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.**

(Mortgage Calculator) (BLS)

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. **

(Self)

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.**

(Shmoop)

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.**

(Self)

Generally, you’ll spend $130,462 over your lifetime on interest payments, such as student loans, car loans, credit card debts, and mortgages.

**Conclusion**

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.

**FAQs**

**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).