Many of us have this idea that we'll be making significantly more money as our older selves, but a new study shows there's actually a really big correlation between what we make at the beginning of our careers and what we make towards the end.
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The findings basically show that our biggest pay bumps come within the first decade of our careers. Assuming we begin our careers around the age of 25, that means by 35 you'll have boosted your career into a sphere where it might remain. Of course, in high-income fields there are major exceptions to this rule, but for the average worker this seems to be what's what.
While it's not totally clear what causes wages to level off, research does indicate that that's the trend — so maybe keep that in mind when next your asking for a raise.
The study looked at incomes from 1957 to 2013 and also noticed another trend, women's incomes are in general going up while men's are stagnating. This isn't a huge shock considering more women work today than in 1957, and there is a more active fight against wage discrimination, but it is still certainly something to note. As the study states, "We found stagnation of lifetime incomes for men and growing lifetime income for women. From the cohort that entered the labor market in 1967 to the cohort that entered in 1983, median lifetime income of men declined by 10%–19%, and median lifetime income of women increased by 22%–33%." Interesting indeed.
The major moral of this story though is that you should fight for raises early and often. If the research is right, raises (significant ones anyway) will end earlier in your career than you might have otherwise expected.