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Growing up six figures

I have this ridiculous mentality that wont let me feel successful (professionally) until I have achieved a six figure income. I know that’s a crazy way to determine whether or not I am successful, but I honestly have a sick obsession with breaking the $100K threshold. I think I know where this came from. I was raised in a family that pretty much made six figures or close to it as far back as I can remember.

Just because my parents may have had a six figure income doesn’t mean we lived a six figure lifestyle. They bought moderately used vehicles, bought a home in a starter neighborhood, put the kids in public school, and lived a pretty simple life. Over the last two to three years, their income has really increased. Without giving away too much info, let’s just say Obama’s proposed tax hikes would definitely affect my parents. Now that the children are grown they have began to take advantage of their income. They both bought new cars, are remodeling the same starter home they have lived in for 16yrs, and they take more vacations together. They have a pretty sweet life right now and I’m happy for them.

The purpose of this post though is not to talk about how awesome my parents are (even though they are pretty freakin’ awesome). Instead I’m writing about their income because it totally motivates me to get out there and bring home the bacon. I got to do some pretty epic things as a kid that I wouldn’t have gotten to do if money was an issue. I am excited to take on the responsibility to provide a great life for my future wife and future baby ninjas.

Well I definitely don’t think a six figure income is necessary to achieve financial security, I’m totally motivated to join the club. Here is the part where I’d like to get all mushy and give a shout out to my parents. Thanks for working hard, providing a great life for us kids, but not spoiling the crap out of us and making us ungrateful jerkfaces. You two are pretty awesome parents and I probably definitely wouldn’t trade ya for anything.



  1. I made well over 100K out of grad school, and I was miserable. Now that I'm making only 50K at a non-profit, I do kind of feel like a failure. I'll admit six-figures does mean something.

    That said, I think 100K isn't nearly a high enough goal. I guess you work in government, so that seems high. But to entrepreneurs, you know, people with actual skills to offer the world and work ethic, I think 100K is achievable in a couple years. Heck, to most corporate monkeys, I think 100K isn't that hard to crack.

  2. @ DogAteMyFinances…Do you seriously feel like a failure??? You've got to be kidding me. You know there are 6 billion + people on this earth and 99% of them must all feel like dog poop then.

  3. Part of this story is years we had no money while dad ninja worked and mom ninja got to stay at home raising baby ninja's who are all awesome in different ways. I would not trade any of it. We are enjoying ourselves a little now after many, many and did I mention many years of marriage we still like each other and our kids so money is a small portion of the success we feel we have achieved. Shout out back at ya Debt Ninja we are proud to have you as our son!

  4. Aww. I love the ninja family posts!

    I have to agree with you on this one. My parents were in the 6 figure club and they lived a pretty modest lifestyle. They helped me out as much as possible but it doesn't mean I got everything under the sun that I wanted. I also got to do some pretty sick things thanks to my parents and I am very grateful for it. I don't think I'll be making the six figure club on my own any time soon.. but it is a good goal to shoot for, as long as you balance the income with your actual happiness!

  5. Ah, momninja… this post & comments are so great! I wish some mushy goodness would come out of my son like that. Well, he does say some pretty neat things sometimes. I hope he feels the same when he gets older. 🙂

    Ninja, I understand your goal. I've wanted that for a very long time. And I am getting there. But now I feel like I hit a plateau where I am at. And even if I did make $100K here, I think I would be unhappy and living at work.

    So, now I want to work for myself (and reach that mark).That is my revisted newest goal. So, I know how you feel. And I think that you should continue to reach for it. 🙂

  6. omg what a way to start my morning! I love mom ninja!! =D and just because dad ninja worked outside the home… no one knows how much more work it is for mom ninjas to stay home, raise the baby ninjas and pray that when they grow up that yes they make mistakes but in the long run they remember the good upbringing and choose wisely the path that will become their own and they and only they will live that life… momninja I don't know how you did it but I pray that I can be half or more at raising my kiddos =D Ninja you turned out alright keep up the good work… go out there at get your 6 figures dang it!! =D

  7. I think the need you feel is pretty normal but you have to put things in perspective. My dad made six figures from about the time we moved to Cali in 2001 till now. But we had 9 people in the family to feed. Six figures wasnt a big deal and we lived a very modest life. Income is just as personal as personal finance. You have to make it work for you, regardless of how much you make.

  8. My parents both worked and we did pull in a nice chunk of change. I also want six figures and have grown up across the street from multimillion dollar estates. It wasn't until I arrived a public state university that I realized that I am wealthy compared to other people. I was talking about the really low starting salary for one of my potential degrees being one of the reasons I won't get it, and my roommate thought that that much money would make you well-to-do. She's from a farm and I'm from a wealthy suburb. My parents are sensible; they buy older cars and live in the house that they paid off 15 or so years ago.

  9. You remind me of my mom telling stories about how she thought she was poor growing up because her family only owned two houses. (Needless to say, she lived in a VERY affluent neighborhood.)

    Mr. and I are kind of obsessed with the magical 6 digits ourselves (1 more year, whoo!) I grew up with it and Mr. didn't grow up with much so he's kinda striving as high and as fast as he can go.

  10. A year ago, I would have said definitely yes, but I am not in the process of prying myself way from the money and spending even more money in grad school in order to make even less money in a new career. I tried to be happy enough with the money, but it isn't worth it to me anymore. However, I'm not sure if my decision would be the same if the BF didn't make the money that he does. I'm not expecting him to support me, but knowing that if I did start to drown, he could save me made the transition to go back to school 1000x easier.

  11. I think a lot of people have that 100k motivation, even if they don't admit it! There's just something about that nice round number…. 🙂

    And I love that mom & dad ninja are out having some fun! It sounds like they deserve it!

  12. You said your parents made six figures – by that did you mean they made six figures each or they made 6 figures combined.

    MI just want to be paid what I'm worth, whether that's 45K, 60, 75, or 125 kabillion… just pay me for the job that i'm doing.

    (though a kabilion would be pretty sweet)

  13. @DogAteMyFinances…So do people that work for the government have no work ethic? And are entrepreneurs the only ones with "actual" skills? Your comment seems a little condescending and mean spirited. Didn't you get fired from your previous job? I guess you don't have the skills that job required for you to succeed. Your view of the world seems a little skewed. It sounds like you don't really appreciate what you have and bagging on others is how you lift yourself up.

  14. I should eventually break 100k, but it will be a couple more years. And it is a cool milestone, and it gets a little easier to achieve each year (inflation). Household income is above that, but I assume you mean just your salary?

    I want to second anon above — @dogatemyfinances, there are much less snarky ways to contribute to conversations than with a condescending tone. I don't get it really — you talk on your blog about where you come from and how hard you work, so I'm surprised you are so hateful.

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