Is 130k a Good Salary in the USA? (2022)


I often get asked what the ideal annual salary is for an American worker. People want to know how much they need to live off comfortably as well as be able to save for retirement.

In this article, I’ll be tackling the question: is 130k a good salary in the United States in 2022?

Of course, each person’s needs and comfort levels will vary. In 2023, an annual salary of 130k is considered much higher than average. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 130k is more than double the average annual salary of an American worker.

So without a doubt, 130k is an ample salary for most people to live comfortably on in 2023. 

So is $130k a good salary in your mind?

There are different things that need to factor into what a “good salary” actually is in 2023. Which city do you live in? Do you have debts? Or children? Luckily, if you’ve ever had these questions I’m about to try and answer them for you now. Let’s get started!

What Percentage of Americans Make Over $130K?

In the past, an annual salary of 100K has been a generous amount of money for any family. Now things have risen in price over time but it’s probably safe to say that $130K is more than enough to live comfortably on. Let’s take a look at this in a little bit more detail.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary in America in 2022 is about $54,000. As you can see, a salary of 130K is nearly triple this amount. Given the law of averages, it’s safe to say that a majority of Americans don’t make anywhere near 130K each year. 

In terms of the US States with the highest annual average salaries, The District of Columbia and Massachusetts top the list. Not surprisingly, these are also the two states that have the highest educational attainment in the country as well. There is a direct correlation between higher education and the average annual salary of that worker. 

What Types of Jobs Pay Over 130K in America in 2022?

Alright, so you’ve decided that you want to look into jobs that make over 130K, where would you start? You might be surprised by how many jobs actually pay over 130K. This seems contrary to how few workers make 130K, but of course, it is always relative. There are far more office workers and fast food employees than there are doctors or corporate lawyers. 

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but here are just a few positions that can pay more than 130K in 2022:

  • Doctors and specialists
  • Dentists
  • Lawyers
  • Airline pilots
  • Executives and high-ranking managers
  • Accountants 
  • Software Developers
  • Engineers 

Sound like something you could do? Note that all of these careers require advanced education and specialized training so it isn’t likely you will just jump into one of these jobs. There are some careers you can pursue if additional education or training isn’t on your radar. Keep in mind, nothing is guaranteed for these jobs and it might take a while to get to 130K.

  • Entrepreneur
  • Content Creator/Influencer
  • Sales positions that earn commissions
  • Stock/crypto trader
  • Real estate investor

What Can You Afford with 130K in Annual Salary?

It’s a great question! How much would a salary of 130K change your life? Most people would list things like a bigger house or a newer car. Others, like me, would splurge on a nicer vacation each year. Everyone’s priorities are different in life and what you want to afford might differ from others. 

Depending on where you live, a salary of 130K might not even get you your dream house! Residents in states like California and New York know exactly what I mean here. Alternatively, for those that live in Texas or Iowa, 130K could get you a lot further. Are you someone that will still live conservatively or will you splurge and treat yourself with the occasional gift? What we can afford with 100K is always relative to our own personal financial situations.

What Should You be Aware of With 130K in Annual Salary?

I think we can all agree one of the first things that crossed our minds is the amount of taxes we’ll have to pay. Of course, income taxes differ based on which state you live in. Federal taxes are standard but some states like Texas or Florida don’t have to pay state taxes. That’s about a 5-7% savings on your income each year!

Another important thing to think about is job burnout. Take a look at the list above: most of those jobs are pretty stressful and come with a lot of pressure to perform. Do you want that additional stress on your mind on a daily basis? Some people would much rather trade those responsibilities for a lower salary. 

Finally, one thing you always need to think about is whether will you be able to maintain this lifestyle in retirement. Making 130K per year can net you a pretty comfortable lifestyle. In retirement, that salary is likely to be much smaller if you have a pension or investments. Are you able to save away enough in investments to live comfortably after you retire? Always keep that in mind! 

The Bottom Line: is 130K a Good Salary in the US in 2022? 

Undoubtedly, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. When the average annual income that most people are living on is $54,000, making nearly triple that amount puts you into some pretty exclusive company.

Of course, a good salary depends on our own personal circumstances, but for a majority of Americans, 130K is more than enough in 2022! 

Geek, out.

Noel

Noel is the founder and main contributor for his blog - Noel's passion for personal finance has helped him amass over 600k readers to his Financial Geek blog.

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