Since the global economic crisis that originated by some unfortunate Wall Street speculations back in 2008, everyone’s salaries suffered. Even if there were any salaries that weren’t necessarily reduced, they felt as if they were simply because of the hit that the economy took made it more expensive for everyone to maintain their old habits. Still, things didn’t look bleak ever since with no possibility of recovery. According to the date provided by the Social Security Administration, the national average salary for 2013 was $44,888.16, which translates in a 1.28 percent increase compared with the national average salary for 2014.
What does a Raise in the National Average Salary Mean for Me?
But a raise in the national average is not sufficient for people to feel like they can enjoy a better life. This figure only reflects the median salary for all occupations in the U.S. for that year. Basing the assumption of a good life for everyone solely on that figure carries with it two traps. First of all, this median value for all salaries can hide some pretty huge social gaps or inequities. Just because the national average teacher salary is situated at about $42,861* (for an elementary school teacher), the average pharmacist salary is usually at about $105,792*, making the earnings gap between the two professions considerable. This means that while some occupations may experience a very small or non-existent salary growth, others can experience high increases, rendering the overall national average salary data not that relevant to a discussion about the common well being.
Second of all, an increase in the national average can be also meaningless if the inflation makes the U.S. dollar go down in value, compared to the EURO coin and other strong currencies from competing economies. Put simply, it doesn’t matter if the average salary in US is 1-2% higher if the dollars we earn are 4-5% less valuable at the same time, since they won’t allow us to buy as much with them even if theoretically we have more of them. The prices will rise as a direct consequence of inflation and therefore your buying power will be reduced is spite of having the same amount of money (or a bit more).
So, rather than asking “When will the national average increase?” (to which the answer is that actually, it keeps increasing little by little almost every year), the question you should be asking is how can you make your own salary increase by becoming a more valuable commodity in your specific occupation. Our website has plenty of detailed articles that show you how certain factors like continued education or choosing a certain industry or a certain specialization can make the difference between a decent salary and a great one without actually leaving your main field of work.
For example, the median nurse practitioner salary is currently at $82,940*, but the lowest earning NPs make $63,707* and the top earning ones can make as much as $103,074* every year. That can make a huge difference in the things you can afford, right? Along the same example lines, the average dental assistant salary is $30,589*, but the actual figures vary between $19,944 and $42,983*. The difference between the two margins is staggering. But beyond learning to give average figures a second look to see all the sub-figures they’re composed of, the most important thing you can take away from this is the fact that you can reach a whole new level of pay in your profession if you read about it more and find out what the factors which can lead to higher salaries are for your specific field.
*According to data provided by payscale.com.
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