It doesn’t make sense at first glance, but a higher salary doesn’t actually mean that you make more money than someone else. I don’t know why you’d want to compare your own singular, idiosyncratic, irreplaceable life with anyone else’s anyway, but if you absolutely must, then we should at least get the math right.
For example, a person making $40,000 per year might actually be making more per hour than someone earning $70,000 per year. How does that work?
Well, two ways.
Both can be so insidious in that, on the surface, you’ll never see these two factors eating away at your wealth, your freedom, your happiness, your sanity, and everything else.
Before we go on, I want you to know that I am not AGAINST money. That’s ridiculous. Money is a fantastic tool that can help you buy your freedom, buy back your time, make other people happy (and yourself, too) — it just does all these incredible things. I love money!
But I also have self-respect. I don’t salivate like a f***ing dog whenever I’m given the chance to run off after more money. I know what’s it good for and what it’s not suited to do, and I’m telling you: you should take a look at the fine print.
Maybe that was harsh. But you’re “worth” more than your net worth. Much more. And once you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there are more questions to ask before you know for sure whether that higher salary is what you actually want. Let’s ask some of them, shall we?
Schedules gone wild
A higher salary doesn’t always mean more actual income on an hourly basis. To use really simple numbers, the person who earns $100,000/year but also works 4,500 hours per year (90 hours per week, which is crazy!), actually brings home a little more than $22/hour before taxes. Before taxes.
You can play around with the variables a little bit, but I wouldn’t work 90 hours a week just to make $22/hour. It’s just not worth it. Not since there are so many other things I’d rather do than go to a job. I even found time to read 179 books last year. But the math here isn’t obvious! It’s plainly counterintuitive that more money does NOT equal more money per hour.