You made it. You’re in the winner’s circle — a multi-six-figure income. Financial nirvana. Your money problems are over … right?

That’s actually not true. High-earning workers are notoriously bad money managers. A stunning pre-pandemic study by Wilson Towers Watson revealed that 18% of $100,000+ earners technically live “paycheck to paycheck” — that is, with debt and little in the way of savings or emergency reserves.

Granted, that’s lower than the Charles Schwab estimate of 59% of all income levels … but why isn’t the number 0%? Even if they don’t live paycheck to paycheck, every high earner knows of at least ten high earners who still, shockingly, fret about bills. If you’re uncomfortable reading this, it might be you. As an Emergency Medicine Physician, it hits close to me too.

As a result, these “high-earning wage slaves” end up working much longer than they have to. They could have retired at 40, or at least scaled back to focus on their passions. So why do they end up sweating bills until forced into retirement at 65?

Here are four notorious traps of the high-income lifestyle that cause high earners to work longer than they have to …

1. Lifestyle Inflation

Call it “keeping up with the Joneses.” Once we start earning a higher income, we feel like we need to affect the same lifestyle as our colleagues of similar income. The next thing we know, we have a boat payment, a Jaguar on lease, a collection of Rolexes, and a 7-bedroom McMansion for a family of three.

As a result, as high earners we succumb to the temptation of living outside our means just like surely as middle- and low-income earners with credit card debt. Big paycheck or no paycheck — we’re only human.

2. “One More Shift”

As an ER doctor, I know the allure of working “just one more shift.” For other high-earning professions it might be one more client, one more project, one more deal, etc. We justify unnecessary expenses with the mentality that we can just work a little more to pay for it. Often times, we feel guilty if we aren’t constantly pushing forward to the next thing and working harder.

The “One More Shift” obsession arises naturally from #1 — maybe the extra shift will justify the Rolex you want, or the bigger house you decided to get. And it’s what pushes high earners to work until they drop, even when financial freedom was so close that they could taste it.

3. Buying Liabilities Instead of Assets

The boat, the Jaguar, the Rolexes … they’re fun, but they are liabilities. If we revisit our Rich Dad/Poor Dad, a liability is something that takes money out of our pockets, making us poorer. An asset, in contrast, puts money into our pockets, making us richer.

It’s fun to spend money … and we’re fortunate enough to have money to spend. Why not spend it on assets instead of liabilities?

4. Not Investing for Cash Flow

Some high-earners do buy assets … but they invest speculatively, buying assets they hope will be worth more in the future. Stocks. Cryptocurrency. Expensive second homes. These assets can make them wealthier in the future (if the market cooperates) … but they don’t produce cash flow.

Without cash flow, you’re no closer to financial freedom because you are no closer to creating a passive income stream that can replace your current income stream. If you want to leverage your high income into an early retirement, you have to invest for cash flow.


Multifamily real estate is one of the best assets to buy if the goal is financial freedom. If you’re a high earner, the cash flow from multifamily real estate can retire you early and produce enough income to buy more assets … plus the luxuries that make it fun to have a high income!

All Aboard Capital helps high earners escape the “high-income rat race” and build a life of financial freedom through strategic multifamily investment. Ready to stop falling into the traps that lie downstream of a big paycheck? Reach out to us today!