Who Makes A Million Dollars A Year? Exploring The Top 0.1% Income Earners

Have you ever wondered who makes a million dollars a year? Making a million dollars a year or more puts you in the top 0.1% of income earners in the world.

A top 1% income is over $650,000 today in America. With such an income, you should eventually have at least a top 1% net worth of over $13 million per person.

If you earn over $1 million a year, President Biden wants to raise the long-term capital gains tax rate from 20% to 39.4%. Despite only about 0.1% of Americans making over a million dollars a year, it seems like the number is much higher.

If you want to get rich, you might as well focus on joining industries that pay very well. But there's more to just joining a well-paying industry to get you to a million dollar income.

You've also got to perform at a high level, survive cutthroat competition, and receive lots of luck along the way. Let's see who makes a million dollars a year.

Survival Is The Name Of The Game To Make Millions

Corporate politics can be brutal on your climb to the top of the pyramid. Oftentimes, it's those who've been able to successfully sell themselves internally who achieve the greatest rewards.

During my career in investment banking, I was too defiant. Despite getting promoted quickly in my 20s, I stalled in my 30s because due to corporate politics.

I also didn't want to relocate to grind cities like New York or Hong Kong. Nor could I pretend to like enough people who could push me forward. In the end, I decided to see what I could do entirely with my own fingers.

We know that a top 1% income varies by age as well. You can't compare a 25-year-old's income to a 40-year-old's income. Instead, it's good to compare top 1% income levels by age.

For those interested in making a top 0.1% income, let's take a look at some career profiles. I think you'll be surprised at exactly who makes a million dollars or more.

The People Who Make $1 Million A Year Or More

Below are the people who make a million dollars a year or more. They hail from all different industries so there's something for everyone. These are the top 0.1% income-earners.

Once you start making $1 million a year or more, your goal is to become a millionaire. The first million is often the hardest, but once you become a millionaire, you can accumulate millions more.

Making a 7-figure salary won't last for the rest of your life. Therefore, it's imperative to save as much of your income each year as possible. There is a difference between earning a million dollars a year and being able to invest a million dollars a year! You actually want the latter so you don't have to work forever.

Managing Director, Investment Banking 

Achieving the title of Managing Director has always meant that you'd finally break seven figures a year, at least when I worked in the industry between 1999 – 2012. The typical MD base is between $450,000 – $500,000. At year-end, these Managing Directors would often earn a bonus of $500,000 or more.

But the bonus is often paid in deferred stock and cash. For example, out of the $700,000 bonus, only $200,000 might be paid in upfront cash. The remaining $500,000 is deferred over four years.

If you quit before the four years is up, you lose your deferred compensation. This is why negotiating a severance is huge in any industry with deferred compensation is so important. Never let your deferred compensation go to waste. You earned it!

How To Get A Job At Goldman Sachs - Who makes a million dollar a year

General Partner, Private Equity

Private equity is one of the most coveted next step careers for investment bankers. The hours are much better, while the pay also tends to be higher as well. These folks earn salary, bonuses, and carried interest, which can often lead to huge bucks.

Some of the top private equity firms include: Blackstone Group, KKR, Warburg Pincus, TPG, and various sovereign wealth funds like Temasek, GIC, and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. People in private equity are truly some of the highest income-earners today. Many make millions and millions of dollars a year.

First year associates joining top private equity shops out of business school all make over $500,000 a year. Therefore, by year five, they are likely making over $1 million a year. Below is the average private equity pay in the United States, which is looking light nowadays.

Private Equity Pay Scale By Title - Who Makes A Million Dollars A Year

Portfolio Manager, Hedge Fund

Again, your compensation is based on performance, size of assets under management, and the number of employees. First-year associates out of business school can make $300,000 – $500,000 at the largest shops.

By the time you become a general partner or portfolio manager, you should be making at least one million dollars a year if your fund is over $500 million. Hedge funds earn a lot of money due to their fee structure, which is still two and twenty after so many years of underperformance.

hedge fund compensation
hedge fund compensation - Who Makes A Million Dollars A Year

Portfolio Manager, Actively Managed Long Only Fund 

Fund manager pay is based on tenure, performance, and assets under management. In order to earn $1 million a year, you will probably need to manage over $1 billion in assets under management and have a solid 5-year or longer track record of performance.

A 1% fee on $1 billion generates $10 million a year in revenue to pay the portfolio manager, analysts, office rent, marketing, other operating expenses, and the overall company.

But most of these actively run funds are charging less now (~0.5%) due to the proliferation of index funds. Companies such as BlackRock, Fidelity, Wellington, T.Rowe. Price, Capital, PIMCO, Prudential, Nuveen, Invesco, Janus, AXA, Legg Mason, TIAA-CREF and many more all have portfolio managers and some analysts who earn over $1 million a year.

What's amazing about being an active portfolio manager is that even if your fund underperforms, so long as you have a large enough AUM, you will still likely get paid over a million dollars a year.

Principal/ General Partner, Venture Capital

Just like all the other money management industries, there are good venture capital firms and there are bucket shops. The largest venture capital firms like Benchmark, Sequoia, and Kleiner Perkins pay their General Partners multi-million dollars a year. This is especially true if one of their investments has a huge exit such as when Whatsapp sold to Facebook for $19 billion in stock and cash.

I consider being a VC one of the best vacation jobs or trust fund jobs in the world because you don't have to build anything, you get to earn a nice salary with carry, and you don't have to prove your investment returns for years given the normal 5-10 year lockup periods for funds.

By the time your limited partners discover you've made terrible investments, you'll have earned a lot of money and moved on to a new VC or started a new fund within the firm.

  • Analyst $ 80K – $ 150K
  • Associate $ 130K – $ 250K
  • Vice Presidents $ 200K – $ 250K + $ 0-1MM carry bonus
  • Principal/Junior MD $ 500K – $ 700K + $ 1-2 MM carry bonus
  • Managing Directors/Partners $ 1MM + $ 3-10MM carry bonus

Invest In Venture Capital

Investing in venture capital is a way to find private growth companies way before they go public. If you can invest in the next google, Facebook, Tesla, and more, you could easily make over one million a year. Every rich person I know invests in venture capital or owns a business. You might as well consider doing the same with a minority percentage of your ivnestable assets.

To invest in private growth businesses, check out the Innovation Fund. It invests in the following five sectors:

  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
  • Modern Data Infrastructure
  • Development Operations (DevOps)
  • Financial Technology (FinTech)
  • Real Estate & Property Technology (PropTech)

Roughly 35% of the Innovation Fund is invested in artificial intelligence, which I'm extremely bullish about. In 20 years, I don't want my kids wondering why I didn't invest in AI or work in AI!

The investment minimum is also only $10 while most venture capital funds have a $250,000+ minimum. You can see what the Innovation Fund is holding before deciding to invest and how much. 

Partner, Big Law 

Big law partners regularly earn over $1 million a year. The starting salary for big law first-year associates is around $190,000. By their 8th year (34-35 years old), their salaries will have risen to around $330,000. The funny thing about big law is that everybody up to the 8th year all get paid pretty much the same across all firms.

Bonuses are nothing to write home about, often ranging between 0% – 20% of salary. Therefore, in order to make over one million dollars in law, you need to become a partner where you're bringing in business and earning a percentage of profits.

Big law compensation progression chart - who makes more than one million a year

Strategy Consulting, Partner

Firms like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG are some of the top strategy/management consulting firms. But to get to partner and $1,000,000+ generally takes about 10 years after business school, and only a few make it that far. Many will either burn out or go join a client for less pay.

Here's the salary progression for a typical strategy consultant.

First-year out of undergrad:

  • Base: $85k
  • Signing Bonus: ~$5k
  • Performance Bonus: up to ~$20k

First year out of MBA:

  • Base: ~$165k
  • Signing Bonus: ~$25k
  • Performance Bonus: up to ~$65k

Manager/Project Leader (2-3 years out of MBA):

  • Base: $200-220k
  • Bonus: $100-140k

Associate Principal/Senior Project Leader (4-5 years out of MBA): 

  • Base: $250-320k
  • Bonus: $130-230k

Junior Partner/Principal (6-8 years out of MBA): 

  • Base: $350-450k
  • Bonus: $350-550k

Senior Partner/Director (10+ years out of MBA): 

  • Base: $450-650k
  • Bonus: $500k+ (all-in, senior partners at top firms usually make $1M+; top partners can make $4-5M while ultra-performers can make more)

Division I Football Coaches

The average salary of a Division I football coach is roughly $1.8 million. It is the football coach that is often the highest paid state employee.

In 2021, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron is expected to earn $8.7 million and football likely isn't going to even be played. Not bad! In 2023, Lincoln Riley at USC and Nick Sabin from Alabama are expected to earn $10 million a year.

Football and governors salaries - who makes over one million a yar

Public Company C-Level Executive

Don't let $1 salaries fool you. C-level executives are often paid mostly in stock compensation. The theory is to tie compensation to performance. They simply end up getting way more stock than anybody at the firm.

For example, Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, reportedly got a $200+ million package to join Uber. Yet, Uber has seriously underperformed since he's joined. Shareholders have made no money in Uber since 2015. Yet, the CEO still gets paid massively. Got to love it!

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has a base salary of around $650,000, but got a stock grant worth $199 million in 2016. In 2023, Pichai still makes over $100 million a year thanks to stock grants, even though Google's stock has tanked since 2022. The median CEO pay for the top 100 largest companies is over $16 million.

But you don't even have to be a public company c-level executive to make $1 million or more a year. You can be a Vice President at Apple, Facebook, Walmart, P&G, or any of the giants. You will more than likely make over $1 million a year if you include your stock compensation.

Top 10 Highest CEO Pay For 2017
Source: Equilar

Self-Help Gurus Easily Make Over $1 Million A Year

The self-help industry is estimated to be worth more than $12 billion dollars. It's also growing because we're all jockeying to make more money and gain more prestige. The self-help industry is also considered recession-proof since even more people are looking to get out of the muck during downturns.

Dr. Phil's weight loss book
Anything is possible!

Folks like Tony Robbins make millions selling $10,000 self-help seminar tickets. His net worth is estimated at $500 million.

TV personality Dr. Phil wrote a bestseller on how to lose weight and eat right, despite he himself being overweight. Then there are guys like James Altucher whose company generated over $11 million in sales selling himself as a cryptocurrency genius in order to sell his courses online.

There are self-help gurus who sell $2,000+ e-courses on information you can get for free make over $1 million a year. They are taking advantage of vulnerable people and their securities to make lots of money. If they were really there to help people, they will come out with a more affordable solution, like a book.

Whether you succeed or fail, these people will always succeed because people are always feeling bad about themselves in this ultra-competitive world.

Professional Athletes Make Over $1 Million

They make great money, but their longevity isn't very long. One estimate says that if you are able to finish every professional golf tournament at par, you will average $1 million a year in earnings.

Based on the current 2023 cap estimate, next year’s NBA rookie minimum salary will surpass the $1MM threshold for the first time, while the minimum for a veteran with 10+ years of service will approach $3MM

The average NBA player will make ~$25 million during his career. This is based on an average annual salary of $5.2 million and a career length of 4.8 years.

In comparison, the average NFL player will make only $6.5 million due to a lower average salary of around $2 million a year and a shorter average career length of just 3.3 years. Elsewhere, the average MLB player earns about $3.3 million annually, while the average NHL player earns about $2.5 million.

Tennis star, Roger Federer is reported to have made over $100 million in 2021 due to a tremendous portfolio of endorsement deals. Too bad it looks like he's retiring after getting a second knee surgery in 2021. Federer said he wants to give Wimbledon one more try in 2023.

NBA minimum salary by years of experience 2022 2023

Entertainers Make Over $1 Million

From actors, to musicians, to reality stars, being an entertainer today can be extremely lucrative. No wonder why so many people want to be famous! I thought Judge Judy's salary was only $47 million a year. But according to Forbes below, she took in $147 million in 2018.

Everybody wants to become a YouTube star nowadays with top earners who look like everyday folk earning $10 – $15 million a year. My favorite is Ryan Toys Review, a six year old who pulled down $11 million in 2017 and supposedly over $20 million in 2019.

Streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon doled out $300 million to stars, including Ryan Reynolds (No. 18 on Forbes, $71.5 million), Billie Eilish (No. 43, $53 million) and Jerry Seinfeld (No. 46, $51 million).

Podcasters are making big bucks as well. Bill Simmons (No.13 on Forbes, $82.5 million), sold his podcast company The Ringer to Spotify in February 2020 for $206 million. Joe Rogan agreed to a licensing deal with Spotify for more than $100 million in May 2019.

Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda (No. 62 on Forbes, $45.5 million), made bank when in February 2020, Walt Disney paid $75 million for the rights to air the filmed version of his Founding Father musical.

It was also recently reported that Kim Kardashian is now a billionaire. Not bad!

Highest paid celebrities and atheletes

Doctors Who Own Their Practices Are Top 0.1% Income-Earners

Due to popular demand, I've added doctors to the list. I didn't include them in the beginning due to the enormous cost and time it takes to become a doctor compared to their compensation. Pay has actually been falling for doctors due to many factors, including: government intervention, private practice consolidation by hospitals, rising insurance costs, and more.

Orthopedists top the list with annual average compensation of $443,000, taking into account salary, bonus, and profit-sharing contributions, according to Medscape’s physician compensation report.

Cardiologists and dermatologists come in second and third for earnings, earning $410,000 and $381,000, respectively. The lowest earning doctors are pediatricians, which bring in about $204,000 annually.

In order to make over $1,000,000 a year as a doctor, you need to be a partner in your own private practice and have a great source of recurring clients. I personally think doctors are very underpaid for how much value the provide to society. Teachers too.

Doctor Pay By Speciality
Source: Medscape's 2016 Compensation Report

Online Entrepreneurs / Bloggers Can Easily Make 7-Figures A Year

Blogging is my favorite business in the world. You can simply write whatever is on your mind and advertisers will pay you, not your readers. Since you give away your product for free, there are no returns, no customer support, and no obligations to your customers. There is only freedom baby!

Once you build a brand and can generate organic traffic of over one million pageviews a month, there's a decent chance you could make $1 million in revenue a year. Here's a sample income report from a personal finance blogger.

Pro Blogger Making Over $1 Million In Revenue A Year

There are plenty of online entrepreneurs who are generating a tremendous amount of cash. They are in e-commerce, SAAS, and info product space.

As we've learned from the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, an online business is even more valuable that before, all things being equal, because its earnings are more defensive. When you can't shut down an online business, its valuation clearly goes up relative to other business that are at risk of being shut down.

You'll definitely be surprised at how much some bloggers are making for a living. It's much more than you think!

Techies Can Make Over $1 million

Back in 2000, many college graduates pursued investment banking and strategy consulting jobs. Today, these same graduates are all clamoring into tech.

Big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple are able to pay the most. They are the most profitable and have the largest market caps. Apple has a market cap of over $2 trillion. They have a bottomless pit of money.

However, you won't be making over one million dollars a year at a tech company until you start getting into management roles. Engineers easily make between $200,000 – $500,000 all-in. First year software engineers out of college are making $180,000+ nowadays.

If you get incredibly lucky, your company's share price might allow you to clear $1 million if you sell some RSUs along with your salary.

For example, let's say you got a $400,000 Google RSU package and a $350,000 salary. You get to sell 1/4th of your RSUs each year. Google's share price would have to increase by 6.5X for your $100,000 annual RSU payment to turn into $650,000 for you to clear $1 million.

Below is a snapshot of median pay at some big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. $250,000 is a high median pay at Google. However, it's not one million dollars a year.

After a robust 2020 and 2021, there are even more techie making more than one million a year. The equity gains have been massive since the pandemic began!

Mom & Pop Small Business Owners Can Earn Big Cash

There are over 30 million small business owners in America. Potentially up to 9% of these small businesses have sales of over $1 million. But as every small business owner knows, sales does not equal operating profit. Therefore, I estimate only about 1% of small business owners, or 300,000 earn more than $1 million in operating profit a year.

Some of my favorite small business types that have surprised me in terms of earnings. These small businesses include laundromats and real estate empire builders. Of course, online small business owners are still the best, especially in this environment.

US business owner sales

Stock & Crypto Speculators

2021 reminded us that stock speculators can make a million dollars a year. It was crazy how much stocks like Gamestop, AMC and more went up thanks to huge shot squeezes. Meme stocks were going bonkers for a while.

In the long run, however, it's hard to make consistent returns day trading and speculating on individual stocks. I don't recommend going on margin and actively trading stocks for the long run. But you can hit it big once in a while.

2022 was a year that cryptocurrencies and growth stocks came back down to Earth. A bear market is always a good reminder to properly asset allocate and have the proper risk exposure.

In case you're curious, here's how I'd invest $250,000 in a bear market. Bear markets created opportunities to build top 0.1% wealth. I certainly plan to take advantage for my kids' sake.

Easiest Way To Make Million Dollar A Year Dream

The easiest way to make $1 million a year or more is as a public company non-founding CEO or senior executive. The compensation is outrageously high for what they do. CEOs have huge teams who do most of the work for them.

A CEO is really just an ambassador of the firm. He or she tries to drum up positive PR and business development deals. They sign off on decisions that have already been carefully vetted. They neither invent new ideas or get in the weeds.

CEO Pay Over Time
It's good to be CEO vs. the common worker +997.2% vs. +10.9% since 1978

Hardest Way To Make $1 Million A Year

The hardest way to make $1 million a year or more is in a profession that relies mostly on individual performance. If you remove the CEO, the company will still run fine. The stock might even go up.

As a professional tennis player, nobody is going to win a match for you. If you are a fund manager, you're either outperforming your respective index or you aren't. As a professional blogger, you're either going to come up with interesting content that gets shared or suffer in purgatory.

As a professional writer, you need to earn a massive book advance to make over $1 million a year. I wrote a Wall Street Journal Bestseller and it's not enough to earn a million a year, only six figures.

Despite the difficulty of making over one million dollars as an individual performer, there is also a fantastic non-monetary upside. Individual performers get the most satisfaction.

Building something from nothing is more rewarding than jumping on an already established business. Working incredibly hard on your craft and then winning feels amazing.

I don't have to tell you that earning $1 million a year is difficult. That's $83,333 a month in income or operating profit. Even if you do get to such a milestone, it may be harder to stay there over the long-term due to competitive forces that will eat away at your product or services.

Something Things In Common For Top 0.1% Income Earners

From this article, hopefully you agree that making a top 0.1% income is possible in many ways. There are probably over one hundred ways to make more than $1 million a year. But here are some things people who earn a top 0.1% income have income.

  • Highly educated
  • Tremendous desire
  • Grit and determination
  • Personability
  • Expertise, experience, and credibility
  • Have a strong network
  • Takes calculated risks
  • Luck

You don't have to attend an Ivy League school or the likes to earn a top income. In fact, the median income for Ivy League graduates by age doesn't come close to a top 0.1% income.

However, the more education and the better education you have, and the longer you grind, the greater your chances of making over a million a year.

Never Take Your Luck For Granted

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Your extraordinary wealth is mostly due to luck. Plenty of people make the right decisions and work hard every day. Yet 99.9% do not make over $1 million a year. 99% of Americans do not have a net worth over over $10 million a year.

Never assume you'll make $1 million again the next year. Instead, it’s best to mentally rest to zero so you don’t rest on your laurels. If possible, figure out a way to build a brand around yourself or your business to protect or expand your earning power.

Always work on improving your craft because eventually, you will become irrelevant. When that time comes, however, you already will have saved up a lovely nest egg to support you for the rest of your life in peace.

Remember, you only need to get rich once! Once you get rich, make sure you stay there by protecting your capital.

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Recommendations For Getting Rich

It's hard to regularly make over $1 million a year. Sooner or later, your luck and energy may run out. As a result, it's important to save and invest your cash flow aggressively. Ideally, you want your money to work for you so you don't have to forever.

1) Invest In Real Estate

Every single wealthy person I know has invested in real estate in some form or another. Real estate is a real asset that tends to hold its value and generate valuable rental income. Real estate also benefits from inflation.

Check out Fundrise and CrowdStreet, my favorite private real estate platforms. They enable you to invest in real estate across the country. I've personally invested $810,000 in private real estate funds since 2016.

Fundrise focuses on diversified private eREITs to help you earn income 100% passively. The funds invest mostly in Sunbelt single-family and multifamily homes where valuations are cheaper and yields are higher. For most people, investing in an eREIT is the way to go.

CrowdStreet focuses on individual commercial real estate deals in 18-hour cities where valuations tend to be lower and cap rats higher. If you have a lot of capital, you can build your own select fund.

Both platforms are free to sign up and explore.

Real estate accounts for roughly $160,000 out of my estimated $380,000 in annual passive income. Thanks to technology and the pandemic, the work from home trend is here to stay. Below is my latest private real estate investing dashboard with over $620,000 in distributions paid out since 2017.

Real estate crowdfunding dashboard Financial Samurai

2) Start Your Own Business

Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for starting Financial Samurai in July 2009. Recessions are a perfect time to try and start a business and do something new.

Here is my step-by-step guide to starting an online business. It takes less than $3/month and 45 minutes to set up. Building your own business and owning all the equity is one of the best ways to make over one million a year.

3) Invest In Private Growth Companies

Invest in private growth companies through an open venture capital fund like the Fundrise Innovation Fund. This way, you've got private growth company exposure, but you're not wasting your time.

The fund invests in artificial intelligence, fintech, proptech, and more. Unlike traditional venture funds that are invite only with $200,000+ minimums, you can invest in the Innovation Fund with as little as $10. 

4) Stay On Top Of Your Money

Sign up for Empower (previously Personal Capital), the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. Remember, it's not so much how much you make, but how much you keep. Run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees.

Then make sure you run your financials through its Retirement Planner to make sure your financial future is on track. There's no rewind button on the road to financial freedom. Best get it right the first time!

Then maybe, you can get to the ideal net worth amount of $10+ million and retire happily ever after.

Who Makes A Million Dollars A Year is a Financial Samurai original post. I've been writing about personal finance since 2009. Join 60,000+ others and sign up for my free weekly newsletter if you want to learn more ways to become a multi-millionaire.

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181 thoughts on “Who Makes A Million Dollars A Year? Exploring The Top 0.1% Income Earners”

  1. Christopher

    The federal long-term capital gains tax has nothing to do with the federal taxes imposed on a person’s income or salary. It won’t affect your federal taxes due on income. It only affects assets you dispose of at a profit that were held more than a year. They are two entirely different taxes and only tangentially related. You’ve made it sound as though anyone making more than X dollars would owe more income taxes if the Biden admin upps the fed LTCGT rates. Not true.

  2. Would love to talk about deal you invest in via CrowdStreet and FundRise. We raise money for our PE Multifamily deals via other sites, and would like to understand why you trust those other platforms.

  3. I have a family member who owns a small law firm with about 10 attorneys. He brings home about $1 million, which is the profit. He used to invest 100% of the profit back into the firm religiously, then one day he decided to stop investing back into the firm and take home the profit. Took him over 25 years to get to that point.

      1. Thank you, yes he’s an impressive induvial. The reinvesting/growing years was very difficult on the family, so I am proud of him for getting to this point.

        We believe it is in the ballpark of $3-$5 million, but that is an unprofessional estimate. There are several issues holding down the value of the firm like employee turnover, poor operations process, reliant on the owner and a few key employees to stay consistent.

  4. CRE investment sales brokers can make over $1m per year if they are some of the top performers in their market. The very best in big markets can clear $5m in some years.

    Real estate developers also tend to make a lot of money in the long run, and can fairly easily make over $1m on average doing their own deals ir making partner at a big development shop.

    1. Hey Tony, I agree. Im a real estate developer in Australia. I make over $1m net profit per year but it has taken 7 years to get to this point. It becomes easier. The more track record you have with deals the more investor capital becomes available. I also know a lot of people that loose big time in development. Patience in finding the right project is the key.

  5. High paying entertainment jobs are the best because it’s all cash. Where I work, on-air talent, directors, producers, and writers make anywhere from $1 million to $30 million; cold hard cash. They are on contract so the money is guaranteed for a number of years with significant built in increases annually. If the company decides to let them go, they get to sit at home and collect the remaining pay without working. That’s better than a CEO whose package is reliant on a vesting schedule with no guarantee those stock options will appreciate.

    If you are shy and don’t want fame, that’s fine. A Line Producer at a late night talk show nets a $1 million starting salary. Booking producers, talent agents, production directors are also in the seven figure club. These roles are numerous in the industry now that content production is ramping up between streaming and linear television, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to get another of these above-the-line job anywhere after one show wraps up. And if you land on a franchise show such as SNL or Good Morning America, you are set for life.

  6. Accounts at BIG 4. Average salary of a partner is about a million dollars. It takes between 10-15 years to get there. Hours a heavy but far less than IB and a much more sustainable lifestyle. My partner currently makes 1.9 million dollars. Not a big gig if you ask me

  7. I hate this term, “mom and pop” business owners because it’s so condescending to people who own and operate small businesses.

    The legal definition of a small business is any business in the USA with revenue under $50 million and less than 250 employees.

    We meet those requirements but our highest year of revenue was $40 million! We had 220 employees that year, and could have more but then we wouldn’t get the special “small business” tax treatment.

    Just something to keep in mind – private businesses are AWESOME for their owners and many of them are EXPERTS at what they do!

    We don’t all run unprofitable coffee shops barely paying rent or keeping the lights on. We do everything professionally and know how the business operates, know how to keep solid financial records, and leverage every type of technology available to us (even in offline “old” industries).

    1. Im a 15 year old kid and basically I want to go into robotics engineering and my future goal is to have a nice house and own a Lamborghini Huracan or some sort but every thing I read doesn’t really help me nor my confidence in success. I also wanted to start making money on sites and have money mailed to my home so I could stack up for myself and eventually deposit all of it in my bank account when I get one but that is looking quite dull as well.

  8. You have to think out of the box for earning over 1 million. Getting a job, and working there till you catch the top spot and earning millions is not the only solution. Lots of people are earning millions of dollars a year working on things they love to do. Some Bloggers, vloggers, writers, self published authors are earning many millions every year.

    1. There are plenty of people in sports and entertainment making 1 million per year at least. Actors apart of SAG can earn anywhere between 2-3k per day of filming and if that show goes for 6-9 months, you can definitely make 1 million.

  9. Michele Garcia

    Love reading the comments. The only thing I haven’t read is how hard all these professions are if you are a woman with kids. You’ll probably be looked down as you cannot put on the long hours, and will be continued challenged to choose between your career and your kids. Sorry guys, but luck and being a man are still a plus to make large figures.

    1. The question should be how many woman actually want that career vs kids, majority of the time once you hit your 30s you will choose the kids because the career is not worth it. These jobs require intense 80+ hrs a week, it’s not like these men are at their desk with their feet on it all day doing nothing. Most of the high caliber career women are married to these men and can afford to leave their jobs to raise their kids vs a nanny doing it for them

      1. The point is men don’t have to choose and therein lies the problem. Your post reeks of fragile man syndrome!

        1. J are you anti happiness? Do you dislike women and want women to be non aware? The fella above is telling statistical truths with zero rancors unlike you.

          If your upset men do not carry babies then who are you made at? Evolution? God? The Big Bang?

          Are you also made at gravity? And make your dog eat only vegetables and your cat to eat seaweed?

          Anyway, go make a million and show the world love.

    2. Investment requires dedication, intelligence and sacrifices… not gender or sex.

      Why choose between kids and huge earnings? Have kids super young, earn the rest of your life afterwards via entrepreneurship.

      Simple, I’ve solved your problem, or at least the magority problem.

      Why can’t a woman from 40 years old to 80 years old kill it out there? Duh, of coarse she can.

      She can have kids 20-40, then earn all in 40-80. Clearly this is logical, but what’s not is mixing this all at the same time and poor future planning and excepting others input that negates your biological nature.

      Meaning you went to parties, school, and basic jobs career stuff till 30, then often hit a feeling of wanting kids.


      I want my IRA to be huge but I did start on that till I was 40+ so it’s not fair? Or is it fact?

      I can make money in other ways… you can have kids in other ways… cus it’s about giving love and so forth, raising n growing life…

      You can always do that. The first thing is to count your blessing and wins and that includes your sex / gender advantage… regardless of what that sex gender is… you always have a advantage in some way.

      Are you short, smaller person? You have a advantage… you eat less. Are you taller and bigger? You have more physical power and seen more.

      Any advantage is a disadvantage. The bigger taller people get picked on more cus “they can take it b.s. reasons to abuse others”… the smaller people tend to make less cus people look down on the due to geoPsycho (psychological perceptions based on physical positioning), taller people tend to make more money.

      These are all advantages n disadvantages. The 1% difference is to use your self to be the best with all your plus minuses.

      THINK. BELIEVE. WHY YES, you can make your dream come true? Stop following others dreams. Forgive yourself. Focus on you. Your legit dream. Then gain that. There is always a creative solution available when you focus well enough to be your unique self. WAKE UP :-) it’s free, but it’s not free mentally… you’ll need to work your spirit n brain like never before. It’s do able. Stop being scared, start being faithful too all winning solutions. Get your authentic dreams. Clearly Simple.

  10. I would add one more to this list, one that I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish: leveraged sales. Meaning real estate, tech reseller, etc. These jobs are not salary based, and most who try fail. Those that succeed understand that their successes over time can build upon themselves as you’re not dinged by “quota creep” as most other sales jobs are (no cap on income). Because of this, if you hustle, work efficiently, cultivate good relationships and get lucky, seven figure W2s are absolutely possible.

  11. Basically all of these jobs are in finance. I guess the closer you are to the money the more money you make.

  12. Sam, I’m very surprised that tech didn’t make it on here! Almost all my friends (now that I’ve relocated to the Bay Area) are either barely getting by in non-tech jobs (education, care, civil service, etc) and qualify as low-income in SF/San Mateo County, or clearing $300k+ in total compensation as SWEs, data scientists, TPMs, etc. – not VPs or directors or anything; just individual contributor roles.

    For reference, we all graduated 3-4 years ago, so these are 25-26 year olds.

    Was there a reason big tech wasn’t included? It actually seems like the only path to a financially independent life. Or maybe I’ve spent too much time in the Bay Area ;)

    1. Ah, but they are not clearing $1 million! This post explores those who make one million dollars or more. $300K is great, but they need a huge surge in stock to get to $1 million a year.

      Check out the section on Techies.

          1. At least 10-12 years for absolute rockstars, more like 15+ for most. Many don’t get to L8. ~250-400k base, 30% bonus, rest stock. Sales has an incentive component.

      1. Big tech folks are clearing 1M+ at director level roles or at a levels or two below that because of recent stock appreciation, but I think very few people are doing to make it level. Definitely sounds less likely than consulting – but in tech it’s definitely less than 1/30 who would reach those levels.

        Not a bad route overall though, I got 400-450k this year as an individual contributor because of stock growth and another 400k through capital gains through accumulated investments up till now – I am 29 years old.

        Another way to get it is by joining smaller companies pre-IPO and reaping the rewards once they go public – one of my friends who joined Snowflake recently is probably making close to a mill for the next few years after it went public.

  13. Givemeadvicetoo

    Mid-career primary care physician (family of 4) with gross income comfortably 7 figures, net worth comfortably 8 figures. Business owner, employing other providers and providing a wide array of ancillary services – imaging, cosmetics, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, etc. Averaging 15-20% annual growth. Commercial real estate landlord. Personal expenses under 20% of gross income (LCOL, no state income tax so geographically arbitraged), rest gets invested.

    Debt free. With an 8 figure NW, investment appreciation probably another 7 figures annually as long as it’s at least 5-10% annually which is not that difficult.

    Never expected to be here. Just happened while focused on the highest quality services we can provide. If I can, anybody can with the will and some grit.

  14. Why do you mention online entrepreneurs without offline? Virtually any business owner can make this much if the business is sufficiently large. Ironically, construction and anything industrial-related can easily top $1M in profit per year, especially in oil-rich parts of the USA. Then of course there are private businesses in niches like retail, shipping, etc, real estate, any professional services (not just doctors)…

    1. Curious why you didn’t mention dentists? My first job out of residency I was comfortably making mid 6 figures then one year in I purchased a practice and grew it 20+%/year. 4 years in I was clearing comfortable 7 figures gross on a 4 day work week. No gimmicks just plain hard work, time and a little sacrifice

      1. What kind of dentist are you? Mid-6 figures as in ~$500k? I’m going the periodontist route and just wondering if it’s worth it

        1. Can’t speak for Perio, but probably similar to any dental specialty. Ortho here and can say yes, it’s worth it. Just remember, posted incomes are normally W-2 salaries and don’t account for the S-corp dividends (~75% earnings). Have to be in private practice (not corporate associate) to also take advantage of tax breaks and own your office building.

  15. You forgot online entrepreneurs. I started my main current online business a bit over 5 years ago with literally $200 and this year I will be netting over 1M not counting my other businesses or investment income. However, I should say that I first started in eCommerce in 2000 so I already had knowledge. I am in my late 40s now and this is most likely the last business for me as I don’t see much point in developing others. Money that I make from now on is basically money I won’t be spending myself and if you leave too much for the next generation, you might be doing more harm than good. My goal in life and much of my identity was tied to my financial progress but now that I have achieved everything I set out to save, buy or do, my next big and ultimate goal is to delegate as much of my work as possible and work no more than 5 hours per week. It’s time to relax and enjoy.

      1. Did you notice your anti self help industry bias Mr Samurai?

        At the end of many sections on different careers you spoke well of them reguardless of their merit in the world.

        On the self help area you called into question if these leaders really want to help when things are free they charge $2,000 a coarse.

        Can you clarify two things for me?

        1- why celebrate the other paths with comments that are crass, I trust you can review your work and catch your own final lines…

        2- why omit the fact that in these courses people are being supported during times of shaky self change as well as motivated to succeed because they made a sacrificial investment.

        For example I went to a Tony Robbins seminar, and changed my health radically in 3 months, a benefit that lasted me almost 10 years.

        I spent a months salary on what??? Ideas that were free?

        I won’t lol you Mr Samurai, but like most Samurai… us Ninjas are hard to deal with, and come at you on your blind sides… hence stealth and specific elimination skill, not general power of the Samurai.

        So please help me learn why you reserve such subtle content for the industry that changes lives specifically but you hail VC’s are awesome because they can abuse their position, move on in failure… and it’s all good.

        Thank see no equality in your grading system Mr Samurai and hope to learn where I mis read you? Thanks for helping me understand you, if I don’t already.

        If I’m right, and this is a small biases, maybe you can make a change, forgive yourself, and move onto more positive thought leaderships?

        I appreciate you for being open to my comment and while I’m a little miffed, your a strong person for responding in awareness. Thank You and I bow deeply and lowly to you ;-)

        1. “For example I went to a Tony Robbins seminar, and changed my health radically in 3 months, a benefit that lasted me almost 10 years.” Wonderful! And congrats. If the thousands of dollars you spent to attend the self-help seminar change your life for the better, then it’s worth it. Don’t let me tell you otherwise.

          I’m hoping by $27 retail price book, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom will provide even more value. I hope you pick up a hard copy!

          Regarding VCs, it is one of the best vacation jobs in the world. You can’t paid well, don’t have to take risks, and if your fund loses money, you still get paid. In other words, I’m being facetious.

    1. Hi Rick,

      What type of online business are you in? I’ve been looking for e-commerce idea to help grow my income. Do you have any tips or ideas you can share? also if you are still looking for people to delegate some of your work, I could be of assistance.



      1. I sell niche products online. If you are planning to do online retail, the best is to find a niche where there isn’t as much competition. Also, avoid products that compete on price. The best are the ones where there is some sort of value-added intangible that you can create.

  16. Funny, most of the jobs add very little to society, and you could easily make the arguement that many prevent us doing the right things to move society forward. I’m looking at you investment/money management industry.

    1. If there was no investment / money management industry, then:

      – Few new companies would get funded. There would probably be no cell phones, computers, solar panels, electric cars, electronic banking, etc.
      – Existing companies would have difficulty growing. Far fewer medicines, movies, theme parks, airplanes, etc.
      – New construction would be slow to occur: housing, restaurants, office building, schools, hospitals, etc.
      – People would have much less money saved for retirement: they would have to work longer and retire with less comfort and enjoyment.

      I don’t work in this industry. I own a small business that has steadily grown to 16 employees because I could borrow money.

  17. Most of these jobs are very stressful. Most important thing is that you enjoy what you are doing. Blogging seems like a great option to me!

  18. Chris Kreschollek

    If you look at some of the houses for sale in California on Zillow and how it breaks it down by estimated monthly payment, you would definitely need to be earning around $12 million a year if you plan on putting 10% down, making payments, accounting for taxes/insurance, and following the 1/3 or ~25% of your income to housing schematic. There are houses that cost more than $40-50 million for sale along with what I think a rather high number of expensive homes. Definitely more than the people on the Forbes list up there.

    1. I cannot imagine how anyone can afford the $25,000,000.00+ homes for sale around Lake Tahoe, in Nevada. I figure the monthly mortgage alone would be around 100K+ and what profession pays THAT kind of guaranteed money over a 30 year period that doesn’t have crime involved?

      1. Well Joey, they do, or the houses wouldn’t exist. And no, crime is not the most profitable career track, I hate to break it to you. Jeff Bezos made over $100 billion completely legally.

        1. I strongly doubt that Bezos, or any other billionaires in the world, made their mind-blowing fortunes in legal and ethical ways. Elected politicians (and unelected politicians, too, worldwide) help them hugely and unethically through legislation….while the real needs of societies at large are completely disregarded by politicians.

  19. In the year I sold my business I made several multiples of $1m but it didn’t change anything for me, other than a significantly reduced level of stress!

    It also feels good to know I am ‘FI’ and could ‘RE’ if I wanted to. Currently I enjoy what I do and it gives me purpose.

    Maybe I will find another outlet for my energy but I am still well incentivised and treated well by my new corporate overlords ;)


  20. Tripe.

    CEO position is more taxing than most, you’re essentially the custondian of millions/billions and have the stress on thousands of employees to care for.

    Anything individual is relatively easier.

    Managing funds
    Consultant partner (very long hrs much less relative stress)
    Owning half decent small-mid-tier business

    Best option is to have 50M in the family book allocated to you.

    1. Agreed. I work closely with my CEO. As the CEO, the hours are long, EVERYTHING is your responsibility, and something big is wrong every single day — usually multiple big things are wrong. Yes, the CEO can delegate nearly everything, but the ultimate responsibility is still theirs, and believe me, they feel that. The stress is enormous.

      Thinking the CEO does little is as ignorant as saying that it’s easy to be a good blogger and produce high quality content everyday. Blogging is hard and being a public-company CEO is far, far harder.

  21. Hey, Sam.
    Call UC Berkeley. Find one of those professors who makes $1 million/yr, tax-free (due to treaty) teaching in Saudi Arabia. Multi-year contract. Check the sciences. Would be an interesting interview.

    1. Have you ever lived in Saudi Arabia? I would divorce my husband on the spot, money is not worth it.

  22. My wife and I started off like many college grads with average pay and jobs that we didn’t love. By the time we were in our late 30’s we had both found careers that we enjoyed and were disciplined enough to save about 30-40% of our gross income, tough to do when 30% plus is going to taxes.

    30 years after college graduation I’m now retired and my wife is still working only because she loves her career and we have one teenager still at home. The interesting thing is, when you are younger and don’t often love your career, you’d love to quit working if only you could afford it. When you are older you might find that you love your career and you don’t want to stop working, especially if you have teenagers still living with you that you wouldn’t see anyway between the hours of 7:00 am and 5:00 pm. My wife love her career and doesn’t want to retire until our 3rd child is off to college. I on the other hand, found it very easy to retire and stay busy with all my outdoor activities and spending time with our teenager.

    Our passive income is now 7 figures and until a couple years ago when we finally bought a couple expensive vehicles and a boat, nobody would have known that our income puts us solidly in the .01%.

    1. I made a typo in the last sentence. We are solidly in the top 0.1% of income earners but not yet in the top .01%, which in the United States would require an annual income above $8.5 million.

  23. Just_Another_NY_Guy

    My path to 1 mil+. I never graduated college, I started working in IT as a consultant, then joined a bunch of Wall Street firms (some with us, some no longer). I transitioned back and forth between salaried and being a con man, I peaked at about $300K per annum (salary + bonus).

    I am now a Director at a Fortune 50, in my early 40’s, pulling in 400K combined base/incentive comp (55 hours per week on avg), but also have two businesses on the side that I started 8 years ago. These businesses have steadily been increasing in revenue and now bring in 900K to 1.2 mil per annum for the last 3 years.

    Wife (doesn’t work), 2 dogs, 2 kids.

    The biggest life lesson is to be aggressive when young and forecast your future goal of retirement. Years and life go by quickly.

    Save early, bet big and don’t regret.

    I lost 15K in my first year “investing” with a broker and then learned to play the market and made big wins.

    I walked into job interviews with confidence, clearly lacking the educational background of others but with the ability to look at others in their eyes and articulate why they would want me on their team.

    Moral is… Life is a gamble, with luck but most importantly, being just a bit smarter than your competition (shockingly easy).

    I actually envy those born to this new generation. The new generation’s work ethic is so clearly different now, that the all-stars are actually average but look like all-stars compared to everyone else.

    1. Amazing career! What are your two side businesses? I imagine if you have a FT job they must be running on autopilot!

  24. I can comment on individuals in the healthcare field. If you are making 1Mill/year, you are not practicing you are selling medicine. You have crossed over an ethical line to serve the public. Every MD I know works their asses off for decades, many times with 50-80hr work weeks, and starting 1mill in debt from school/practice loans. The key IMO is saving/investing. Balance, family, the long haul. My work week in my practice is M-Th 8-4, and I will enjoy working until age 70? My investable assets 4-5 mill. but it took 25 years.
    The “quick kill” to a mill, then retire. I don’t get that, unless you are very unhappy with what you do.

  25. Yvonne Martin

    Don’t see trader,( currency, options, stock etc) on that list. Based on anecdotal evidence I believe quite a few of them qualify.

  26. A lot of small business people make a million a year. Franchise owners, Insurance Brokers, R/E Developers, Construction Companies, hotel owners. Plenty of them don’t do much work anymore either.

  27. Financial Samurai – how do you correlate this annual salary data with the networth tables you’ve developed? At 1M + consistently for 20 years (say mid 40s onwards), you’re looking at a potentially much higher networth than the “networth of the top 1%” tables suggest. How would you reconcile this? What would a realistic networth for this cohort be?

    1. It depends entirely on how much you save and successfully invest.

      I know several people 50-60 years old now who sold their company for eight figures or ending up with tens of millions after an IPO. Impossible to spend that much money, right? Mix in extravagant spending habits (a couple with legitimate family medical issues), bad investments and divorces (one with with 2+ divorces) and you end up pretty much like everyone else in the end. All pretty damn smart people, BTW and fortunately the exceptions.

      At least all of them can back on track pretty easily. After you’ve learned enough to earn money that way, it’s really not that difficult to recover. Maybe not to the same level, but none of them are particularly concerned about eating cat food in retirement.

      1. Thanks Chris – so would you agree then that even for this cohort, their networth will eventually be consistent with the “top 1%” table or would this be the case only for the examples you mention (the rest (majority?) being way more than these net worth tables would suggest?

  28. what planet are you pulling those investment firm figures from? no one i know makes those figures. i live and work in fairfield county connecticut and none of us make $200k and get $500k bonuses… not even in our dreams.

    1. The finance industry figures are pretty reasonable depending on the area, firm, experience and position. If you don’t know anyone earning that much, it just means you’re talking with the wrong people. A friend of mine with about a year or so at Blackstone is under six figures, but she’s surrounded by sales people and partners making high six and low seven figures depending on the year.

      How many hedge fund managers do you know? Or people trading/managing funds over $500MM?

      Those are definitely *not* $100-$200K positions. Much more likely it’s a percentage of AUM (Assets Under Management) along with bonuses. Venture capital funds are often setup as 2/20 which means 2% AUM fee + 20% of generated profits.

      If you’re managing a $100MM startup fund, that’s $2M every year in management fees alone plus a slice of the profits. Not much of a downside for losing the investors money. Just convince wealthy individuals, fund managers or institutional investors that you’ll do slightly better in the market and ask them to write a check for a few years. Pick a couple of winners over the years and you’ll start thinking the FS numbers are ridiculously low.

      1. The key is to have good sales guys who sell the funds to those rich but dumb folks to give hedge funds the money to invest. The bulk of the hedge fund income comes from percentage of AUM . The 20% profit really depends on the watermark the fund manager has to exceed. Very few if any of them could beat S&P 500 on a consistent basis. Only dumb pension funds would give them moneys to invest and the results are always consistent sub-par performance but with high fees. But then there are still many dumb rich folks and/or pension funds who would invest with such these hedge fund managers. Perhaps they are plain lazy.

  29. Rick Mcconathy

    I’ve come close on three occasions… $900,000, $800,000, and $875,000 since 2011.. I’m self employed and a one man shop. No employees. I’ve had $30,000 years too. Overall I average out around $500,000 per year.

    1. Hi Rick, I’m also self employed and I outsource a lot of the work, so no employees.
      If you don’t mind me asking what industry are you in? I’m in ecommerce.

      1. Sorry I dropped out..

        I put mergers together, mainly in aerospace. I find private companies ready to sell usually in the $20-$50 million revenue range and I place them with private equity buyers. I get paid upon close like a real estate agent. I was a CFO in aerospace and just found a void in the marketplace.

  30. My son is a career changer, at 26 , he is now beginning medical school. Worked 2 years in commercial banking first. Anyway, he will be 30 when he graduates, then about 33-35 depending on medical specialty he chooses, before he begins earning a decent income. If he loves what he does, he can work 30 years or more (we are living longer). Before changing careers, he was not earning a lot, and HATED HIS JOB. So no matter what his lifetime earnings are (which should be triple what he would have earned at the bank over 40 years, if he could have even lasted that long), he will hopefully be happy and fulfilled most of the time! BTW, I am married to an anesthesiologist and we have a wide circle of physician friends. In our geographic area, the various specialities are earning about $150,000-$250,000 more than that chart indicates.

      1. I’m studying to be an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, and while I was shadowing one of the docs in the group said they always under report their income on any surveys because of how the general population thinks doctors are overpaid. On surveys it says OMFS average 450k a year, but the docs I talked to said they make way more, all the partners at the group were making 800k+, and the most senior partner was making over $1 mil. Income surveys for doctors and dentists are mostly bogus.

          1. No problem. Also just a side note, even though doctors have a long training time and rack up student loans, an efficient surgeon can make $1 million + for the duration of his career without much fluctuation in income. A lot of other careers don’t have that kind of income stability. For example, an entertainer can lose their audience, a professional athlete might not get signed by a team etc.

  31. I’ve already learned what “enough” means, but know plenty of millionaires that have not.

    No interest in $1M annually and the matching headaches which are almost inevitable.

  32. You need to add FIREd people with about a 15M net worth. They also make 1M a year if they’re not too conservative with their assets.

  33. Half decent financial advisers in PWM also pull a significant income. If they manage $200-250MM, at a 1% fee and 45% payout you’ll hit $1MM.

    1. I would say that those would be better than half-decent advisors. I have almost the same parameters you indicate but with a much higher payout – make about $1.4m a year. That puts me #150 or so in my firm with 16,000 advisors. So it is a rare bunch of us that make $1m+. That said, there are many making in the $300k-$400k range which is still better than almost any other profession.

  34. No Free Lunch

    Doctors have many non earning or low earning years before some of them make that big salary. An analogous article about total inflation adjusted income earned would be interesting too. Other careers would rise to the top of that list that weren’t on the list of single year highest year salary. Since we have a progressive tax code, the net income would be interesting to look at too. From that standpoint, it is better to have a more constant salary whose sum is equal to one of a highly variable salary.

    1. Sounds good. I think another reason why I didn’t mention doctors is because it goes against my team “financial independence sooner, rather than later“ when it takes me to earn.

      My friend, after two fellowships, literally didn’t start making six figures until he was 34 years old. And that was the age that I left work for good. I cannot imagine just starting at 34 and having to work until whenever.

      1. Y’know, many people actually enjoy their work despite still working toward FI.

        You don’t seem to have any plans to shutter FS, right?

          1. Mostly software. I’ve had a handful of tech startups and helped other founders raise money from angels and VCs over the years. Some residential real estate along the way before getting seriously pounded in 2008. That was an excellent way to earn a negative million dollars pretty quickly and took awhile to recover.

            Nowadays, I have a niche web application that pays the bills with minimal time and effort. One of your posts offered the choice between a lifestyle business with 80% success rate or funded company with 20% success rate. I took both roads. Started with one funded company that didn’t take off and eventually converted it into a lifestyle business.

            I haven’t quite decided whether we’re FI or not. Almost all the FIRE people come from the perspective of earn/save/retire/withdraw (e.g. Mr. Money Mustache). Nothing wrong with that, but working as an employee for 20+ years was never appealing to me. You just don’t put much emphasis on retirement savings when expecting to sell your business for $10MM in a few years. That didn’t happen and I lost interest in ever making it happen.

            My perspective became cashflow based since coming across Rich Dad & 4 Hour Work Week about ten years ago. Monthly cashflow while working a few hours each week, spend less than we earn and enjoy the flexibility and free time to learn and travel. Those two books (especially Tim Ferriss explaining about automating an online business) honestly changed our lives. Never heard anyone talk about that approach to earning money before. Nowadays, cash magically appears in our bank account while I spent a couple hours this morning teaching my kids how to read sheet music and use a pantograph.

  35. Boulder Hokie

    Looks like having an MBA or JD from a top 15 school is step one for most of these careers. Otherwise, you need to be a business owner. One takes brains and the other takes guts.

    1. Ha, it never seemed like guts to me. I just HATED, HATED, HATED being told what to do by people who refused to change the way things were done. Even when everyone agreed it was stupid or could be easily improved. No surprise one of my first jobs as a teenager ended with the manager telling me “You know, you really have a piss-poor attitude.” Most of the serial entrepreneurs I know have a similar back story somewhere in their past.

  36. I’m always amazed, and grateful, that many of these high earners continue working for many years putting their superior skills to work. I would have bailed out into FIRE long ago. I’m almost certain that for every one such 0.1% person there are ten who bailed out early and live happily in anonymity. So kudos to those who keep working, especially when they are largely vilified by the masses.

    1. Good Alternative point! I have a long argued the pointlessness of making so much money after you have enough money. But I guess it is also impressive to keep on grinding away for more money when you don’t need it.

      Money is very hard to quit! Even over family and friends.

      1. I think these people also go a long way towards keeping our investment returns high enough so that we can FIRE.

  37. Great research Sam, shows there’s plenty of paths to big wealth if you’re lucky enough to find the right path early on – and assuming that’s what you really want out of life!

    Of course the hard part is then keeping some of that income and making it work for you if you really want to create wealth – many people in these careers are notorious for being big spenders and ending up with very little!

    All of these paths require serious commitment and focus to a single skill, but I know you’re a proponent of multiple (passive) income streams – I assume your thoughts on this are make the money anyway you can first, then start diversifying to reduce your risk to any given income stream?

    Cheers, Frankie

  38. Smart Money MD

    Glad that doctors are back on the list! I do agree with you about doctors and teachers getting the short end of the stick. That being said, those of us in the field are “stuck” in it until we find our better calling. Medicine is a gratifying field, and that’s what I keep reminding myself whenever I get stuck in the operating room in the middle of night trying to do good while getting compensated pennies for what services are delivered!

  39. Financially Free

    Most of these jobs are very stressful. Blogging seems like the best option of all. Hard work is required of course but less than a million would also be just fine if you could live from it.

  40. As Sam knows, jobs in Investment Banks were the ticket. 10+ years at the MD level and 10 years over $1M; the last 5 over $2M. And yes, you were required to work hard, long, stressful hours along the way. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the profession is definitely becoming less lucrative and these types of jobs and comp levels are getting harder, and harder to achieve. Also agree with the commenter who said having a stay at home spouse was a key for many people with families, in my experience.

  41. I know a half dozen people making 7 figure incomes in the small town I live in. They all have 2 things in common. First they all own their own businesses,”farmers, manufacturing, distribution, and construction.” Second thing is, they all are second generation owners. I guess that’s where luck plays a roll.

  42. My spouse has one of the listed jobs. But one I know of and didn’t see is energy traders. They can make an insane amount of money and seem to operated within their companies with a huge amount of latitude.

    1. the days of Enron are over. volatility has minimized and energy traders (for the most part) don’t make what they used to. energy trader jobs, themselves, are very unique in that it is a very specialized job and very few companies pay the big bucks that they did 10-20 years ago. I have first-hand knowledge of this!

  43. Great article as always, Sam. Just to note, not all but some top software sales reps (SFDC, ORCL, MSFT, etc) pull down 7 figures.

  44. Another group of people who consistently can make 7 figures is the Oil and gas employees. Especially, if you work for Big Oils like CVX, RDS, XOM etc. – many top level managers (pre VP positions) make 7 figures with bonuses. The new hire under grad petroleum engineering salaries are often ~150K range.

  45. One critical factor that goes into all this is how many of these people have stay-at-home spouses? A great majority of the very successful people I know have hard-working stay-at-home spouses who support them.

    Getting to the top is not easy, but getting there is even harder if both spouses work. You have the added security of two incomes, but it’s likely neither of you will be as successful as you would otherwise be.

    I’m a managing director at an investment bank, and there’s only one other MD whose spouse works (and their marriage is a disaster and kids are screwed up.)

    1. Very interesting point, and an issue which is rarely addressed here on fs or in most other resources I have accessed. I’m sure there is a plethora of books written about this, though, dealing also with the psychological reasons and implications.
      And I like your careful definition: “…hard-working sah spouses who support them.” Lazy spouse? Nope. Spouse who does not support? Nope. Your definition is that of a team–key to any successful endeavor.

  46. What a great and educational post!
    I can tell a lot of research went into this.
    It really helps having content that is very hard to research.
    I really enjoyed it.
    Great job and many thanks!

  47. +1 more- Currency Speculation-the market is global but is denominated in US dollars
    Work from anywhere, 24hrs a day 5.5 days a week
    99% leverage means start with almost no upfront investment
    IF you are good at it it’s the ultimate job.

    1. Doesn’t have to be currency trading. It can be anything with high leverage really. Also, it’s 5.0 days not 5.5 days. Sunday 5 pm – Friday 5 pm EST.

      1. Would not need $10MM assets to produce $1MM investment income via a viable investment strategy. Use the same strategy to build up the assets. How to plan and execute the investment strategy will be another topic of discussion. I am a living example of this proven strategy.

          1. Working on a book about the method and journey to get there. It is about the journey of an average Joe with a small paycheck from his day job, and not having the luxury of being a partner at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc. or a high price lawyer, or a brain surgeon, hedge fund manager, or VCs, etc. to attain one percent status and beyond. The right investment strategy and meticulous execution of the plan and strategy can be a true equalizer. It is a true revenge of the financial nerd and an average Joe who doesn’t look like much.

            But make no mistake about it, you don’t have to work for anybody but yourself on this journey but still have to work smart and hard to get there.

            1. That’s what I did. Punch way above my weight. Money makes money. The less I work, more time to think, and strategize. No student debt or any other debt besides real estate leverage. Would like to read your book.

    1. It’s on the list now. But you’ll be surprised how little they make in comparison to other industries, especially after how much work is required to become a doctor.

      Need to have a successful private practice.

        1. Very rarely do they make over $1 million a year without a private practice. Remember, everything is Relative. And this post, I think it’s one of the hardest ways to make $1 million.

          1. Hi sam.. disagree.. medicine is corporate/hospital run.. high perfomers do well… i sold my practice and an employed.. pay is based on wrvu..i do much better than before.. 1+mil..

            1. Cool. What is WRVU? And how common is it to make over $1 million a year as an employee doctor? Can you elaborate on how this is done and what speciality you are in? Thanks

            2. wannabe wealthy

              Sam, I can’t reply directly to you. But as a Doc in the same situation as Magoo, I’ll tell you a few things. wrvu stands for work relative value units–this is how medicine has chosen to quantify how much work a physician is actually doing. Also the pay per RVU is determined by specialty. Also, these days high output hospital docs in the less populated areas are likely doing as well or better than the private practice docs. The hospitals want the workhorses and they pay. In private practice, there is often greed which can hold back docs who didn’t get in on the ground floor. Furthermore, practice expenses and overhead continue to rise while reimbursements stay flat or get cut in certain areas–a private practice has to have a good growing stream of ancillary income to offset this and even one or two bad business decisions by a private practice can affect the bottom line significantly. I believe I’ve read somewhere that 3-6% of non-profit hospital employed docs make 1million+, so as a raw number it may be near the top of people earning 1million+ per year.

            3. Hospitalist

              Magoo, You are the exception, most doctors don’t break one million, not even close, and you know that being in the medical world

      1. Hey Sam,

        I think you may be a bit too optimistic about investment banking and a bit too pessimistic on medicine

        The pay for investment banking according to WSO is much lower than what you have listed:


        Since you were in IB, there may be selection bias and survivorship bias in play. You see those are successful and making 7-figures a year. You don’t see those who could not make it. I doubt most of them are as successful as you since leaving the field. The many people that could not become MD, what are they doing now?

        Since I am in medicine, I have selection bias and see the doctors who own companies, hospitals, and clinics and make (multiple) 7-figures a year. The ones who don’t make it to 7-figures a year are still in the career, making multiple 6-figures with easy hours. They also have the option to live in a low-cost-of-living area (geographic / taxation arbitrage), which makes their income go much further. In which other field can someone average (for the field) make a quarter of a million dollar as a government employee (with all the job security and benefits and pension that come with that)?

        Think of private practice like blogging mixed with medicine. You can tailor the practice however you want. Cash practice? Insurance based? Telemedicine (think geographic arbitrage among countries)? Augment with ancillary services? Extenders? Augment the practice with a blog? Do paid clinical trials? You are your own boss.

        The safety net medicine offers (high income, ease of getting a job almost anywhere) is good when reaching for the stars.

        The barrier to entry to medicine is high in terms of money and time. But once you pay your dues, you have options and longevity in the field. It isn’t the best field for someone that wants to retire by 30. But seriously, how many people retire by 30? And what will you do for the rest of your life after you retire?

        Because of the barrier, the balance of power that doctors have has an employee is also impressive. There is a reason why employers want to lock doctors in instead of treating them as at-will employees. If the employer is bending their back to keep you, treating you nicely, giving you perks, letting your voice be heard because you’re the golden boy (or girl), there is no reason to quit working.

        There might be a reason that a lot of the commenters who say they make 7-figures are doctors.

  48. Devin Forbes

    Your poll:
    750,001 – $1,000,000 (1%, 264 Votes)

    Guess the majority of the .1% read your blog.

  49. Martial arts Mama

    If you find the right medical group, medicine can still be a very lucrative profession. My husband has been earning in the 7 figures for each of the last 5 years and will continue to do so as far as we can foresee given his pay structure.
    He also does not have to pay for insurance premiums out of his own pocket, and his company provides a very generous pension plan during retirement. Although my husband does indeed work long hours, he loves what he does (surgeon) and is extremely well compensated even though he did not go into this profession for the money.

  50. Great post Sam. The one big advantage I see for a pro blogger is that your income doesn’t come from primarily one source.

    Based on your statement, income diversification is par for the course. Seems far less risky than being a C-level employee with a generous bonus package. Your story is very inspiring.

  51. This is a great post. And probably very accurate with the numbers. Nice job with summarizing the most lucrative careers with a good shot at 1M a year. You skipped a couple as highlighted in the comments. It is also true that ownership + control go a long way in achieving 1M+ a year AND long term happiness.
    I work in one of the careers above and have made on average 1M for over 5 years, and yes it took skill, education, brains, some work, constant and significant outperformance over the competition, and of course luck. I’m also fortunate that I don’t work long hours, don’t have to deal with BS like meetings, calls, hierarchy, dressing up, brown nosing, performance reviews, politics, face time, and like you I am defiant to my employer often. I take 4-6 weeks vacation, commute less than 10 minutes, don’t use an alarm clock and work 40 hours or less if I were counting. But I enjoy my work and the mental stimulation, my family and my life and try blend into a nice balance. I have a a fair bit of control, not too much, which I am happy about. I think having too much control comes with many drawbacks, namely ultimate accountability and stress. What I do lack sadly is ownership. What this means is that, once I leave this job (after I negotiate your signature severance!) I won’t be able to earn 1M+ a year. If you are an owner, as you know well, you can still earn a significant portion of your income if you cut down your hours, or sell, or delegate to trusted staff (perhaps offering them equity as well). It sucks not being an owner, and I regret that. I get paid as a partner/owner would now, but once I leave that becomes 0! You have made some smart choices to make your 1M+ income on your own terms my friend, so congratulations and good luck.

    1. Congrats on your success. What field/position are you in that offers such a salary with such reasonable hours and is also BS-free?

    2. Anyway to negotiate an ownership equity stake? You sound like a prime candidate for negotiating severance.

      Hopefully when you leave, you won’t really care about not hurting that much money anymore because you will have already accumulated a lot.

      1. An equity stake would be very hard, but I guess I won’t know until I ask. Yes, I think I’d be able to negotiate some sort of severance, but likely it would be under 1M I think. Like you say, by the time I get to that point I hopefully won’t need the money that much – more negotiating power! I know I should not leave money on the table ever, but I’m also a believer in contentment. At some point enough should be enough. My aim for the next few years is to crank out a few more 1M+ years (I’m 40 now), ride out the upcoming crises in the markets, and get a deal on some real estate on the coasts.

  52. I’ve had years over $1,000,000 as a contingency lawyer (very small firm). Rare, but a few. I agree with the other poster regarding ownership and control being key. It is also very hard to breach $1,000,000 working a “job.” You need a piece of the action. That appears to be another theme in many of the $1,000,000+ jobs.

      1. Good post, Sam. But my only comment is: HOW do you get employed at an investment bank that you mention? If you go to any of their websites, NONE of them have a link for open positions and you can’t even submit a resume.

    1. Some University presidents make over 1 million dollars a year. Being president of a university is still considered a job right? And are they overpaid?

  53. Sam
    I am a CPA. Most underrated profession when they do surveys on income. Simple plan to 1mm.
    Open up your own firm. Work 70 ++ hrs a week hire one employee per year and in year 8-10 you will make 1mm.

    1. Sounds good to me, except for the working 70+ hours a week part for years.

      Possible to hire a second employee so you can only work 40 hours a week and still make $1 million a year?

  54. Wow this article is amazing! It really shows that you have put in a lot of time and research. I really appreciate and I am thankful for this article. Who knows, maybe this will be a game changer in the near future ;)

  55. Ken@thehumblepenny

    Hey Sam,

    A very interesting post.

    I read it chuckling somewhat because I’m one of those people waiting for my carried interest to pay out… whilst doing other things…

    I’ve also clicked the button (as CFO) many times to pay out £1m+/year in dividends to directors in a group you could have shone more light on – Successful entrepreneurs of non-listed companies.

    Everyone I know who makes £1m+ a year now is an entrepreneur. And their businesses aren’t necessarily doing anything too sexy.

    They are able to do this for two important reasons – They have i) Ownership and ii) Control.

    Both of these are what a very successful blogger (for example) has in common with them.

    The clever one’s in this group realise the show won’t run forever and invest in other asset classes with their money.

    Owner and control go a very long way re wealth creation.

  56. I never made more than the six figure range in my career but I did turn down a chance to go back into the corporate world last year (I’ve been early retired three years now) for over one million a year. I only thought about it a few seconds and gave the recruiter a whole hearted “no!” When I told my wife about it later she had this crazy look in her eyes that scared me a little! I maybe should have kept that to myself?

  57. Wealth Management is a also a solid option. Don’t need much in the form of formal eduction. Essentially a “high end” sales job. Total autonomy of schedule, theoretically can be anywhere in the world as long as you have a cell. Unlimited ceiling for compensation. Albeit, les ROA as hedgies, but don’t have the stress of being under an investment performance microscope. You will likely be quick to point to “robo arvisors” and while that is a threat, only so much disruption I imagine. I’m not aware of any field, at least within finance, where you have unlimited comp upside with total flexibility lifestyle. Just my 2 cents

  58. Sammy Davis

    You can make $1M/yr as a Director at a big tech company, without needing to be an executive or CEO (FB, Google, Amazon, etc.)

    1. I worked 15 years at one of the most successful tech companies. There aren’t that many directors and the responsibility and work hours rivals CEOs or other high level execs at other companies.

  59. Interesting comparisons across career fields. I see a correlation to promotions in the military. If you’re willing to take the hardest jobs, suck-up to the right people, and sacrifice most of your family time (or family), then you can make General.

    Then again, it appears that CEOs and NFL players have the most trouble with acting “above the law.” I wonder how most NFL players fair 10-years after leaving?

    1. From Forbes magazine online – “Sports Illustrated recently estimated that 80% of retired NFL players go broke in their first three years out of the League.”

  60. Hi Sam
    Broke into the 1m mark 3yrs ago .. i have “day job” that is productivity based (surgeon) as well as a small business on side. I love what i do.. does not feel like work

  61. Fun article and very insightful! It certainly isn’t easy to make $1million. That is crazy how much Judge Judy makes woah. I can’t stand watching her for more than a minute but a lot of people must really love her show like crazy for her to pull in that kind of dough.

    If I were to take a completely different career path self help guru could be fun bc I like self help books and inspirational speakers (not the super cheesy ones) but I don’t have a big personality so I’d likely have to change that and would also have to be very comfortable being famous and recognizable, neither of which is optimal for me lol. And even still the chances of making it big to get to the million dollar mark isn’t a guarantee by any means. It’s fun to think about the different possibilities though! VC could be a lot of fun too.

  62. Completely anecdotal but I’ve got a few of the above-listed professions in my circle. The most successful is the founder and CEO of a construction business – barely graduated high school but has the highest career earnings, net worth and got to a 7-figure salary at the youngest age. Most lawyers I know are miserable and few get to a 7-figure salary, and those that do are in their mid-forties by the time they hit it, after literally sacrificing 20 of the best years of their lives to a very stressful job. VC salaries listed look higher than expected and VC partners have required capital contributions to each fund that can eat up much of their after tax salary, and it can take a long time to earn carried interest, if ever. If you’re driven by making as much money as fast as possible and you’re not an athlete, entertainer or self-help guru, banking & blogging look pretty good – seems like you made some good life choices?

  63. Accidental FIRE

    I’m already FI and have enough. I now have more time, and that beats money. If I could make a million a year without too much effort and enjoyed what it would take to get there, then sure why not. But I’ll take my free time and ‘enough’ over a million a year any day!

  64. Pardon my language… Our priorities are f*cked up. We pay our teachers a pittance and the ass clowns not standing for the anthem are making millions.


    1. It’s true. I only made $3,500 coaching over a 3.5 month tennis coaching season at a high school. It was very rewarding to help educate the student athletes, but the amount of time spent doing so made it challenging for the compensation and time away from my family.

      You can make a difference Jay by supporting local teachers and donating more funds to local schools. Getting involved is the best way to help!

      On the flip side, nobody goes into teaching to be rich. We go into teaching because we enjoy helping kids.

      If we wanted to get rich, we’d do one of these professions in this post.

      1. I hear you Sam. I was lucky enough to have one of those positions. I retired 2 years ago at 47 because of the priority challenge.

        I do give back but I continue to be incredibly frustrated at the widening gap in our country.

      2. Your comments just confirm that there is a lot of supply for teaching. Lots of people want to do it as you confirm. Because exactly your reward in such jobs is not only monetary. You choose your reward. There’s no unfairness. Why should your desire for teaching crowd out someone else who is willing to do it for less? If teaching is so unrewarding but so many people keep seeking to become teachers then there must be other rewards, or incompetencies. Nothing unfair here that I see. Irrational thought does not correlate well with FI. But bamboozling pitchforkers does, apparently.

        1. The problem is getting exactly what you pay for.

          Instead of the local school districts paying a decent wage for highly qualified educators, it’s spent on BS including ridiculous salaries for the school board and administrators. Low teacher salaries in education means hiring highly motivated young people who move onto better paying jobs or become administrators to make more money later in their career. That usually means everything is working exactly as it should in a free market and I’d agree with you.

          In this case, the kids are getting screwed without recourse. Although taxpayers are kicking in the money, there’s little accountability in having in spent in line with parent or kid priorities. The government involvement basically guarantees that free market economics will never apply, so offering a competitive wage to *established* teachers allows them to keep teaching for an entire career and pass down wisdom to the young motivated educators.

          There’s an endless list of problems with US public schools, but that’s an obvious one.

          1. The issue is should we
            a) pay for value of service rendered or
            b) pay the minimum amount we can get service for

            State b has direct consequences.
            if resource a can do it for less than b, use resource a, pocket the difference, up ceo salary
            Competitor comes up, buy him, run him out of business, etc, register trademark to prevent competition
            if resource c (machine/offshore resource) can do it for less than a, fire resource a, pocket difference…

            Eventually there is one winner, and everyone else a loser in one form or other.
            There are many solutions better solutions, and many worse ones also, but this does get worse the longer it continues (for 99.9% of us anyways).

            Having said that, I have no wish to have a welfare state either, but a system where each persons work is valued, appreciated, and compensated appropriately for.

    2. That’s capitalism. It’s why Sam can make money on this website, because he can draw people to it.

    3. Good teachers are in high demand and earn great pay.

      My sister just started teaching. She makes more than me. 3.95GPA from a top 10 university in chemical engineering.

      I’m about to be promoted to Captain and have been slaving away for Uncle Sam for almost four years now, waking up 5 in the morning everyday to stand in a square in ungodly weather.

      But props to her. She didn’t have struggle to find a job, she in fact got poached by a school three states over before she started at one in our home state, with a much better offer.

      And those “ass clowns” are exercising their right to free speech that me and my coworkers have sworn to defend with our lives. I feel for their community. Protect themselves from injustices utilizing the second amendment? FBI gon come after you and fuck your shit up, and Ronald Reagan gon take away your guns faster than Ms. Pelosi could every dream of. And by the way, kneeling was recommended to CK by a Green Beret – a real American hero, and not an outraged overweight fan upset at the Blacks on TV having the gall to rock the boat, sitting on the couch in their trailer park home.

  65. FullTimeFinance

    I think your underestimating the effort of a ceo based on your own biases. Unless you start your own company and flow into it that way you’ll be late in your career when you get there. You’ll spend all your time flying around the world as an ambassador and making decisions nite and day. Say goodbye to your family. As someone who works closely with our ceo, I wouldn’t wish that job on anyone.

    Honestly I’ll never make 1m a year but not on my todo list anyway. I’ll settle for continually growing what I already make .

    1. +1 to this. Just finished reading Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” and am now into Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog.” Neither CEO’s life reflected your description, and these are the successful ones. I imagine the unsuccessful ones have 10x the stress.

      1. Couple of points:
        (1) You have to exclude founders like Phil Knight from the category. Sam carved those out of his description and they inherently have a different role and function in the company they started than an outsider would.
        (2) CEO’s broadly speaking trade on charisma and selling skills. While we should not downplay the importance of these skills, you kind of either have it or you don’t. Whereas if you are a scrappy portfolio manager or big law partner, you can out-work your way to the top of the food chain regardless of your charisma and ability to sell and inspire a team.

    2. I am a CEO and know a couple public company CEOs. There is definitely stress, but if you’re taking down tens of millions of dollars a year, the work and reward ratio is way out of whack.

      If a public company CEO only made five times the average employee, yes, it’s probably not worth it. But if you make 300 times the average employee, it’s definitely worth it especially if the company can run just fine without you.

  66. Kelly | FundKey Life

    I’m almost a millionaire. Got a bunch of zeros, now I just need a 1 in front of it.

    I’m with Joe here. I don’t care about making a million dollar a year. I just want a normal comfortable life – enough to not have to answer to my alarm clock. Anything extra is just excessive.

  67. I’ll never earn $1 million per year. I don’t believe in myself enough and I’m not that driven. My happiness level isn’t going to change much even if I make $1 million/year. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
    Other people that earn that much? Popular entertainers like actors and singers. Lobbyists and political consultants?

  68. Lily | The Frugal Gene

    Million sounds nice if I have a goal for the money. I think partner in big law would be on of the most stressful so none of these are created equal. The VC and blogger role certainly sounds tempting when you want to be freed from grind.

    Didn’t you say in a podcast that without control and freedom of your own time, a man cannot be rich? :)

    1. As a Biglaw partner, I can confirm that it is stressful! And there’s never any time off. But out of the jobs Sam listed, it’s really the only thing I know I can do well. I plan to retire in 5-6 years at 55 to have some more time to enjoy life, travel and pursue other interests. I’m planning to get my pilates certification so I can do something I love but not worry about how much money I’m making.

      1. Sounds like a plan! I think it’s great to do something passionate about with physical fitness.

        Good fit, make some money, build those endorphins, and live longer. Sounds like a win!

    2. Biglaw Burnout

      Totally agree, being a BigLaw partner is very stressful and I am surprised there aren’t more BigLaw partners that RE, since they mostly have the FI part covered. I think it will become more common as the younger generation moves through the partnership ranks.

  69. Great article! One profession that I have seen multiple people making over a million a year is surgeons. The advantage to this job is you can make more money the more you work. A hard working cardiac, neuro, or orthopedic surgeon can make a million or more a year. Surgeons require a enormous amount of education and training before they make this level, so like a professional athletes the time frame to make this money is short. Ironically some of the most arrogant, rude, individual are the most successful surgeons.

    1. Dude I don’t know too many surgeons who make over 1 mln or even close to it. I am a dr. It’s a real hard slog and if u do make that sort of cash as a surgeon u certainly earned it.

    2. FinanciallyFree124

      I know a plastic surgeon who makes $3 million a year. He works 7am-10pm 6 days a week. He has a very good reputation and get a lot of patients.

      Most plastic surgeon don’t make over 1 million. It’s a very competitive industry.

    3. Smart Money MD

      Even as a surgeon, it is not easy making >$1 million even if you work hard. The problem with being in medicine is that if you rely solely on your trained skillset, your earnings are limited by the number of treatments do perform and time it takes.

  70. I could possibly earn $1 million a year, but it would cost me my family. 100% of my effort would be directed toward the career, and there’s no guarantee I would get there. It wouldn’t be worth it for many reasons.

    1. Ten Bucks a Week

      Good for you. There are definitely things to balance. I did not go any of these routes are MBA because I am a millennial who enjoys work life balance. No point in being filthy rich if you have no one to enjoy it with.

      1. I’m a millennial as well (who enjoys the idea of work life balance). To play devil’s advocate though, I’ve never heard of or seen a millionaire who lonely.

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