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Exciting Things You Can Do With A $90K Starting Salary

With recent news about regional airlines doubling pay for new pilot hires, and starting salaries reaching $90,000 a year, we thought it’d be relevant to take a look at some exciting things you could do with a paycheck that size. Whether you’re a young rookie just starting out or a seasoned veteran making the move to airlines, here are a few things that a $90K salary could do for you. 

Live Comfortably In Any City

The average income for individuals in the United States is a little over $63,000, while the median is $44,000. In other words, a $90,000 salary is considered quite good, putting you close to upper class, and can go extremely far in certain locations. The general rule of thumb is to calculate 30 percent of your salary and divide that number by 12 in order to understand how much you can afford in rent or a mortgage. At $90K, that equals $2,700 a month. Depending on where you want to live, you can certainly afford to live comfortably even in expensive cities like New York City or Los Angeles.

Pay Off Flight School

If you’ve made it to the point of becoming an airline pilot, you may have accrued student loans to help you pay for flight school. Becoming a pilot is just one of a number of career paths that may give you large amounts of student loan debt, but there are ways to lower your payment. With a $90K salary, you can increase your monthly contributions, put more toward your principal, and reduce the overall interest paid and time it takes to get your balance down to zero.

Put Money Toward Continued Education

You’ve already completed hundreds of hours in the cockpit in order to become an airline transport pilot. But, to go above and beyond the call of duty, you can always keep learning and growing as a professional aviator, adding other ratings and classes. For example, if you’ve always wanted to work as a co-pilot on a commercial flight through Europe, you can add a Multi-Pilot License to your repertoire of certifications. Or, try something completely new by ditching the plane for a helicopter, airship, experimental aircraft or even hot-air balloon.

Buy A House

The average upfront cost to buy a new home in the U.S. is almost $44,000, which includes the down payment, closing costs and the first monthly payment. If you’re already debt-free, with some smart financial planning, you could be calling a new house “home” in just a year. Houses in some of the cheapest states to live come in at below $100 per square foot, allowing you to push your dollars even further.

Buy A Car

Financial experts generally recommend capping auto payments and related expenses at 10 – 15 percent of monthly income. That’s over $1,100 that can safely go toward a car payment on a $90,000 salary. With that level of payment, you can easily pay for a car from the top brands around the world, like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Range Rover. Plus, $90K a year gives you an easier time finding automobile financing for a down payment, assuming your debts are squared away.  

Travel Beyond Work

Beyond flying for work, you now have an income that lets you travel to your favorite vacation destinations. When you have time off, use some of that money for your adventures, whether you’re beaching in the Bahamas, skiing the Rockies or holidaying somewhere else that’s special. For an individual in the U.S., you can visit some of the best domestic and international destinations for just $2,500 on average. 

Start A Nest Egg

Whether you have a spouse, children, grandchildren or any other people that are dependent on you (not to mention yourself), a $90,000 salary gives you a decent amount to start a nest egg with. From retirement to college contributions to investment properties, there are a number of ways to put your money to work for you. Depending on your age, most financial planners advise saving between 10 and 20 percent of your annual after-tax income. For youngsters, this amount will ensure you have enough to comfortably retire.

Do you want to obtain a stellar salary? Look to Inflight’s professional flight training programs

There’s never been a better time to start a professional pilot training program so you can make a stellar salary with the airlines. Our team of expert CFIs has a great track record of helping students achieve the certification they want on a timeline that works for them. If you’re looking to improve your career prospects, consider Inflights Pro Pilot Program, designed to help you land a high-paying, exciting and rewarding job. And, with one of the best pass rates in Minnesota, you don’t have to worry about seeing success.


Let our diverse team of CFIs elevate your learning experience as you take to the skies. If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.