So, the Occupy Wall Street (or OWS, for those of us who like our abbreviations) movement seems to be dying down (or at least, moving towards a less extravagant method of trying to meet their goals). This is not going to be an article about OWS. I’m not going to comment on whether they are enlightened leaders who will help lead us to a better economic future, or whether they are a bunch of whiners who aren’t willing to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. That’s not what this post is about.
What this is about is my attempt to answer where in the spectrum of income I happen to fall. I can say off the bat that I’m not part of the 1%, unless the country is in even worse shape than I have been led to believe. This is not to say that I won’t get there one day; one of the advantages of living in the United States is the ability to improve one’s lot in life. (I’ll leave it to the OWS crowd and their detractors to argue about the best way to make it easier to do so; I’m big enough to admit that I don’t know off the top of my head which way to shift policies to help the most people.)
Luckily for me, and for anyone else who is curious as to where they fall, there are ways to find out. The Wall Street Journal (possibly the group least likely to support the protesters’ cause, but that’s neither here nor there) has put out a calculator that allows you to enter your salary and find out your earning percentile. It’s kind of a neat concept, and given how much I think about money, earning, and where I happen to fall, I was curious.
So, I decided to figure out where I stand, and then, because this entry was running a little short, I mean, my curiosity was aroused, I decided to try a few other options to see how possible (and likely) changes in my income could affect the percentage where I fall. (Now granted, the income levels will shift, at least a little bit, in the coming years, making my percentages less than 100% accurate. But hey, this is just for fun anyway, so I’m just going to run with it.) Alright, onto some annual incomes and percentages:
Occupation: Graduate Student; Salary: $12,000; Percentage: 13%; Reaction: Ouch; there might be a reason that so many of the protesters were students…
Occupation: Grad Student (with my Blogging Side Income From Last Year); Salary: $16,000; Percentage: 19%; Reaction: Well, my blogging does help me, quite a lot; not quite enough to pull me out of the bottom quintile, but hey, every bit helps.
Occupation: Biochemistry (Starting Salary with a Masters Degree); Salary: $47,000; Percentage: 53%; Reaction: Yee-ha! Right from the start, my fancy new degree should elevate me to the top half of earners in the country. Not a bad way to spend a couple years, it seems.
Occupation: Biochemist (Average Salary); Salary: $89,000; Percentage: 76%; Reaction: Hey look, with some experience under my belt, it looks like I could be earning some serious coin. Ka-Ching!
Occupation: Biochemist in Pennsylvania; Salary: $105,000; Percentage: 82%; Reaction: Apparently my home state is pretty generous to biochemists, allowing us to clear six figures, on average. Not too shabby.
Alright, one more; although this is fun, I should probably be getting back to the whole process of earning that degree so I can earn some of those high incomes.
Occupation: President of the United States; Salary: $400,000; Percentage: 98%; Reaction: I don’t think I’ll ever be the President of the United States (I’m not nearly good enough at begging for money and playing politics to become mayor of sizable city, let alone President), but I did think it was interesting that I COULD be the President and technically still be part of the ‘99%’. Helps to put things into perspective, or something, I suppose.
Alright, that should be enough for now. It’s definitely kind of interesting to see where different wages stack up in the scheme of the country’s overall earning. On that note, back to increasing my percentage!