Money is always relative. And if you take the challenge as $50K net worth increase in two years because of your salary limit, MORE power to you! You did just as well as me because you challenged yourself by increasing income while reducing expenses.
I had a lucky break. But you have an advantage over me. I stumbled into this two years ago. Where as now I'm telling explicitly what you can do to increase your earning potential.
The key to meet this challenge (for most people) is get a good overseas job. And if you are up to the challenges of not only qualifying for those jobs, deciding to move, and deal with a new country/language -- its well worth it!
Even if you make 50K /year now (average US median salary) and relocate, your employer will probably pay for some of your living expenses. The move, lodging, food stipend, transportation may be covered.
Here are you savings:
1. Housing is usually cheaper overseas. Some employers pay partial rent, some your actual, and some pay you a fixed rate based on local hotel rates (you keep the balance and your income goes over the roof!) Say they pay $100/day lodging. You stay in a decent condo for $700. You keep the balance 30*100 - 700 = $2300/month!
2. Medical expenses are cheaper outside of US.
3. Transportation is either more public, or buildings and city centers are closer together.
4. Travel is cheaper. You are already in a foreign country. Take a short hop to visit nearby countries.
5. Lifestyle deflation. The people I meet in countries outside of US (especially CA) don't really focus as much on materialism. So you'll probably spend less by osmosis.
6. Tax: you reduce your tax liability by 92K (you just have to be a "bona fide" foreign resident or don't come back to US soil more than 35 aggregate days in a year) If your gross income is 100K, then after deductions, your Adjusted Gross Income is 8K. You pay income tax on 8K!
Instead of 25% or more marginal tax rate, you go to 0%
7. State Tax: Change your tax domicile (where you claim your home state) to one of the income tax free state. Like WA, FL, NV, TX, AK, SD. Skip the paying state tax when you live abroad!
+5K/yr (about 9-10% if you lived in CA)
So far its all about overseas and living abroad. I have more suggestions about how to deal being a high earner. Yes, being a high earning carry some disadvantages, like:
1. rental property and depreciation phase out after AGI above $100,000.
2. Can't contribute to Roth IRA or IRA. Though a way around it is maxing your 401K to IRS limit of $50K/yr. Then do conversion when you leave your employer.
3. Lifestyle inflation. Try not to go crazy even though you make more than the locals.
Even though some of you expect me to give an advert, by now, on a overseas company doing shady hiring, its not going to happen. I'm not an agent. I'm just a regular dude that figured some things out. (Like my favorite: "The amount of your salary is almost "arbitrary"") I just thought to spread some info to Mustachians.