Saving: High earners do not necessarily have it easier

People who earn well don’t necessarily have an easier time when it comes to saving. The reason: With every salary increase, the standard of living is adjusted – one falls prey to lifestyle inflation. The few extra euros that flow into the account every month are often invested in a larger apartment, a faster car or new brand-name clothing. After all, the neighbor should see what you have and that you are a good earner.

Surely, the latter does not apply necessarily to everyone, however, one makes in the life much unconsciously, if one does not straight on to become as independent and free as possible. Instead of continuously increasing the savings rate, this is perhaps only adjusted in absolute values, but also regularly increased spending. In this way, one does not get closer to the possible goal of financial independence any faster.

From the money we don’t have, we buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.

Quote from the movie Fight Club

The car is the German’s favorite child

This quote unconsciously applies to many people. This is particularly evident when it comes to cars, the Germans’ favorite child. According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office, private households spent an average of 233 euros on car maintenance and use in 2018. In 2018, the average working wage was around 1,900 euros net, which means that on average just over 12% of monthly expenditure went on the car alone. Broken down into different income levels, it can be seen that the higher the salary, the higher the expenditure on the car.

Anyone earning less than €1,100 net per month in 2018 spent an average of €40 on the use and maintenance of their vehicle. At best, this corresponds to around 3.6% of total expenditure. In the salary bracket from 1,100 to 1,700 euros, the figure was already 91 euros, more than double. Depending on the salary, this represents around 5.4% to 8.3% of total monthly expenditure. In the salary range from 1,700 to 2,600 euros net, these values rose to 154 euros, or 5.9 to 9.1%.

Those who earned 2,600 to 4,000 euros after deducting all taxes spent an average of 237 euros on their car. This corresponds to a percentage of 5.9 to 9.1%. Those who brought home more than 4,000 euros net three years ago paid an average of 388 euros for the upkeep and use of their cars. That is around 9.7 times as much as the lower salary brackets spend.

Higher standard of living causes more expensive fixed costs

Overall, it can be seen that people who earn more may be able to save more in absolute terms than people with lower incomes, but as a rule they also have a significantly higher standard of living and therefore more expenses. The lever is clearly the savings rate. If you manage to continuously increase your income without letting your expenses rise in line with inflation, it will be easier for you to provide for your old age and you may even be able to retire earlier than the average German.

Our tip: In the future, simply save an additional 50% per month from every salary increase and bonus. This way, you can still raise your standard of living a bit, but in the long run, you will also continuously increase your savings rate.


  • the more you earn, the more expensive the car becomes
  • in general, fixed costs increase due to a higher standard of living
  • these fixed costs have to be covered later
  • even higher savings rates are necessary for this
  • High earners must also pay attention to savings rates

Andreas Stegmüller

Andreas is the founder and operator of this blog. During his more than ten-year editorial career, he has written for several major media outlets on a wide variety of topics. The stock market has been his passion since 2016.

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