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Is High Income Important?
-By Caleb Jones
When it comes to men discussing Alpha Males in relation to money and lifestyle, there seems to be two schools of thought.
The first school, which I'll call the Traditional School, says that a man must make a lot of money. He needs to put his nose to the grindstone, bust his ass, and work 70, 80, 100 hour weeks to pursue the almighty dollar. He needs to become a multimillionaire someday and make a six figure income, or he's a lazy pussy. A Real Man Makes Money dammit, that's his "job".
The second school of thought is a relatively new one in society. It's the direct result of the left-wing liberalization of mainstream Western zeitgeist. This school I'll call The New School. The New School says the exact opposite of the Traditional School. The New School says that men destroy their lives, their freedom, and their masculinity by pursuing money. Not only should you not worry about making a lot of money, you should actually reorient your life to make as little money as possible. That way you'll never have to stress about all the commercial, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses bullshit most men spend their entire lives stressing out about (as well as things like taxes and government interference in your financial life).
Men who have no debt, pay no taxes, and make less than $1500 a month (or so) are heroes to men in the New School. They have cleverly avoided the trap that ensnares most other men.
The Traditional School is trumpeted by business gurus such as Donald Trump and Brian Tracy. In the manosphere, The New School is touted by guys like Roosh and Captain Capitalism.
Hm. I agree with points made by all of those guys. So who's right?
The answer is, it depends. There also is no right or wrong answer. This isn't an issue like with 2+2=5 where there is a definitive, objective, correct answer and emotionally easier but demonstrably wrong answer. No, when it comes to this particular issue we're just dealing with opinions and personality types here. Keep that in mind as I go on.
All of my opinions are formed around the basis of long-term consistent happiness and personal freedom. All of my political opinions, opinions about women, dating, and relationships, and opinions about money, business, investments, all start there. If your life basis starts from a different place than mine, you're going to have very different opinions than I am. Keep that in mind also.
Getting To The Answer
The Traditional School is quite right when they say that a man, or at least the vast majority of men, need money in order to be happy. I am quite positive you've had the experience of badly wanting something you couldn't afford, and thus couldn't have. You've probably felt that many times. Did that make you happy? Hell no. Quite the opposite. A man needs money.
The Traditional School is dead wrong when they say that a man needs a lot of money. Most men just need a certain amount for baseline happiness. (We'll talk specific numbers in a minute.) Some of the most screwed up men I know are men who make very high incomes and bust their asses at work for decades on end. Yeah, they make a lot of money, but their bodies, relationships, and stress levels are complete trash.
So the New School is absolutely right when they talk about how the Western consumer culture can destroy a man and waste his life. But they're quite wrong when they say you'll be perfectly happy making $20,000 a year. I promise you won't....there will be things or experiences you'll badly want to have that you can't because you won't be able to afford them.
The Financial Baseline For Happiness
How much money does a man need to be happy then? Tricky question. Over the course of many years of working with people in the business world, I came up with a guess, which was that a man needs, on average, a $70,000 per year income to achieve a baseline of happiness. It was just a guess, and I admitted as much when I told people this.
A few years later I was happy to discover that science had reinforced my hypothesis. Around 2008, they did a survey of over 450,000 people on the topic of happiness. Many questions were involved, but the key one that stood out to me was the amount of income people needed in order to be happy.
The survey found (and several other studies have confirmed this since then), that the magic number was $75,000 a year. (That's about 54,000 euros per year for my European brothers).
- The more money people make, the happier they are. But! This only applies if they make less than $75,000 a year. That means that very likely, if you make less than about $6,200 a month right now, you would be much happier if you made more money.
- Once making more than $75,000 per year, most people experience diminishing returns or zero returns on additional happiness. In other words, if you make around $6,200 a month right now, you probably wouldn't be much happier if you made $10,000 a month. You might be a little happier, but not much.
Two caveats to this:
1. None of this takes into account regional differences. Living on $75,000 per year in downtown Tokyo or Manhattan would be damn near poverty, whereas you could live like a little king on that same income in Thailand or rural South Dakota.
2. None of this takes into account your family situation. $75,000 per year for a single guy with no kids is quite different than a married guy with three kids, even if his wife worked full time.
Making $75,000 A Year
So while fully acknowledging the above caveats, I'm going to go with $75,000 as a general figure. It not only matches scientific surveys, but my own business experience. Thus my general opinion: You as a man should make at least $75,000 (or €54,000) per year, but you don't need to make much more than that unless you really want to. If you make less than that, yeah, you need to get your ass to work and get your income up to at least $75,000 so your happiness level is optimal. If you make way more than that, you might want to strongly consider backing down your debt, lifestyle, and work hours to reduce stress.
The good news is that $75,000 a year is really not that much. That's $6,200 a month, and every man in the Western world who isn't mentally retarded has more than enough ability to make $6,200 a month without blowing his brains out, as long as he makes this a goal and works at it. It's not like I'm saying you should make $300,000 a year or something (which is $25,000 a month). I'll admit that's a little more difficult and/or complicated, especially if you don't want to work long hours.
The point is, $75,000 might seem like a lot to you right now if you only make $25,000, but $75,000 a year is not difficult. If I was telling you to make $200,000 a year, then I might listen to excuses about how that's "too hard" or takes "too much time". But not $75,000. You can do that. If you want it badly enough.
I'm going to repeat something R. Don Steele once said; it's something I've repeated on this blog before. He said that a man does not need to be rich at all. However, by the age of 35 or 40 or so, a man does need a decently nice place to live, a decent car (if a car is required where he lives), nice clothing, and the ability to travel when he wants. I agree 100%, and that's pretty much the $75,000-a-year lifestyle as long as you don't have much debt.
By the time you're 35-40, your lifestyle should be decent. Not ostentatious or ridiculous (unless that's what you really want), but not poor and spartan either. I'll use the example of your car. By the time you're 35-40 at the latest, your car should be a good one. Not an amazing one, but a good one. Perfect example is me. I drive a Nissan Maxima, which was about $30,000 when I bought it new many years ago. A $30,000 is a good, nice, solid, decent car. It's not Lamborghini or a Mercedes or Hummer...it's no where near that level. But! It's also not a piece of shit that I would be embarrassed to drive around town that's constantly breaking down and screwing up my life with transportation problems.
Use that example and apply it to the rest of your lifestyle. Your home should be a decent, cool place. Not a mansion or penthouse, but also not a shitty studio apartment in a run-down building either. Same goes for your clothing, toys, and experiences in your life (travel, restaurants, events, etc).
Now if you truly want to make more than $75,000 a year, go for it. There are indeed some men who would truly be happier at an income a little more than that. (I am one of them.) Just make DAMN SURE that you're living a very balanced, low-stress, high-happiness life. Never, ever let your income control you (just like you should never let a woman control you). Happiness must always come first. (Otherwise you're just another beta or Alpha Male 1.0, and the world has plenty of these kinds of men already.)
The reverse is also true. If you're currently making $30,000 a year and honestly think $75,000 would be way too much for you, that's fine. Forget about that $75,000 figure. However, I strongly suggest that instead of just blowing this concept off, go for an income of $60,000 or $65,000 a year. The odds are overwhelming that you'd be happier at that income level, regardless of your political opinions about "rich people" or the "rat race" or the consumer culture or whatever. I promise you that $65,000 a year isn't anywhere near "rich", so your Occupy Wall Street, anti-capitalist, one-percent-hating political convictions have nothing to worry about by increasing your income a little bit.
It all comes back to balance. If you embrace the New School, I promise you there's going to be all kinds of things you want to do or have that you won't be able to, and this will cause you unhappiness that I never need to worry about. If you embrace the Traditional School, I promise you're going to be stressed out of your mind, and you'll never be as happy as I am. The answer, as it so often is, lies somewhere in the middle.
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Maldek 2014-04-09 07:58:09
Spot on great article. Numbers seem to be perfectly fine for western europe and the US (most parts of the 1st world in fact). When you mentioned Roosh it is worth mentioning that he is spending a lot of time OUTSIDE the US. In eastern europe in particular. The number U$ 75 000/year equals a much smaller number in not-so-developed countries. In a 3rd world country where people earn $500/month your income of $1500 (over the internet for example) would allow you a lifestyle well in-line with your 75K model. Meaning if roosh makes $3000/month from his books and stuff while living in something like Ukraine, his lifestyle may in fact be equal or better than the $6200 guy in L.A. That said, I think it is important for a man to have his own *** DEBT FREE*** house and car by the age of 45-50. So it might be wise to focus on money age 18-35, so you can then take it easier 40+.
Blackdragon 2014-04-09 10:02:43
The number U$ 75 000/year equals a much smaller number in not-so-developed countries.Correct. Like I said, the $75K/year figure does not account for regional differences.
Meaning if roosh makes $3000/month from his books and stuff while living in something like Ukraine, his lifestyle may in fact be equal or better than the $6200 guy in L.A.Eh...sure about that. I don't think the Ukraine is literally 50% lower in cost of living than LA. I think Roosh would still have to crank out more than $3K/month to live the $75k/year lifestyle. But I do agree with your overall point.
That said, I think it is important for a man to have his own *** DEBT FREE*** house and car by the age of 45-50.Abosolutely agree. As a matter of fact, being debt free in this way is probably more important than average annual income (though income is important too).
Mark 2014-04-10 05:24:07
"The good news is that $75,000 a year is really not that much. That’s $6,200 a month, and every man in the Western world who isn’t mentally retarded has more than enough ability to make $6,200 a month without blowing his brains out, as long as he makes this a goal and works at it." I could be wrong, but I don't think every man is capable of making this amount though given the capitalistic system. Aren't a certain number always going to make less than this? It's like poverty: there will always be people at that level, because that's just the way the system operates. In theory, if every man set a goal of $75K it would be impossible for them all to attain it because the market says so.
ObeyX 2014-04-10 05:54:14
@Mark Realistically, there will always be a large majority who will be held back due to their own thinking that the system is stacked against them, its not exactly the capitalist system, its mere societal programming and a hint of social slave/welfare mentality in the mix. Honestly nobody is stopping you from making $75k a year, even if you are held down by debt. You still have the chance of making something of yourself and growing your income. In the western world, nobody is stopping you from success but yourself, unless just like BD mentioned "You're mentally retarded."
Blackdragon 2014-04-10 13:32:16
I could be wrong, but I don’t think every man is capable of making this amount though given the capitalistic system. Aren’t a certain number always going to make less than this?Yes. Because they choose so.
It’s like poverty: there will always be people at that level, because that’s just the way the system operates.No, there are always people at that level because A) they choose to be at that level, or B) they are not mentally capable of reaching higher levels (those with real mental retardation for example).
In theory, if every man set a goal of $75K it would be impossible for them all to attain it because the market says so.You have a very odd view of capitalism. What you're describing is true socialism, where all are equally poor and miserable because they're forced to be. This is not capitalism. And I will repeat again, not every man will choose to make $75K per year, ever. Some will, but a lot won't. So those who want to are good to go.
Mark 2014-04-10 15:39:43
@obeyx, blackdragon Thanks for the responses. I'm not saying that a certain number of people cannot attain that amount of yearly income; clearly they can: I have, some of my friends have, etc. My point is that EVERYONE cannot earn that amount of money. Simply looking at the structure of many organizations illustrates this: there are entry-level jobs, mid-level, etc. etc. I think it's obvious that there aren't enough jobs to go around at the $75K pay grade for EVERYONE. And if too many people started going into business for themselves, they too would not be able to reach that level because the market would force some out. As I've said before, many, many people can get to this level of income, but I do not think EVERYONE can (even if each male set that as a goal and worked extremely hard to achieve it). The space would be too crowded, too saturated.
Blackdragon 2014-04-10 15:46:42
My point is that EVERYONE cannot earn that amount of money.Everyone won't, so your point is moot. Stop trying to make esoteric excuses into the greater economics of this advice, and start making more money to improve your own life. Don't worry about macroeconomics. Worry about YOU.
Jack Outside the Box 2014-04-10 16:56:42
75,000 dollars a year? Are we talking gross or net? Also, what if you want kids? How much money should you earn then?
Blackdragon 2014-04-10 17:01:26
75,000 dollars a year? Are we talking gross or net?Pretax net. And ideally you have zero or very little debt.
Also, what if you want kids? How much money should you earn then?Fantastic question and way too off-topic and detailed for an answer in a comment like this. There are so many variables involved (mother's income, number of kids, parenting arrangement, legal marriage or not, child support laws in your area, etc).
Henry l 2014-04-11 07:18:44
This blog provides a lot of context that I had questions about. The frustration I have is how difficult it seems for women to understand little things such as flaking, etc. impact a busy man earning 150k-to-300k.
It-Began-In-Africa 2014-04-11 13:53:37
BD, I shake your hand. The more money, the better grade of ass a man gets. And when your dick is golden and your ego elevated, that is my definition of the road to happiness. And Mark needs to forget about 'markets' forcing entrepreneurs out. Men always find a way to the top where the weaker of our species fear to tread.
John 2014-04-13 02:32:56
Hello Blackdragon. I have been following your blog for about a year. I am trying to improve my income. With a friend I'm trying to start a YouTube show where we have enough viewers to make decent money, along with my main job I should be able to meet the $75000 a year like you suggested. I would like to ask can you still be successful with women with a lower income of $50,000?
Diego 2014-04-13 06:44:35
@John "I would like to ask can you still be successful with women with a lower income of $50,000?" You can be successful with women at nay level of income. Go read the forum if you want to know how. @BD Yep, as a man living in the EU (former east block country), I can fully confirm that you need @ €5.000/month net to have a happy lifestyle here.
Free&Strong 2014-04-15 06:12:39
Great article BD. As a man entering into an entrepreneurial lifestyle, it's good to have scientific and anecdotal evidence giving us an economic bar at which to aim. Like you said, anyone can make that amount of money with a little ingenuity and hustle. Breaking it down even more than just by the month it comes to average: - $1,442 per week - $206/day (7 working days income) or $289/day (5 working days income); personal preference of working style - And then between $26-$36/hour based on the above "per day" incomes, working an 8 hour day. If you don't think you can earn THAT basic amount of money with just a little more hustle, you're not applying yourself all that hard.
Blackdragon 2014-04-15 10:35:47
Great point. I actually work with daily income goals myself, and I work 7 days a week (just not 8 hours a day). $206-$289 per day is no big deal at all. Again, not if you put your mind to it.
Alan 2014-04-17 07:12:26
Umm, how do I make that much money from home? What must I do?
Blackdragon 2014-04-17 12:01:49
That's far too general a question, but thousands of businesses can be started and run out of one's home. Online businesses, consulting, outside sales, local repair, administrative, etc, etc.
Amperbroekie 2014-04-21 16:31:27
I agree that "it depends". Because 75k for me is a joke (as well as my surropinding). I am just 3 thousands short from this and I hardly can afford anything at all. I drive a shitty car, I dont own any property etc. With this income its impossible to buy anything in London (I live in England) or any other decent European capitals (I am not British,and I speak 5 languages so can live pretty much anywhere in Europe). Now,regarding the "New school", aka roosh. He does not represent any school at all, he represents desperation and lost opportunities. He preaches spartan lifestyle mainly out of jealousy. He failed his career (people study microbiology to get to medical school or science,not clerk jobs), he is unemployable now. He makes money by giving english lessons, obviously illegally as he does not have any permit to stay in EU or Ukraine and tourists an't work. Ive met a lot of people from new school in my twenties, they are very unhappy now 5-10 yeas later. Its crap to be poor. And btw "it depends" with cars as well. Cause where I live in England Nissan Maxima, o anything Nissan is pretty much a joke of a car. If you care of what you drive ofcourse...
Amperbroekie 2014-04-21 16:35:48
I actually did not want to sound arrogant or aggressive in the message above,so my apologies if you feel so. I have actually liked this topic quite a lot, good that you write more about real life, rather than concentrating on online dating.
Maldek 2014-04-22 10:57:51
@Amperbroekie You do NOT become rich by earning big. You become wealthy by earning more than you spend *** EVERY SINGLE MONTH ***. If you earn 75K$/y you have 6250$ each month. Now your goal is to save $2000/month you have 4250 to spend. This does include ALL your costs - like rent, food, cloth, car and TAXES. Never forget taxes. If you try hard to reach the set savings goal but you cant make it where you are living now, you may have to relocate your butt. It is better to earn $4000/month with no taxes paid and expenses of 2 000 than making your 6K and spending it all. They say the first 1m (or the first 100K) is always the hardest. Know why? Because you do not earn passive income on interest. You have to earn every penny and save each and every month. Once your passive income covers most of your regular living costs, you can make $2000/month and STILL make more money than you with your ~6000/month income. It ain't easy to start but it gets better over time.
Leo 2016-08-08 06:14:28
Great article, again. Man, if I can make 75K/year, I will live like a king. I am living in Turkey, when people hear 3000TRY (1000USD), they think it is a great amount of money! Currently I work on various projects, I believe that I will reach that amount. Thanks for this article.
CurtsNOKC 2016-12-06 13:21:32
Great article and all I can say on this topic is the fastest way to NOT reach that $75k is to become monogamous or get married. I see guys think that in order for them to make big $, they gotta have a lady at home or be in a relationship. It's counter intuitive. I'd be willing to say the fastest way to become poor in BOTH time, money & freedom is to get married or be in a Mong relationship. It's gotta be the # 1 success killer. (Or at least #2 aside from our own mindset.) So, if your goal is to gain more freedom or $, the very first thing a man has to do is become free. Once those chains are off, then real success is possible in my opinion.
Yonatan 2017-03-31 22:43:14
Great article and very inspiring. What I would love to read though is some ideas about how one can make $75,000 a year salary without busting his balls 60/hrs a week. I'm an out of work software developer and I am going to be having to break my back to be raking in a decent salary, which can range from $70,000 to $150,000 (or more) a year, but I am stuck in the corporate rat-race. I'm striving and yearning to be independent and have my own business. Actually, if I could make $60,000 a year and not have to go to work each day (be self-sufficient) I would be happier than making $90,000/yr on a 9-5 job. I've been off the job market after 15 years because I was cheated and swindled in a family business that I help build. Unexpectedly, I am now on the software market after not having to worry about a job in 15 years. I'm going to have to spend next 6 months reading books on algorithms and learning technologies, literally 12-15 hours a day so that I can get past these extremely rigorous software interviews. I've bombed some of them and know it will be an uphill battle. Sadly, these big companies don't even hire you based on your skills, but rather on a set of rules, like demanding you figure our complicated algorithms and puzzles that have nothing to do with the job. The whole system makes me sick and I know being a corporate drone is not where I want to be in life. I strive to be an entrepreneur and independent even if I have to take a paycut. Being in the IT world I'd love to learn ideas from business savvy, independent and successful Alpha 2.0 males like you, Black Dragon and others in your situation. I know the potential is there, but right now it seems like I will have to either work low wage jobs or break my balls to fight my way into the software job market which is an extremely demanding job that usually averages 60 hours a week (and sometimes more). At almost 40 years old and spending 15+ years working on average 80/hrs a week now I am very burned out and want to finally be able to enjoy life without living in dire poverty and throwing away 16 years of software experience. I'm eager to hear suggestions and ideas. I certainly get the concept that any true Alpha male needs to be independent and making a decent income . I am good at saving and managing my money, but earning it is the biggest problem I am facing. FYI, I live in Seattle, Washington where a $75,000/yr is just middle-class. For a software developer that is considered a real poor salary here. A happy life in Seattle would be $100,000/yr salary, which is what I am striving for. My ultimate desire is to have a summer residence in the Northwest and winter residence in the tropics. But, these are just dreams for now.
Robbie Medica 2017-04-16 23:58:04
I guess I'd be considered a hero to the new school. I make my entire income busking for a living, 6 days a week 2 hours a day, averaging between $500-$1000 a week in tax free dollars, doing what I love singing and playing 🙂