The richest percentile of Americans makes many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. So how could a $135,000 salary make you a one-percenter? If you're 31 or younger, that figure puts you ahead of 99 percent of your age group.
To determine what salary you'd have to earn at every age to stay in the top percentile—or even in the top 0.1 percent—here's your at-a-glance chart, from data shared by Fatih Guvenen and Greg Kaplan with The Atlantic. (The median age of both 1 percenters and 0.1 percenters is in the upper 40s.)
The 1 Percent (and 0.1 Percent) for Every Age
This chart partially explains why the 1 percent is such a fluid club (about half of the top 1 percent flips over every year.) To stay in the top percentile, a 30-year-old earning $130,000 in 2010 would have to raise her salary by $80,000 by 35, and then another $70,000 before she turned 45.
The gap between the top 1 percent and tippy-top 0.1 percent has grown at every age level since 1983—by 16 percent for twentysomethings and by 25 percent for fiftysomethings. The gap between young and old 1 percenters has grown, too, as you can see below.
The Top 1 Percent
The Top 0.1 Percent
Careful eyes might note that it appears that incomes are flat-lining for the top 0.1 percent. That doesn't make any sense. Haven't we all heard that the richer are getting richer, and the even richer are getting even-richerer?