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Data: Top 1% income earners by age shows ‘the rich’ aren’t that rich

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Liberals love to rail against the against the top “1 percent” of income earners, frequently blaming them for everything from income-inequality to climate change. But while blaming the super-rich may sound like a good option for those who are unwilling to work, it turns out that the top 1 percent of incomes is not as high as people tend to think.

According to new data by Business Insider, a 25 year old would need to be making $116,000 per year to be considered part of the top one percent of incomes for his or her age. The salaries of the top 1 percent increase by age, with a 31-year old needing to make $200,000 per year to stay in the ranks of the top one percent.

Data indicates that people in their early 40s would need to be making approximately $450,000 annually to remain part of the one percent, and this number remains roughly the same until the age of 64, where the data suggests $473,000 is the minimum threshold.

(Business Insider report)

While these salaries certainly seem high to the average person, they are certainly not unattainable by today’s standards. Many people who pursue advanced degrees in medicine will reach these salaries with ease. Additionally, researchers did not adjust for student debt, which has a major role in a household’s cash flow. A 32-year-old surgeon may be making $250,000 a year, but could also have $300,000 in student loan debt which certainly impacts how much income one would spend and save.

Finally, being a part of the top 1 percent of incomes does not necessarily equate to the top 1 percent of wealth. A key issue here for millennials is housing. While millennials who live in urban districts may have higher salaries and more money to spend after paying their rent, they may actually have less overall wealth than suburban millennials who are making mortgage payments on a home and building equity, which will eventually become a long-term, paid for living space.

In understanding the actual income amounts of the 1 percent over a broad age span, it makes the incomprehensible and mystifying 1 percent seem just a little more attainable. As Business Insider puts it, this study “gives us a good idea of what it takes to reach the top 1% — and shows just how rich ‘rich’ really is.”


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