A growing number of Kiwis are earning six figure salaries and struggling to pay off debt and get ahead.

Hannah McQueen, who runs Auckland personal financial training business Enable Me, said around 70 per cent of its clients would fit that bill.

"It is so common."

McQueen said those most likely to be in that situation were aged in their late 30s to mid 40s with children.


Despite earning a high income they did not have any emergency savings and failed to manage their frittering.

"Instead they float and go nowhere. They don't have a plan."

"A lot of them feel they should be doing better. But they are the problem."

Often those people earning higher incomes were very busy and had stressful jobs and it was only when they sat down to think about it that they became frustrated, she said.

According to 2013 national Census data more than 181,000 people - or 5 per cent of the population - have a six-figure salary, up from 105,525 people in 2006.

While lower income earners may question how someone on a six figure salary could struggle financially McQueen said it came down to lifestyle.

"Their lifestyle costs more than someone on a lower income. Yes they have more money coming in but accustom themselves to more things."

Often they will have the same level of disposable income as people earning just $50,000, she said.


McQueen said 20 years ago earning $100,000 would have been more than enough to have a good lifestyle.

But now it didn't offer the same opportunities.

"They are just normal people. They are busy. They still have kids and are kids are expensive no matter what you earn."

It also depended where a person lived as to how far $100,000 would stretch.

"$100k in Auckland is not the same as $100k in Napier."

But she said higher earners could get ahead by having a plan and managing their spending.