6 figures refers to an amount of money of at least $100,000 and a maximum of $999,999. It is called 6 figures because there are 6 numbers, or figures, in the amount.
If you were to think in full dollars and cents terms, you could say there are six figures in front of the decimal point, since the “figures” in this case only include the whole dollar amounts.
“6 Figures” almost always refers to money; it is not used to describe numbers otherwise. If you hear someone talk about “making 6 figures”, they are saying that they or someone else makes at least $100,000 in income per year. If they say “low 6 figures”, that generally means over $100,000 but not significantly past that amount — a $150,000 income would be low six figures, for example. If someone says “high 6 figures”, they are usually referring to an amount significantly over $500,000, maybe even closer to $1 million.
Sometimes “6 figures” is also used to describe the sale price of a large asset. For example, someone might say, “I heard she sold her business for over 6 figures, maybe even high six figures.”
You can take this concept further. For example,
- “5 Figures” would be an amount between $10,000 and $99,999.
- “7 Figures” would be an amount between $1,000,000 and $9,999,999.
- “8 Figures” would be an amount between $10,000,000 and $99,999,999.
…and so on. However, the term “6 figures” is more commonly used than those other terms.