{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Has anyone gone from making 120k per year to 160/180k ? How did it feel and was it a huge life improvement and did u finally feel like everything your invested in your work life paid off? I’m at 120k rn and for the number of hours I’ve put in and the complete lack of savings I have living in a hcol city I’m hoping that my next salary will ameliorate my money worries . I don’t think after all I’ve done (school/work) I should feel underpaid and broke but I do", "post_id": "61d0c7fea47568002df0e41c", "reply_count": 179, "vote_count": 31, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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Has anyone gone from making 120k per year to 160/180k ? How did it feel and was it a huge life improvement and did u finally feel like everything your invested in your work life paid off? I’m at 120k rn and for the number of hours I’ve put in and the complete lack of savings I have living in a hcol city I’m hoping that my next salary will ameliorate my money worries . I don’t think after all I’ve done (school/work) I should feel underpaid and broke but I do

likesmarthelpful
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80>85>102>108>180
Base path year to year. Big jump due to finding a company that valued my military and nonprofit experience (12yoe vs 4yrs consulting exp starting entry level). Biggest jumps in comfort were pre consulting to 80 and 108 to 180. In the first month of the latter I may have dropped a grand here or there on a celebration party, 2 massage chairs, a cruise, couple michelin dinners, my family, lots of food, drinks, and weekend travel. I now also have so much quality kitchen stuff. Didn't feel a thing other than the voices of my Asian parents in my head screaming at me for wasting money.

OP - very much echo others here that you need to review your expenses. I live in a HCOL city and have paid 2k/month rent by myself for years and all that time have been able to max 401k, rIRA, and HSA while still living comfortably with 2 big vacations a year and contributing to grandparents' expenses. Are you eating out or drinking multiple times a week? Buying expensive cars or clothes? Buying a new cell phone every year?

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Rent is your killer, if you can bring that down even by $800 you'll be right where you need to be to start.

I completely feel for you and it sucks but if you can fix you rent, 120K is more than enough in any HCOL to be comfortable, ball out, and still save.

For context, I live in HCOL, make 95K, take home ~4500 a month after taxes.

Breakdown (roughly)
- 1400: Rent / utilities
- 900: Student Loans
- 600: Savings
- 600: All Else

Granted, my checking is nil and some months I don't save, or in Nov/Dec I put what would have been a $2K in loan payments towards gifts and helping my family out, but that's okay and normal.

As much as I love having only 1 roommate in my nice 2bd 2bth apartment I've lived in for 4 years, I'm fully prepared to live in a group shack and *make* it nice if my total housing costs would ever exceed $1600 a month.

I'll caveat this with I made some really shrewd housing moves early on and lucked into the COVID rent freeze as our rates were about to skyrocket, but I am *fully* confident you can do the same.

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Recent IconRecent

120k is a lot of money. You should check your budget instead.

likesmartupliftingfunny

140 likes on the parent comment and OP thinks most people agree with him/her 😭 yes 120k ain’t rich rich but it’s enough. Now, living alone is a personal choice and a luxury especially in a hcol… you want more savings? Again, look at your budget… plenty of room to save

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Things I wish people told me when I was starting to climb the wage ladder: Without a plan, once you hit 180k you'll just live a 180k lifestyle and still have no savings.

likesmarthelpful

I’m at 120K and still live that 80K lifestyle in a HCOL area too; but that’s because I just paid off all my debt except my new house. Now, I will focus on building a years worth of savings, get that 401K contribution maxed, and further my stock portfolio. This is a promotion year for me. If I hit 160K+ then those goals will be met this year. Anything else is play money. The goal is get rid of debt first and then start getting your money to make its own damn money, lol

HCOL is your choice. I felt like a king at less than 120 in MCOL.

I make 190 now. Most of my raise has gone into retirement savings. Occasionally I get the guac on my Chipotle.

likefunnysmart

Associate 2 assuming that someone is white based on that comment… smh learn to accept that other people have different opinions

Do you have a family to support? I was single and making $120k in Chicago paying $2.4K/month in rent, saved a ton and still felt like I was living like a king… I know it’s not SF or NYC, but Chicago is not a LCOL city.

Sorry to be a jerk, but take another look at your budget if you’re single, there’s no way you should feel like you’re stretched (unless you grew up with oligarchs or something)

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Always Deloitte with the know it all comments.

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When I hit 180k I felt like I was making a lot more. And then I got another bump and it didn't mean I was living my life any different than when I was making 180k. There's a point when more money doesn't feel that different until you hit a much higher number - I'm not there yet :)

You are paying a LOT in rent - that was my mortgage plus condo fee when I was making 120, 150, 180. Selling my place enabled me to do so at a higher number which I reinvested in a house. I'd consider trying to buy a condo IF you can find something at a decent price - if you can be all in (after condo fee but before utilities) at 2500, then it's worth it IMO.

likesmart

Nice D1, good luck! I just left D and can only imagine how hard it’s been to get to where you are haha.

likehelpful

I went from $135K TC to $180K TC ($120K to $150K base) last year and still feel like it’s not enough in HCOL.

Most of the increase went to taxes, although I still manage to save $4-5K / mo thanks to budgeting. I’d recommend using Personal Capital to budget and cutting down in discretionary areas.

likehelpful

Join the reserves and get that VA loan! Only takes a few quick years 😉

funnylike

At one point in my career, I went from $75k to $100k in a LCOL city. I kept the same 1-bedroom apartment, the same car (and paid it off soon after the salary jump), and the same spending habits (maxed out 401k and Roth, ate out / traveled at the same rate). My savings started to balloon, but solely because my lifestyle didn’t creep. I felt like a queen.

I put those savings toward an MBA, and made $140k in a HCOL city. It felt super tight — priority was maxing out 401k since earning over the Roth limit — and I made choices like having a roommate to reduce my rent, relying on public transportation, cooking more than eating out, and even buying jugs of Starbucks iced coffee at the supermarket to mix with milk rather than spending $5 per latte. It’s all about choices. Start by figuring out where you money is going, reduce spending some categories if you are struggling to save, and don’t let your lifestyle creep up too much when you get that raise.

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Stupid mindset IMO sounds like such a grey life to live. Id rather just make enough now to afford my expenses . Screw subsidizing my lifestyle. You’ll never get this moment back you might as well live like a king

funny

When my income went through that jump, I had a wedding to pay for.

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Wedding culture has become an abhorrent vanity project - truly gross

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Tbh I just saved/invested the difference, so my lifestyle remained the same

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I moved from 115k to 180k in industry. Felt like an absolute game changer.

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That is a big jump, congrats!

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And to answer the question. I went from 115 to 140 and it made a bit of difference but not that much. Your lifestyle will continue to expand. Once I got the higher income I bought a house and now I'm just house poor

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7- Sr manager with AD responsibilities in industry

Just went from 118 (100 base/20 bonus) to ~160 (150 base/10 bonus) and it feels great. I was already saving a decent amount before (maxed 401k and invested a grand or so a a month after tax), but now I’m saving quite a bit more since I haven’t changed my spending.

I live Mid to HCOL area (northern NJ) but splitting expenses with my GF makes it a lot easier.

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Just made the jump at a little over 4 YOE. Was actually at Deloitte beforehand.

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Honestly I went from $120 to $180 and haven't felt it much. Checking my expenses, my takehome has gone up ~20% per year but expenses only 10%. We have a mortgage for a $500k house, own a couple of $15K cars outright, and spend according to our budget rather than our income.

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I know lots of couples that rent out rooms also to help with expenses. I have moderate income friends (finish carpenter and retail manager) who own their own house, and always had 2 housemates so they were able to save enough for a rental property. Admittedly, they bought fixers, but still.

I went from 100 to 160 in a year, and it felt like a huge jump - was still living in the same place and going out to eat at the same rate (1-2x a week at a mid range place, not Michelin or fancy), so I could feel the fact that my savings really snowballed.

My life didn’t change all that much otherwise; I’m in a HCOL city so it really just meant that I could invest more towards a potential down payment and justify taking more Ubers, picking a $200 hotel vs a $130 hotel on annual vacations, getting a nice designer coat or jewelry once a year. But psychologically I felt way more comfortable.

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Haha yeah, but lifestyle creep is real so things do change quickly unless you’re disciplined about your spend. I look at price tags less these days which can then into a problem if it happens too often.

This was at 3 YOE; I’m at 5 now

Our second year Seniors go from 120 to 170

likehelpfulfunny

170k base at 3-4 years out of college is not lower end. Wtf. Maybe only compared to MBB.

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Learn how to reduce your income taxes so you can keep more of your money.

likesmart

like what?

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120 in a HCOL is really not that much.

I recently went from 100 to 180 in 3 years. Honestly I don't think that changed my life THAT much, may be made me financially free-er (think less cc debt etc.). Still have student loans etc that I need to be aggressive about

What really made the difference though was that my wife also went from a $79k job in 2016 to a $145k job now and that has really helped us feel much more secure about ourselves

likesmart

You need discipline to save.

I went from 90 to 120 to 170 not including bonus in the span of 2 yrs after being stuck at 90 for 4 yrs. I still saved money at 90k, and was was more disciplined than I am now because I had to be.

I still pay roughly the same rent in NYC midtown. $1.8-$2k/month with roommate even though I’m making way more money.

I’ve always maxed both Roth 401k and Roth IRA even at 90k salary. You should act like you don’t even have that money as part of your salary.

I’ve been more freely spending lately on just food and eating out, but trying to be better about budgeting the extra money I make into more stocks. I’m estimating $2k a month additional into investments.

likesmart

You need to budget. You likely can cut down on how much you eat out and drink and also any excess shopping. Let’s say after tax and deductions and you’re bringing home ~$6K a month. Even if $2.5K is going to rent, where is the other $3.5K going? You can’t even take $1000 and put it in savings? If not you’re living above you’re means.

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Also you’ll likely get a bonus right? What’s happening with that?

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You should try focusing on an amount you’d want to save a month, then list out your rent and other recurring bills and then whatever is left over is what you spread to other areas of your budget (food, going out, etc). I was making $75K base out of college and managed to save $2K a month. I lived on half of what I made. I’m now at $114K base and save around $3.4K a month. It can be done. Try to get your rent down.

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