Six-figure-earning employees sometimes have this feeling that they have arrived. It’s probably the easiest thing to think that way if you were in their shoes too. Popularly called “High income, low savers”, they are at the highest risk of falling hardest when things go south, or flatten out.
It is very important to note that wealth is not made by making money/earning a salary (in most cases). Wealth is created by holding on to money and also managing it properly. By management, I mean creating a direction for its spending.
The good thing about getting this sort of advice as a six-figure salary earner is that changing your lifestyle to a new and lean spending regime is way easier than people who earn below N100k in today’s Nigerian realities.
This article will be pointing out three (3) common mistakes high income earners make. It will also highlight how each money mistake (salary) made can be fixed.
1. Lifestyle Inflation: Raising your lifestyle as income increases
Many have fallen into the trap of raising the standards of their lifestyle, changing cars, creating higher spending limits, taking new loans because they now have higher APR, shopping at new stores, and so on, simply because they have received a raise at work.
Treating new money as new money and also spending it in the same way would definitely have bad effects on the long run. This is because your new high lifestyle would also need a high cost to maintain.
To do: Practice reverse lifestyle inflation
What is reverse lifestyle inflation? Reverse lifestyle inflation is when you deliberately let your expenses remain the same while your income increases. This can be achieved when maintaining the same flat lifestyle and treating new money as if it does not exist.
For example, you would have practiced reverse lifestyle inflation if you just got a N50,000 raise at the office but rather than spend it on some ‘urgent pressing need’, you divert the money to your savings or use it to service a debt.
2. Spending too much on housing/accommodation
This is another common money mistake high-earning salary earners make. This advice will be most relevant to people who live in Lagos, Nigeria where we have about 6-7 kinds of areas that all have different kinds of impacts on your paycheck. This, of course, is relative to how much you actually earn.
Many try to rationalise this by claiming that they have legitimate reasons for this, but you also need to know that wealth can never be created this way. The truth is, wherever you live, if you are making six figures monthly but still live paycheck to paycheck because of your rent, you are certainly spending too much on housing.
To do: Spend 30% or below on housing
There’s a common rule of thumb to housing – do not spend over 30% of your yearly income on rent. That is, if you earn say 100k naira monthly, that is 1.2 million naira per year, your entire yearly rent renewal mustn’t be over N360,000.
Now, will a N360k apartment be modest enough for you? That is where the area comes in. Live in areas that you can afford.
3. Complacency: Not making any further career moves
This is another top money mistake many six-figure salary earners make. Feeling like “I’ve arrived” while making a six-figure salary is easily one of the worst things that can happen to any employee. The sudden urge to stop pushing forward, thinking that is a final destination is actually you being complacent.
To do: Start a side hustle/make moves
If you have not made any career move in the past three years, better start now. Start looking outside your company. Try out new skills and side hustles. Push for that raise. There are many side hustles that you can start and run with little or no supervision.
If we’re being honest, these mistakes highlighted up here are real and common. Real life people (colleagues, family members, friends, and so on) have made these mistakes thinking that they are scaling for bigger lifestyles. It is all an illusion that dawns on them in the long run.
If you minimize your rent by the right apartment in the appropriate area, refuse to spend ‘new money’, and look for bright ways to increase your monthly/daily income, you will surely be on your way to financial freedom soon.
This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.