-By Dan Malachowski,
A few years back, making $100,000 per year meant that you drove
a Benz with shiny rims, put your kids through Yale no problem, paid
your country club dues ahead of time, and generally walked with
your head (or nose) held high. You were one of the elite and at
the top of your game. A lifetime of hard work had peaked at the
coveted six-figure salary. Times have changed. These days a $100,000
salary means you drive a domestic car with missing hubcaps, have
two outstanding loans to cover your child's state school education,
and complain that the greens fees at the public golf course are
too steep. Well, perhaps it isn't that bad. The point is that making
$100K no longer makes you special. Let's face it: $100,000 is not
what it used to be; $200,000 is the new standard.
to compensation experts, the status that came along with the six-figure
salary died in the late 1990s, when the prolonged success of the
stock market and American industry in general led people to believe
that that the sky didn't end at $100K. Salaries started creeping
past the century mark as the century turned, and executives began
to set their sites on a new salary cap: $200,000.
Coleman, Senior Vice President of Compensation at Salary.com, calls
$200K "the new black." Those who make $200,000 are "the players."
Play on, players. The rest of the white-collared workforce is striving
to join you. Coleman, who tracks executive pay, notes that there
is "a lot of bunching between $100,000 and $150,000. That's the
vast majority of the people who used to aspire to $100,000. Now
they are aspiring to $200,000 or $250,000." Coleman also notes that
it is a shame that the "natural milestone" of $100,000 has now been
outdated: "One hundred thousand is magical because it is 100; 100
is perfect, remember when you were in school?" While the $200,000
threshold may be beyond reasonable expectation for most of today's
workforce, Coleman holds that workers will still target that number,
as it is "not beyond reasonable hope."
scoped America's most lucrative job titles in order to identify
those workers who are in style for 2005. Don't hate "the players"
because they pull down the dough; most of these people are either
saving lives or leading your company.
to see the salary ranges of some jobs that are now making $200,000+
to view all our six-figure jobs.
you been watching "Survivor" lately and thought: "So these guys
have to live on an island for two months, eat bugs, get attacked
by sharks, and the one who outlasts, outwits, and outplays wins
only one million dollars?" Ten years ago, it was absurd to give
away one million dollars on TV. Now shows like "Who Wants To Be
A Millionaire" have evolved into "Super Millionaire." The fact is,
like the $100,000 milestone, one million has also lost its sparkle.
For those keeping track, the new one million is ten million. When
it comes to measuring your wealth and planning your retirement,
ten million is the number to strive towards. So unless you have
earned at least ten million, don't plan on knocking elbows with
Tiger Woods (80 million last year), Britney Spears (23.2 million
last year), Howard Stern (30.1 million last year), or Barry Bonds
(18 million last year). Don't get me wrong, one million dollars
is a lot of money, but being a mono-millionaire these days only
puts you in the company of Survivor's Richard Hatch and the guy
who is 73rd on the PGA Tour money list.
you don't have to have rock-hard abs or hit 70 homers a season to
be a "big-time player." Salary.com's Executive Compensation Wizard
tracks the pay of America's top business people.
out what the highest paid executives in America are making:
HOTELS AND CASINO RESORTS (DJT)
LYNCH & C0 (MER)
with the times. Forget about making $100,000 or one million dollars.
These days you need $200,000 to be a "player," and ten million to
be a "big-time player." So go to medical school, climb the corporate
ladder, work on your singing voice, or start lifting weights. And
if all else fails, you can always apply to be on the next reality