How well are you really doing? How much are your peers really making? Is it enough to justify their new car? Should you reward yourself because you’re doing amazingly well? Should you actually be working harder? Should you ask for a raise? Should you change career paths so you can earn more? Are you on track for a healthy retirement? Analyzing your income percentile by age will give you the answer to all of the above.

You probably ask yourself these questions all the time. I know I do. This is the reason I’m writing this post. I will list the average income for age groups, in 5-year increments. If you want more specific answers, visit the income percentile by age calculator at the bottom. These numbers are based off the 2013 survey of consumer sciences, conducted by the Federal Reserve. It took into account household annual income of 206,488 Americans which was a large enough sample to make this data extremely accurate. When thinking of your income, be sure to include ALL income – not just salary. Such ancillary income could include side hustles, bonuses at work or passive income like dividends. Enjoy!

What It Takes to Be Average

Ages 18-22 = $13,000

Ages 23-27 = $31,000

Ages 28-32 = $44,000

Ages 37-41 = $57,000

Ages 42-46 = $61,000

Ages 47-51 = $65,000

Ages 52-56 = $58,000

Ages 57-61 = $60,000

Ages 62-66 = $51,000

As you can see, there is such a thing as ‘prime earning years.’ Make sure you’re bringing home the bacon between ages 28 and 51. You may earn less in your early years because you’re busy with school and figuring out life. You then have a period of life that’s perfect for wealth building. Then, your household income is likely to decline. This can be because of health issues, the economy’s devaluation of your career, or perhaps you’re trying to seek a greater work/life balance. Or maybe you’ve decided to retire early.

The Calculator to Show Exactly How Much You Need to Earn to Be on Par with Your Peers:


This calculator is powerful. It’s powerful because it puts things in perspective. It actually can relieve peer pressure. At times, I’ll look at a big house in my neighborhood and wonder why I don’t have a big house as well. But then I see the owner walk outside and he’s twice my age. I’ve realized it’s demoralizing to compare yourself to people much older. Instead, focus on what you’re doing at your specific age. Thinking this way is very powerful. For instance, I know I’m doing much better than my peers. Why does this give me pleasure? For starters, I’m competitive. But more importantly, it erases my jealousy for the things they buy. I’ve realized… I could buy anything they could buy. So why get jealous of their car, shoes, hobbies, etc. It just doesn’t make sense. Top tip: If you ever want to know how wealthy someone is, look at their income streams as best you can. Don’t judge a person’s wealth based on what they own. That’s probably the worst way to judge a person’s net worth.

How much do you want to earn each year? By earning just $60,000 annually, you’re doing better than the average American – no matter the age group. That’s pretty incredible. If you feel like you’re below average at anything, make it a goal to make $60,000 per year. Firstly, it’ll show you’re not below average when it comes to income. Secondly, whatever you did to get there will prove you’re not below average in any sense of the phrase.

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