NewsFrom 3,347 euros per month one is considered rich...

From 3,347 euros per month one is considered rich – according to the study

Villa, yacht, private jet: That’s probably how many of Germany’s top earners imagine themselves. But the limit to the top ten percent is lower than one might think.

Frankfurt – If the CDU boss* Friedrich Merz* counted himself among the “upper middle class”* some time ago with an annual income of millions, where can normal people like you and me fit in? At what point do you count among the top ten percent in terms of income? The German Economic Institute (IW) has found answers to this question for Spiegel.

But first some background: The average employee in Germany earned 3,975 euros gross per month in 2020, as determined by the Federal Statistical Office. That’s 47,700 euros a year, without special payments such as vacation and Christmas bonuses or bonuses. For example, an unmarried, childless and legally insured woman in tax class 1 in Hesse would earn 2,413.71 euros per month and 28,964.51 euros per year. However, this average value by no means means that most Germans have an income in this area.

Top earners in Germany: From what salary does one belong?

According to the Federal Statistical Office, almost two thirds of full-time employees (63 percent) earn less. The remaining good third (37 percent) have such high gross earnings that they pull up the entire average. Incidentally, according to the evaluation, the most can be earned in the “extraction of oil and gas” sector with an average of 6,206 euros gross per month. Gastronomy brings up the rear with a monthly gross of 2,047 euros.

So if Germans earn around 2,400 euros net on average, how big is the gap to the upper class, to the top earners? Anyone who expected that the top ten percent would only include groups such as top managers with five-digit monthly salaries or professional footballers is wrong: According to Der Spiegel, the IW draws the line at a monthly net income of 3,529 euros for singles. From then on they belong to the top ten percent. Our exemplary average employee is still more than 1,000 euros away from this. Couples without children play in the top league from a net household income of 5,294 euros, a family with two children under the age of 14 from 7,412 euros net.

How much salary does one belong to the rich?

The IW is not the only institution that has calculated a limit on the rich. Schippke Wirtschaftsberatung analyzed that a single household with a net income of around 3,350 euros is one of the richest 12 percent of all German citizens. According to’s gross-net calculator, that’s around 5,600 euros on the payslip. In fact, according to Schippke Wirtschaftsberatung, every eighth person is rich.

In the case of two-person households, even less is enough to be considered rich: According to Schippke, each partner must achieve a monthly net income of 2,500 euros. According to Merkur, a couple only needs about 1.5 times as much money as two singles. This is because a couple can share many costs, such as rent. According to the Sparkasse calculator, each partner must earn 4,000 euros gross to be among the rich.

Top earners: does money even make you happy?

Even if the sums do not necessarily sound like exorbitantly high and unattainable salaries, it should be difficult for most people in Germany to achieve them. Because not everyone works full-time at all – or even pursues gainful employment. It is true that it is said again and again that money alone does not make you happy – and studies have suggested that satisfaction stops growing above a certain income. However, a US researcher showed in a study in early 2021 that this limit could be much higher than previously assumed.

The result of the study’s 1.7 million pieces of data: general life satisfaction and daily emotional well-being increased with wages, well above an annual household income of 80,000 US dollars (66,000 euros). Some researchers previously assumed that an income of around $75,000 or less would stop increasing emotional well-being. One of the reasons is said to be that rich people feel they have more control over their lives.

You can find out where you stand, at least in a German comparison, with an interactive calculator based on the data from the IW. Whether you are happy with the result or not is another matter. (ial with dpa) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.