How Much is 5 Figures (and What is a 5 Figure Salary)?

crop farmer showing money in green summer field in countryside

What is a “Figure”

You’ve probably heard someone say that they “make five figures” or “make six figures” and wondered to yourself “how much is 5 figures? How much is 1 figure? That doesn’t sound like a number to me!”

I’ll cut right to the chase: a “figure” is simply a digit. Or rather, a figure is the number of numbers in the number. For example, 2000 is 4 figures. We can count them like this:

The first number is 2; second number is 0; third is 0; fourth is 0.

2 0 0 0.

100,000 is 6 figures because it has 6 numbers in it:

download 1

Some more examples:

  • 25 is 2 figures because it has two numbers in it (2 and 5)
  • 430 is 3 figures because it has three numbers in it (4, 3, and 0)
  • 9874 is 4 figures because it has four numbers in it (9,8,7, and 4)

How Much is 5 Figures?

So, when someone says they make 5 figures, that means that they earn 5 digits of money (usually, it means they make that amount in a year).

The smallest 5 digit number is 10,000. The largest 5 digit number is 99,999. That means that if someone makes 5 figures, they are making anything from $10,000 a year to $99,999 a year. Of course, the way that they count their income can differ. They might be just talking about their W2 income. Or they could be including extra income from other activities like investing / side hustles. MOST of the time though, when somebody says they make 5 figures, it refers to the money they make from their work salary.

5 figures is a pretty large range. In fact, MOST jobs at the entry-level will land you within that bracket. SO then how much is 6 figures? or 7 or 8 or 9?

How Much is 6 Figures? (and more)

If we apply the same thinking to 6 figures, we can determine that 6 figures is anything from 100,000 to 999,999.

At the low end of the spectrum, 6 figures in money can’t even buy you a house. But on the high end of the spectrum, 6 figures can be close to one million dollars!

Likewise, 7 figures is anything from $1,000,000 a year to $9,999,999. Here’s all the ranges from 1 figure to 9 figures:

  • 1 figure: 1 – 9
  • 2 figures: 10 – 99
  • 3 figures: 100 – 999
  • 4 figures: 1,000 – 9,999
  • 5 figures: 10,000 – 99,999
  • 6 figures: 100,000 – 999,999
  • 7 figures: 1,000,000 – 9,999,999
  • 8 figures: 10,000,000 – 99,999,999
  • 9 figures: 100,000,000 – 999,999,999

Jobs That Pay Six Figures

In case you’re curious, here are some well-known jobs that pay over six-figures in salary:

  • Chief Executive Officers (CEOs usually make over $100,000)
  • Hedge Fund Managers
  • Doctors
  • Influencers (depending on how successful you are)
  • Investment Bankers (they need to trade their soul though)

Where Do You Stand Compared to Society?

So if you make 5 figures, how do you compare to the rest of society?

Well, here’s a table breaking down the USA household income percentiles for 2020:

individual income comparison us 2020 2019

This shows that if your household makes $23,000, you’re doing better than 25% of other Americans. If your household makes $75,000, then you’re doing better than 75% of Americans. And if you make over six figures ($125,000), you’re basically doing better than 90% of Americans.

If you make “5 figures”, you could fall anywhere from the 25th to the 75th percentile… in other words, you’re pretty average.

How to Get From 5 Figures to 6 Figures

At this point you might be wondering “how do I make more money and bump my five figures up to six figures?”

The key is to take on as many part-time money-making opportunities as you can, see which one sticks, and capitalize on it. Then, once you’ve started gaining some traction and make extra cash, invest the profits so they can grow and snowball. Do this and you’ll be making 6 figures in no time.

A few ideas for you to earn extra money are:

Become a Freelancer

To freelance just means to do work for multiple companies at the same time. As long as you have an interest or talent, you can do freelance work.

Amazing at social media? You can freelance for companies who need help with their marketing. Great at playing the guitar? There are people who will hire you to play certain riffs for them. Have a knack for writing? You could write blogs and articles for websites and they’ll pay you for it. Some websites to check out if you want to start a freelancing gig are:

The beauty of freelancing is that if you’re successful, you may be able to turn your side income into a full income!

Start a Blog

The process is slow, but once up and running, a blog is a great way to earn some passive income. With an established blog you can command many sources of revenue:

  • Affiliate marketing (you market certain companies’ products on your website and receive a cut of all sales you’re responsible for)
  • Online courses / ebooks (sell a course/ebook about something you’re deeply knowledgeable in and use your blog as a marketing platform)
  • Advertisements like Google adsense (many companies will pay lots of money for you to mention their products in your blog posts or even to have their banner on the side of your website – otherwise known as monetization)

Blogging is definitely not a get-rich-quick kind of thing. But it IS a way to potentially make money from home and get paid to do something you love (if you love writing).

Start Your Own Business

Honestly, the best way to make a lot of money is to start a successful business. The key is to find a need that isn’t really being met, and then fill it better than anyone else. Some easy ideas to implement are:

  • Tutor students in the neighborhood and growing it into a tutoring business
  • Babysit kids of parents you know and growing it into a babysitting business
  • Become a successful proofreader and taking on proofreading clients

The businesses that you could start are endless. You can even do something as simple as grabbing someone’s groceries for them, charging them a fee, then using that money to hire even more people to grab groceries. Soon enough, you’ll realize that you have a full-scale business under your belt.

The benefits of starting a business are:

  • Make some extra money and have a source of income not attached to your full time job
  • Freedom from the 9-5 work hours
  • The feeling of accomplishing / building something

The drawbacks:

  • A lot of businesses fail before they’re profitable
  • You might need to put in a LOT of work for it to be successful
  • You might end up lonely

Some More Ideas to Save / Scrap Away Some Money

If you’re unwilling to do anything as drastic as starting a business or a blog, there are still ways to save money and make some quick cash that could benefit you. Some ideas:

  • Become an Uber or Lyft driver in your spare time
  • Use apps like Acorns to invest your money without you even realizing it
  • Sell some of your used stuff on Shopify
  • Take online surveys on survey sites that pay you to do so (Swagbucks and InboxDollars)
  • Do some graphic-design for small businesses on the side
  • Drop-shipping products and receiving a cut

Quick Recap

If you’ve ever wondered “how much is 5 figures” then wonder no more. In this post we’ve covered what exactly a figure is (a digit), the ranges for each figure’s salary, and how you can bump yourself up from earning a five figure income to a six figure income.

If you scrolled all the way down here just for the quick answer, then 5 figures is simply anything from $10,000 to $99,999 so if someone says they “earn five figures” then they make anything within that range.


Thanks for reading through this post revealing how much is 5 figures and thank you for following along! If you’re a Canadian Student, check out the Ultimate Canadian Student’s Guide to Personal Finance! If you want to be financially free sooner, check out this page here! To learn more about me, head over to this link here. If you want to get exclusive updates and tips, drop your email in the “get updates” box (might have to scroll up a bit.) Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!