Median Income Just Hit a Record High, but it is Lower Than You Think.

There’s a pervasive thought across America that everyone has an income higher than you. Don’t worry, it’s a lie.

The most recent Census report showed the median income has reached an all new record. at $59,000. This median income is the highest ever, and a full 25% higher than it was 10 years ago. What do people think the median income is? Research shows we all assume the median income is 2–3 times our own income, whatever that may be. Experts say since we can never catch up with the Jones’s, we logically assume they must make tons more money that we do.

Working with several new graduates, job changers, and military members returning to civilian life, I’ve met several disappointed by ‘low’ pay in job offers. On average, they expect to make $80,000 as a new college graduate, $85,000 as a job changer, and $100,000 when leaving the military. No joke. Those are great incomes, and a wonderful goal. However, they’re largely unrealistic without extremely specialized experience.

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One college graduate I know celebrated a job offer with a large national company by posting, “I appreciate my job offer, but $30,000 is a straight up insult to my college degree.” Two years later, this person now work for a different company. I don’t recall seeing any posts about working that job and it’s ‘insulting’ pay. Go figure.

I don’t think people should STAY at the median income, but they can expect to START somewhere around there. Moving into the job market requires having realistic expectations. Some truths about income that everyone should know:

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  • Despite the image they portray, only 1 in 10 people are making above $100,000 per year, and most of them own a business. Nearly everyone you know lives beyond their means. Their flash is fake, and doesn’t have any relevance on your income. After all, you can have money, or you can look like you have money.
  • You won’t make $100,000 from an employer unless you bring tremendous value. As a new entrant to the industry, your value won’t be considered ‘tremendous.’ You will eventually be there, but it will take some time.
  • Start where you can, and grow yourself to earn to the income you want. Do your research, know they pay for your position in your chosen industry, and negotiate accordingly. As long as you’re working around that point, you’re good. Get into the job market, and you’ll climb quickly from there!

Sure, you know people who make more than you do, and probably do more work than the pay you receive. You definitely know other jobs where people who make more money doing much less work. None of these have any relevance to what you’re paid. Everything varies by industry, position, and location. Do your research, know your worth, and don’t turn down a good offer because you are uninformed.

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Originally published at A.C. Wibe.