If you want to make six-figures, know that you can if you want to. Nothing in this world is stopping you with the right money mindset to get rich. I’ll teach you how to make six figures a year at almost any age.
I believe $250,000 is the ideal six-figure income for an individual for maximum happiness. $350,000 is the ideal household income for a family of up to four. Inflation is really forcing households to earn more money just to run in place.
At these income levels, you’re earning a healthy six figures to buy a lot of what you want. But you’re not earning a super-high six figure income that takes a lot of work and gets taxed like crazy.
Further, taxes might be increased for individuals making over $400,000 and married couples making over $450,000. If you’re already working 60+ hours a week and miserable, paying even more taxes won’t feel great.
I’ve been making six figures since my second year in investment banking in 2000. Earning a six figure income helped me achieve financial independence at age 34 in 2012. Today, my passive investment income generates roughly $340,000 a year to take care of my wife and two children.
If you want to learn how to earn a six figure income at almost any age, you’ve come to the right place! After earning six-figures at work for 12 years, I now earn six-figures online.
Skills You Need To Get A Six-Figure Salary
If you have a high IQ, that’s great! But, intelligence alone does not guarantee success in life. If you want to make a six-figure income, there are a set of core skillsets you must acquire first.
Let’s Start With Some Basic Necessities To Earn Six-Figures
1) Desire To Make Six-Figures
If you want to make six figures, you must desire to make a lot of money. Mr. Miyagi said it best to Daniel-san, “You Karate do “yes” or Karate do “no,” you Karate do “guess so” get squished like grape.”
2) Effort To Work Harder Than Average
Unfortunately for the lazy, you’re actually going to have to try hard at first. Maybe you’ll wake up earlier than everyone else. Or you’ll start to network like a mad person. Hopefully, you’ll stop making excuses. No effort, no results earning six figures.
3) Have The Desire For More Knowledge
The more you educate yourself, the easier things will be. Lucky for you, you’re reading this post and likely other great financial publications as well.
I spent the past 13 years working in finance. Then I got my MBA from Berkeley. I considered getting a Ph.D., but felt it was too much.
I’ve written over 2,500 personal finance articles since 2009. You’re in good hands here on Financial Samurai! You’re especially good if you subscribe to my free weekly newsletter where I recap the most important financial information and share my thoughts.
4) Optimism To Make More
Positive people succeed more in life. Optimism is what will drive you to keep going when things turn sour. Optimism will make you do great things because you believe things will improve. If you have optimism, you will always find the right direction.
5) A Fantastic Personality
At the very minimum, it’s important to be nice if you want to make over $100,000 a year in income. At the maximum, your charisma will make believers out of others. People will be drawn to you and naturally want to start helping you and doing business with you. Be nice, but also be respectful.
There will be haters everywhere. Embrace them. Learn how to develop a better personality so more people will follow, support, and like you.
Get A Six-Figure Income At Any Age
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s explore the many possibilities of making over $100,000 at any age. I truly believe anybody who wants to make more can make more. This post isn’t meant to be controversial at all. But, as always, feel free to share your thoughts below.
High School & College Years
It’s important not to be a donkey and get mediocre grades. If you’re just coasting with a “B” or worse, you’re going to end up going to a “B” college or worse. At your “B” college, if you are mediocre again, well then you are going to be stuck with mediocre opportunities.
Do you really think you’re going to be able to compete with the student who gets straight A’s in high school who then gets straight A’s at Columbia for the same jobs and opportunities post graduation? No. A rational employer will choose the straight-A student over the B-student 9 times out of 10 all else being equal.
Top 5 Industries With Six-Figure Jobs
Now that you are a terrific student, all you’ve got to do is identify industries that often pay six figures within two years out of school. Many of the industries pay over $100,000 to start now.
Here are the top-five industries paying six-figures:
- Venture capital
- Investment banking
- Management/strategic consulting
- High tech
Therefore, go apply to the top five companies in each field. For example, the companies listed below are offer opportunities to get a six-figure salary.
Venture Capital: Sequoia, Benchmark, Accel, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Kleiner Perkins.
Investment Banking: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Strategic Consulting: Bain, BCG, McKinsey, Monitor, Arthur D. Little, Booz Allen Hamilton, LEK, Oliver Wyman, A.T. Kearney.
Tech/Software: Apple, Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft, HP.
Internet: Google, Facebook, eBay, Paypal, AirbnB, Dropbox, Quora, Uber, Slack, Pinterest, Netflix.
Related: Should I Work In Investment Banking, Technology, Or At A Startup?
Even More Six-Figure Industries
IT Consulting/Accounting: KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers (takes longer to break $100,000, but a high certainty before 30 if you start out of undergrad)
Oil, Mining, Commodities Trading: Vitol Group, BHP Billington, Glencore International, Cargill Group, Koch Industries, Trafigura, Archer Daniels Midland Co, Gunvor International, Noble Group, Bunge, Phibro
Computer & Movie Animation: Pixar Studios (Toy Story), Weta (Lord Of The Rings), Blizzard (World of War Craft)
Engineering: Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering, Software engineering, Structural engineering. Engineers have the starting highest paid salaries around. They can find jobs at many tech, internet, software, research, and construction companies.
Health Care: Doctors, Hospital Administrators, Specialists, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, etc.
Classical Music: The San Francisco Symphony’s median salary is $160,000. We know this because they went on strike on March 13, 2013. They felt underpaid by 5% compared to their LA and Chicago peers! 5% and they go on strike!
Police Officers and Firefighters: Cops and firefighters with a couple decades worth of experience regularly earn over six figures a year. Add on their well deserved lifelong pensions and you’ve got a recipe for financial success! Retired SF Chief of Police Heather Fong makes $200,000+ a year from her pension for example.
Big Government: Reach any top tier position in the Federal or State government and you will make six figures a year a long with a nice pension. In fact, there are more than 450,000 Federal employees making over $100,000 a year. Prison guards make $150,000-$200,000+ with overtime. San Francisco janitors and elevator technicians make over $270,000 a year.
Government Contractors: The average total compensation for a Navy, Army, and Air Force contractor is $180,000 according according to a 2016 report by the Defense Business Board.
Education: Principals, Head Coaches, professors. Professors actually have one the best combination of riches and status today.
Real estate: There are plenty of real estate agents who make six figures a year. With commission staying stubbornly high at 5%, all you’ve got to do is sell $4 million worth of real estate a year to earn six figures (part of your commissions goes to the brokerage firm).
Make Six Figures Through Passive Income
Another goal you should have is to make six figures through your passive investment income. Meaningful passive investment income takes forever to generate, which is why you need to get in the mindset ASAP.
My current favorite passive income investment is through real estate crowdfunding. I love owning a physical asset that I don’t have to manage. The best real estate platforms today are Fundrise, for all investors and CrowdStreet for accredited investors. Both are free to sign up an explore.
I’ve invested $810,000 in real estate crowdfunding projects mainly in the heartland of America. Valuations are cheaper and net rental yields are higher there. I believe there will be increased migration to lower cost areas of the country. This should drive property and rental prices higher.
It’s taken me over 21 years to amass enough capital to generate $310,000 a year in passive income. My ultimate goal is to regularly earn $350,000 a year in passive income since I’ve now got two kids and neither my wife or I work.
Make Six-Figures A Year In Your 20s
So there we have it. Great grades, great schools, and working in particular industries will make you $100,000 a year in your 20s. This post names roughly 30 firms which employ tens of thousands. There are many more firms out there which pay just as well.
The great thing is that if you stick it out at any of these firms for 10+ years, there’s a great chance you will be a millionaire in your 30s and a multi-millionaire in your 40s.
What If Your Grades Were Terrible?
Let’s say you’ve got some work experience under your belt. However, you just aren’t satisfied with your career or your profession.
You didn’t do particularly well in school and read this post a little too late.
You could always go for an elevator technician job in SF and make close to $300K. There are so many regular jobs paying six figures if you swallow your pride.
However, I understand not everybody wants to sweep floors and clean toilets to make a high income. The good news is there are many other options.
Go To Business School To Make Six Figures
How else might you figure out how to make six figures a year? You’ve got a second chance at a six-figure salary by simply going to business school. Again, you can’t just go to any business school. You’ve got to go to one of the top 20 business schools given the competition, supply, and cost.
Lucky for you, the top business schools let in thousands of students a year, so no worries!
Top 15 Business Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Penn, Columbia, Dartmouth, Berkeley, Chicago, Northwestern, Michigan, Virginia, Yale, Duke, and Cornell.
Get in any of the above schools. Then enter any of the five industries I mentioned. If you do, you’ll likely make a median total pay package of over $100,000 your very first year.
Five years out, you’ll probably make double. You can attend business school at age 25 or 55. So long as you go to one of the best schools, most will make well over six figures upon graduation.
Even if you don’t go into one of the aforementioned fields, you will still probably make six figures a year in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola), retail, and hospitality industries.
Related: If You Want To Be Happy, Making Over $400,000 A Year Won’t Help
Many Other Money Making Options Abound
There are plenty of different avenues you can take to breach that magical six-figure mark. Doctors and lawyers routinely make multiple six figures. Longshoremen (dockworker) average $120,000 a year as we discovered during the Oakland longshoremen strike in 2001 and 2015.
After 20 years on the police force and fire department, the majority of our brave men and women make $100,000+. Not only that, their capitalized pensions are worth millions!
Marrying for money sometimes works, but you’ll have to often sleep with a less than desirable looking spouse. I’m not sure if that’s worth it to have a six-figure household.
You can start your own business or work two jobs. Making an online income from home is one of the best ways to make six figures.
I started Financial Samurai back in 2009. Three years later, I was able to leave my investment banking job to work on this site full time. You never know what you might be able to do. At the very least, register your name online and build your brand.
Today, it is vital to own online real estate. As we all learned from the pandemic, having a website that cannot be shut down is huge. Not only will you build your brand with your own website, you can also potentially generate an extra amount of income.
Cultivate your X-Factor before you hate your job and can’t escape.
Visualize The Money And It Will Come
Finally, to help you visualize your path to $100,000 or more a year, simply break down the annual income by month and then by day. Doesn’t $8,333 a month sound a little less daunting? How about making $274 a day? That’s surely possible isn’t it? Of course it is! Making six-figures is possible for all of you readers.
If you are happy with making $99,999 a year, more power to you. Just remember that your happiness, as measured by income will continue to grow until about $250,000. Then your happiness fades because of government persecution and the bitter populace who want to keep you down.
And if you’re really smart, you’ll learn how to negotiate a severance from a job you hate before moving onto your next great opportunity.
In 2012, I was able to negotiate a severance worth over $550,000 to take my time building this site stress-free. Always be thinking ahead before making any drastic career moves.
Once you’ve mastered making six figures a year, you can then shoot to make a million dollars a year or more if you want to!
Make Six Figures Through Real Estate
Real estate is my favorite way to achieve financial freedom. It is a tangible asset that is less volatile, provides utility, and generates income. Stocks are fine, but stock yields are low and stocks are much more volatile.
In an inflationary environment, you want to own real estate with a fixed-rate mortgage. Over time, inflation whittles down the cost of your mortgage and helps boost the value of your real estate. This one-two combination helps the average person get wealthy over time.
Take a look at my two favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms. They are both free to sign up and explore.
Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eREITs. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing. For most people, investing in a diversified eREIT is probably best to gain real estate exposure.
CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations and higher rental yields. There is potentially higher growth due to positive demographic trends. If you have a lot of capital, you can build your own diversified best-of-the-best real estate portfolio.
I’ve personally invested $810,000 in real estate crowdfunding across 18 projects. My goal is to take advantage of lower valuations in the heartland of America. The investments now generate six figures in passive income.
Wealth Management Recommendation
Sign up for Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. When you make six figures, you need to track your finances even more.
Run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees. I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying.
After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator. It pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible.
I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012. As a result, I have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.
Buy The Best-Selling Personal Finance Book
If you want to earn six figures, purchase a hard copy of my instant Wall Street Journal bestseller, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. The book is jam packed with unique strategies to help you build your fortune while living your best life.
Even if you have a six-figure job, you may want to do something else with your one and only life. That’s what happened to me when I was making a $250,000 base salary in 2012. I wanted to do something new because I was bored.
Buy This, Not That is a #1 new release and #1 best seller on Amazon. By the time you finish BTNT you will gain at least 100X more value than its cost. After spending 30 years working in finance, writing about finance, and studying finance, I’m certain Buy This, Not That will change your life for the better!
How To Make Six Figures A Year At Almost Any Age is a Financial Samurai original post. Join 55,000+ others and sign up for my free weekly newsletter below.
I have worked 16 1/2 years with the government and owe more than $200,000 due to mortgage and school loan. I have 3 1/2 more years to go before mandatory retirement due to being in law enforcement and only allowed to work up to a certain age. I majored in Sociology (bad choice) and had to go back to school to get a Masters in order to have a good job. Basically I feel like I will need to work for the rest of my life as I have no savings only a house that is paid off and another house that is very expensive to maintain. When I retire my plans are to work as a full-time licensed counselor as I presently do this on a part-time basis while in full-time law enforcement. The state I live in is Louisiana and I find it is one of the worst states to live in as it is very expensive and so many people are thrown into jail for minor offenses. I feel like this is how this state makes its money. I am not originally from here, and hope to move once retired, but no money to move. I like the job I do, but the stress of not making enough money to pay the more than 15 bills I have each month is overwhelming me and I feel like I need some desperate help. I hesitate to sell the house I live in right now, although that would be the easiest solution to get me back on track. Its hard for me to let go of that house, but I know that would eliminate much of my headache, but I would still be sad, because I think I would truly miss that home. What would be other options?
Thanks so much for this. This kind of article opens my mind to what is possible. I know I can get there. I don’t need to get there. But I know I can, even if I started late and had a rough ‘trot’ due to unemployment out of university (great degrees too…What a rip of they can be…).
I am 28, in Sydney. Mostly in Comms areas. Don’t love it and my career hasn’t been ‘great’ compared to some university peers. I was in teaching/acting for a while. Background is in foreign affairs.
My hope is to get into e-learning.
I want to build a way to earn passive income. I will not be able to afford a lifestyle I can only dream about any other way. I am not naturally ‘good’ at business or investing (or poker haha).
Would love for you to show me a way. I won’t be able to afford a child, and my partner is earning minimum wage but in horticulture which he loves. We want to build beautiful gardens and make the world better. I don’t like to splurge on too many material things. But I’d like to show my family I can do it. I’d like to retire earlier so I can ‘be’ more and have a more balanced lifestyle.
I know everyone does… But I KNOW I can do it… Why not me? Just because I’ve seen myself in a certain light.
I am 52 years old and make approximately $42k per year. I have a college degree from an Ivy League university and 27 years of experience in the medical publishing field as an editor. I have never been unemployed or fired. I work about 55 hours per week and the rest of my time is spent taking care of kids and house, cooking, shopping, etc. I recently lost 10k in a real estate investment deal. If I can make $100k as a janitor I would change jobs in a heartbeat, but the odds of making that happen are very small. I have started 2 blogs and a YouTube channel but never got any money from them. The only way to make six figures is to be good at sales, get a Stem degree, or be a good lawyer. All other paths have a really low chance of success. Life really is unfair when 22 year olds who can build a website make twice as much money as people who can read and write. Once my kids are off to college I am quitting the rat race and moving to a commune, where I will work fewer hours with much less stress while having the same quality of life.
What about real estate?! I’m 33 years old and made $200k this year as a real estate agent and my real estate investments alone are poised to make over $60k gross per year. I wouldn’t have thought to invest inreal estate had I not been an agent!
Financial Samurai says
Real estate is a great way to make six figures for sure. In fact, my real estate portfolio generates over $100,000 after expenses each year as part of my passive income portfolio. I’m also an aggressive investor in real estate crowdfunding that has paid out over $230,000 this year in distributions.
I work in a healthcare industry. I am 38 M and make 120k. I did my MS and PhD in engineering.
I max out my 401k, HSA every year. No kids. Sole earner. Single. Don’t plan to get married. My pension will not be vested until next 2 years.
How am I doing? I only get 2.5% raise every year. Would it be advisable to switch jobs and forego pension? How much would you factor pension benefit in today’s times?
Financial Samurai says
Don’t now how you are doing without knowing your net worth.
The value of a pension is HUGE nowadays b/c they are now so rare and rates have declined so much.
That’s really sad life that you have…
No kids, no plan to marry but concerned if making enough? Unless you are planing to leave your savings to charities…
Logan Jean says
it’s called survival, we live in one of the most capitalistic societies. Eat or be eaten. What’s sad is you cannot live comfortable in America without making over 6 figures.
Rock Stevens, Director of Finance Disrupt Equity says
Here is another incredible article Sam posted!
This is exactly the mindset people need to take when looking to choose a career path, and when developing an action plan for the future. I wish this was taught in schools more frequently. Desire, effort, knowledge, optimism, and personality are five strong characteristics of successful individuals portrayed throughout their entire career path, regardless of their industry. Knowing and understanding the scope of different industries, playing to your own personal strengths/traits, and monetizing what brings you fulfillment will create financial freedom in your future. Like Sam say’s first you must visualize what you want.
“If you can see it in your mind, you’re going to hold it in your hand”. The ability to conceive –> believe –> achieve is a simple pathway to materialize your goals in life. Goals are just dreams with a deadline. Subscribe to more of Sam’s content to always receive the best information with insightful help from an industry expert. I strongly encourage any one interested in investments that provide a health return to research multifamily real estate investing.
Thank you again Sam for the detailed content, and don’t forget to look out for his next post!
Carla Polins says
We’re at an interesting point in time where multiple healthcare, engineering, and computer science jobs have salaries approaching 100k. I know several people with salaries are just over that psychological mark. I wouldn’t be surprised if some employers round up or down because of the six figure cache. I know several people who have just passed that mark in those fields with about 6-15 years experience.
All this sounds great and is likely true but starting a blog that generates worthy income seems like it is reserved for folks like yourself with degree’s from Berkeley or other prestigious backgrounds. How does an average Joe make income blogging without credentials. I would love to begin that path but how realistic is blogging for income?
Make some ish up? Lol. Seriously, I don’t know.
Thanks for this super informative article Sam… really. It has given me HOPE. I’ve been getting really down on myself lately because I’ve been thinking how all of my twenties ( I’m 29 1/2 now.. APPROACHING 30 ) I put off school and never finished, just spent my time traveling, backpacking, creating some great experience and memories yes…
But doing NOTHING for my future. The ONLY thing I have is almost 10 years in D2D and over the phone sales experience.
( Directv/ ATT – Software- Fine Art – Commercial Energy Efficiency- and very random…. now I’m teaching English in China ♂️)
ANY advice would seriously be appreciated… feel lost , slightly hopeless and unaccomplished approaching my 30s….
Your 20s seemed amazing and inspiring
You have experience in sales. There are sales roles that can pay in the six figure range. Furthermore, if you moved up into sales management, you’d definitely be making that mark and then some.
Jonas Brother Paul says
In life, regardless of what anyone says, the money you make, the happier you are. Why? You have less stress to deal with as far as getting bills paid. You can buy anything you want, eat anywhere you want, do whatever you want without restrictions. Money really does equal happiness. You will have more people who want to be your friend. You will get more respect from others. So you need to work hard early on and after you start making well over six figures, you can let that money work for you while you sit back and relax. Of course, if you want to be happier, keep working to turn that six figures into seven, eight, and nine figures and beyond.
with higher income comes more and more intense WORK and responsibility. FEW are those who can reconcile all of that. Most I know that earn HIGH income are fake people. They do not have real families, their children are kept by others not raised and taught by them.
Decide what you are willing to sacrifice in life to be “wealthy”. Be careful HOW you define wealth because you may get what you forgot what comes with it.
I know too many who screw the little people to get what you are seeking. This is especially TRUE when one looks at the property investment scene. I know tens of “investors” who go through huge gyrations to assure their profit. I know the tens of people they left unpaid, the children of whom had nothing to eat. Those profited at the EXPENSE of others.
Be careful what you wish for, for you may become that which is despised by all.
Hey Sam, love this article, especially the part on basic necessities. I agree with your assessment of some of the basic factors in achieving a 6 figure or greater income.
To me, without desire, effort, knowledge, optimism, and personality you will never achieve this level of income. Throughout my career, I’ve met several individuals who had some of these but not others and they stagnated in their career. And that includes some of the brightest people I’ve met who just didn’t have the personality to achieve the highest levels of success in their career.
For anyone deciding on a major I would highly recommend reading and rereading this thread unless you want to graduate school and earn minimum wage for 40 hours a week while working 60 hours. That is what my liberal arts major got me. Think about the fun of graduating college and making less than a high school kid. Because of my crappy pay I missed out on several wonderful investing opportunities (google, amazon and at the economic downturn AIG) because I had no net disposable income to speak of for a solid 5 years.
I had a friend who married a Finance major who was a couple of years ahead of me in another state school. Laugh if you want but at the time I’d never heard of a major in Finance. Her brilliant (now ex-husband) achieved retirement by the time he was 32. He lived very modestly in a LCOL area and socked it away like a squirrel. He had very similar principles to what Sam states in this blog. I was utterly clueless at the time and happy to be attending college and getting a degree. I did listen to his ideas, they soaked in and made sense and it was the first time I’d heard such a philosophy. Most people I knew and grew up around did not religiously save and spent most of their income.
The other part of my opportunity was moving away from the central US so that I would no longer have to deal with the overt sexism and hearing grumbling from co-workers and even during interviews that I would find a husband and quit. This is something no man has to deal with. Women in their 20’s in the central US can have a really tough time finding a workplace that will take them seriously. If you are a remotely attractive female it is assumed you will marry a man with money because all women want a rich husband and a family not a career. Such is the mindset in the area. I would recommend even more for women to pursue a STEM degree of some kind.
It may be radical but I say go to school to become a professional or for the majors provided earlier in the link. Check out the pay prior to making a decision. Or undergo training for a specific career such as plumbing, etc. If you’re a woman who doesn’t want to go to college look at the options for men. There are a bunch that pay quite well (waste management, plumber, carpenter, electrician, government, military come to mind) and stay away from the traditionally female careers (daycare, caretaker, etc.) because they pay squat.
If you’re really dead set on liberal arts then minor in it and pick a major that will be lucrative. If that still isn’t acceptable then a minor that is lucrative. It may be what separates you from the liberal arts majors making minimum wage. When I graduated they were a dime a dozen and it is probably worse now. Whether the world likes it or not the perception seems to be liberal arts majors can’t cut it as a STEM or similar and you’ll have to work really hard to prove yourself. I’m finally at the $100K mark but 15 years later than I hoped so retirement will not be early for me. I missed the very important years of saving in my 20’s. If I wasn’t good at critical thinking then there is no way I would have made it this far. My MBTI being a INTJ gives me an incredible advantage in the workplace but definitely not as a female. I do work in a STEM field now but I live on a coast so cost of living is considerably higher than central US. If I can manage to save 1.5 million for retirement I will be ecstatic. If I had majored in Finance, etc. then it is highly probable I would be retired today and could be maximizing my love of liberal arts as a hobby. If not retired yet it would be due to a choice to stay in the workforce and the pressure to work and save would be off or minimized.
Of course, if you have a trust fund and business acumen then start a business as a liberal arts major if desired.
Your son has every advantage in the world, you will keep him informed and he has the internet at his disposal. And if you do move to the central part of the US he won’t have to endure sexism. I’d say he is batting 1000.
Financial Samurai says
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your stories. It’s definitely going to be a tough battle out there, and I plan to keep the site going for as long as possible to give myself and my son options.
You’re welcome Sam, thanks for replying and taking the time to share your wisdom with the internet. I really hope those looking into college or starting their careers read your blog and appreciate it.
Arlene villalobos says
WOW thank you for that insight I am jotting notes right now. I’m 24, Female and have no idea how I’m going to make it with my major. I’m in my 3rd year of my undergrad for psychology but I dont see myself making any money there. I’m not sure what I’m going to so but I appreciate the tips!
Alvin Centrell Taylor says
two options (if you want to get into the 6 figure club):
1. After you get your bachelors degree in psyc, then go on to law school.
2. Continue on and get your Ph.D in psyc
3. Start a business or side hustle
A Young Man says
Remember, that no matter how big your car is, how big your home is, how large your bank account is… our graves will be the same size. Stay humble. Live the life you enjoy now, not the fantasy of later.
Tomorrow is an illusion
Yesterday is history
Today is the reality. It is full of tests.
Exactly! Too many people miss that one. Nothing wrong with making money, but idolizing money is a DEAD end. Feed your soul.o
3.85 gpa in computer engineering at a “B” school because they offered me a full ride. was wondering if you think it’s possible to break into venture capital?
Financial Samurai says
Sure, anything is possible. I think going to a school with a full scholarship is amazing. Just have to network and go to the meet ups and do song called emailing and so forth. But getting into venture-capital is hard for everybody from every school.
I attended a private prep school in the 90’s and my teachers attempted to brainwash me that college was the only way to make it in life. I went ahead and applied to college because that’s what I was told to do got into a top university, couldn’t stand it and immediately dropped out first semester to enlist in the U.S Army as a paratrooper. I chose Military Intelligence as my MOS. I did 4 years active duty fulfilled my contract and got out in 2005 with a Top Secret/SCI security clearance and skillsets that were and still are in huge demand in the defense sector. My first job at 23 years old I was offered 130k annual to go overseas in support of the Department of the Army. Once there I learned I was making peanuts. I quickly got smart, marketed myself towards higher paying defense contractors and was earning 200k-300k annual by 26 years old with the Cheney years in full swing (even after Obama first got elected). The defense sector took a big hit when Obama won his 2nd term but we have since recovered I now work only 6 months a year and pull in around 125k annual. Dropping out of college, joining the military and learning in demand skillsets was the smartest thing I ever did. No college debt and a great career doing something interesting that I have a lot of passion for. I’m reading a lot about those in the oil industry with similar stories – love Mike Rowe too he gets it.
Sage master says
Basically I live in a poor country so I can’t use any of the opportunities you mentioned above, however I liked the idea of starting a profitable website but my biggest problem is that I don’t have good knowledge of computers, internet and programming.
Michael Cape says
Its all relative to what you need, I was in Sales (Corp 401k and Pension) right out of college and made a 200k a in the early 90’s with consistency then had years where I made 1m in my early 30’s. However I hated it. I was smart and banked it in the lucrative Boston Real Estate market and in my late 30’s left sales and took a more boring desk job with less travel and more time for my kids. I made about 100k +/- a year for but put together a nice traditional pension. In my early 50’s, after my kids graduated college (Yes I did pay) I finally took my graduate degree (Masters in Urban Planning) and put it to work as a planner in a suburban town, where my staring comp dropped to 65k, now in my late 50’s I am the Dir of Planning for a small city making about 160k and happy in my work for the 1st time ever! Also the benefits working in government are 10x what they ever were in Corp America. Do what you love
Financial Samurai says
Great stuff Michael. Being happy at work is priceless. I’d much rather make less and be happy, than make 2X and be miserable.
Mighty Investor says
This is an insightful post. For 95% plus of readers, their job is the most important asset they have. So it is all about the sector, employer (go as elite as possible), and skills you target. Choose correctly, and you can get rich. Simple as that. The trick is believing you can actual get a job with an elite employer. That is more a mindset issue than anything else. Cheers!
Sam exemplifies this. Getting on with GS hugely accelerated everything else that followed.
Michael CPO, From The far side of the planet says
Overseas teachers can make a 100 thousand plus … not mention educational admin …
I enjoyed your article however agree with prior comments that education is overemphasized.
G G says
Sam it’s 2018 and I’m 50. Too bad for me I didn’t see this article back in 2010. I had good grades in High School, but never made it through college.
What advice can you give to a guy who wants to only work 10 more years?
Regrettably a Social Worker says
I would love to hear some perspectives / opinions / suggestions.
I have never struggled with grades. Foolishly, as a high school senior at the top of my class, I chose a small private liberal arts school to attend for undergraduate studies. Even worse, I majored in the humanities, and obtained a Bachelors in Social Work / minor in Spanish. Since a masters takes only one year if you have your BSW, I obtained my MSW directly after graduating.
I am extraordinarily fortunate- I have no debt. However, I’m now seeing what foolish choices I’ve made. Coming out of school, I am working a 36k/ year job as a case manager (I live in a low cost of living Southern state). I want for nothing, but I live with my partner and have no dependents or debt to pay off. I know that once either of those come into the picture I will be financially hurting.
Currently, I’m saving half of my paychecks off of the top as they come in (around 1,000/month after taxes). Since I am comfortable in school settings (3.9 BSW // 4.0 MSW) so I am considering re-entering school part time to obtain a BSN (with the ultimate goal of NP) or MBA.
Thoughts? How can I make sure my next steps are better informed?
I can would recommend an MBA from a top 20 business school.
You have one thing going for you. Your income currently is very low, which means you have a really low income loss for spending 2 years studying.
The cost for you to go to an MBA would be something like this:
Lost Income: $72k
You might end up paying about $200k of which $130k would probably be debt or personal financing.
The gains would be amazing:
Entry level: $100-120k
5-year salary: $130-150k
You probably will top out at around 140-200k area depending on talent.
The time to repay your investment if you only kept the entry level salary:
200k / (100k – 36k) ~= 3 years.
Using Wolfram Alpha (cause I’m a lazy…):
You can see on the integer solutions that the lower your salary x is (shown as $1000) the better the return. At around $36k it’s got a beautiful return. The person making 90k on the other hand…. is looking at 30 years time to repay (horrible).
Basically, the less you make at the transition, the better your return.
If you are saving $1k a month or about $12k a year, you should also think about investing that money. The returns on those investments can be reinvested, which would result in compounding returns. Learning more about that topic now, could yield dividends in the future. Even if it means investing in lower risk funds.
I’ve been terrified of only ever making a maximum of $50,000 a year for the majority of my post graduate career. So I’ve wanted to really qualify myself as something more than the typical undergrad; I plan to graduate college with a bachelor’s in psychology (focused in cognition and neural sciences) and a bachelor’s in philosophy, along with a minor in cognitive science (basic combination of psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science) and a human factors certificate (research experience). (With a GPA around 3.4 or 3.5) I will have worked full time in finance for a non-profit organization while in school full time, giving myself a total of 6 years total of full time work experience upon graduation. I’ll be 25 by then.
I feel like this undergrad resume should be a great foothold to get into a top tier school or perhaps land a job at a major company. Would anyone else agree? Should I do more or change anything?
I only ask because sometimes I feel like my undergrad degrees are in subjects that people don’t care about in the finance or technology sectors. Where I live it seems like the people I know are getting paid $15-$18 an hour right after graduating college. The high positions I can qualify for after working for 10+ years at my non-profit only pay around $60k a year. I want more than that.
The title is not correct. It should be ‘how to make millions if you never screwed up since high school’. But then that person won’t be reading this post, he wouldn’t have time and he wouldn’t need the advice !
Financial Samurai says
Ah, But I did screw up in high school and got suspended multiple times.
That’s actually a great title for the post and would probably attract even more people. Who doesn’t want to see a screwup fight back, redeem himself and make megabucks?
Are you currently struggling in school and in life and your comment? The key is to keep an open mind and know that more things are possible this way.
I think this post is totally on point. Starting from high school, you are paving the path. I also think choosing the right career is key. I have been a court reporter for 18 years, and my best year I made 270k, and in my worst year, I made 160k. Even with taking time off to have a baby, last year I still made 140k. I also think it’s true you have to hustle. I have recommended becoming a court reporter o so many people! But none of them have wanted to put in the effort to train and work their butts off. I turned 40 this year and also became a millionaire. Greatest feeling! And I didn’t have to sleep with someone not as good looking as me, LOL! Love your posts. Keep up the good work.
If you made between 140k and 270k a year for 18 years and just became a millionaire, how poorly were you managing your money?
lol makes an average 200k per year, but takes 18 years to become a millionaire. wow people are bad with money…
Hi Financial Samurai. I graduated with a BA in business administration with a GPA=2.7. If I acquire a CPA license and a few years of experience from a company like BDO international for example, will that qualify me to have a career at a big 4 auditing firm? Also I will complete my CIA license after completion of the CPA counterpart.
Financial Samurai says
I think those accomplishments will give you a great shot. Yes, a 2.7 GPA is bad, but nobody will care several years down the road, especially if you get a job in the meantime and all those requirements.
Contrary to so called most people’s common sense, active options investing and trading can also provide well over 6-figure income with no more risk than buying and holding S&P 500. If your fund is large enough, the annual income could get up to 7 figure level.
Do you have any recommendations for educational blogs for beginner-to-intermediate options trading? Thanks!
I see a lot of naysayers and people not even trying. I am by no means rich or in the 1% but I live comfortably. I am single mother with ZERO support from my child’s father or from my parents who have passed away. I own a cleaning business. I got an associate’s in HIM and I work remotely and received my credentials. Yes, I spent a couple thousand starting my business and finishing my education, but I have been reimbursed all of my startup cost and have a team of employees. I don’t work 40 hours a week. Maybe 35. I don’t do any of the cleanings for my company, I have employees for that. Not saying in an emergency I haven’t cleaned, but for the most part the business runs itself because I strategically put people in place to do so. It was not an easy road, but it was well traveled and worth it.
Learning and reading and trying things is fundamental to success. Anyone can do anything if they truly put their mind to it. This is not a get rich quick scheme, this is an idea board and an educational blog for people to explore, learn and try innovative ways to make money and retire early. It does take money to make money, but driving Uber for a couple of months until you have $3,000 to either invest or apply towards your startup won’t kill you. Yes, you may work 60+ hours for a short time, but it’s a short term time investment to a long term monetary payoff.