that having more money means you can DO MORE WITH MONEY.

In 2020 I maxed out my IRA and put an additional $9,000 into my solo 401k.

In 2021 I invested $41,000 total across my solo 401k, and my IRA, and opened my first-ever brokerage account.

This isn’t a brag and I’m not saying that everyone can do this. I KNOW everyone can’t do this. If you make $50,000 a year you can’t invest $41,000 a year. The math doesn’t math, as they say.

But as my income went up, and I worked hard to keep my expenses low, my ability to invest just went up and up and up.

I also follow the investing strategy I teach in Talk Money to Me: Investing for my own personal investments. This makes investing simple because while I’m able to invest more, I don’t have to think about investing anymore.

My strategy and methods are set, and I can sit back and watch the money stack up.

What didn’t change about my money

Two major things: my spending and my financial anxiety.

Earning six figures didn’t mean that I spent more money. I lived on about $30,000 in 2020, and about $35,000 in 2021.

I’ve been a devotee of budgeting since 2014, when I got serious about paying off my student loan debt. Being a ninja budgeter means that I have a close handle on my spending, which in turn means I can save a lot. You can get the exact budget I use right here.

I’ve been a high saver even when I wasn’t earning six figures. In 2018 I saved 72% of my earnings.

I don’t own property, I don’t have kids, and my partner is someone who shares the same minimalist values as I do. Oh and of course, for the past two years we’ve been living in a pandemic that has severely limited my movement and spending!

What I thought would change as I earned more was my financial anxiety. But instead, in a super fun twist, it just morphed!

I’ve dealt with financial anxiety for about eight years. It entered my life in my early twenties, as a result of being low-income and carrying student loan debt. Now, despite having paid off my debt, built a debt-free business, and earned six figures, my anxiety is still around.

I used to worry that I would die in debt. Now I worry that I won’t cross certain income milestones, or that I won’t be able to pay my contractors.

I compare myself to other financial educators who grow faster or post higher income statements. I worry about the cost of things like climate change and retirement.

So my financial anxiety is still here, and I do wonder if it’ll ever go away. I kind of think that just being an aware human means that there will always be some level of anxiety in my life.

So now I want to hear from you! Did your life change when you started earning six figures? Have you not crossed the six-figure milestone yet but hope to?

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2 thoughts on “How My Life Changed After Earning Six Figures”

  1. YASSSS Kara!

    Your investing amount is goalllllllls.

    Yes my life changed – more breathing room. But tbh, it was more like – catching up. At that point I had a kid and needed to pay for daycare, and then found myself with another huge regular unexpected expense – so the money was required to fund this phase of life.

    1. Thank you! And I love how you describe six figures as breathing room- that’s how I largely feel. I don’t freak out over the grocery bill anymore because I know I can cover it.

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