The amount of money an American earns throughout their lifetime is a topic of much interest and curiosity.
How does the average American fare when it comes to salary, and which factors will significantly impact your lifetime earnings?
Let’s find out.
How Much Does the Average American Make in a Lifetime
If you make a median salary of roughly $50,000 per year and you work for at least 20 years, you will end up with a lifetime earning of about $1,650,000.
However, since your actual earnings depend on a lot of factors, including your education, profession, location, and lifestyle, don’t take this number too literally.
That said, if you want to make a lot of money in the US, your best bet is to go into the oil industry. Oil tycoons have the highest expected lifetime earnings at an estimated $626,220,000.
5 Basic Stats on Lifetime Earnings in America
How much money do you think you are going to make in your lifetime?
1. If you work for 20 years for a median salary, your total cumulative earnings will be about $1,650,000.
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How much does the average American make in a year? The average American worker earns a median salary of around $50,000 per year or $25–26.00 per hour.
If Americans work for 20 years for the same salary, (with a 5% annual raise and cost of living increases added into the equation) their estimated household annual income after retirement will amount to around $126,000.
During their working life, the average annual income will be close to $83,000, while the total cumulative earnings over 20 years will reach $1,650,000.
2. Almost 35% of your average lifetime earnings will go on taxes.
Americans pay an average of $480,407 in taxes throughout their life.
Looking at states, New Jerseyans pay the most. Namely, 62% or $1,035,725 of their lifetime earnings goes on taxes, whereas Tennesseans pay the least, 17% or $284,624.
Luckily, there are a couple of ways to avoid paying taxes legally.
3. Oil tycoons have the highest expected lifetime earnings — a whopping $626,220,000.
When it comes to average lifetime earnings by profession, oil tycoons are on the top of the list, with expected lifetime earnings of $626,220,000.
That’s four times more than the second-highest group on the list: baseball players, who are expected to earn an average of $155,720,040 over their lifetimes.
4. If you have a bachelor’s degree, your median lifetime earnings will amount to $2.8 million.
(Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce)
According to a study on lifetime earnings by education level from 2021, individuals with bachelor’s degrees make 75% more than those with only a high school diploma, i.e., they make a median of $2.8 million throughout their career or $70,000 per year.
When it comes to professions, architecture and engineering professionals with bachelor’s and master’s degrees have the highest median lifetime earnings — $3.9 million and $4.4 million, respectively.
5. Americans spend $130,462 over their lifetime on interest fees.
Generally, you’ll spend $130,462 over your lifetime on interest payments, such as student loans, car loans, credit card debts, and mortgages.
So, how much money does the average American make in a lifetime? Well, it turns out that we make a little under $2 million in our lifetimes. Of course, there are a lot of variabilities based on occupation and other factors, but this number gives us a good idea of where we stand.
And remember, this is just an average — plenty of people make much more (or much less) than this amount.
How much does the average American make in a month?
Given that the median yearly salary in the US is close to $50,000, Americans make an average of $4,150 per month or $26.00 per hour.
How much money does a person make in a lifetime?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. It all depends on your chosen profession and other individual circumstances.
For example, let’s take a look at two very different professions — baseball players and oil tycoons. Baseball players have a median expected lifetime earnings of $155,720,040, while oil tycoons have an estimated $626,220,000. As you can see, there is a vast difference.
However, if you want to know how much does the average American make in a lifetime, in general, expect something around $1,650,000 (if you work for 20 years).