Do You Make A Six Figure Salary? Share Your Story.

Even though the $100,000+ salary club gets less exclusive each year with inflation, it is still considered by many to be a sign of success. According to reports, only about 5% of workers nationwide make six figures. Although it is by no means necessary to make that much in order to lead a fulfilling life and even a comfortable retirement, I think many people (including me) are still curious as to who makes six-figures.

As I approach my 30th birthday, many of my friends are reaching or surpassing this mark as they graduate with advanced degrees or move up the corporate ladder. Here are some examples of people I know who are earning more than $100,000 per year. Keep in mind I live on the West Coast, so salaries are higher overall. (Cost of living calculator) Many of these are expected, but some may surprise you.

Investment Banker – Education needed: Bachelor’s in almost any field, preferably business or engineering/math related. If you love competition and working 100 hours a week, you can easily make much more than $100k per year.

Lawyer – Education needed: J.D. Work hard, schmooze a bit, get a good clerkship, land a job at a respected firm and you’ll be a 6F’er. As an associate you’ll also be putting in 80+ hour weeks. However, if you want to work at a non-profit, your salary will be significantly less, maybe in the $40k range.

Physician – Education needed: M.D. plus 3-10 years of residency. Salary varies wildly for doctors too. Many pediatricians make less than $100k per year, while a cardiac surgeon (10 years of residency) can make $500k+ per year. Keep in mind during residency you’ll be earning $40k a year and also working 80 hours a week.

Small Business Owner – Education needed: None. These are mostly the parent of my friends, who have created successful small businesses worth millions, from restaurants to import/export to service/construction. The common thread between all these people is that it takes enormous commitment and dedication, often at the expense of family life. Be prepared to work seven days a week, all the while knowing that you could easily lose money each month.

Marketing / MBA Grads – Education: MBA. Yet another degree-specific job. Get your Bachelor’s, work a couple years, get into a top MBA program, pay lots of tuition, and basically everyone gets a $100k job on the way out. It sounds generic but it’s true.

Manager of Tech Monkeys – Education needed: B.S. This includes engineering, computer science, and IT folks. I make fun because this includes a lot of people I went to school with. Many graduated in 2000 during the tech boom, quickly getting jobs at NoBusinessModel.com and such. Then the market tanked, and they jumped from job to job. Crazily enough, most of them still got salary increases during each transition. Six years later, many of them are project managers at large corporations and making $100k+.

Civil Servants with Overtime – Education needed: varies. You might be surprised to know how much police officers and fire fighters earn in your area. If you account for the overtime, it puts many into six-figure territory. Add in their pension plans, and you’ve got a got a great compensation package. I often think about getting a state job just for the retirement benefits.

Salesperson – The people who make the biggest money are those that combine knowledge about an specific area with great interpersonal skills. Cars, pharmaceuticals, whatever. A top software or product salesperson working on commission can bring in 7-figures.

In the end, there is no real shortcut to making a great salary. In many fields (although certainly not all), as long you work hard, get along with others, and keep improving your skills, sooner or later you’ll rise up the ranks and reach the 6-figure level. Many of these careers require a lot of upfront investment in tuition, but I’ve never heard one person regret doing it. With all these young people working 80 hour weeks, it’s no wonder people are waiting longer and longer to get married or even move out of their parent’s houses.

Do you make six figures, perhaps in a unique job? Share your story anonymously in the comments.

Update: See the Six Figure Salary Survey Results.

Comments

  1. Engineer – Education Needed: B.S. in Engineering. Degree specific , but B.S. will do for the most of engineering jobs.

    I am a mechanical engineer and will probably break “that” 100k mark in a year or two. However, as Jonothan mentioned, an avg. salary of 100k became more and more meaningless especially if you live in areas where cost of living is expensive.

    An article i recently read stated that a person living in New York, and making 200k is equal to another person living in Montena, making 85,000.

    Where i live, median housing price is about 500k, and making 100k won’t even let me thinking about getting one of those.

  2. I think the claim of attorneys working 80+ hour weeks, as if that is normal, is somewhat inflated. While I’m sure that there are some attorneys that work that much, those people would be billing superstars at their firm. 80 hours per week * 50 weeks worked a year = 4,000 hours. 4,000 hours/year * 80% billing efficiency (which is low) works out to 3,200 hours billed per year. Given that many firms have bonus structures which do not pay additional $$ past 2,400 billed hours, I doubt that many attorneys are working 80 weeks consistently. While they may have a few 80 hour weeks leading up to a trial…many would also take 2-3 weeks off after the trial. Also, starting salaries at many big NYC firms have recently jumped to $160,000.

  3. If all goes according to plan this will be my first six figure year (before taxes). :-) I’m 25. I work for the federal government for 40 hours a week with great pay and benefits (at least 20 days off + 14 federal holidays per year and any unused vacation rolls over into the next year). Then I go home and spend 15-20 hours a week reselling wholesaled items on Ebay. I enjoy the challenge of both jobs and the work/life balance is great. Your site has definitely helped increase my income/savings a bit too.

  4. I think $100k+ isn’t a good indicator of anything at all. As you mentioned about the West Coast. It is relative to cost of living as you stated.

  5. I made over $100 k this year. finally. Sales in the software industry. Work over the phone and email. I work around 40 hours a week. I believe there needs to be a balance and life is too short to work all the time. Sales is the career to be in. Cincinnati, OH

  6. InspectorFox says:

    I am a IT Consultant and I make $100K+

  7. This is my third year owning a landscaping company in southern New Jersey (salaries are MUCH lower than north jersey/new york). I should bring in about $75-100k this year and over $100k next year. The work involved in attaining those numbers for myself- I work 4 days a week/10 hours a day, mid march through mid november. I have off the entire winter so I teach, ebay, get things ready for the spring, buy real estate, travel, relax.

    I have an MBA and should probably be putting it to use, but I cant justify giving up this kind of money/flexibility to go be a slave for another company…

  8. I’m close to the 100k+ as a software programmer and under 30. I can’t even afford a home with the salary. Well at the 25% of the take home pay I can’t. I’m not willing to have the mortgage be over 50% of my pay.

    So it is definitely relative to where you live.

  9. I worked as a creative director in a web design firm for a decade- at the end I was making $120k a year. Honestly I had no idea what to do with all the money I was making, so I saved it. I have an art school BFA, but I could have been self trained and it wouldn’t have made that much of a difference.

    I don’t see why someone making $100k a year can’t buy a $500k house. If you’re young and frugal, affording a $3000 monthly payment when you’re making $8000 a month is easy. The problem is that in San Francisco houses start at 1 million, but you can always get a loft for 600-700k…

  10. I know a lot of people with a lot of post-graduate training, and I’m fairly sure that it doesn’t pay for some of those options unless your parents are bankrolling you through it. If you want to be a doctor in a big city, you have to do a LOT of extra/specialized training, and if you are carrying student loans (college? med school?!) through the low paying years of internship, residency, and fellowship you will be 50 by the time you are out of debt, I swear, no matter what your starting salary is when the system finally frees you from indentured servitude, I mean training. And dentists may have to buy their own equipment to get up and running.You need to think long and hard about the suffering you may have to go through for some of these 6-figure salaries; as you outlined, there are plenty of other options where you don’t need as much/as expensive training. And ironically many of those jobs actually prevent you from being able to live in a less expensive area. Another note on west-coast living; my friends make a combined 160K and they say they have never been poorer (and they went through grad school!), because of full time child care costs and housing. They share one car and it is an Accord. Scary!

  11. 31 year old says:

    I am an E-learning consultant and make 6 figures (but on 1099). Education + experience needed. Masters with 6 years exp.

    Wife also makes 6 figures because of her MBA + experience. (fulltime), so hers is actually a genuine 6 figure salary, mine is just inflated.

    I am 31 and wife is 30. We just started making this money.

  12. 100k is a lot regardless of location. I disagree with the notation that 200k in NYC is the same as 85k in montana. It really depends on how you live.
    I know several Wharton students (UPenn MBA) getting their offers in the finance industry and consulting (BCG, Bain, Mckinsey, etc). Finance runs 250k+ and consulting runs 150k+. Note however, these are the best MBA students in the country so the numbers are higher than a second tier MBA graduate.
    Also one thing to note is that a large majority of people in finance/consulting earn a large percentage of their salary from year end bonuses, which are taxed more heavily.
    I hope to go towards the finance/consulting industry for the money. As an engineer, I am making 60k (23 years old) with a (CRAPPY) raise of 5% a year.

  13. I might hit $100k in total salary plus bonus by the end of 2007, almost definitely by 2008. But I’m almost 40 years old, and live in NYC, so it’s not as exciting a milestone as it might otherwise be! Nevertheless, it will be fun to see that extra digit.

  14. I always ask this question, how much money is considered a good salary? Givien today’s housing market, doesn’t seem like making $100,000 is a lot of money? Do you agree?

  15. Pro_blogger says:

    I’m a professional blogger making about 20K a month on subscriptions, advertising and affiliate sales. Of course I spend more than 40 hours working, but since this is something I love doing anyway – I don’t consider work at all.

    Expenses are pretty minimal – hosting, hardware necessary software, professional subscriptions, magazines, journals, etc.

    Another source of potential income – a book deal and a series of e-books will probably push the income into 30K a month territory.

  16. E-Learning Consultant making 6 figures (but on 1099, so its a fake 6 figure salary really).

    I disagree with people who say 6 figure salaries are nothing these days. You gotta be kidding me right?

    I have attended interview in this VERY large city that I live in and been offered a $45,000 salary.

    Everything will fall into perspective when
    1) Economy starts tanking
    2) Recession hits

    Then tell me if your 6 figure salary is nothing. I know people who were making $140K and were dying for a $50K job in mid 2001.

    If you are making 6 figures, work on trying to make more or maintaining it. Because going downhill from there is quite easy.

  17. 2007 should be my first year earning over 100k. Here’s the breakdown:

    80k/yr – work full time doing IT work for a local government agency
    15k/yr – owner of small part time IT business that currently earns about 15k/year (sole proprietor)
    10k+/yr – $90/hr – many small side IT jobs for home users and small businesses

    All in all, I work about 50 to 60 hours/week, but the local government job really helps in that I received up to 42 days/year off for vacation/holiday/sick days. That allows me to work the extra hours (like today, it’s a holiday, but I’m working my on side jobs).

    Wife doesn’t work, so I’m the sole bread winner. Funny thing, she’s the one with the degree, whereas I have less than a year of college. All I have is a simple MCSE+Security certification (which my job paid for).

    And if that’s not enough, I’m starting another different type of business that will hopefully be more profitable.

  18. Software Developer in Silicon Valley, had by 1st 100K year when I was 30 (2005 tax year). I had friends that made 100K straight out of MBA school, but they also lost their jobs due to down-sizing during the tech recession. I opted to go to a startup in an engineering job (BS was Comp Sci) which paid less, but had the potential to IPO. IPO didn’t happen, but benefits and pay got better when we got aquired. I bought a 2 bedroom townhouse for around $520K back in 2002 which has appreciated to $640K last I checked. I’ve maxed out my 401(k) and Roth IRA every year since I started (2000).

    To me, the House and Retirement accounts have a lot more to do with my wealth, than how much I pulled down and paid out…

  19. At 100K one will always be a renter in Silicon Valley

  20. As a Corporate pilot I reached the 100K mark after 13 years. Airline Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers average around 180K. Flying is our hobby and we managed to find a way to be paid doing it! One important note, Its not what you make, it is how you spend it or invest it.

  21. I’m a 3rd year pediatrics resident looking for jobs in general pediatrics in the New York/Long Island area. I will corroborate that many pediatricians do indeed make less than $100K and significantly less than our surgical counterparts with the same level of training. It’s not a bad salary by any means but it’s not luxurious with large med school/undergrad loans still hanging over your head.

  22. Jay makes a good point about the housing market. To be able to comfortably afford a $300,000 condo (about the bare minimum needed to get into the housing market where I live), I would need to make over $100,000 a year. What is comfortable is relative to each person, of course, and I need a large cushion to feel comfortable. That being said, I still think $100,000 is a lot of money, and a salary like that would allow me to easily purchase everything I wanted (except real estate) while saving a very comfortable amount each month. Whether $100,000 is a lot or not really depends on your upbringing and your lifestyle, I think. Growing up, $100,000 a year was enough to comfortably support five people and live in a house, where I lived then, and my wants are fairly minimal. What constitutes a good salary also depends on what you’re doing to get that salary. For me, making $100,000 a year is a crappy salary if I have to work 100 hours a week to get it. I’d much rather make less and be able to enjoy time off.

  23. Software Engr (MSCS from non-renowned university) at small company in Portland, OR making right at 100k. Benefits could be much better, but the work/life balance is just about perfect. Bought our home 5 years ago, so I can’t complain about the housing market.

  24. In 1998, I left a job with the federal government to make $100K with a largish IT firm wishing to do higher-end consulting work with the feds. The firm hoped to have me leverage my contacts and reputation helping to found a new consulting group within the firm.

    I found the corporate culture of the firm did not agree with me (esp after my boss was forced out), and I left to start my own consulting business. I doubt I would have left the federal job directly into self-employment, so it was a valuable stepping stone.

    The salary was nice, but ultimately, the real benefit came from the realization that (1) diversification of the source of one’s “salary” or income is every bit as important in employment as it is in investing and (2) that the source of one’s value to an organization (skills, contacts, whatever), can provide value to another organization (or to one’s own organization). As such, one should not be worried at leaving a large organization, whether it is the federal government or a large firm. The skills and knowledge you take can be deployed in a thousand different ways. The key is to remember that EVERYBODY works for somebody (customers, clients, shareholders, depositors, grantors, whatever), and that you should always strive to be useful.

  25. I cleared $100K last year for the first time in my life. I’m an attorney at a large law firm, which you noted in your post was one of the clear higher-earners. I don’t really think $100K is a lot in light of the huge expense to get a professional degree. By the time my wife finished medical school, we’ll have close to $300K in student loan debt. It’s an outrageous amount of money. Sure, it was our personal choice to pursue these professions, but I suppose it’s “good debt.” In any event, $100K does not go very far when you have to pay most of your paycheck in debt service payments.

  26. Lawyer – –As an associate you?ll also be putting in 80+ hour weeks–

    Not quite, if you specialize (IP, Energy, etc) you can luck out an work at a small firm, make $100K+, and work about 55-60hrs a week (on average). Of course, the starting salary in DC is now close to $160K, but I’d much rather take the 25% pay cut and not work the 80+ hours a week one needs at bigger firms.

  27. I would add Veterinarian to the six-figure list. Although you have to put up with 4 years of grad school, the hours are not that difficult and the pay at most places (here on the West Coast) will hover around the $90,000 to $100,000 mark. Being a first-year associate at a small law firm, I’m making six figures but I’m also working more hours compared to my friend’s wife, the vet. Plus, she doesn’t have to deal with the fact that people assume you need to have nice things (car, clothes, house, toys) when you’re a lawyer. Fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid that kind of social pressure, but my other friends in the legal business have not been so lucky.

  28. 23OutOfTheRatRace says:

    2006 has been the first year I have made a little more than 100k in work compensation. I am 23 working as an engineer in the Metro Detroit area. I did it with a lot of hard work through overtime and about 4 months of traveling overall. My real achievement is that my net worth has increased more than $100000 since 2005. Residual income and investment returns have given me almost as much as I spent this year. Your blog has helped me tremendously in being where I am today.
    Thank you Jonathan.

  29. I thought of adding my 2 cents here. When it comes to buying a house, you do need a lot of money to buy one in the west coast. The people skeptical about buying a house, they have to think more about how much of the $100K they’re keeping.

  30. if your single, it is resonable to say that living off of a 100k salary is considered a “good salary” regardless of location. 100k taxed at 35 percent leaves 65k You could easily save 30k a year if you are single. I am being extremely conservative with my numbers. 2-3 years with a conservative 6% return, you could easily pay a downpayment on a 600k+ house.

  31. I’m a PhD student so I’m not anywhere near the 100K, mark but I find it interesting that the vast majority of the comments seem to be from men.

  32. Although still an important milestone in one’s career, $100K a year does not carry near the weight it did years ago.

    Depending on the lifestyle you want to lead (housing, car, clothes, vacations, etc.), $100K will not go very far. If you live a high index area, $100K will hardly get you to the starting line.

    I think $250K is the new benchmark where you can begin defining financial success.

    Disclaimer: For all the young folks out there, please do not solely equate money with success, I know a number of miserable private equity analysts.

  33. B-school isn’t a bad route. Two years of school, and yea, on exit, not hard to hit the 6 figures. And I’m in the Midwest, where $100k actually means something. Tuition, even if I wasn’t on a full fellowship, isn’t bad at all for in-state residents — About $20k total.

  34. Big Box Store Manager says:

    It may surprise some people, but the majority of big box (think Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Target) store managers make $100K+.

  35. 31 year old says:

    Another misconception of people. I am a FIRM believer that if you cant afford the university fees, dont go to it. Go to a CHEAP state university. There are universites in the midwest that only charge $5K a year in tuition. Thats $20K for a 4 year education. And its these same people who end up making $100K 6 years later. Trust me, i have I have seen it happen over and over again.

    If you do not get into the top 10 university in the country, it doesnt matter where you go. An employer is not going to know the difference between Southern Michigan or Nortern Texas or Trinity University or Daniel Boone university. People love to refute this but go ahead.

    Being an international student 12 years ago, i chose the most cheapo school i could find. Met my wife there too. Today, we both earn 6 figure salaries and so do many of our friends.

    Student loans? What student loans.

  36. I make $157K working 84 hours a week in a combat zone as a security consultant. 27 y.o., MBA, 6 years experience.

  37. Emergency physicians on the west coast make somewhere between 150-250K (I’m just out of residency and will make around $180K). It sounds like a lot, but the average medical student debt is $135 K, not counting college loans. Physicians also have to consider overhead costs, and malpractice insurance, which can run between 10-50K per year, depending upon specialty and state of practice.

    It’s a long haul- undergrad, med school, residency, fellowship- and it’s not nearly as glamorous or fun as “ER” or “Grey’s Anatomy”. It’s a great job, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to someone who just “wants to make a lot of money”.

  38. To attend a top MBA school you need more than a couple of years of experience these days. Most students are older.

  39. ER physician, $190k starting, not including year end productivity bonus; with seniority / experience will go up to $240k. Wife also a physician at $150k, and after subspecializing will bump up to $190k.

    I currently work 32hrs/wk, 4 wks paid vacation, 2 wks “personal time” off, 1 wk “continuing education” time off. Wife works 9-5 & every other Saturday, 4 wks paid vacation, 1wk personal time off, 1 wk continuing education.

    Upside: demand for our specialties are increasing & shortages in our specialties will last a good 10 yrs; Excellent job security; excellent lifestyle; no kids yet, both under 30yrs old, lots of free time to work on our real estate skills and bank for retirement.

    Downside: ~260k in student loans, but only at ~2% interest rate; income was $50k during residency; not starting to make any money until almost 30yrs old.

    I’d probably do the same thing if I could do it all over again.

  40. I have a friend who did ibanking making ~300k/yr, but at the cost of working 80-100hrs/wk.

    But I agree with the previous user who said that usually MBAs from the top schools are the ones who make really good money; I have several friends from 2nd & 3rd tier MBAs working middle management/exec positions for around 60-80k.

    I also heard down the grapevine that retail managers (Target, Lowes) make 100+ but how much job security do they have? Is there a high turnover rate for these managers? And what percentage of people in these positions make 100+?

  41. I am 28 years old and I make $120k a year.

    I am an attorney, I am just beginning my 5th year.

    I only work 40-45 hours a week and no weekends.

    Only litigators work 80 hour weeks and while there is good money in litigation, there are less stressful more profitable jobs being a transactional attorney. No appearances in court, no getting yelled at by a judge, just clients and contracts.

    I do not own a house (yet) since I live in LA and I do have $50k in student loans at 3.75%, so that should be taken into consideration.

    And I agree that $100k is not a lot nowadays, especially if you live in Southern California.

  42. No, not anywhere close, and probably won’t get there for another 10 years if I continue working at this large environmental engineering firm. I also wonder if female is having a more difficult time to reach that mark. My male coworker and I started out making the same, yet last year he made $7,000 more, and this year probably $2,000 more than me after I expressed my unsatisfaction to the management. I have a part-time tutoring job for 1 hr/wk that brings me a little extra each month, and my finance is stable with a quality life (my needs are perhaps lower than most people’s), but I believe I can do better.

    Since I am not in one of the 100k professions, I know I have to work harder, so I will. I decided to take some exams to further my knowledge in my profession, and if that is not making my managers to re-think how much values I add to the company and reward me accordingly, I can easily go and find someone who will.

  43. Here is one way to do it that I haven’t seen mentioned. Get an engineering degree (B.S.), work for a defense contractor, work on site. This doesn’t necessarily mean a dangerous place.

    Pros – Money, most expenses would be included.
    Cons – Not going to have much free time while you are there.

  44. Unfortunately I don’t make 100K+ a year, but I work along side probably 30 or more people who do – Pharmacists. I’m from the Midwest and 100K is starting pay for a Pharmacist just out of school. I’m a Pharmacy tech (the person who actually does the work haha) and I make less than half of that and I get paid “well” in respect to other people in my career.

  45. My wife (32) and I (33) both work as research scientists in biotech/pharma. We each are currently making a little over a 100K + bonus for the last several years.

    Education: PhD in science (5-6 years). Good news is that you get a stipend going to grad school in science, so there are no additional loans after undergrad. Bad news is that you work like crazy and have very little life in grad school.

    Now: We each work ~45-50 hours/ week for good companies w/ good benefits. Quality of life depends on the environment of the company.

  46. First of all, thanks to everyone who commented! I definitely read every one with great interest, as I’m sure many others will.

    Making $100k in the Bay Area may not seem like enough to live well, but I’ve seen many people do okay even with no parental support. Live frugally, save for a few years, and you can afford a $300-400k condo in the East Bay or other places. Yeah, it’s a commute and it’s small, but my friends who bought years ago now have $100k in equity. The property ladder starts small there.

    Regarding hours and lawyers, maybe some people are exaggerating their hours to me. Maybe I should go to law school like my in-laws want me to… ;)

    “Also one thing to note is that a large majority of people in finance/consulting earn a large percentage of their salary from year end bonuses, which are taxed more heavily.”

    Salary, bonuses, it’s all grouped as income and taxed together at the same rate. Just my small nitpick :)

    Loans. Yes, some of my friends got parental support, some are sporting $200,000 in loans. But not _one_ person regrets getting those loans. I haven’t even touched upon the motivation and desire needed to actually make it into and graduate from those professional programs. Potential salary is part of it, but love for the work is also there. A pediatrician chooses to be a pediatrician and not any other type of doc knowing full well the impact on his/her future salary. Give your pediatrician a hug!

  47. 29, So California, Art School BFA dropout. ’03 was my first > 100k year. My wife has a BA and is working on her masters, however she hopes to always stay home and be a mom. I left school and started working freelance in advertising at age 20. 80+ hour weeks, juggling multiple jobs, many free ones, and others with rubber checks that never cleared. Since 2004 I have worked under my own S-corp and rely on a dozen major clients for income. My wife is setup as a PT employee (18k / yr) to maintain two 401(k) accounts, both of which have been maxed out for the previous two years. We have a small house purchased in ’04 for a little over 550k. We’re paying 2200 to 3600 month on the mortgage, interest is about 1700. Present debt, combined student loans 80k plus a 400k mortgage. The current strategy is allocate all funds to mortgage paydown and maximum retirement savings, we have approx 4 months of cash on hand to cover current cost of living. At present I average about 160 work hours a month, some weeks at 80 hours, others are only 20. My biggest spending weakness is meals, we eat out 1-2 meals a day, approx 1,200 a month.

  48. Regarding tax rate of salary vs bonus. In my situation, as my own S-Corp, I can be paid (pay myself) a dividend which is subject to the same tax rate as income, however social security is not withheld on dividends. The typical scenario is a base salary of 60k/ yr plus a dividend of 34k. Social security is withheld for the first 94k / year of income. This scenario translates to a savings of 4200, which could be directed to a retirement vehicle with a better return than SS. However, this only applies if you are self employed.

  49. anonsocal – I’m doing the exact same thing, on a smaller scale. As your “salary” goes over the Social Security ceiling, the benefit drops significantly though.

    I wrote a bit about it here – Forming An S-Corporation To Reduce Self-Employment Taxes

  50. futurebanker says:

    Several friends and I will go into ibanking next year after graduation. Base salary at big ibanks are $60k, last year’s top tier bonus was $80k. So if you are ranked near or at the top of your analyst class, you can make $120k-$140k straight out of college.

    Upside: $$$, experience, learning how to deal with very demanding clients/superiors in very stressful situations, feeling grateful for a 70-hour week, becoming a Jedi master of Excel.

    Downside: insane number of hours at the office (80-120), lack of any control over “personal time,” little to no vacation, tied to the blackberry 24/7, broken relationships.

  51. smallbizgurl* says:

    hmm, are there any small biz owners out there? would love to hear some success stories! i just finished my 1st year, only 15k so far. but i am building the business up and eventually will hit that 100k in a few years ;)

    i used to envy people who have high paying jobs. then i realized how much they work… a friend of mine makes 300k per year. at first, i thought wow that’s a lot. that’s so cool to have all those money. but then she also works 80 hours per week.. which comes down to $72 per hour. hmmm. doesn’t seem that fun if you work 80 hours per week and don’t have time to enjoy your 300k except buying expensive furniture & drinks? (although it’s true once she makes to senior partner she can bank at least a million a year. now that’s a lot!)

    as a small business owner, i do work a lot. but because i choose to. learning and working to expand my business has become my hobby. my hourly is also actually higher than others when it boils down to total money made divided by how much i worked last year. so i end up working less than my friends who make 100k.

    i am working to have a solid foundation for the business now and slowly hiring more people to help out. i want to make it solid enough to eventually have less working time and more supervision time ;) a few years down the line i would like to raise kids and be able to control the time i can be with my children.

    anyway… the grass also seems greener on the other side!

  52. 28 y.o., 100k+ as an IT consultant, but in my local currency. as a benchmark, the entry level graduates (science & engineering) here get around 25 – 30k on average. you can get up to 40k if you applied to MNCs.

    B. Sc.’s from a local private university (costs about 47k in local currency for the entire 4 years), joined a small company as a programmer at 30k p.a. at graduation, switched to another at 45k p.a. after a year and been there since.

    i agree with jonathan that there is no short cuts around this. i wouldn’t have reached here by hard work alone, nor would i have if i had depended on luck alone. hard work, savvy and luck all plays a role in it.

  53. Code Monkey says:

    Software developer
    $86k base salary
    $2k bonus
    $30k stock options

    Education: MS (little difference from BS degree pay scale)
    Experience: 3 years

  54. I make $25-40K a month doing import/export. No College Degree. 27yo.

    Found a local contract manufacturing company, asked them what products they were interested in buying. Found a supplier oversees. Didn’t have the money to place the initial orders so I used back-to-back letters of credit to get my start. Have since expanded my business using same “sales approach” and now no customer represents more than 15% of sales and the products are delivered directly using the same financing methods. I never touch the product, and essentially just make the spread on the letters of credit.

  55. Well, judging from the volume of responses, there’s definitely something to that 100k mark.

    I enjoyed especially those commenters that are pulling in side income through creative efforts (and sweat). Very cool idea Jonathan!

  56. Steve Austin says:

    The most important phrase in this post is “it is…considered by many to be a sign of success.” Based upon the number of comments to this post, people just plain enjoy talking about how far below or above Six Figures their annual income is. I support enjoyment, but regarding Six Figures…
    1) it’s just a number that happens to be very near its Five Figure cousin $99,999, a purely psychological milestone like the DJIA at 10000, or akin to a basic fact of nature like the earth spinning 365+ times for each revolution around the sun
    2) more important than any *sign* of success is success *itself*, which will always be a subjective matter, won’t it? people can feel successful as long as they socialize with people who mostly have lower salaries/net worths than their own.
    3) not only is 100,000$ a relative signpost (well discussed in the post and the subsequent comments), it’s also an arbitrary one! (Let’s talk about 104,500$ salaries next year this time!)
    4) since we like to enjoy our discussions, anyone care to propose what is the signpost net worth above which most people will feel wealthy / rich?

  57. MIT engineering graduate; earned income is $000,000.

  58. 37 been making 100K+ for a couple of years now. Self employed project manager specializing in Information systems. Oil & Gas industry. My goal is to attempt to live on half of my salary for the future times where employment may be difficult to find or at least at a lower salary. I’m not at the half salary living yet, but hopefully will by late this year.

    And running my employment as an s-corp helps as well.

    My advice to anyone who wants to make a lot of money in consulting; its to meet as many people like yourself in the same business. Help them find jobs, and the same will be returned to you. Waiting at your cube for the 100K job to come around or applying on job websites won’t cut it. Networking is 100% the best way to move up in salary.

  59. I guess if you’re young and single, all this 80-100 hour a week stuff is fine… but for us married folks ( young and married, if you must know ), it just doesn’t cut it. I spent last year working 80-85 hours a week, and barely ever saw my wife and son. Not worth it. More family time wins over more money, every time. Now I’m down to 55-60, and 1000x happier.

  60. Also an independent IT consultant. I cleared $97k last year and expect to be around $110k in 2007. I’m 26, work from home and rarely work more than 40 hours/week. No, $100k is not a huge amount of money to live on but if you live reasonably, it is comfortable, especially if you are single. Honestly, I’d rather have more time than more money. Working anything more than 40 hours is not worth it to me…at least in the corporate world. If I were a doctor, that would probably change my perspective.

  61. “but on 1099, so its a fake 6 figure salary really”

    How is a 1099 a fake salary?

  62. I am also a small business person and I agree that working long hours is the norm.

    I am 25.

    My first year I did 30K, second 42K and this year I’m expecting 60K+.
    In the next 2 or three years I’m hoping to hit the 100K mark, but Jonathan you are correct it is no longer the magic number. I’m in the north east and housing is ridiculous.

    The new 100K is easily 175K.

  63. btw jonathan, great topic!

  64. I make 70+k as a software engineer in the midwest, I’m in my upper 20s, just got married and bought a house last year. My friends in California/NYC still can’t afford a home and live poorly…

  65. there’s alot to the mental barrier of $100k+/yr. many people get caught up in the lifestyle attribution to making 6 figures. i know i do. i make a little over $100k/yr after taxes. my wife and i live on 5% of that, and do not have any debt. if you have a car payment, a large loan to payoff, mortgage (especially in high housing cost areas), that $100k gets pretty small.

    you may be able to afford $3000/mo mortgage considering you make $8000/mo; however, take taxes of all kinds, other debt into consideration and that isn’t a great deal left over. bottom line, housing costs and taxes are a big factor in how far $100k/yr will go.

  66. Nathan Whitehead says:

    My wife made >100k right out of grad school (MS in CS) in Silicon Valley without any school debts. I can’t complain! There are tremendous opportunities right now for motivated computer geeks.

  67. Personally, I think the new “100k” mark “successful” salary is more like $200k in this day & age.

    And my personal definition of being financially wealthy is having $10 million+ in assets (versus the $1 million benchmark of the early 80s, ie “millionaire”)

    Question to those who are doing consulting type work, esp the self employed ones: Is the stream of clients/customers pretty stable from year to year, or will there be years where you make 100k+ and others when the economy is down where you make way below the 100k mark? How is the job security for consulting work?

    For Ibankers: how long do people usually stay in Ibanking working those insane hours to make the big $$$? Do most burn out around 5 yrs and find something else to do? (eg marketing or something more relaxing?)

  68. I am a small-business owner as well, I have a construction company. I started it 3 years ago, currently have around 42 employees. I’m 24 years old. My first year in business my personal earned income was $85k, second year $650k, and my third year (2006) it was $1.1m. It’s been a crazy ride and I am planning to level off the growth at this point because the company is still a size that I can personally handle. I work about 60 hours a week so as not to run myself or my marriage into the ground.

    I think people often overlook being a small business owner as a tool for creating wealth. There are so many (legitimate) ways to bury your expenses in the business (cars, home office, life/health/umbrella insurance, memberships, etc), as well as the previously mentioned tax savings. I know that I have been extremely blessed with the early success of my business and that not everyone is as lucky, but I still encourage anyone to consider starting a business.

  69. I’m really amazed how many programmers seem to read your page — you’re like a magnet! Yeah, me too – but I’m only in the high 80s and I live in an expensive area. I’ve been at my current job for 9 years and out of school for 13. I’m pretty sure if I ventured off there is more money out there now. People in my area (with experience) make a little over $100K to start for most positions. Still, thinking about living in a lower cost area sometimes sounds so appealing. Even making a little less, the lifestyle could be so much nicer …

  70. I earn $100K+ as a free lancer – writing and consulting. Live in a very low cost-of-living area in the south in a state with no income tax. The low living costs here means that I have the funds to travel often to NY. DC, Chicago or ATL for fun/shopping/culture so I don’t feel deprived. Have no debt – not even student loans as I went to a cheap state school (which did not hinder my earning potential). Have been able to save well for retirement as well as give generously to charity.

  71. 1099 is fake as opposed to someone making $100K as a fulltime or on W-2 coz on 1099, you have the pay medicare, Social security at the full rate (around 15%), so in a nutshell, 100K on 1099 is like $85K fulltime.

    But off course as Jon mentioned before, there are ways around this if you are an S corp.

  72. Andrew, out of curiosity, how did you start up your company? How did you come up with the capital? Did you do small projects on your own and then build it up? Or did you have connections or inherit the business from family?

  73. I am a wedding planner in California and am 27, and own my company. My husband is a jeweler with his own store and is 29. I roughly make $70K a year and he makes $120K a year. We work our tails off and have not had a day off in two years. While I enjoy working in my PJs quite a bit, the $100K mark is not a motivator.
    We’re both looking to work smarter, not harder.
    We live off my income, and have been home owners for the past 2 years. We purposely don’t live the high life, but I must admit, it’s hard not to keep up with the Joneses.
    We have zero debt–no student loans, car loans, etc…just our mortgage. California has a lot of smoke and mirrors. Most of my colleagues and friends drive sports cars and live it up, but are in massive debt. To each his own, I suppose….

  74. Mike, I started my company from the ground up, however I did have several advantages that wouldn’t be available to everyone: 1) I was able to take a sizeable loan from a family member to fund the business. $500k, at an attractive interest rate. I have paid back approximately half of that at this point. 2) I had an inside track on a company in the industry that I wanted to be in that was going out of business. I was able to purchase many of its assets at a discount and hire many of its well-trained employees. Probably the most important thing I acquired from this company was its phone numbers – I’ve had 20 years worth of their previous customers calling me from day one.

    However, the branding and culture of my company has been built from the ground up over the past three years, and we have a very specific and profitable niche. We did start small, with small projects, but thanks in large part to a robust local construction market we have expanded quickly and are now involved in some of the larger “legacy” projects in the area. It’s interesting to note that we have been far, far more profitable on smaller projects than larger ones, although it’s cool to see the high-profile projects recognized and know that we were involved.

  75. Mike:
    Depends on what your skillset is, but my experience over the last four years has been that there’s lots of work out there. I frequently turn down new business because I like to have time for other interests and I want to keep my girlfriend happy. :-)

    Sri:
    That is a pretty simplistic calculation. As you noted, as long as you are incorporated, additional taxes are defrayed and the added write-offs available with self-employment make a huge difference. My tax burden is significantly lower now than when I earned a “real” salary and the independence is priceless.

  76. Andrew, congratulations on your success & good fortune at such a young age. I guess it would be extremely hard for someone to buy/start a company if they didn’t have the connections & client list that you had. What state do you do construction in if you don’t mind me asking?

  77. I’m 22 and expect to make $85+ this year including bonus as a management consultant. $100 will come next year. At the high end of the consulting and banking fields, salary is $60-65 first year, with a bonus of $20-25 in consulting and upwards of $100k in banking. Consulting hours can run 50-75, while my banker friends will put in 80-100+. The next step up the ladder is either bschool (first tier only; as people have pointed out the salaries only jump post MBA if you stay within Harvard, Stanford, Tuck, Wharton or a handful of others). Post MBA salary looks more like $150 and $50 bonus right out. And if you get really lucky, you can get it paid for by the firm. $200k with no debt looks good. I don’t know what Wall Street pays for fresh MBAs. $100k is a nice milestone but I agree that $250k is a better sign of real success these days.

  78. You forgot DBA’s make well into the six figures. With an Oracle Certification as a DBA, and about 3-5 years of experience, you can easily clear six figures or more in hot tech job markets. (DC, CA, etc.)

    I’ve been eyeing DBA work, but it’s a bit scary to be on call all the time for production data. I’m not sure I want to be back on a pager again. It really killed me the last time I did it, but the extra pay was really nice. At six figures, I’m definitely thinking about again.

  79. 31 year old says:

    People who say they work 80 hours must be bluffing. Even if it does happen, maybe 1 week of a month. I think it makes some people feel important to say that they put in 80 hours this week!!

    80 hours is 16 hours a day in 5 business days.

    So lets see, you go to work at 7am, leave at 1 am. (with no lunch break)

    Ok some of u may say how about weekends….ok fine….but that means ur working all 31 days in a month. Not humanely possible. Even dogs take a break after a brisk walk :)

  80. Samsung slave says:

    Wow. I work 7:30am-8pm at Samsung Semiconductors in Korea, and got $45K for 1st yr out of college (top engineering school in the US, but I took a management job here). I can’t imagine ever earning 100K for a 40hrs/wk job. Are these guys the exception?

  81. I got a PhD in math/science at 27 and have been working for a major pharmaceutical company for 2 years. My job is to design and analyze clinical trials. I started at near $100k with bonus. Now I am making a little more than $100k. Job pressure is very reasonable: 40 hours/week with flexible working hours. It is a very stable job. But potential of increase is also limited. Other than climbing up the corporate ladder, it is pretty much just about 4-5% annual increase.

  82. IT Architect at a very large insurance company in New York City. $125K base + bonus (usually 25K). Work 45 hrs most weeks.

    37 years old, married with 2 kids. Own a 3br apartment with 500K mortgage. Cost is about $4500/month for mortgage + maintenance + utils.

    $150K married with 2 kids and a mortgage feels like a LOT less money than $75K did when I was single and renting!

  83. 32 years old, 10 years of experience in IT and implementing ERP systems, last 3 years as an independant consultant.

    2004 – $140k, 2005 – $200K, 2006 – $330K, with a salary of around $100K for the 5 or so years prior to that. Thought it was the ‘big’ money until I realized I still like cheap beer and pickup trucks so it didn’t matter all that much… now just savings as much as possible for some freedom.

    Setup as an S-corp with wife as employee for 401(k) purposes. Able to put away just over $55k in tax deferred savings in 2006 between 401(k) and HSA. And yes the benefits of the S-corp go down after the SS limit but YOU decide what a fair salary is (within reason).

    Bored out of my mind with my career. Still trying to figure out what to do with my life, MBA seems pointless (payback wise) and too late at 32. Looking at lots of small biz type opportunities but hard to walk away from the money to something alot less certain. Not whining, don’t get me wrong.

  84. I used to work in a factory running an embroidery machine making 9 dollars an hour. I quit my job at thanksgiving to stat a small business. I honestly don’t know how much money im making now. I geuss i will have to figure that out by tax season.

  85. Brian – I am also currently working for the federal government and I don’t see how you can be making 100k by 25. All of the jobs I have seen you have to put in years of service to move up that high of a pay band.

    I do agree that the federal government offers great benefits (at least 20 days off + 14 federal holidays per year)

  86. I’m about to touch 100K in IT field in NYC.

    But I’m at cross-roads of career. I’m a but bored with my current job and want to try something new. I have been seriously thinking about 2 options:
    1) Law school
    2) MBA in finanace and joining a wall st. firm

    One of my main motivations is money and continued increases in salary every year. Surely being a lawyer would be very good for that – esp. in a big city like NY – where I read the entry level salary is 160K + 30K bonus. Added advantage of lawyer is that it is a licensed job – so no danger of job getting outsourced or you getting fired so that ur boss can hire someone else with substantially less pay.

    MBA – the aim of doing mba is to land an investment banking job at a NYC wall st. firm. I’d love this work, but I read that that investment bankers need to put 100+ hrs (is this really true??). Although I like the job, 100+ hrs would kill my family life. Another bad with this job is that it is non-licensed. So you are in danger of getting replaced with a short notice.

    I’d really appreciate people’s comments on what they think of the 2 options that I listed above.

    Thanks.

  87. futurebanker says:

    Answer to Mike: how long do people usually stay in Ibanking working those insane hours to make the big $$$? Do most burn out around 5 yrs and find something else to do? (eg marketing or something more relaxing?)

    Many analysts head to corporate development, the buyside (venture capital, private equity, hedge funds), or business school. I knew a couple of bankers who got their JD but came back to banking.

    The burnout rate is very high in banking and most analysts don’t stay after 2 years.

  88. Jim & SAP Jim: what exactly do you do as an independent IT consultant? Please excuse my ignorance; I don’t have any friends in this field and I’m interested to find out.

    Do you guys design computer systems (hardware & networking) or set up software for companies to use? Is it mostly a desk type job or do you do a lot of hands on, on-site stuff (ie physically fixing systems)?

    Seems like you guys have it the best if you could work at home, earn 100k+, work around 40hrs/wk, all without having to spend the time to get a graduate degrees.

  89. 31 years old:

    I can see how people put in 80+ hours a week. Dunno about the corporate guys, but as a resident in the surgical ICU, I easily put in 100+ hours a week (24+8 hours every third day on call, 12 on post call days, then 24+8 again). I worked 32 hours straight, didn’t sleep, ate candy and coffee for lunch and dinner, and got one day off a week. Its inhumane, and although life got better after the 80 hour work week law, I still have friends who work far beyond 80 hours a week.

    Personally, life got much better after residency- I now work 30 or so hours a week in Emergency Medicine, and am thankful that I now have time for my friends and family.

  90. In the bay area it’s all about when you got into housing. I interact with co-workers in lower ranking positions. They bought houses 10 years ago. I’m far better compensated and more skilled, but I’m under no illusion who’s really successful between us.

    Call it real, housing-adjusted income.

  91. Mike, I build web applications for compaines. It’s just software so it almost never requires on-site work.

  92. mimi, typo? 5% of 100k is what you live off of?

    31 year old: 80 hours is very common and is not a “lie”. Currently I am an engineer working 60 hours a week + 20 hours a week on grad school classes.

    As for the ibankers, I know my fair share in the top ibanks- UBS, goldman, etc. They work 100-120+. Imagine 7am-1am mon-friday (thats 90 hours) and an additional 10+ hours a day on weekends.

    I have friends that are analysts and associates. Usually straight out of undergrad, thats when they work you. the top companies (goldman, ubs..) work you hard…100+ a week for 2 years. They then pay for your MBA and you come back as an associate…where you eventually work fewer and fewer hours.

  93. another fed worker here. 28, just promoted to a 13, special pay band, 87k. with overtime and bonuses should clear 100k. 1.5 yrs should be promoted to 14 with 102k salary.

  94. I had a goal of “6 (figures) by 30″. Starting off in IT and moving into business development, I beat that goal by 2 years. By the time I was 30 my salary was approaching $200k, but I was miserable. I was working 60-80 hours a week, interactions with my (second) wife were transactional, and I wasn’t having fun. So I quit, took a job with over a 50% pay cut, and 10 years later I work 40 hours a week, have a happy marriage with 2 kids, own our home outright, and I’ve just again broken the 6 figure mark.

  95. Random John says:

    I’ve been over $100k since the year I turned 28. I paid for college and law school myself (bartending and GI bill). Worked at a big firm for a long time to pay it all off and save for the down payment. Got married, went in house, had baby, make significantly less (but still >$100k). Maybe it’s the people I hang around with, but it’s a pretty low benchmark.

    Also, wrt 80hr weeks at big firms, it’s one of those average/mean problems. Throw out the four weeks of vacation and the holidays, and you’re at 3800 for the year. Bill about 75% of the time you’re actually in the office (again, this goes from 100% most of the time to 50% between deals/cases) and you’re at 2800 hours. That’s high enough to be at the top end of most classes, but definitely not unheard of. I’m using extremely general numbers here and rounding off… but I billed between 2300 and 3000 hours (2000 was a busy year and I hit just over 3000 hours) from the mid 90s on. If you hit 2000 hours billed you qualify for the bonus at most firms, which still requires >40 billable hours/wk.

  96. Murph, not necessarily. there are plenty of fed. jobs out there where Brian could be making 6 figures at his age. Translators, intel analysts, certain IT fields, certain fields in the military, etc all can make 6 figures at his age. moreover, with bonuses and tax exclusion for war zones, 6 figures is definitely a possibility. remember, the fed. govt needs to retain certain critical areas and pay heavily for it.

  97. i forgot to mention State folks who can get up to 60% differential pay on top of regular pay overseas.

  98. Management consultant: 30 yrs old. 130k + 25k bonus. Chicago. 40 hrs/week. 20% travel.

  99. I wanted to be #100!!!!!!

  100. I am in software development. I can understand that lawyers, doctors, and successful MBAs can break the 100K barrier. However, I am in doubt that an average software engineer can break the 100K barrier unless you are in Silicon valley and have niche skillset. A lot of posting showing 20ish and 100K in IT. Are you guys including benefits and bonus as pay? I assume that we are talking 100K as in your base salary only.

  101. In regards to what Hoang said, do those who listed >100K with bonus consistantly get the same amount (if not more) bonus every year? Or are there slow years where these people don’t get any bonus at all?

  102. Im 32 and make 18,000 a year doing 3rd shift security I made 30,000 at a factory before it moved to Mexico. 50,000 a year would be the magic number for me I could be happy on that. Im going to go to truck driving school. Just posting for all the poor people who read this site and will never see 100,000. I think people who make 100k and complain are cry baby’s.

  103. Well put Steve. As Jonathan said, only 5% of the US population makes > 100,000… Can’t feel too bad for the folks at the top.

  104. I am 26 and work in the Utility Industry. I have been in the work force for just about 2 years now. I have no debt and live free and easy. I used to have a goal of 50k a year by 30, but after OT and bonuses, I am up to 75k already. 100k by 28 is feasible and my new goal. After that I should max out around 175k by the time I retire. 7 million is my magic number through retirement vehicles and real estate.

    Like someone said earlier, 100k isnt what is used to be and everything people may earn is also an illusion.

  105. I’m curious about people who are in their 20s (some posted above said their ages around 22 to mid 20s) who said that they are making 100K and doing management consultant. How can you consult any company about management if you are that green? I do not recall having the experiences and enough exposure to the industry one or two years after college. Heck, even after 5 years I were still learning and wouldn’t call myself an expert. What are your secrets? Unless you worked for Arthur Andersen and overcharged clients while helping shredding papers! lol lol

  106. Hi everyone, Im 21 and although im still a full time college student (ivy league :-)) i make money as a self employed commercial/free-lance photographer. Last year I made about 50k before deductions for equipment (camera bodies, lenses, lighting equipment, etc)… this year I’m looking at something in the 120-150k range. Most of my income is in the form of passive income (royalties from licensing photos for commercial use, imagine itunes with photos instead of music) so I make money without actually having to actively work. I was told all my life that artists are poor, starving people with no futures so I feel truly blessed being able to do what i love as a living :-)
    My mum is a pediatrician and my older brother (23y/o) is an IT consultant, and for the past few months I’ve been earning about the same as both of them put together. My brother plans to work for another year or so then apply to business school. So he should have his MBA in a few years and will be above 100k as well.

  107. Will make over $200K this year, unless economy tanks suddenly. NY biglaw. Given that Manhattan cost of living is twice the US average, I will count myself as making around $100K!

    And about the 80hr p.w., it’s on the high side, and generally drops if you do an average, but many people do work those hours for weeks and months on end. To the poster who said this doesn’t make sense because it’d be 7am to 1am – if you’re working these hours, of course you’re working weekends. My firm also has a folding bed so people can nap for an hour when they’re too busy to go home. It’s often used.

  108. As a computer consultant (almost 7 yrs) now and worked previously at a bank for very little (considered a waste of time), in roughly 9 years at this rate I should hit slightly over 100k. Something tells me if I change jobs I could be making that in about half the time or less. I’m considering doing side jobs to supplement my income. Photog how does one get started in your line of work?

  109. Jonathan, what an interesting post. I find it fascinating that people are asking themselves,’How can I get into a field that makes me $100K?’

    I think I appreciate your readers who have done the 60+ hour work weeks and write about how unhappy their lives were trying to make billable hours. It’s easy to make $100+K/yr if you want stomach the work, hence my comment about maybe not wanting to take the leap into a new job position and it’s attendant responsibilities.

    For everyone who is asking themselves how can I make $100+K/yr, it’s out there. You can do it. It can be hard work, but know what you’re working for. Is it the money? Is it the passionate fun of working at a job you love? I’m making more money now than I ever have before, but I am loving what I do. I can honestly say that after working 5-7 years in jobs I really didn’t enjoy.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  110. In repsonse to

    “People who say they work 80 hours must be bluffing. Even if it does happen, maybe 1 week of a month. I think it makes some people feel important to say that they put in 80 hours this week!!”

    It is true. I did this for years. It’s not 1AM, its 4AM (but I started at 9AM and worked weekends too). I loved it while I did it, but I’m glad I don’t do it anymore. I also get to chuckle at myself when I work until 7 or 8 and consider it “late”:)

    I was in management consulting in NYC and a start up in San Francisco. Now I’m in Austin, back to 40-50 hours a week, and made $299K last year. This is more on a per year basis than I made in consulting (and per hour for that matter), but no one would ever pay me this much now if I didn’t have the consulting experience — that’s where I learned all my skills. I also have MBA from a top 5 school, which was the only reason I got the MC and Startup gigs.

  111. A troll from Canada says hello!

    I accidentally stumbled across this site when looking for ‘Credit Cards with Rewards’. I wished I had seen this blog sooner – it does seem to have some solid investment ideas – even if they are a touch US centric.

    A fascinating article, and some surprising and enlightening responses. As for me, I’m 23 and been out of university for 2 years after completing my Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. Right after graduation I decided to forgo working for a company and instead pursued options in Power Engineering Consulting for Industrial projects. It’s been a tough struggle for a new grad with limited Industrial exposure and even more limited support infrastructure, both personal and financial, but overall a completely satisfying experience. What my friends and mentors thought was “career suicide” has turned out to be, with a lot of perseverance and hard work, a very profitable enterprise indeed.

    For a typical work week of around 50-60 hours with some occasional traveling for site visits, I manage to clear slightly over CAD 100k a year. Just trying to say that if you have the will, the resources and the perseverance then starting something on your own can be a very viable proposition.

  112. Great discussion here…

    I’m a 30-year old magazine/website publisher that works in the gaming industry living in Las Vegas. I work for a small sized media company, in charge of the day to day for a 20 person content team. I’m an efficient manager and work about 30 hrs a week. I made about 175k in 2006, with 50k in that coming from bonuses.

    Question for this group: I would like my wife (PhD, works as a researcher for the local govt) to start our own company. The problem with my salary is that nearly none of my money can be saved in a tax deferred account. My employer does not have a 401k plan and I only get my traditional IRA contribution each year.

    We both turn down freelance work all the time. Any comments on whether an S-corp, LLC or ?? makes the most sense? Where do I start?

    Comment, for those 20-year olds out there that only care about 6 figures and are willing to work 80 hrs + a week to achieve this. Many intelligent employers care way about your experiences away from office. I spent a few years in my early 20s working as a freelance journalist, traveling to over 50 countries and familiarizing myself with global affairs. This got me where I am at today. My advice is to do the same as understanding how the world works if far more important and pays a larger dividend than most think.

  113. $110K – Insurance – 35 hours/week – 5% travel

    pretty sweet…

  114. Im 28. In 2005, I made over $100K in the mortgage industry. In 06, I wasn’t even close to it. Im hoping to do better in 07 but so far, its been pretty slow… So that is to say, I’ve felt both sides of $100K. And Ive lived in some of the most expensive cities, LA, SF and now NYC. $100K is a big deal. It does pay for alot. Just think about it! If you make $100K/yr, you’re pulling in over $8,000 per month. If you can’t live well with that much money, you got a problem. The important thing is to not go from $15 meals to $50 meals once you start making the $. Just keep your lifestyle and you will see that once you make $100K, your current lifestyle gets better. But if you start to try to live like you’re making $1MM instead of $100K then of course you are going to feel like $100K is no big deal. Its all in the lifestyle people…

  115. I’m pulling in a little over 100K per year these days and while I can afford the basics plus some niceties (like a Wii!), I can’t afford the most important thing: a house. I mean, we have our cars paid off, no credit card debt anymore (finally), and have a bit of cash, 401K, IRA stashed, but just not enough for a house. We save about 3K per month into 401K and cash savings which is nice, but still not a house.

    Yes, I live in the bay area and it has completely sucked for house shoppers in the few years. I’m hoping that the house market truly does take a dive (something like -30 or -40% over the next 3 years). I mean we COULD have afforded a house in the last few years, but I was paying off the cars and credit cards as one mortgage guy recommended. He COULD have put us into an IO or NegAm loan, but I thought that was a really bad idea and figured if we couldn’t afford it then we should just wait.

    So I say to those that think 100K is enough, it’s really a question of where you live. If you live in a place where houses cost about 200K then 100K per year salary should be about right to buy a home and have enough to save, take trips, etc. But here in the bay area, 100K is basically the ground floor that lets you rent and save a little cash on the side.

  116. NurseAndBroker says:

    I’m a 31 yr old Registered Nurse (I work for the state of Connecticut) and I made $150K (work about 60 hrs/wk as a per diem nurse) in ’06. I simply attended a 2 year technical school nursing program at night after I liked the medical field but could not see myself enduring/paying for med/dental school. Best bang for the buck education available monetarily speaking. I’ve since realized that I’m never going to get rich trading my hours for dollars so I obtained my real estate broker license on the side and just bought a 6 unit apartment building for $330K that rents for $700.00/unit per month (which equals about $50k/year in income). I’m looking to buy 2 more buildings like that in the near future with my decent earning from nursing. My goal is to have those buildings paid off in 7 years and generating over $10,000.00/month for me *without* me have to work 60 hours anymore. Having passive income that works for you even when you’re not there is king in my opinion. Having a high paying job is nice, but if you don’t go to work for whatever reason (illness, downsizing, etc.) you don’t get paid. So I guess I’m living proof that civil service jobs can be lucrative. My best friend is a cop (sargent) and made $170,000.00 last year by doing lots of road jobs (bet you did’nt know how well those officers that wave you through construction zones got paid, huh? Me either until my friend told me what he made!).

  117. People were earning 100k in the 80′s. If your in sales and not making $250k then you are the bottom of the barrel. My police officer friends are making 100k and have a great pension ( and little education). Regardless of where you live 100k is a decent living, but by no means lets you live like a “rockstar”.

  118. I work in the recent-college grad friendly neighborhood of Lincoln Park in Chicago. I make 40k a year with a 3-4K bonus planned for Jan 2008. (I live comfortably, although nowhere near where I want to be) I am in logistics brokering which is basically trucking sales. fortune 500 company with all those benefits. Show up in sweatpants/hoodie when I feel like it. I’ll admit, this is my first job and i would love to move into a position where I wear a suit. I will probably try to get my MBA before I’m 30 to pursue a higher paying job. My dad owns a company so being self-employeed is very attractive to me. At my job income levels are all over the board (no speculation, daily commissions for every employee are in our program) recent hires make 40k and about 30 ppl in my office make 200k+ year. 10 make 400k+ year, and 3 make 650k plus a year. I’m happy with my job now, but would love to experience a new job/locale. Anybody know an opening for an Indiana University grad with degs in Communication and Culture / Telecommunications management? Loves to travel :) (sorry about my choppy composure of this posting, I’m trying to pay half-attention to the new Rainn Wilson (Dwight Shrewt in The Office) SNL.

  119. I guess it’s all relative. But $200K seems more like some minimum cutoff level to get to, and you have to talk about $300K or 2 Meg liquid assets as getting to some minimum level of exclusivity (is that the right word?). Here you’re talking about 3% or the population who file income taxes–so is that really exclusive? If you are talking about exlusive, then we’re really talking about $500K/yr, or 5 Meg total assets–at this point we’re talking about under .5% or less than 1/200, which to me is exclusive. The rest seems to be self-delusion about making ourselves feel better. At least, this is the way things appear to me.

  120. The-Guy-From-Space says:

    The sad part is, the more money you make, the more money you spend. 100K, 200K or even 500K will never seem like enough. I remember living happily on 36k years ago and somehow having extra money to do fun things. Now i make 100k and my house and other expenses leaves not much to play with.

  121. confused says:

    Regional Sales Manager: Manufacturer/Distributor — 27 years old
    I will hit about 100-120k this year, third year in business. However, I agree 200k is the new 100k. The real milestone is hitting 1mill ayear. I agree with the guy up top to a degree, there are only a few cops making 100k, but there are more and more people doing it, especially households. There are sales guys we pay out 250k-300k per year and that is only one line they carry. Lots of sales guys in my industry make easily 100k, but the best are pulling in millions. Thats the top 1 percent i want to be in!

  122. Oldtime MM says:

    I have been at this a long time ( I bought my 1st stock in 1974). How much you make is not as important as what you do with it. There are spenders and savers. Spenders will never have enough. I could amaze you with stories of savers who started with nothing and are now multi – millionaires. This is a really good website especially for those just starting out.

  123. Yes even if you don’t make alot of money, if you invest it appropriately you can become a multi millionare. Where to put your money is the 64k question.

  124. I’m a web programmer, working in New Zealand but getting paid in US dollars. That means I’m into six figures with the exchange rate. I so mostly software support, and documentation. I have a diploma in Internet Technology, and a long history in sales, teaching (skiing and paragliding) and writing (Magazine articles). I’m very agressive in salary negotiations, and I attribute at least the last $25K of my salary to my dogged pursuit of higher pay.

    My partner is a Project Manager as a short ternm ocntractor. She is paid in the $200K per annum range, but she usually only works 7-9 months a year to bring around $150K.

    Together we knock back about $260K per year on average.

    We live pretty nicely too, thanks!

  125. hammer down greg says:

    I live in northern new jersey and i am a union truck driver this year i will break the 100k mark with this new company. just goes to show you .. you dont need a college education to make money..just the drive to succed in a carreer that you love.

  126. Not too bad says:

    27 yr old living in NYC working in IT project management. Worked in IT consulting right after undergrad for 4 years before switching to a tech group in a bank. While in consulting, comp was horrible (paycuts) due to dot-com bubble bursting and general state of practice.

    This year I’ll make $120k salary + $30k bonus. I just started working at this place so I figure there’s still some room to grow. While I wasn’t making too much in consulting, I know there was potential there, however life is about experiences and spending time with the ones you love.

    Working 80-100hours a week is not an option to me…rather have 25 vacation days+holidays, good benefits, work 35-40hrs a week and make half because that’s 40 extra hours a week I can spend with my friends, family, travelling, etc.

    Wife works in sales and has very flexible work schedule, she brings in $80+ with bonuses, etc. so that helps too.

    That’s just me though.

  127. I am a 24 yr. old graduate student in Chemistry. I will graduate at 26. I am paid 24K a year stipend as a graduate student, so no student loans, and tuition is waived. Everybody that leaves my research group for a tech company has been hired on at about 110K with a ~10K signing bonus.

    Just one option for clearing that six fig. mark… work in R&D with a Ph.D. in the hard sciences.

  128. Professor says:

    I am 30 with a Ph.D in a business discipline. I made over 120K this year, worked 20 hours a week, 9 months a year. I have every weekend off, fall break, spring break, month off for christmas, and two months off in the summer. I would have 3 months off in the summer, but teach to supplement my 9 month salary. Even if I didn’t teach in the summer, I still would make a little over 100K. I also live in the southeast….so 100K gets you a lot, regardless of the city you live in. Advice: Get a Ph.D in business (anything but economics) and teach for a living! Oh yeah, they pay me to go to conferences in resort locations (HA, CA, FL, etc). However, school was HARD!!! My wife (in mid 20′s) is in sales..so we are doing well for our age.

  129. Professor says:

    Addendum:

    I have no debt…stipend paid my way through graduate school. I can move anywhere at anytime due to the job demand (look at chronicles of higher education, higheredjobs.com etc). I think the new 100K cutoff should be 150K and anyone from CA or NY should be excluded (or cut incomes in half to account for housing costs).

  130. Annie Chan says:

    I made my first 6 figure salary at the age of 25 (base salay, not including overtime pay). It was a great accomplishment for me, so I am going for the goal of earning 7 figures by the age of 30 (I am currently 27 years old).

    I am currently a systems engineer with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and a MS degree in Systems Engineering (company paid degree). I work in the defense industry so I get to work on a lot of cool projects and travel to odd and exotic locations (New Mexico, Hawaii, Japan, etc.) I also get every other Fridays off from work and a pension plan. Work is like a roller-coaster where there are some days where it is very busy and some days which are not. Every hour above 40 hours/week, I get paid overtime.

    After graduating from college, my sights were to work in management (consulting or banking fields). Unfortunately, when I graduated (2002), it was right after the September 11th attack so very few business firms were hiring. There was a large number of engineering firms hiring, particularly defense. I reluctantly took an engineering job and i’m glad I did! I don’t have a stressful worklife and get paid just the same as a consultant or an investment banker. It was the best move I made!

  131. All you gotta do is save 145K/year for 8 years invest it in the stock market, and in like 8-10 years youll have a 5million net worth! :)

  132. One comment about California (Bay Area) salaries. Even though it is accurate that the cost of housing is higher (obscenely so…) the cost of everything else is relatively similar. Fancy cars. Boats. Vacations. RV’s. Airplanes. Big Screen Plasmas. So even though the salary will not buy you as big of a house here, you still get all the other perks of a very large salary earner. Just a thought…

  133. I’m an associate at a fairly large hedge fund and made a little over $400,000 last year. My first year out of college was working as an analyst at another hedge fund and pulled in just over $100,000 at age 22. My MD told me I will be getting over $500,000 this year (I’m 28). The fact of the matter is $100,000 is nothing in NYC anymore, in fact I read an article recently that argued $150,000 per year equates to being middle class in NYC. Put it this way, there is not a single professional in Manhattan you will find that would be even slightly impressed by a $100k salary. 22 year old bankers make that in their first year, in fact I think our receptionist gets close to $100k and she’s 23 years old. To the person that said spending money on good schools is a waste that is completely wrong in my opinion. If you can get into a top school do whatever you have to do to pay for it. I took out loans for my entire undergraduate education and left college with $80,000 in debt. Now the $80,000 seems like nothing and there is almost zero chance you can land a top Wall Street job without having gone to a top school. There’s not a single person in my firm that didn’t go to top schools and the average compensation here is well over a million per year.

    It’s not what you earn it’s what you keep, but if you earn more you can keep more.

  134. anontechsales says:

    A lot of the people, in fact most of the people on here are in IT consulting type jobs. How stable do you guys feel your careers are? I moved over from IT to a sales position in healthcare a few years ago because of the instability. There is a huge supply of new entrants coming into the market every year so by the time you are in your late 20s or 30s you are a dinosaur, plus you have all the competition from places like India where companies are outsourcing to. There are outsourcing agencies now focusing on the micro-client market as well (places with 1-10 users) and that is becoming more and more popular. Also with any downturn in the economy technology spending is one of the first things to get cut.

  135. Right now I work for a nyc consulting co and pay can be better. Our clients are the micro-client market but they are our clients because they can call us and we would have someone out there to fix their issue usually the same day. So far my company has been stable. I think stability in IT is really defined by the type of company you are in. I think it’s fantastic that young people today can make that kind of $$ JCArm talks about. But the average pay for most people it probably like $40-$50k. I think I might of read somewhere that $40k is considered low income in nyc (I guess assuming you have kids and family to support). Making upwards of 100k isn’t really the norm. For some people it takes years and experience to get there. Or jumping around companies. There are suburbs of nyc that getting more and more expensive to live or afford and they aren’t considered affluent. Not getting a higher salary may work against you at some point ie. higher gas prices, higher electricity prices, unexpected house issues, increased real estate taxes for those who own homes, babies, etc. This year I will make $73k in IT for 7 yrs and previously worked at a bank for 4.5 yrs (no I didn’t the $100k when I was 22. I made $24k). I’m confident I can jump companies and make the six-figure salary but at some point stability of your position wherever you land will play a bigger question long term.

  136. I have a friend who is a clinical lab director and is making $250K a year with his PhD.

  137. Steve Sales says:

    30 yr old Sales Manager for Chevrolet store, been in the business for 8 yrs. No higher education. 120k+ past 3 years. 70 hrs week. However I live in a small florida town, Housing market has doubled in last 5 years. With 3 kids and a stay at home wife. 120 doesnt go very far when mixed with a 4 bedroom home with a pool, which is a must with 3 kids in florida.

  138. SAP JIM i have a SAP question if you could give me any email of yours..

  139. I’m 28 and have been consulting since I was 19 in a very specialized IT field where demand increases year after year. I left consulting about 7 months ago (and was pulling in about 180k a year, and only working about 30 hours a week for 6 months out of the year). I took a job in the US (originally from Canada) for a base salary of 115k, with a bonus structure that maxes out at 100k (which is very easy to obtain). Although I work alot more (about 60 hours a week, with 6 weeks vacation a year), the job and the inter-office relationships that you develop more than make up for the time off playing videogames and partying. I own 2 properties outright (a condo in canada and a fairly large house in the states), and couldn’t be happier in my personal/romantic/work life.

  140. I am in IT consulting. year. My salary is at $85K, but I will bring in more than 100K of gross income this year. I am also projecting $11K for my rental income and $20K for my stock investments, therefore, my estimated total income for this year is $116K. I live in NYC (high cost of living) and I’m single (high tax rate) so I don’t get to save a lot of my income.

    Plus, I don’t feel 100K in a year is a lot of money these days. The buying power is certainly less than before, and there are many people making 100K or more now. The only advantage I have is that I’m in my mid twenties. I’m aiming for 200K now.

  141. Only 5 percent of Americans make more then 100,000. Im in my mid 30′s and make 22,000 per year try living on that.

  142. I read that the minimum money you need to be happy is ~$45000.
    I wonder how many people just work to make money, and end up wondering where their lives have went.

  143. AustinLoanStar says:

    Dlite Says:
    February 19th, 2007 at 3:48 pm
    “Im 28. In 2005, I made over $100K in the mortgage industry. In 06, I wasn?t even close to it. Im hoping to do better in 07 but so far, its been pretty slow?”

    I direct reply to Dlite. . .

    The mortgage industry isn’t what is was back in back in ’05 when rates were dirt cheap. Many people jumped into the mortgage industry to make fast money. Back then all you had to do was set up shop and wait for the phone to ring to take orders. Now that the industry tightened up, the folks who were forking in on 100k+ a year are wondering where all the money went.

    Today it takes a true consultant to make some real money in the mortgage industry. To convince someone who has a 5% rate on the benefits of paying off all their debt but raising their rate in the process takes real talent. Many brokers lied about appraisals, rates, points, etc so I have to work hard at regaining borrower confidence. I love my job and will be compensated well this year for it. Lots of hard work and building relationships of trust = 120k yr/ 45hrs wk. Plus I get to help people- that pays very well in building future business!

  144. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist’s (CRNA’s) make between $120,000-over $175+ per year. That is in any state.

    Education: Master’s degree in Nursing. 2 years of critical care nursing before entering the master’s program.

    Job Outlook: Very much needed. Employers pay over $20,000 in starting bonuses.

    Benefits: 50% added to salary. Medical,Dental,Life,Disability,and mal-practice insurance. That’s all paid for. discounts on medications is another common incentive added to the salary package.

    Traveling Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA’s) get paid $100-110/hour.

  145. joeslaps says:

    Just wanted to say that you people kick ass! Cops, nurses and truck drivers making 100k+?? The top graduate at my Tier 2 lawschool will start right around 100K, everybody else will make substantially less.

    I like to call you people “those who have it all figured out.”

    RC in the T

  146. I am 29 yrs old and make about $90k a year and I park cars for a living as a valet manager for a high end hotel. I receive a base salary of $50k plus I do about $40k (maybe a little more) in cash that the gov’t never sees because I am not required to claim it. I work about 45 hours a week average, sometimes more depending on what kind of events are going on during the week but nothing over 50 hours a week. I could work an additional day each week and probaby hit that $100k mark but honestly, is the extra $10k really worth that?

    While my job title is not as great as say a banker, lawyer or accountant it makes me happy and I am able to earn a decent living at it while not completely killing myself, plus I get a ton of exercise… oh and I forgot the best part, for all you guys making $250k plus, I get to tear the hell out of your BMW M5′s and Porsche 911′s!!!

  147. anonymous says:

    Broke the six-figure mark at 26. HS diploma, 4 years of military service in a technical rating, 4 years of hands on experience in the Software Systems Engineering arena. All you need is drive! and true willingness to learn (i.e., self teach yourself to become a true expert, books are everywhere). The money is out there, pleeeeaaase do not settle!!!!

  148. I am a commercial pilot that just turned 28 recently and I am close to the $100k mark. I am usually gone flying trips 3-5 days and then have 3 days off. After reading all these posts, I think the best thing to remember is that you have to be happy with your career. If you love being a lawyer and working over 60 hours a week doesn?t bother you then more power to you. Every job is going to have its pros and cons and 100k is a great benchmark, but it must be balanced out with life, family, friends, etc.

  149. Kudos to you, AW. Very well said. I now understand why it’s very important to like what you do. My job pays me pretty well, above the $100K mark, but sometimes I feel so bored at work I feel that I’m not being challenged enough, and even when I am, it’s not the challenge I like. The work is not what I am into, so it feels like torture sometimes. And AW is right, our lives should be balanced. We need a break from work here and there.

  150. basicguy2 says:

    I work in a government agency(asia) with a $2200/year salary (yes, thats per year). The highest paid employee in our agency gets about $500/month.
    With luck and heavens help, i’m still alive and healthy.

  151. 41 and just clicked past $200k last year. Spent a whopping 30K for my 4 year degree at a state school in Michigan – so no debt Love my job in sales – work flexibly when I want – but still 40 plus hours/wk. This year I’ll hit $225.

    You each have something unique that makes you different – if you can discover what it is then find a career that capitalizes on it – you will never work another day!!

    Good Luck ALL!!

  152. 33 Software developer at a bank in NYC. Proj Leader

    125k Base
    55k Salary

    Hoping to jump to Quant side next year. Seems like a lot of money but it is not.

  153. JCArm et al,

    What career path would you and/or others on the site recommend to get into the $500k range, say at mid career?

    Where did you go to school? What are the top 10 schools and Masters degrees to get to that salary range?

    I’m mid-career and am making over $100k and will eventually get to around 250 or 300 by branching out, but am more concerned with what path to direct my kids along so they can far exceed that.

    I am an engineer (which in retrospect was a big mistake – should have gone MBA or something along those lines), have several rental properties, some cash, and work govt contracts.

    My family background is engineering and I don’t recommend it to anybody. Overworked, underpaid, poor job security and work can be done by low wage earners overseas.

    Thanks!

  154. I work in the HR/Payroll dept of a fairly large southern California city?and Fire and PD officers have the ability to make over $100k per year?thanks to OT and their unions?most, esp. Fire, without no more than 2 yrs of community college classes.

  155. Somebody mentioned above Nurse Anesthetist. I am 25, and a nurse anesthetist in a private practice group in Northeast Indiana. My base is $180k, and I can make up to 50% of my base in bonus. This is my first year, and I’ll tell you it is alot of work (60+ hour weeks are common). But the upside is the pay. I’ll find out about my bonus in December. The owner of the practice told me that they are having a very good year. Since I started in June of 2007 I don’t think I’ll bring in the maximum bonus (which for me is $90k). But if I could bring in $30-40k bonus that’d be great! My goal all along was to be in the $200k club when I got out of school . . . hopefully I can get there this year!!

  156. As you place posts here, could you please include the school/s you went to and degree earned? It would be a big help to those of us in separate fields.

    I went to the University of Texas at Arlington and got a BS in Mech Engr.

    I had always heard that Anesthetist’s did well.

  157. southamerican says:

    I came from Colombia to work on my M.S in engineering in 96 and graduated in 99.
    After school I got a job offer in the construction management field for what I thought it was a lot of money (compared to what I could have made in Colombia) . After a few years of working in project controls my salary became healthier. This year I decided to look around for more opportunities and was surprised by the demand on the field. I accepted an offer by another company on the same field which got me into the 100K+ club .

  158. I make 85 K, 2nd year as an attorney in mid size, non city commercial litigation firm. (29 years old). I went to a tier 2 law school and clerked in state court for a year. My wife is at a big philly firm and makes 150k in her 3rd year. Non- NYC big firm jobs provide MUCH more lifestyle advantages than those in smaller cities, she still has lots of “us” time and the atmosphere is much less cut-throat.

    I’m a proponent of law school even if you don’t want to be a lawyer, but attending a state school is preferred to avoid debt. (unfortunately, I didn’t). Tim Russert had a famous quote about his decision to go to law school, he said “I looked around at those who were doing the things I wanted to do, and they all had law degrees.” It really is an automatic salary booster in all things, and it’s an automatic distinguisher if you choose to just do something non-practicing.

  159. The highest employee in our country (Our Country’s President) gets $1,100/month basic salary. Who would ever want to work with that kind of money.
    But…….theres a sinister or you could say, a wealthier side on it.

    Our President gets at least $25 million government fund (at least a year) and almost half of it are 100% “audit FREE” and all done legally.

  160. TradingGamma says:

    I graduated from Harvard 5 years ago, after growing up in a poor area and attending a similarly crap public hs. Started off at a top tier investment bank in derivatives structuring. After a couple of moves in the last few years, I’ve made “vice-president” (trust me; sounds better than it is), and banked about 600k in bonus last feb. while others have made the point that corporate finance banking jobs are highly exposed to downturns in the real economy, jobs in securities and derivatives trading and structuring are more specialized and sensitive to different factors because they often involve proprietary risk taking. However, entrance basically requires a degree from a top school (the “lowest tier” school I’ve seen any colleague come from is Carnegie Mellon, and Harvard/Princeton/Wharton undergrad, etc is far more the norm), and numeracy.

  161. Hi TradingGamma and JCARM.

    Can you please tell which degree you did? MBA? MFE?

    What else does it take to land a job in IB or hedge funds?

    I’m really inspired by posts by you both and would really appreciate your response.

    Thanks.

  162. I’m in my mid-upper 20′s and only bank in the $70k range as an IT Analyst, living in the Midwest. I’ve had opportunities to live in NYC and Cali and turned them down due to high cost of living. I believe a 70k-80k Salary can go a lot farther in the Midwest and South than a 100k-110k Salary can go in NYC/Cali areas, due to living costs, tax rates, etc….

    I plan on using the stock market to make me over the $100k mark per annum and call it wishful thinking but I believe there are alternate ways to push over the barrier aside from having that 100k base salary. I also think that by 2015, due to economic conditions, a 100K salary will be to the equivalent to about a 75k salary today, regardless of location, and salaries will not keep up with the rate of inflation or economies of scale. Therefore, it’s imperative to save as much as possible and invest now to be prepared for unforeseen economic conditions in the future, because I’m quite certain that by the time this/my young generation retires around 2050, a $10 Whopper at Burger King won’t seem too far fetched!

  163. I just turned thirty and I am an Area Branch Manager in the yellow page sales industry. I will clear north of $115K and I still feel like I am poor and can’t afford to do the things I want. I put alot into retirement but the fact of the matter is living in the san Francisco Bay Area 100k doesn’t mean jack. I am shooting for the 150k / 200 k club because that’s when it might mean something. If I made this kind of money in the midwest I would be living a great life.

  164. TradingGamma says:

    I did my undergrad at Harvard. High finance is a pretty broad field..the best way to get in is to do a program at a school that gets recruited by good banks…I don’t know how it is for MFE, but MBA recruitment is restricted to mostly the top 7 b-schools. Once you’re in you need to bring some kind of skill to the table that’s in demand, either quantitative ability or a background in accounting/balance sheet analysis. You also need to be extremely articulate (can communicate your ideas coherently), and be nice to work with. The reality is though not many people have all these traits at once.

  165. What about people who lose a job that paid $189,000, and can’t find a similar paying job? Have you any idea the stress that causes?
    Used to make $189k for 6 years. Now sell cars and lucky if the commisions bring me to $40K this year. It is no joke.

  166. I think it is important to consider that generally high cost of living areas have more opportunities of savings vs. low cost of living areas after all things considered. For example, I live in Hawaii and rent is generally at leat $1,000/month for a studio and can be as much as $2,000/month for a 1 room apartment. However, I found a hole in the wall studio for $650 a month (I’d rather be at the beach than home anyways). While I have little control over my earnings at my day job here, I do have control over my costs. Furthermore, I plan on making my money while living in a high cost of living area, then retire in a low cost of living area, if you already live in a low cost of living area this option is not available.

  167. I agree with the fact that salary is relative, depending on where you live. I’m a power plant manager for a municipal utility (“city job”) in Nebraska. I earned my engineering degree from a public (low cost) university. My 105K salary, when indexed using a “cost of living calculator”, equates to 170K in Philadelphia.

    I recently rejected a VP job at an east coast utility for these very reasons:
    1) I currently work only 40 hours/week (remember- “city job”)
    2) My commute is only 5 minutes (I come home each day to eat lunch with my “housewife”)
    3) I purchased a vintage 4000sf english tudor mansion this year for 212K (all oak floors with mahogany doors and windows)
    4) Minimal “societal ills” in Nebraska (I have a 6 month old son)
    5) Did I mention Nebraska has no Democrats?

  168. Carol In Wisconsin says:

    I am not in the 100k club (1 word: librarian), but I would like to be, so I am soaking up the info. Thanks everybody!

    I only have 1 piece of wisdom to share, and sorry this sounds negative: everybody who is married here should remember that your money is not yours alone. You have a right to some percentage of that total minus legal fees should your relationship dissolve.

    Just the financial incentive alone should push you to make breakfast for that special partner of yours this weekend!

  169. Chad in FL says:

    First of All I’d like to thank everyone on here for sharing this information. I am 24 and graduated from the University of Tampa 2 years ago. It?s unfortunate that I didn’t read this blog earlier because I made the mistake of going to a school for the wrong reasons i.e the weather, location, size, etc. I?m now drowning in debt, I came from a very large family of 12 and my parents didn’t have the luxury of assisting me with my college education. Now I am paying over 1,000 a month in student loans with no end in sight. I was debating going back to get my masters but at this point I don?t want to give Sallie Mae any more of my business. I now work at a very reputable firm making a mere 40k and looking for alternatives. I?m very driven, outgoing and have great interpersonal skills.

    For those successes out there: HELP!

    I?m moving to Boston and possibly pursuing a job as a Mutual Fund wholesaler. I?ve learned that the only way to make a good salary in this industry is in sales. I love my current job and really want to work as a financial advisor like I am doing now assisting people like you with a retirement strategy and estate planning but unfortunately between expenses and loans I am in the red ever pay period.

    Any advice for someone currently in the financial industry? I currently have my Series 6, 66, 7 licenses and stacked resume’.

    All input is greatly appreciated.

  170. update to a previous comment, I’m at 65 K plus bonuses, and my investments will net about 12k this year. SO that brings me to around 77K plus bonuses…

    I am getting closer to 100k =)

  171. TradingGamma.

    Thanks for your post.

  172. Professor Two says:

    I just cracked 100,000 in my third year as an assistant professor – environmental sciences and engineering. Great job – challenging, rewarding, flexible, lots of time off, summers wide open, winter and spring breaks, etc. All of this in South Texas where a dollar goes a long, long way. If all goes to plan, I should be making over 150,000 in just 4 more years.
    I still believe 100k is a great goal to strive for, although it isn’t the high-water mark it used to be.

  173. bayareajohndoe says:

    I cracked 100k at 26 in the Bay Area. Unlike most people here, I have a business undergrad (from a non-US business school) and have a background in management consulting.

    I would definitely say that 100k here is not a big deal, however, other than housing most things are the same as anywhere else. You might argue going out/entertainment is more expensive, but that’s probably because you don’t have the same options in lower-cost markets as you would in SF/NY.

    Since a lot of the jobs here are technical and standards tend to be pretty high from an academic standpoint, a lot of people here have software engineer types jobs and make 100k, however, a lot of them come from top-tier schools like Stanford and have technical degrees that aren’t easy to attain. In other words, for the types of jobs they do, which tend to be quite specialized, they would still make a lot in lower-cost markets like Chicago, it’s just a lot of those jobs are here. If you are someone making 100k in Chicago, cost-of-living-wise you are better off, but it’s also a lot harder to make 100k there–in other words things even out.

    The other thing I think people seem to ignore is what I call a “weather premium” that exits in California. Sure it may be cheaper in Chicago, but it’s freezing there in winter, and humid in summer. From what I understand Atlanta, one of the other lower-cost markets mentioned, is also humid in the summer. You also have a lot more crime in those places relative to the Bay Area, which is something else to keep in mind. As much as people complain about the housing prices here, it doesn’t seem like most of them leave. Just something to think about.

  174. Jim "Peppermint Schnapps" Moose says:

    I’m a Java EE Sr. Software Engineer and make $119,000/yr. here in Los Angeles. I have a BS and about 10 yrs experience. I’m not saying it is a bad pay but it has the illusion of being more than it really is. I’m single and my marginal tax rate is 48%. After 15k max 401k contribution I take home only $65,000/yr. so the taxes are quite hefty. Comfortable living for a single guy but not exactly rolling in wealth either.

    As for housing affordability, that cannot be taken as an equation because it is well known that house prices here in California are highly overvalued and are set to crash. Goldman Sachs has predicted in it’s latest report that a 40% drop is very likely according to their model.

  175. I am an IT Architect and 33 years old. I expect to make 100k in 2008.
    and My wife makes around 90k. Even with this money. We don’t feel like have a lot of wealth. Expenses are daycare for two kids, mortgage. 100k doesn’t go a long way.

  176. Jon Dayspring says:

    You know all yall’s input is really interesting, so far i’ve seen alot of IT and finance folks making that 100k mark, Im 37 and am making 40 an hour (70-80k a year) as a journeyman plumber. I dont know I think yes an IT guy can make 100k a year but really how stable is that job and if you lose that job can you find another with the same level of salary and bennies, back in 2001 after I left the service (i was a medic), i thought about getting into IT but lots of folks in the business discouraged me , they said that if you can do something in a desk, you can do it in a desk 2000 miles away.. sure glad I took up plumbing .. I just would like to point out that plumbing, electrical work and union jobs in general, while not getting a high up salary can provide a man with a decent, stable and dependable living with minimal schooling (but alot of common sence)

  177. I’m surprised that a career in nursing isn’t considered by more people. I’m a 26 year old nurse who lives in the midwest. I made $110k last year working per diem in the ER, 60 hours a week with 8 weeks of vacation. I went to a state university then did an accelerated BSN program, so I don’t have much in the way of loans. My wife works as an elementary school teacher, and makes $38k. I know quite a few CRNAs that make $200k+. RNFAs make good money too. I have a friend who is an Oncology nurse practitioner, and she makes around $130k.

  178. RE: Nursing

    Nursing does definately seem to be one of the most profitable careers a 4 year degree can get you. I’ve been in college for 8 years to get my PhD in Chemistry to earn ~130K starting salary. (I got my B.S. in Chemistry thinking to myself that arguably the hardest major on campus (topped only by Physics) should pay off in the end, and then found out that B.S. Chemists start at 32K!) My mother in law just finished up her B.S. in nursing and has seen jobs in the Bay area for nurses around the 200K mark, something doesn’t seem quite realistic about that, its more than most M.D. Physicians make unless they are highly specialized. Anyhow, more power to you. Clean those bedpans!!

  179. 49 yr old male, no college degree, have made over $100K for the last 4 years. Work as an Manager in a testing lab in the communications industry. I’ve worked in the industry for 28 years, worked my way up from rock bottom (less than $3/hr). With a family of 4, I consider myself lucky compared to others but really, not anywhere near wealthy. One medium priced ($5k) vacation a year, max out on 401K, plus maybe another $5k a year going into savings. The rest is just paying the bills, nothing fancy. $100K does not seem to be that much to me now – maybe I’ve gotten spoiled…

  180. I am 26, and hit the 100K barrier last year, and projected to be at 125K this year. I am in Online Adverting Sales, specifically Email Applications and Banners/Lead Generation. If you stick in this field, show you know how the Internet works, and stay with your job – 100k is very feasible. I work 35-45 hours per week. I completely agree with trying to find a niche that is unique, especially in Online Advertising. Specialize in SEO, Email, LeadGen, Search, something… and the money will come if you just do what all the other sales people do – call and “pound the pavement”. Commission will roll through!

  181. financial IT says:

    I’m 24, work in IT, love what i do and make 130k plus 20-40% bonus working 40hr weeks, 4weeks paid vacation, full benifits, and 13 public holidays. I barely graduated college (2.3gpa) in 2005 with a B.A. in computer science and work in NYC now.

    I’m not a manager, or pure developer. More of an implementor of financial software. Anyone with common sense and an analytical mind can do what I do. The main thing is don’t settle for something you dont’ want and don’t be afraid to leave one job for another.

  182. I’m 22 working in IT. Make 175K plus for 30-35 hours per week. Could easily break 225K if I felt like it. Love my work and lovin’ life! You can do whatever you want if you try a little bit. Stop whining and start doing!

  183. This thread has been very eye opening. But i’m sorry to say working 80+ hrs a week is insane.

    I have an engineering degree and a MBA. I work 35hrs a week and make approx 95k. I live comfortabley and have lots of time with family and friends.

    Life is all about balance, not just $$$

  184. College Dropout says:

    I work in IT sales. In 2007 I made $430,000.

    I’m 28 and have been making 6 figures since I was 20.

  185. Professor says:

    Do you want to work 9 months a year, 3 days a week, job security for LIFE, and still make well over $125K/year….all you need is Ph.D in Marketing, Management, Accounting, or Finance. Endless supply of jobs and demand is off the charts. I have been making over 100K since I got out of school at 27 (yes…it does take 10 years of college…4 of which are pure hell!). But well worth it now!!! Go take the GMAT…score a 580+ and get a Ph.D in a business disclipline. Oh yeah….no experience necessary!

  186. Professor says:

    and for all of you cost of living gurus…that salary is for anywhere a AACSB university is located..even at a backwoods georgia college…where 125K (single spouse salary) goes a long, long way!

  187. curious says:

    joeslaps – what do you do in IT that you make 175k?

    College Dropout – same question – can you be more detailed? (Company, location, type of sales, experience needed to start, etc.)

    Thanks to both of you!

  188. curious says:

    same with “financial IT” – can you provide any more details like I requested in the post right before this one?

    Thanks!

  189. Probably sales or a niche area of technology. Im 8yrs with consultant co and only make about 75k. Please do enlighten me.

  190. How do you guys get into all these lucrative positions? It seems like here in The OC it’s hard to get a job that pays a living wage unless if you know somebody. I have a marketing degree from a state school with no debt. My main problem is getting into a position that makes a living wage. Any wisdom and insight would be appreciated.

  191. Unless you’re really smart and creative, a marketing degree is a dead end – as far as i can tell. Go back and get an engineering degree, at least with that you will be able to make a living – almost guaranteed. if that’s not possible, work smarter not harder. You could also try faking a really good resume and lying your way into a job. i’ve never done that but have always wanted to try. Use every and all of your contacts to get a job and continue to network never stopping. networking is really an important tool for finding jobs and moving up. I don’t make huge money but i bet it’s even more important up in the 200k+ range. to get into money like that you’ve either got to start your own business or be a ceo, cfo, cto type. those guys are the one’s makin big bucks. but, if you’re struggling to get a living wage, forget that as ever being an option. also, focus upon what you are good at. what is your skill? if people like you, use that and get job where it will help. if you are detail oriented do the same. maximize your potential in that way. also, if you already have a job and have trouble making ends meet re-evaluate how you live. do you have a car payment – get rid of it and drive a crap car. get rid of cable and expensive internet and cell phones etc. minimize all expenditures. buy a house, whatever you can afford, even if it’s tiny. move to where the jobs are. use monster, dice, careerbuilder. once you have a job keep looking for a better one.

  192. SAP_Consultant says:

    I’m 27 years old with a BBA and earn 120k as an SAP software specialist. It varies, but for the most part one requires at least 2-5 years of experience to exceed the 100k income line and along the way the lure to go “contractor” is very appealing…but nothing beats working 40 hours tops with zero traveling and working from home.

    Upside: Certain areas are very niche, and can lead to rewarding opportunities. Masters degree not required.

    Downside: Most of these jobs require weekly travel (Monday – Thursday) to the client’s site, which I did for 4 years and “paid” my dues.

  193. I’m 31 and i’ve made six figures for the last 6 years or so. I’m a pharmacist in Ohio. I was one of the last classes able to get a 5 year B.S. in pharmacy, now it’s a 6 year PharmD degree. I now make 120k/yr and that goes a long way in Ohio. I still have about 20k in student loans, but I guess that’s not so bad. I love my job most days, but dealing with the public in retail pharmacy isn’t always fun.

  194. Team808 says:

    did 1/4 mill on 07 and looking at 1 mil in 08. did it in an mlm that i joined in early 07.

  195. 42 and will hit $250 k this year in Dental sales. With a BS in psychology from a big 10 “state” school. No masters + went to public school outsdide of Detroit. More importanly I work 30-35 hours/week – flexibly. Fully engaged and loving my career.

    Find your natural skill sets and try to pursue a career and educational opportunities that feel right – the money will come. Too many get too caught up in expensive educations that have no ROI + saddle you with tons of debt when you can least afford it. For some there is no other choice given your aspirations (banking/derivatives/Phd’s, etc.) – but for most schleps (like me) it’s unnecessary.

    When all else fails, pray for direction – it worked for me!

    Good luck!

  196. Hello all. I make roughly 150K in technical sales for a financial software company. I am 25, and have worked my a-s-s off to become our top guy in the group. My collegues are making around 120K and are in their 30s. Sales is a high risk but very high reward field. But being in technical sales (a product specialist for the sales reps) is lower on the salary, but much higher in stability if you know what you’re doing. Our sales reps are making anywhere from 200K to a million a year.

  197. Hello, I was married before I was 18. My first child is in my wedding picture. I later received my GED and AS degree in Accounting. Twelve years later I am making 100K. I’m a Project Director. I manage pharmaceutical conferences domestically and internationally. I work non stop. Nights, weekends. And yes, I’m a crackberry. I’m also a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). In this field, clear communication is key. Knowing a second language is a nice to have. Leaving your emotions and personal problems outside the office is a must.

  198. Netted 120K last year, first time. I work IT in N. FL. Not a bad gig, here that money goes a long way. No college either. Like others have said, if your in IT, don’t be afraid to make that move every few years until you find something you really like.

  199. I make $127K base with 20-25% bonus, so could see ~$160K this year. I am 39 and an associate director at a consulting firm in a major city. Nice to be able to compare with other responders here.

  200. 24yrs old, married, live in the NW run my own eBay business on the side and do sales full time. Work about 10hrs a week on my business and 50hrs a week for my employer. 100% commission, make $150k/yr total of $200k with side business. Went to 2 quarters of community college hated it, decided to buy a bunch of books and teach myself. Currently getting the funds together to get started in commercial real estate. The big money is working for yourself (+1mil/yr)

    No Debt, Rent a house (crazy to buy a house in this market) give it till late 09′ I study about an hour a day to stay fresh with knowledge regarding sales, wake up early, watch little tv (do you really need to watch all those re-runs), make every minute in life count.

    Best advice is to continually educate yourself!

  201. MarginHunterConsultant says:

    I have engineering background and with work experience moved into business process reengineering, productivity and managment consulting work. Working on starting my MBA (delayed it as I got married and had kids… learnt some balance). I will make around $135K in 2008. I am 33. I work about 45 hours a week.

    Finance / managment consulting industry folks… give me your advice. I am gearing up for my MBA in analytical finance, strategy and enjoy this work. You folks in your 20s working 80+ hours (first of all do you really or just a week here and there and a thing to brag about?)… do you really end up making $400K in bonuses? What about in times like like today when the industry is going through tough times?

    I am targeting a lifestyle where rental property can bring a decent income and I can chose to work as much as I want not not as much I need to.

  202. Construction says:

    I made 125k last year in Portland, OR working in the construction business. I am 30 years old and basically have no college experience. I started out making about 15 bucks an hour as a laborer nearly 10 years ago. I work around 40 hours a week. I learned the business and started creating opportunity for myself by building relationships that have followed me as I searched out the right company to work for. After a few years I became well known as a respected force in the field of trenchless technology pertaining to utility installation. Making a name for yourself by being knowledgeable and sociable is the key to attracting people who will pay you the bigger bucks. The gift of gab can make you money.

    I was confident and always believed I could make more money and my mindset landed me opportunity. I moved to a new company and began to negotiate a deal that took into account the relationships that I brought to the table. This was invaluable as it set me up to tie myself directly to the growth of the company. I continue to read up and stay on the leading edge of technology that affect our industry. As we start new divisions i will be able to tie myself to the overall profit since a played an instrumental role in its development.

    Always believe you will make the money and be aware enough to recognize the opportunities that are around you. Ask for more make your dream offer don’t be afraid what is the worst thing that can happen by asking?

    I am starting a corporation right now that I will run my rental properties out of in hopes that I can be financially set by the age of 45.

    You can do it

  203. I Went To College and got a Bachelors degree at the air force college, well after 24 years of service i was making roughly 13,000 a month gross pay. thats roughly 160,000 dollars a year. Now my pension is about 7800 roughly. After that i went to college 2 more years to become an airline pilot.Now i Have a Masters. I got very very lucky and landed a job with UPS as a pilot. I love it. This is my 11th year their and im already making $250,000 a year plus pension. That is great pay. That is over $325000 a year. We currently Live in a $750,000 dollar house in Arlington TX. It was a long way getting at this level.

  204. It would be great if John, the pilot from Texas, could use correct grammer. It just goes to show how they sell graduate degrees as quick as they can print them………

  205. Rodger:

    There is a vast difference between a “masters” in say, flying an airplane from an air force college, and a “masters” in say, physical chemistry from Berkeley. To say “they sell graduate degrees as quick as they can print them….” is far to vague and offensive to people who have devoted years of their lives working 11 hour days 6 days a week to earn a Ph.D. in a hard science (among other fields), while in the process adding a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in a particular field. These contributions are making our world a different, and better place to live. And, in the field of physical chemistry for instance, I don’t think anyone would argue being forced to wrap your mind around and master advanced quantum mechanics or reaction dynamics is a simple task – but it must be done before you can understand the complex issues you are trying to solve in your Ph.D. thesis…

    The level of understanding required to do Ph.D. level research in my field is far beyond what could be taught in a 4 year B.S. degree, it is barely attainable with the extra two years of a M.S. Then, you must devise an experimental apparatus and procedure and perform the research required to write your dissertation. It is a far cry from buying a degree.

  206. Is this why Phd’s can’t find employment?

    I hold an engineering undergraduate along with graduate degrees in both engineering and business. I can tell you that my BS degree from the University of Illinois involved much more study and was far more competitive than either of my graduate degrees. Hence, the old saying…..”If you can’t make it in the real world, you can always resort to academia.”

  207. Rodger, this will be my last post because arguing with your life choices is juvenile. I could try to diminish what you’ve done with your life as you have done in your posts. But its not productive. What is your graduate degree in engineering? Yes, a M.S. isn’t really that hard to get. In fact, many colleges give them to people who couldn’t cut it on their way to the Ph.D.

    As for making it in the real world? My Ph.D. landed me a job directing an R&D dept at a widely recognized company in the semiconductor industry making, now, around 140K per year. They recognized the extreme amount of project management and understanding complex issues it takes to earn a Ph.D. in this field, from the university I went to (UC Berkeley) I have a GREAT deal of respect for my friends who took professorships, but this Ph.D. had no problem finding a job in the “real world” as you say.

    It sounds to me more like you regret not pursuing a Ph.D. and must justify yourself on some blog that is 2 years old.

  208. Up until recently a really good carpenter could easily make 100,000 a year- if you didn’t mind working 7 days a week. On the other hand if you have a spouse she would instantly have legitimate grounds for divorce as sexual appetites diminish significantly when physically working long hours. That’s the reason I bought a house as soon as possible and elected to remain single. Basically the white American male has been under a constant, economic assault for several decades now. In this new economy- near the end of ’08 and headed into a depression of unknown outcome- anything that one can do to divorce themselves from the system by way of self reliance, financial solvency and community support would be a wise move. After all how many over paid jobs are left and how many McMansions and SUV’s can one occupy or, in effect, does one actually enjoy? I say ‘enjoy’ because rampant and unchecked, consumerism has gotten us into this mess, along with a blind and ignorant Government. Purchasing more and bigger items does not guarantee happiness or economic security anymore than a fat gut leads to physical fitness. We are in for a hell of a readjustment- particularly when without any foresight or preparation we have entered an age of diminishing expectations, energy and raw materials with our collective pockets turned inside out and our trousers about our knees while the greedy have succeeded so magnificently at increasing their strangle hold over our economy. Sorry, I ain’t got no PHD but I saw this one coming for at least a dog’s age.

  209. I’m a Systems Engineer, and make between $120k to $130k depending on how much over time I put in (I typically work about 35 hours a week though). I live in LA, and still don’t have a house… Anyway, I see that this article is over a year told, and considering the current economy, I’m very curious to know how the iBankers, the hedge fund employees, and the overall financial workers are doing these days. Are you guys still making the big bucks or have things turned a bit?

  210. I’m a Police Sergeant in the suburbs outside of NYC. I earn about 110K including base pay, holiday pay, and uniform allowance. I could earn and additional 5 to 10K with overtime. Some of my more ambitious co-workers make 20K in overtime.
    I will retire at 46 and receive a pension of half my salary for the rest of my life. (The formula is they take my highest earning 3 yrs in a 5 year period average it and divide by 2)
    I’m a single 35 y/o with one child. I have an Associates degree and will receive my Bachelors next spring. Law School is in the plans. I live in a one bedroom co-op.
    I’ve learned it’s not how much you make but how much you keep. My philosphy is I’d rather do things than have things. So I travel, take course both academic and for fun. When it comes to possesions I have some nice stuff but I generally keep it basic.

  211. Hi,
    I am 28 yrs old, have a Masters in Industrial Engg. & Management (2005). I started with a $48k job and after a year and half moved to Oracle consulting. My initial salary as a consultant was $85k and now I am making $95k. I live in midwest where the cost of living is very less.
    I have around $5k left in student loan. Some of my friends in consulting are making well over $100 k and I want to be making that kind of money soon. Its a very challenging field but has less job security, but I like it.

  212. 37 yo MBA Software product line gm making a comp of $315k+stock

  213. Future lawyer says:

    What are the opportunities for a lawyer to make a higher pay or get more responsibilities? Please answer! Thanks.

    Future lawyer

  214. art to choke hearts says:

    re: future lawyer and cop making big bucks

    Don’t go into law, how about that one? $35,000/yr. to start, $70,000 in student loan debts. Only top 10 percent of class make the big bucks, rest of us are lucky to have jobs. Let me guess, you will be in that top 10 percent right? Good luck with that.

    Better to be one of the overpaid, glorified gamers who write these masturbatory blurbs about how much they make/how great they are, etc.

  215. aabraham says:

    Hey everyone, I’m a freshman at UF studying Biology. As of now, my goals are to become a doctor. However, i really dont like the field and the amount of studying associated with it, especially the chemistry. My dad is a doctor and he doesn’t know how many electrons are in carbon….so it puzzles me why they make us jump through so many hoops. Well, i doubt someone is going to reply to this, but from reading all these posts I feel that i’d rather make 100k, hell even 80k a year after only having a bachelor’s degree. My problem is that i dont know what to do or what jobs are out there. Pretty much my whole life my parents have programmed me to study to become a doctor and after some introspection i’ve realized i’m just too lazy and i feel that my life is being taken both literally in the health sense, as well as socially because of these bullshit hoops that med school requires for acceptance. I’m extremely good at human physiology as well as kinesiology and things like anatomy come really easy to me. However i am very horrible at math, basic calculus is extremely difficult for me. Another strong point i have is my ability to sell/ convince, i’m extremely good at reading and talking to people. No doubt in my mind that i’d make a excellent car salesman. As of now, i’m confused and just need any advice on what to do as far as major, and how i’d get employed. I don’t drink/smoke or party, and basically if i have an apartment and my dog and time to workout i’m a happy individual. A job that’d allow me to do those things and still pay enough to where one day i can get married without having to say i work at McDonalds would be great. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

  216. daniel says:

    I’m a medical intern and maybe I can help you aabraham. Yes, there are a lot of hoops to jump through to become a doctor. You have to do finish your preclinical courses, take the MCAT, go through medical school, take the USMLE (boards), then do a residency, and then take your specialty boards. There is high competition before each hoop. The upside is that by the time you leave, you will be making at least $100K to $600K, depending on specialty. It will be more by the time you leave, due to inflation. When I started, $200K was considered high, but now it’s average. There is a shortage of doctors in general now and in the future as well. Of course, you will have $150K in loans to pay off (if you don’t get a scholarship).

    It looks like getting an IT job is a great way to break the $100K barrier in the early 20′s and 30′s. I would think it would be difficult to break into the $200K mark unless if you went into management. The IT people who post on this board seem relatively happy with their careers, so if you are not feeling medicine, then maybe IT will work for you.

    Then there’s the nurse anesthetists, who make $100K+. I’ve been told this is highly competitive, but it’s still a rather unknown field for many people. You could also be a PA (Physician Assistant), with 2 years of PA school after college, make $100K+, do most of the things doctors do except you won’t be able to practice on your own.

  217. aabraham,
    All of the successful/happy doctors that I have spoken to have shared 1 trait – they have been drawn to medicine bacause they enjoy healing others. The money is usually secondary. If you’re not feeling it ,then you may want to reconsider your path. As far as the curriculum “hoops” that you are facing – it’s not so much what you learn but learning how to learn that is most important. Even though you may not remember all the specifics (I don’t remember half the crap I learned in college!) it tells a potential employer that this person can absorb, digest and then utilize complex body of information. Get it? Consider medical / dental sales – For me – 2 yrs pre-med then wanted to learn about business& psych. Now over $250k/yr in sales with a bs from a state school & no debt. Good Luck!

  218. aabraham.

    Good question. I am myself in IT and i know couple of people in medical field. Both fields have their pros and cons. true – doctors earn a lot, but by the time they will earn, a lot feel that they’ve burned through some of the prime years of their lives just going through the pain of school/residency. But once you are done with your residency, your life becomes much smoother and income is kind of guaranteed.

    In IT, you have more work/life balance, but the pay will not increase much (although it might shoot to 100k mark). Remember – most of the work in IT that is being done here can also be done in India/China – where people are paid a tenth of salary as compared to worker here. There is tremendous pressure on salaries due to this. Some people will argue that there is always room for talented people – my argument is – yeah there is room – But where is the room to grow your income? Can you go to your manager and convince him to increase your pay by 20%? Good luck with that if you are in IT. I myself have lost my job in current recession and am thinking of going back to school to get out of IT.

    I am not at a age where i can go through the rigors of medical school and residency, but if i were a teenager, I’d opt for medical field in a heartbeat. This is one field where jobs cannot be outsourced.

  219. ProcessMaster says:

    I’m 26 years old. I work as a Process Improvement Manager making 80K + 10K in bonus in Chino hills, CA. I have an engineering degree B.S. I’m looking at reaching the 100K mark in two years time. I work 45 hrs a week and travel at least 10%. I have to say that 80K does not go very far now a days. With the economy going where it is, homes are now between 200K-350K in my area (in 2006 they were 500K-700K). I think California is going down the toilet. My girlfriend is studying to be a nurse, so maybe she can specialize in Anesthesia so we can get a large house at 400K.

  220. National Lab says:

    National Laboratory Scientist. Requires you to get a B.S. in a scientific discipline, followed by a Ph.D. Most staff scientists in my field start around 100K per year with maybe 5-10K in bonuses. After a few years your income works its way up to the 120-160K range. If you get promoted to manager you can expect 200K+, but not every good scientist gets promoted… If you are really good at what you do you can make even more, with some of the top paid spectroscopists at lawrence livermore labs pulling down 700K per year.

    Upsides – Pretty stable work not quickly effected by an ailing economy. Stimulating. Smart people to work with. Flexible hours. Good pay. Great benefits.

    Downsides – Forever being judged on your intelligence. I am not a genius, just worked hard to get here, and I cannot remember everything from every course I ever took. Sometimes long hours. But not as bad as most lawyers. Probably on par with physicians hours while on-call.

  221. I work as a police officer and i also hold a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice. I live and work in California where they pay the highest. I make about 150K a year with overtime, which is pretty nice. I work long days 10-12 hours a day (4days a week), but i get 3-4 days off in a row EVERY week!! so the schedule is perfect! If i do not do any overtime at ALL (which is imposible bc of late arrests) i still will make 115K a year. I know several officers making over 200K a year, but they work too much. Probably 70-75 hours a week

  222. Californian says:

    Why in hades are we paying police officers 200K per year? I think I’ve just solved our great state’s budget problem. Why should a policeman make a surgeon’s salary?

    I respect police officer’s. I am glad they are there to “protect and serve”. It is a noble calling. But come on, you don’t deserve 5 times what we pay our soldiers to fly planes over anti-aircraft missiles.

  223. Hey don’t look at me, look at the 700K science people above me. Oh and we don’t make surgeon’s salary, they make much more!! I make a lot b/c i’m at the top step for officers pay. I’m also a training (train the new officers)officer, so i make an extra $7.00 an hour, which equals about $60 an hour without overtime. THe job isn’t easy, and is very demanding. Ca. officers are the highest trained and most educated. We are not soldiers. SOldiers come a dime a dozen, you can be 18 with no educated and striaght out of high school. If you can run around and shoot a gun, you can be one too. I wouldn’t judge police work until you know someone close that’s in it or you have done the work yourself. It’s much more than just taking someone to jail. Much more responsibility than most jobs out there. We have to know many many laws and elements to out smart the lawyers in court.

  224. No offense Dino. But i too think we pay our govt employees too much. 150k for working 3-4 times a day is a damn good salary – esp. considering you dont need any degree for it.

    Here in new york, they are increasing income taxes and are making calls for “shared sacrifice”. But somehow in the budget the state govt. employees will end up with a 3% raise.

    Think about it. 3% raise when everyone else is either losing job or has salary freeze at best.

    I dont know where this will end. Now i am inclining towards the republican line, where they have lean government and no income taxes. Democrats – it seems – will tax us to oblivion.

  225. Californian says:

    Dino,

    My comment is based on the fact that I have many friends in the Bay Area who I went to college with. Some got B.S./B.A. degrees in Accounting (from good schools) or Business or Finance, they were all starting somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 per year salaried (no such thing as overtime). 3 of my best friends were Engineering majors, they work their tails off all day doing skilled work and are all in the 50K-80K range in the Bay Area. My closest bud in college went on to medical school in SoCal and is now a family general practice physician making 140K per year, but you have to add in the fact that he has about 250,000 in student loans and malpractice insurance premiums every month. He works in Walnut Creek! Take this out and his income is more like the monthly net of a 80K per year salary.
    Lastly, a close friend of my wife’s went to Law School at a TOP tier university, and landed one of the best jobs available in SF at a well-renowned firm and she started at 140K per year and is working ~60-70 hours per week.

    This is why I get flared when I hear that blue collar police officer’s make 150K-200k per annum, and nurses with a 2-4 year degree make 100K per year fresh out of college. This IS the reason why California’s government is bankrupt and our health care system is falling apart with massive costs/fees for services.

    I understand that you think you deserve the income. But believe me, EVERYONE’s job is hard, from the grunt changing your tires at the tire store to an engineer designing a facility improvement on a deadline.

    But, hey, thats what this forum is all about. If you can make 200K with very little education, then by all means, you have found a great niche.

  226. Yeah, I must agree with everyone else. It is definitely not appropriate (especially considering our budget crisis) to pay 100k to 200k to police officers. It’s not a job that requires any special skills or talent, and a large majority of the population can perform the tasks… Truth is, you spend at least 95% of your time patrolling the streets and writing tickets. Like any other job, once in a blue moon, you do something extraordinary. You also take a break whenever you want, and pretty much do as you please… Contrary to popular believe, it’s not even a very dangerous job. It’s actually more dangerous to be a Farm Worker, Driver, or a Fisher than it is to be a cop. Here’s the source, http://www.streetgangs.com/memorial/police.html… Personally, I think a 50k salary for police officers is way more than adequate.

  227. It’s obvious that Amir has no clue what police work is like and is ignorant about it. That’s ok because he doesn’t know. Truth is police work is very demanding. Not only will they not accept you if you don’t have education, you have to have great credit, no arrest record (not even traffic tickets) good job history, great communication skills, no drugs ever, able to think fast, good judgement, and much more. Most jobs all you have to do is a interview or two and that’s it. FOr us, we have to take a written examination, physical agility test, oral interview, polygraph test (if caught lying, did any crimes, or ever done drugs, even experimented, you fail) We have to pass a psychological test and interview with a psychologist (who picks you brain) and pass background check where a detective tries to find anything that would disqualify you. THen pass a medical and fit test. THen pass the chief’s oral interview. THe process take about 9-12 months. A lot longer than you usual hiring process.

    It’s a dangerous and risky job. Maybe not in Beverly HIlls, but in the big city i work in there are shootings, stabbings, drug dealing, robberies, burglaries almost every day. We don’t put a bullet proof vest on because it’s the fasion. Amir said above that it’s more dangerous being a farm worker, well not too many farm workers are murdered, and if they are it’s personal, not job related. If a farm worker is killed it’s because he made a mistake, slipped and fell, etc. If an officer is killed he’s usually murdered or in a car accident chasing someone who just kidnapped, shot someone, robbed someone, etc. Officers put their lives on the line to protect and help you.

    A UC Berkeley grad started as a new officer and was terminated as he didn’t pass the field training. It’s a LOT harder to make it than people think. TO me, being an accountant (CPA) is a cake job. All you need to be is good with a few numbers and that’s it. You can be out of shape, no common sense, be an alcoholic, and it’s fine. if you have a fight with your girlfriend, no one cares. If you get arrested for DUI no one cares and you still got your job. If you are an off-duty cop and get a DUI then you are fired.. Not fair in my eyes. If you are an accountant, everyone likes you. if you are a police officer, half the people hate you. It’s not really a glorifying job. One mistake and we can me killed, sued, or fired.

    I’ll give an easy scenario that occurred the other day. A merchant calls the police and tells you that the guy in front of you just tried to pass a fake $20 bill, the merchant wants him arrested. What do you do????? How do you investigate this according to law and procedure???? THis is just one in hundreds of scenarios, but give it a try and test you investigation skills..

    You have to be physically fit as well as mentally fit. Out of ABout 1000 applicants, only 50 are acutally accepted. Of thos 50, approx 35 will make it. we have a 25% failing rate from the academy and field training. THe starting Salary when i started was 50k a year. THen you work your way up. It’s not like someone joins the police and makes 100k plus right off the top.

    Officers in most other states make about 50k a year, but the cost of living is real low. Like i said before, it’s only CA bay area where we make the most due to high cost of living.

    You want to talk about crazy salaries and unreasonable salaries. Remember the DOT COM era about 10 years ago. 23 yeard old kids were making 500k a year earning millions in stock. THey would retire at the age of 29 being a millionaire, while i was busting my butt as a rookie officer making 50k a year!!

    Or how about actors or these reality stars. Just be yourself and show a little emotion on the camera and boom, you are a millionaire. I do love my job and live comfortable, but i will never be rich.

  228. Dino,

    I don’t necessarily have an opinion on what police officers should or should not be making, because frankly I don’t have any idea what the job entails. It’s quite obvious Amir doesn’t either, but I do take issue with you defending the job and then doing exactly what Amir did with regard to .com millionaires or actors.

    In a free market, one will be paid what they are worth. You may not like it, or see value in it, but those that matter (read: the ones paying the salary) feel that individual is worth it. In the case of actors, athletes, or reality TV stars, some generate a massive amount of revenue for their respective employers. Trivializing what they do as “showing a little emotion on camera” speaks to your own ignorance. They are not paid for showing emotion on camera, they are paid for generating revenue.

    I’m in sales, and generate over $20 million a year in revenue for the company I work for. I’m paid about 400k in compensation, and I’m 29 with no formal education. Guess what? I’m worth every penny because of the business I develop and the relationships I’ve built. I’m sure there are many out there that would disagree, but frankly, I don’t care about those people. I’m only interested in what my employer thinks.

  229. BayouBoy says:

    I’ve been scanning this blog on and off for sometime now and it is very interesting to see how different people make their way up to the 100-200k mark. I am curious to hear your opinions on my situation and what my 100k outlook is like. Went to local school for 2 years for a nursing BSN, got into first sem. clinicals and had a change of heart. Spent 3 years at LSU and finished in Construction Management, minor Business. Now making 53k/year salary plus bonuses…60k, maybe a little less. Outlook for raises, questionable. Problem is that construction is not doing so well in the country right now and seems it wont for the forseeable future. Considered contracting paint, drywal, etc but too much risk. Thinking about going spend 2 years to finish my BSN nursing. Waste of time? Could spend same amoutn of time working or going to a grad school. Confused and trying to make it to 100k as quick as possible

  230. Ironic,

    I do agree with you about one is paid what one is worth. I was playing a little devil’s advocate about my thought of actors and .com millionaires. I know the job requires a lot more depending on the script, movie, or show.. I just don’t like the haters on this blog, i’m happy for myself and love my job. ALso, just like you, i should care less what people think we are paid ( all matters is what my supervisors think) as long as i get my 150K 3 days off a week, the best health benifits, and a sweet retirement package where i get 90% of my salary for LIFE.. Oh i can also retire at age 55 years old. All this and no one can take it away from us.

    Everyone should get the most out of life and their career!! good luck everyone, except Amir. LOL

    Also, BayouBoy, i say get your BSN.. I have some friends that are RN’s (BSN) and they make over 100k easy.. It’s already in your field so go for it!!!

  231. I think that some people commenting here are quite young, while others are much older – like me (41). As you get to my age group after a long hard slug to get over the 100k mark you will be happy that you get all the benefits. I suspect that most public service folks do not get that kind of cash and that he has worked his a$% off and is an above average cop.

    I still want to know a career choice to get over 200k (which I feel is the new 100k).

  232. Dino,

    I enjoy hearing about others successes. I’m glad that you’ve found a lucrative career while performing a public service at the same time. The haters should just be ignored completely. Believe me, I’m sure most would trade places with you if they could.

    denver,

    There are lots of career choices that can break the 200k barrier. I’m in sales, and if you’re good you can easily break 200k, but of course it’s not for everyone. It certainly isn’t a very prestigious job, but it can afford you a great lifestyle. Most professions will require a great deal of education to break that barrier, however.

    What kind of education/work experience do you have currently? It’s never too late to change careers, but it certainly helps if you can build on your existing experience.

  233. Dino, I’m not hating. The difference between you and Ironic is that he has a PRIVATE employer, but WE the PUBLIC pay your salary. Considering how CA is going through such massive budget crisis, 150k to 200k is just too much. As I said, according to statistics it’s not a very dangerous job. In 2008, only 54 officers were killed intentionally, and that’s out of well over 800,000 police officer. In comparison, something like 1,000 lumber workers a year die on the job… I think there are a lot more police brutalities than fatalities. You keep saying, u need to have good judgment to do the job, but from my experience, that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been arrested twice, and in both cases the charge was dropped because I really didn’t do anything wrong. One time, I went to jail for almost 40 hours, because my friend was driving a little buzzed and I was the passenger. I simply asked the officer if I could go out of the car, and he took me to jail. Later, I recognized him from 13 years back in high school. He just laughed about it, and said “Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?”. I have no idea what I had done to him back then, but what he did wasn’t professional… Another time, my friend dropped me off by my car and since I was a little tipsy, I decided to sleep in my car. About after 2 hours of being sound sleep, something like 5 police cars showed up, took me out of the car, and gave me a full blown DUI test. I told them, I wasn’t driving, and admitted that I had drank, but after 1.5 hour of wasting time testing me, they wanted to take me in for a DUI, until one of them realized that I had never even put the key in the ignition. So, instead of letting me go back to sleep, they took me to jail for “Public Drunkenness”. I WAS IN MY CAR SLEEPING. Does that sound like good judgment to you? AND, considering how much you guys get paid, that whole event probably cost the tax payers about a thousand bucks. AND, I lost over $1,000 in over time pay the next day because I couldn’t go to work… Overall, you get paid too much for the service you provide and with our huge budget deficit, don’t be surprised if you start seeing pay cuts… Our state simply cannot sustain such huge spending anymore.

  234. Amir, sounds like you have something against cops because of your arrest history.. I wasn’t the cop, who arrested you so i can’t speak for them. I’m sure they would tell me a different story if i spoke with them…THere is always two sides to every story. I don’t think i have ever met ANYONE who said,” uh yeah officer, i think i deserve to be arrested.” Everyone thinks they don’t deserve to be arrested, even the drug dealers, the robbers, the car jackers, rapists, etc..

    Uh and case law if you don’t know, if you are drunk in your own car parked doesnt matter if the engine is off ( but you need to be in control of you car keys) then you can be arrested for DUI.. Many people will agree that you should have been arrested inside your car wheather it be DUI or drunk in ppub;ic. BECAUSE if you are NOT, then you can be a safety risk to the public had you decided to drive.. YOU may not have done it, i don’t know, But many other would not give a crap and just drive b/c they think they are ok..

    Tell you story to a person who was hit by a drunk driver and they will be real happy that the police arrested you. The police can’t make everyone happy.. You are upset at the police who arrested you and if you were not arrested, then the person who called on you would be mad at the police saying,” AH they are lazy and didn’t do their job, they don’t care” SO i’m sorry if you had a bad experience.

    Oh and also about the danger factor, Officers are highly trained not to get killed in the line of duty.. How about the army in Iraq is that dangerous?? well there are 100′s of thousand soldiers there and only a few thousand were killed, so do the math, it’s only like 1% or so.. so t=does that mean going to Iraw is not dangerous Amir??? you’re crazy if you think so.. If we hired a bunch of uneducated idiots that have no tactical skills then cops would be killed left and right. It’s our expereince and training that keeps us ALIVE, nothing else.. another example, is balancing on a tight rope from building to building 300 fett above the ground dangerous? Well for an expert, maybe not. But for the average person, HELL YA!!!Like i said before we only accept the top 5 % of applicants.. Our job is risky, we just have to be well training and prepared.

    also this may upset you more, but we are getting a 4% raise by next month and another 4 % raise next year, it’s a contract with the city, so they cannot refuse it.. so i should clear over 160K next year!!!! If the city can’t afford it then the Federal money comes in…THis is a great job, For the people that think we get paid too much, maybe you are in the wrong career…Otherwise just be happy with the career you chose and make the best of it!!!

  235. Amir,

    I have to agree with Dino. You’re taking your own anecdotal evidence and painting all police officers with the same broad brush. I understand your point that the tax payers are paying his salary, but let’s be honest, if we had access to the budget of the California gov’t there would be a laundry list of things to get cut before we start pissing off our police officers by chopping their salaries. You may think they’re worthless, but I can assure you, having a bunch of unhappy cops is probably not the best for the overall public good.

    Let’s stick to the facts and leave the rest out of it, because your anecdotes just make you look like you have an axe to grind.

  236. I’m 31, MS degree in geoscience and I make 40,000k ish a year. I also live on a small south pacific island, spend less than 20,000K with a great standard of living, travel for work and pleasure and put in 30 to 50 hr a week. More money would be cool but I’m already living the dream of warm waters, starry nights, laidback lifestyle and no boss. Good luck ya all

  237. I lived with my parents for 40 years and having no expenses; worked full-time at Wal Mart for 40 years saving $2 million in the process. Now I make $100K/year solely from interest income on CDs.

    Talk about the american dream ;-)

  238. I’m a 21 y/o full time student and earned $71k last year and aiming at $140-150k this year. I’m the owner of a website which is getting fairly popular. I started making websites when I was 16, so it all started out as a hobby, which I think it actually still is, I had my full time internship this year which was very boring (working from 9-5).

    Unlike most people commenting I’m not from the US, I’m from holland but nearly all my earnings are from US companies. Note that these earnings are not net (net = -52% taxes).

  239. i believe that some of the higher salaries indicated here are just fabricated or exponentially increased just to be cool. oh, i’m not hating those people. i work in the IT industry, so i know that most of the salaries here are laughable. 22 years old earning $175K? give me a break! unless you developed a new software that went public! who would be crazy enough to pay you that amount of money with little/no experience… yeah, right!

  240. joe,

    No need to be bitter about it. It’s very possible. I made that and more and had nothing past a high school diploma. Granted, I’m not in IT either.

    Just because you failed to accomplish it, doesn’t mean others have made it up. Furthermore, why on Earth would anyone anonymously make up salaries to a bunch of people they do not know? That hardly even makes sense.

  241. ironic,
    i believe that i mentioned about not being bitter by some of the pretenders here. i’m currently in six figure salary, but with experience and educational background.. this is my question for you, would you hire a high school graduate with no or little experience as one of your consultants, which will cost you ~100k plus? unless, maybe this consultant is one of the profound speakers at defcon!

  242. Everyone has an “optimum” level of income/stress/work skill/work hours/cost of living/commute. Obviously, more $$ is better, but if it costs you an arm/leg daily, it might not be worth it (like health reasons). Nowadays, what people earn has no correlation to what people choose to live in. You could be making $100k+ and live in frugal house or an expensive place. Now that there are so many foreclosures, people are “downsizing” and reconsidering whether it’s worth maintaining a Mansion that won’t sell. I’m a little above $100k before taxes and live in my Mother’s house paying her property tax. I have no mortgage and basically save. The only liability is the property tax and the only reason I’m still in NJ is because my job is in NYC. I could not afford to buy in NJ today as my parents did 20 years ago. Whatever you do, don’t live in northern NJ unless your willing to pay property taxes. I hate property taxes, most of which got jacked up because of the horde of subprime people moving into town. It’s always the taxpayer that gets hit.

  243. BTW, total amount of US currency in circulation is a portion of the $9trillion national debt which is constantly growing. That which is not circulating is the $millions in savings accounts by dead retirees of passed generations. So if you have $millions in the bank account, perhaps you should spend some before your death or give it to heirs. Otherwise, it be just a waste. FIAT currency always ends badly.

  244. I read all the comments all the way down. Great blog. I majored in Chemistry, and completely regret it. The jobs I’m seeing for people with my degree offer $10-$12 to just run simple tests in research labs. And even for those jobs, hundreds of people apply. I have been researching lots of careers since, and here are some jobs i have found which offer a decent income (min 50k). Most of these are health related since that’s what my experience is in.

    1. RN-all you need is a bachelor’s in nursing. Have another degree? No problem; you can do an accelerated BSN which only takes 1-1.5 years.

    2. CRNA-after becoming an RN, just work in the ICU for a year or 2 and you can do a master’s degree as a CRNA and make 150-200k.

    3. Anesthesiology Assistant-this is very similar to working as a CRNA. however for admissions, a BSN is not required. You only need the basic premed reqs (bio, chem, etc). After 2 years, you can be making 120k.

    3. Police officer-you can work as one with a HS diploma, some places require 60 college credits. Starting salaries around 45-50k but since overtime is almost mandatory (bc u often have to work at night) it’s easy to make double that.

    4. Radiology tech-you just need to do a 2 year program after H.S. and you start at 50k.

    5. MRI tech-if you get bored of being a rad tech, you can do additional training as an MRI tech and make 65k.

    6. Pharmacist-if you’re in high school, just apply to one of the combined BA to PharmD programs. They are 5-6 years, so when you’re 24, you can be easily be making at least 110k. And very flexible scheduling if you stay in retail.

    7. Property manager-no education required. As long as you have some way to buy an apartment complex, it’s easy money with few ‘man-hours’ required.

  245. JustSayNo says:

    I agree with the the poster who advised against becoming a lawyer. I’m 32 years old and earn $125K after practicing law for 8 years. There are no retirement benefits or profit sharing (in my mind, a non-matching 401K plan does not count since the employer pays nothing into it). I work anywhere from 60 to 80 hours per week, but most often put in a good 11 to 12 hours a day, not uncommonly 14 to 15 hours, and some weekends too. If I get home before 9:00 p.m., my wife comments that I’m home early. I Don’t know how much longer she’ll be my wife at this rate.

    The stress and pressure are ridiculous. You go to work everyday knowing that if you miss a detail in a brief or inadvertendly blow a deadline on a case for an important client or partner, you are on the fast track to being fired or pressured out of the firm (being denied raises or bonuses, being given demanding but unrewarding work, being snubbed by other lawyers and your own support staff until you quit). If you are a sole practicioner or a name partner, you are looking at malpractice liability and disbarrment. Between the stress and the time demands, the impact on family, interpersonal relationships, and physical health is devasting. Despite these issues, I can’t take a lower-stress or less time-demanding job because I still have over $75K in student loans and don’t have any marketable skills outside of law.

    So that is my situation. Then I read this blog about all of the IT personnel, engineers, sales people, and law enforcement workers who earn well more than I do ($160K?!? $175K?!? $200K?!?) with far fewer years of education (in my case, after obtaining a 4-year college degree, I still had to spend another 3 years in law school, then take a three-day exam following two months of virtually monastic studying, and then wait 4 months for the results to begin practicing). Many work half of the hours that I do, with much less stress. I feel like a complete schmuck for going to law school and becoming a lawyer. I wish I had known that there are many careers out there that will allow for a $100K-plus income without having to work more than 35-40 hour days (or perhaps longer days, but with 4 or 3-day workweeks).

    Changing topics, I have a couple of comments on other posts:

    As to pay levels and their propriety, particularly for police/law enforcement: Their is a reckoning coming for many police officers/sheriff’s deputies/etc. as to pay. Perhaps $150K or more is justified for the job duties and qualifications such officers must satisfy. However, local and state government (at least in California) cannot afford to continue paying such amounts. Many law enforcement agencies here are laying off a large percentage of their forces and instituting hiring freezes. For those officers unlucky enough to be laid off, I doubt union contracts are much consolation.

    (2) Perhaps free market principles mean that employees are truly paid what they are “worth,” such that high-profile actors, etc. deserve their seven-figure incomes. People are often compensated in line with the revenue they can produce for their employers. The fact that something is common, however, does not make it right.

    People largely suceed based on their ingrained talents – talents they were born with and perhaps honed, but essentially did nothing to deserve. A virtuoso pianist who can give concert recitals of Mozart at age 6 has most certainly practiced hard to do so, but the vast majority of 6-year-olds would find it impossible able to attain such a level of playing ability even with the highest and most intense level of instruction. This same argument can apply to less extreme examples, such as a 22-year-old tech guru.

    On the other hand, many less-talented people work 50, 60, or more hours per week at grueling jobs and barely earn a living wage. The fact is, such people may be living up to their full potential – not everybody can be an IT manager, professional athlete, etc. Despite their strong work ethic, our society deprives these laborers of the respect, financial security, and leisure that more “talented” workers enjoy. Is this really how it should be? Remember, we who earn $100K-plus are able to do so because there are others who earn $20,000 per year (and often much less) growing and preparing our food, sewing our clothes, and making the plastic keys for our laptops, all in sweatshop conditions.

    I’m not advocating that we switch to a model like that of Communist Russia. However, there is something to be said for moving to a system that does more to moderate social inequality (notice that I said “moderate,” not “eliminate”). No modern, complex society can have complete equality, and people should be motivated to achieve with the promise tangible rewards, including heightened status and better living conditions. At the same time, social justice and inherent principles of human decency dictate that a corporate CEO or television late-night host should not be left with an income that is 1000 times the wage of an average corporate worker.

  246. Dang “Just Say No”, i feel for you, but remember we do our jobs mostly because we enjoy the job, not for the money.. My lady is a Lawyer, went o SAnta Clara Law, she works her tail off (making 120k a year )and i make more than her (155k a year) as a top step police training officer with overtime. If I was paid only 85k a year, i would still be doing the job because i enjoy it. SO remember if you love being a lawyer, then be happy and enjoy your life and profession. DOn’t wish you did something else that makes for money and you didn’t enjoy it, it kind of defeats the purpose of quality of life..

  247. Business Development Director (IT Consulting) says:

    I am 40 + y/o IT Consulting Manager with close to 15 years of experience. I earn between $115k – $175k per year depending on how well sales is doing. I love the work and the interaction with the people I manage and my customers.

    I graduated in 1993 with a BS in Engineering, taking my first job at $25k/yr. As I moved through various positions and jobs, the money just keep going up. The more certifitications I get, the more money I make.

  248. I am in the same category as you, but not making as much money. Would you be willing to list the certifications you have?

  249. Sol Julius says:

    I’m a Fed. with 28 years of service. I have an MS degree in business administration (accounting) from a good business school and have a CPA certificate. I just broke the 100K barrier last year and make just a little over that now. After reading many of the testamonies in this site re: earning 100K+ while being under age 30 just out of school, I feel like a failure having taken so much time to reach a salary that in many areas of the U.S. is considered only a low to moderate income level. I have but one consolation: – I work a standard 40-hour week, have a secure job, and have good retirement benefits.

  250. Sol Julius, what state are you in? 100k is really good in some states regarding cost of living!!

  251. I find this site fascinating…From the police officer that earns over 150K to the attorney that can’t stand his profession.

    It’ so difficult to compare salaries as there are so many regional differences. I live in the NJ/NY area and make over 100K, but don’t live extrodinarily well. I think nowadays 100K (at least in this area) is just slightly above average, but maybe in the midwest it would be considered well above average….In my mind, if you’re not highly educated or don’t have a unique ability, Sales is the best way to make a high income. Unfortunately, I’m in a depressed industry so I’m actually at the top of the pay scale, but sales in pharma or IT seem to be where Salespeople are making significant money. I consider my self an outstanding salesperson, but the industry I’m in will never allow me to hit the 200K mark.

  252. I am a federal civilian Fire Chief working at a military base at the GS-13 level. I make $130K. My salary is high because my workweek is 60 hours which includes standard 40 hours plus a 24 hour shift at the fire station every week. Been over the $100K mark for the last 7 years. I am unhappy in my job. Sick and tired of working for substandard leadership. Trying to get early retirement now (25 years as a fed employee completed – 45 yrs old). I have an AAS Fire Science and a BA Management along with advanced firefighter professional certification as Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and Fire Officer IV. Recently started a Homeland Security / Emergency Management training and consulting firm. Advice – all the money in the world means nothing if you’re not happy in what your doing. I used to love my job, but senior leadership is and has been awful.

  253. I have just recently hit the 6 figure mark as an IT Manager. I quit a job as a Sales Manager to pursue IT, went to a vo-tech, got my certs, and found a job paying $25K. The company had 200+ clients and trained me/ released me upon their clients. After a few years it grew to $65K, got hired by one of those clients and a few years later I’m making $100K+. It isn’t easy work. I’m earning every day, night and weekend. I’m also learning every day, night and weekend. I go through cycles of ups and downs. I feel I deserve the pay simply based on hours and responsibility, but sometimes having no responsibility, freedom to just walk, and no cares sounds good too.

    There may be some that make 100K+ with no stress, but the more you make the more stress you take on.

    Oh, and you better answer that phone at 4:00am, they don’t care if you’re off and have a hangover, pony up and fix the problem. That’s my experience anyway.

    I love my job, but not everybody can do it. Hence, 6 figures. You will trade your life, morals, and your sleep. It’s the way it is. 6 figures is still alot of money to the majority of the world.

  254. I am a retail store manager for a luxury corporation. I got a BFA at a state school. I make $65k a year with potential 20% bonus (if the company does well – not necessarily based on my individual performance.) I work about 45 hours a week. The job requires a ton of skill sets, and has definitely prepared me for bigger things in the business world because it all comes down to people and connections. It’s a really fun job for me, but I do work very hard. I have friends who work in the same shopping center who do a lot less work and make $100k+. Some are sales associates and some are managers.

  255. Dino, that is absolutley non-sense that you make that much money as a cop. You guys shouldn’t make anymore than 60k per year. It takes very little education/knowledge/skills/abilities to perform that job. Your Iraq comment further demonstrates that. It may be a low kill ratio over there, but traffic stops in a familiar territory in CA and fighting a war against Arabic “viet cong” on foreign ground are no comparison. You aren’t going to get blown up in CA or have to worry about terrorists. Even though I am ex-military, they def deserve to have a hell of a larger salary than a CA police officer. Hell, anyone with a bachelors degree at least earns a better right to make more than a police officer. I’m from Pittsburgh and just found out that city bus drivers are making 80-90k/year which makes me sick. They should make no more than 50k/yr even if they have been doing it for 20 years. Retards can learn to drive a bus in a few weeks. No wonder why your state is broke and out of water. And you are getting a 4% raise next year? This is nuts. Republican spending goes to the wrong places. You take federal spending when it should be going elsewhere. Why dont’ we just start paying babysitters $75/hr while were at it.

  256. George,

    Are you mad because you just realized you fail at life and get outearned by lowly bus drivers?

  257. Wow, Good one Jimbo!!! i think George is a bit bitter because of all his failures… I’m happy with my life and career and wish everyone luck on their endeavors. Just for the record George I do hold a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice and YES we still got the raise! I recently scored high on the promotional Sgt/detective exam, and when promoted, I should be making an annual salary of 170k-185k. (with overtime of course) I’m doing better than I ever thought i would be. (thanks to God) I just closed escrow on a forclosed house that was bought at 1 million dollars in 2007. I have two weeks off and currently in Hawaii. My wife just bought a 2007 slightly used BMW 650i convertible. (105K brand new) got it for 52K (great deal, don’t buy brand new luxury cars)

  258. w

  259. Dino said” recently scored high on the promotional Sgt/detective exam”

    Dino, you are a liar. You are not even a sgt yet and you expect us to believe that you make that much??? ROTFLMAO…who are you trying to impress with your lies?

    The Chief of Police in LA has a reported salary of $113,279.00 but you and “some cops you know” all earn $40-$50 thousand more than him? Without overtime and without even being detectives or sgt’s?

    P.S. so far on this board Dino has said that he makes $115K, $150K, $151K, and $155K…so sad.

    LOL…how pathetic that you have to compliment yourself anonymously on boards like this…try getting a career that doesn’t take the intelligence of a monkey and maybe you will someday earn that much. For my guess, I am figuring that you make between $30-$45K per year….

  260. Hey, Jimbo! We have another upset pathetic loosser name COP here.. He’s obvious a “wanna be cop” and is very ignorant.. Anyhow COP states that the Chief of Police in LA made 113,279 a year, but really makes over 300,000 a year. COP please get your facts straight and we don’t need anymore “wanna be cops here ok” you need to find a career that fits you.. However, if people think we make 50k a year, that is great! I think it’s better for the community to believe that..

    However media likes to show our crazy high salaries like the San Francisco Chonicle. Ever heard of them?

    Here is a link to the media’s website and it’s public information to see what me make.. so here it is and enjoy.. many Sgt’s are making over $200,000!! But that’s just too much overtime for me.. Everybody have a great day except Mr. COP.. (wanna be cop)

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....PIorderBy=

  261. Wholly crap! Now I know why California is going bankrupt… It’s because of the city of Oakland and their cops… Some of those cops make well over a $100,000 just in overtime. And I thought the banks and the Wall street were ripping us off. We should be more worried about cops. First they hassle us whenever they can, then they keep raising fines and tickets, and then they rob our tax dollars too… Can’t Oakland put a few thousand other people to work, instead of giving cops a ridiculous amount of money in overtime????

  262. Lets See- I graduated college in 2005 with a Bachelors Degree of Science in Business. I got my first Job at an Investment Bank Called, Investors Bank in Trust, as a Fund Accountant, making a lousy 35K, I quit that job after 1 1/2 and worked for State Street as a Fund Administrator making 45K (still pathetic) State Street merged with Investors Bank Feb. 2007, I started an investment club Aug. 2007…I started to learn the ins- and outs- of the stock Market. Aug. 28, 2008 I quit My Job at State Street. Established an S. Corp, and created my own Fund. with the start of 20K (would of had more but used for a down payment for a house)

    I am a full time day trader as of 2010…. at the end of 2008 I made 63K in the spand of 4 months (more than any of those jobs ever paid) maybe it was do to the volatile stock market, the sinking stocks, Shorting….what ever. but it wasn’t luck. 2009- finish of the year, the best year ever, My total Gain for the year based off of day trading was $321,568.00

    Just Two months into 2010, I have managed to successfully average about 4K every trading day- I’ve made 83K in Jan. and 69K as of Today Feb. 24, 2010

    THe best job I ever had, being self employed, and managing my time and my money as I feel fit.

    I manage my own Roth IRA and other investment accounts. but my day trading has out performed any of my long term accounts….or 401Ks in general.

    27 yrs as of Jan.

  263. I think the debate rolling on here on this blog regarding police officer pay and its merit touches on a point that we all know to be true. There are many ways to make a nice 100K+ income – some are exceedingly difficult, time-consuming and competitive, others are not. For some of us, it’s like pouring salt into an open wound to hear of people who have a job we know we could do, make a nice salary doing it, and have invested less of their soul to get there.

    Now lets talk about me: I got a B.S. in Chemistry/Physics with nearly straight A’s. Met my wife and wed before my last year of college. My original plan was to go to med school, and that was an open option for me, but the idea of 300K in student loans scared me (my wife indicated prior to marriage she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so the idea of her supporting me through med school was not ideal to me).

    With a B.S. in Chemistry/Physics the best job I could get an offer for was ~40K/yr in 2005. So I went to the top-ranked grad school in my field and obtained a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry with no student loans. Grad-school averages 5.5 years for the Ph.D.-students who don’t drop out of this extremely arduous process.

    I am now doing a post-doc appointment earning 83K per year for 1-2 years. I didn’t have to do this but it makes my CV look more appealing. Whether I go to a national lab or university I will start at just over 100K / yr to do science (~100-110K). I am 27. Most people at my current stage are ~30.

    The process was long and hard. Many of my colleagues bailed at some point in the process. As a scientist you are constantly scrutinized for the size of your brain and you must have in-depth knowledge about many fields… for instance, I am a physicist but I must write my own computer software, create models using very high-level mathematics, understand and apply concepts from advanced quantum mechanics to advanced chemistry to advanced statistics. You give public talks at least 4 times per year, write peer reviewed publications and funding proposals. All this while my job description is to do meaningful and cutting-edge experiments.

    There is a culture in the field of science of working many hours (~60-80 per week) and positions are competitive. It is not required though, and I try very hard to keep it at around 50, but the occasional experimental run or paper writing will cause all-nighters.

    As years of experience grow, I can plan for my income in todays dollars to maybe reach 200K if I continue from Staff Scientist into Managererial positions, but many people remain scientists and top-out around 150K.

    World-renowned nobel-prize candidate type professors can often pull down 300K as universities compete to keep them, but this is not realistic for me.

    I am not a genius. I get stressed out because I feel most people in my field are smarter than I am. For someone who does not LOVE doing science – I would say STAY AWAY from this field. If your goal is to make lots of money (and lets be honest, to some extent this is a goal for all of us) then many other fields are far easier to get in to, with loads less stress and more job security.

    So for this reason it would be easy for me to say to Dino, cops should not make that much money… because it would console me about my own career choices… but the truth is that cops have made excellent career choices all things considered. I enjoy doing science, and there is a certain amount of notoriety that comes with being entrusted with multi-million dollar labs and budgets, but I made a poor career decision if money was my goal. But because I love science, and I am blessed enough to make a salary that can support a family I will stay right where I am.

  264. TXOilFieldWorker says:

    I did not read all the posts but I did not see the gas and energy field represented here. I fell 6 hours short of completing college but I have made 100k plus for four years now working sales in the energy field. It is not uncommon for people in my industry to break the 100K marker, but it does take the willingness to work around the clock. I live in Texas wear 100k goes a long way.

  265. I know we do make a very good salary. However, it’s only in Ca, mostly the Bay Area where officers can make this much. Most other states are much lower in the 30-60K range such as New Orleans PD in LA. (but the cost of living is low also) Those states are in financial debt as well, so I know it’s not CA officers sucking all the cash from the state, it’s obviously another reason.

    I am very happy with my career and 150K salary (with ovetime) I really do enjoy the job and went to a 4-year college for it as well. But honestly, if i was being paid only 80K a year, I would still do the job and enjoy it. It seems as people are angry because of my salary. Whether people think I deserve it or not, it doesn’t matter to me, i’m just glad I still have a job. When I first started in 2000, the starting salary was 45K.(without overtime) I didn’t take the job for the money. Our salary sky rocketed since the dot-com era came.

    We also are forced to contribute 7.5% of our salary to retirement.. So if I made 150K, i really only made like approx. 139K..

    I agree with Scientist as he said we made great career choices. The careers we choose whether it is a police officer, lawyer, engineer, or scientist are careers that are open to anyone.

  266. I make 120K working 2 jobs and I hate it. I remember taking on the second job just so I can get over the 100K barrier :) I wish I hadnt, because now I have subsequently taken on a lot of unnecessary expenses. Whats worse ! I just got hit with owing the IRS 12K, because my respective jobs report such a low income. This 100K allure for me has been a nightmare.

    Anyone out there have any good tax advice?

  267. Edward L says:

    I am sorry, but I gotta laugh whenever I see the commercial for The Ladders. I am from the rural midwest, and around here, there just isn’t any such thing as “$100k+ talent”. The only way somebody should be paid that much would be if they put in a lot of overtime, or worked at more than one job.

  268. Edward L says:

    The state of Illinois is going bankrupt trying to pay unbelievably exorbitant salaries and pensions of teachers, state police, and other state employees. Some teachers in Illinois make $300k-$400k or more in salaries or in pensions nearly that large. Some Illinois state police have salaries in excess of $100k or receive upwards of $80k as pensions. And they can retire as early as 52 yrs old. Naturally, this is unsustainable. It’s insane to expect the taxpayers to be able (or willing) to fund this madness, and they won’t much longer.

  269. Unfortuately it’s not the state or city emplyees making the state broke, it was the housing market that did it. Until then, the state and city had not problem paying their salaries. So because of the housing market, should we slash all state and city employees salaries, but keep everyone elses the same? Sorry, but that’s not fair and state and city employees are losing their jobs as fast as private and commercial businesses are. Some city and state employees are still making over 100k, but so are other private and commercial businesses. We are all in this together, and everyone likes to point fingers at each other. The truth is that many people are jealous and think “if I’m are not getting a piece of the pie, then it’s not fair.”

    100k here and 100k there is nothiing compared to the money USA spent and still spending on the war in Iraq. . What is it like 100 million a month or?? Talk about waste of money! and still wasting!

  270. callingbs says:

    You MUST work for the city somehow or have an interest there…If you are going to claim that the job loss rate of city employees matches that of the general public – you are a moron.

    The cities can’t pay their salaries now because they no longer have the tax base to collect from.

    The tax base is gone because the public can’t pay taxes – because THEY are unemployed — NOT the city employees.

    Millions of Americans have lost jobs, and then, when they do get a job again – most of them will take a big pay cut because the market controls that. Where’s the big pay cut for all the CITY employees?

    AMEN on the War though.

    I make 120k salary and about 30k more on investments.
    High level Engineer and Sales Support.

  271. Edward L says:

    Bill,
    Yes, it was not the state employees themselves that broke the state of Illinois. Actually, it was the state legislators who passed measures that gave the state employees their exorbitant salaries and pensions that have played a major role in breaking the state of Illinois. The Illinois state pension funds have been underfunded for years, long before the housing market problems occurred. The current recession and high unemployment exacerbated the problem, but it had been building for quite some time. Currently, the total amount of unfunded (but promised) state pensions in Illinois is $80 billion. For the federal govt, $80 billion is not very much money, but for a single state, it is huge, even though the shortfall itself will be spread out over years. Total Illinois state revenue for 2010 was $27 billion.
    The Illinois state legislature passed a bill to “reform” the state pension system on March 25, 2010, but it will not help very much. It only affects future hires, since the Illinois state constitution forbids any law that would reduce the pension of any current state employees. I did not mean to imply that the problem has been caused by just a few individuals getting large pensions. Lots and lots of state employees already receive or have gotten promises of large pensions, otherwise the state’s pensions would not be underfunded to the tune of $80 billion.

  272. callingbs,

    it’s impossible for the numer of city, county, and state employee to match the number of lay offs as the public. If you knew any math at all then you would know that the percentage (per capita) is about the same. There are MANY more people in the general public than local govt., therefore if 10% of the Govt. jobs were cut (lets just say 100,000) in one state, then that would equal to about 1,000,000 other jobs in the state.. Maybe you misunderstood me, but the percentage is roughly the same as lay offs and job cuts around.

    I do work in the public sector making over 145K a year. I fee like I deserve the money I gain and no one can take it away from me. I’m sure everyone else that is still employed by any govt. job will feel te same. If the city, County, state can’t afford our salaries then they will borrow the money from the federal funds..

  273. Edward L says:

    Bill,

    I have probably been guilty of over-exagerating the number of Illinois state workers earning exorbitant salaries or pensions. For example, the average teacher’s pension in Illinois is only about $20k/yr.
    For years though, Illinois state legislatures have knowingly chosen to underfund the state pensions, and spend the money elsewhere. And now, the amount of underfunding has risen to crisis proportions.

    But, when you say that you are working in the public sector, and no one can take it away from you, unless you live in Illinois you may be mistaken. According to what I have been reading, Illinois is the only state which does not allow the reduction of benefits promised to current employees or retirees. In the other 49 states, what is there to stop the state from passing a reform law that reduces state workers’ salaries or pension benefits? In the private sector, companies have long been able to drop or reduce pension benefits, and reduce salaries, as they see fit. And of course, you could always be laid off or fired from your public job.

  274. 28 years old. Dentist associate. $240k in a small town in Canada. I went to a Canadian school so tuition is much less. The owner of the dental office makes 500k+, I am planning to buy it and take it over as they are retiring. An average home is anywhere from 100-200k. My wife has no post secondary education, part owner of a nail salon and spa, the business makes 200k cash a year at least… Very little overhead. I had around 100k tuition to pay off including college and dental school..8 years of schooling….I’d rather sacrifice the glamor of the big city and make more money. After working 1 year I was pretty much able to have no debt with my wife’s help. Put away a five figure amount in retirement savings funds (I am Canadian) already. I save where I can, only luxury is a brand new BMW i got myself for finishing school. My cost of living is like no more than $4000 a month, including mortgage, car payments, gym memberships, food and bills.

    Small towns though lack the big city allure, allows me to be able to afford to go on vacation to such places and really spend. I work 4.5 days a week, 8 hours a day. Wife works about 5 days but the business is open 7 days a week.

  275. Edward L says:

    With so many people unemployed, and no improvement in sight, states like Illinois may end up with insufficient money to pay for vital services. The public schools may become even more woefully unfunded than they already are.
    Yet no matter how bad things may ever become, the bloated salaries and pensions (100K+) that many state employees are “entitled” to will remain intact and even sacrosanct. And more public sector employees will come to this website and gloat about how easy it was for them to earn their “much-deserved” 100k+ salaries.

  276. Edward L,

    if you are so worried about the state’s insufficient money, maybe you should donate half your salary to the state and help out??? Don’t sit there and talk about how much the state is wasting on our salaries, if you think the public sector’s salaries should be cut or have more lay off, the YOU or anyone else working in the private sector shoud donate a portion of their salary!! don’t you think it’s fair?

  277. Bill has a point.

    Everyone likes to point fingers at others, but would not give or donate a portion of their salary to help out the states. Others want the public sectors salaries cut, but don’t want their own cut.. Should Bill take a pay cut just because the state needs money? But it’s ok for others to keep their big salaries? If Bill takes a pay cut then so should all..Look at the dentist above, does he sound like he’s going to donate any of his money? I’m happy for the guy and who ever else makes it good in life wheather public or private sector..
    Just because the state legislators made bad financial decisions (as Edward L stated) then it’s ok for ALL public sector employees to suffer.. I don’t think so.

  278. Bill and Fred,

    I do not have a salary to donate. I’m retired, living off my 401k and other savings.
    Public sector salaries are just that — they come from the taxes paid by the general public, and the amount of their salaries (and pensions) are affected by a lot of pressure on the legislators from powerful lobbying groups. Private sector salaries are paid by companies, who set them based on the prevailing market. But of course you know that.
    I guess somebody needs to explain to me why it would be “unfair” if the state were to cut public sector salaries, but private sector salaries were not cut. I don’t see why you are trying to connect the two things.
    Just because the state legislatures made bad financial decisions does not mean that they should never be able to correct those decisions. I would point out that they made those bad decisions with other peoples’ money, not their own.
    Anyway, I just wanted to point out that someday soon the Illinois state money spigot may dry up even more than it is now, and the state will only be able to pay for things that are absolutely vital. In such a scenario, it seems fair to me that the state should not rule out cutting state pensions or salaries, even if that means the difficult task of changing the state constitution.

  279. Bill and Fred,

    About the donation idea… I have in fact already donated lots of money to help out the state over the years. It’s called taxes. Sorry, too late, somebody already thought of your idea.

  280. Edward L,

    Yes, news flash, I pay taxes too, probably more than you ever did. You can’t be that ignorant to think the public sector doesn’t pay taxes? maybe you are getting too old and your memory is going out. i’m only 34 making over 145k a year, living the dream, and loving every second of it. Don’t really care what you think because there is nothing you can do about the situation. Oh by the way you probably will hate this even more, but my pension with the county is 90%.. so if i retire now, (if i was 55) then i would get 130K a year for the rest of my life for doing nothing at all.. And one more thing… i am getting a 4% raise on July 1st.. It’s a contact with the county so it cannot be turned down.. So my salary will raise to over 150K..

  281. Edward L says:

    Bill,

    Okay, I’ll try to remain civil and not insult you. I am sorry you got mad because I criticized examples of huge public sector compensation.
    I paid taxes at a relatively high rate all my life because I am single.
    Sadly, alzheimers disease does run in my family, but where did I ever state that public sector employees don’t pay taxes too? Aren’t you also part of the GENERAL PUBLIC that I mentioned?
    Brag or gloat about your exorbitant salary while you can, and rub my face in it if you wish. But, one day the open money spigot may run dry or be turned off, but not by my little old lonesome self, but by others. That was the main point I was trying to make. Your public sector salary and pension is one of the prime examples of abuse that I have been referring to.

  282. Edward L says:

    If Illinois does indeed go into bankruptcy, it may be the only situation when the pensions can be cut because a federal judge will come in and decide what bills can be paid and what can’t, and historically pensions haven’t done well in that situation.

  283. I’am a neurosurgeon, i work 50h/week, and i make a seven figure salary :) and i have a life

  284. I’ll share my wife’s story. She is a corp HR benefit director. She has no degree, but does have 20+ years in HR. I on the other hand have a B.S. and no experience in anything other then job hopping. I am currently unemployed and she continues to enjoy promotions, company changes and bonus’. We met in our late 20′s, me with lots of ambition and no skills, her with no ambition and tons of skills. I sort of made a hobby out of directing her career. Like many wife’s often do for their husbands careers, I put my efforts into my wife’s career. I was the one who counseled her on when to take steps, when to push back and when to walk away.

    The defining attribute for my wife’s career is ambition. Never give up, never settle and never undervalue your skill set. She makes 140k with countless other benefits.

  285. Larry W says:

    Wow, I never realized how much money cops in Illlinois rake in in salaries and pensions. Unbelievable! The next time I receive a phone call from someone soliciting donations for the Illinois State Police, I’m gonna mention that I know they make at least twice as much money as I ever did, so why can’t they donate some money to me? They won’t like that question, but I don’t care.

  286. I work for the city and Yes, never donate money to organizations for the Police Sheriff. It is a SCAM! police and sheriff agencies will NEVER call you askiing for money.

  287. The other day the cops were giving me a hard time again (as usual), but at the end we started having a conversation. They said, at least in Los Angeles, due to budget cuts, they made an agreement with the city, so they don’t get overtime any more. It doesn’t matter how much they work, there’s no more over time. They said other cities will follow soon… Any way, I changed jobs. I’m still a Systems Engineer, but I got a little salary bump, making around $130k.

  288. Larry W says:

    Cops. They are never around when you need them, and if you do call them, they are likely to ticket you. And if it’s a domestic dispute, my family has observed the cops taking the (false) word of the woman and arresting my brother, without ever investigating to verify the truthiness of her story. Investigating — you know, like questioning witnesses to a supposed “altercation”. From what I have seen in my lifetime, cops are not worth their big salaries, certainly not worth $100K/yr.

  289. Geraldo says:

    I know some police officers that are certainly worth over 100K per yr. The problem is, if the current economic environment continues, soon, there is simply not going to be the ability of state and local governments to dole out as much money as has been promised to them. It doesn’t matter if the money has been promised to them or not, something has to give, and it will. And the taxpayers are never going to go along with a federal bailout to help the states pay sky-high salaries and pensions that are several times what the average private-sector joe gets.

  290. Mike Age 26 says:

    I’m 26 and make 125k a year. I’m in the telecomm industry. A salary of 80k and an aggressive commission and bonus structure. I can live off of 60k and sock away the rest year in and year out. Of course, I’m single so that helps in the saving as well.

  291. I am a small business owner. I own a landscape construction company in Dallas, TX for the past 15 years and make around 175k to around 250k depending on my sales for the year. I have 26 employess and work hard to keep everyone busy. The key for me has been running a business with zero debt. My company has been debt free over the past 3 years and has helped me keep my salary up while sales have declined some recently. I do have to work a lot of hours still around 50 per week. Now that I have kids I am working less often. Not long ago I was working 70 to 80 hours a week and had to sacrifice alot to get where I am today.

    I primarily coordinate operations and do a majority of the landscape design work which I enjoy alot. The funny thing is that I went to school and got a bs and a year and half of graduate scholl which I will never use.

  292. Scientist says:

    I am happy to report I was promoted and now earn $105K base pay as a staff scientist at national lab. Not too shabby for 27 years old in this economy.

    On the flip side, I have just found out I have high blood pressure… :-/

  293. Have a base pay of 100k doing sales at 29 in import/export ocean shipping sales….my commissions made by building a book of biz that is growing 20k commissions per year. I should be at $200k (base + commission) by next year. I will probably sit on my book of biz and maintain when I get to $500k yearly at age 40. All this wile working from home, 30 hours a week, luxury car paid, gas paid, just entertaining and having fun without the headache or responsibility of owning a business. Only one industry has been around longer, that’s prostitution. Top sales in this industry make 7 figures plus. So I agree sales in an industry that brings in residuals is the best.

  294. Am 33 years old…didn’t finish high school.

    Got into I.T at 18 by luck doing mainframe operations. Worked hard, studied and training myself. Made 1st 100k/yr salary at 24, age 26 & 27 I earned $240k/yr (and I admit this was partly luck, timing and hard work), at 28 was back down to 100k, 29-32 was 160k before all the IT work went to India and China.

    Now a Project Manager making 90k + bonus + small P.T job, totalling $115k/yr with more pressure and responsibility and no job satisfaction! Reasonably happy since I’ve been earning atleast 100k/yr for the last decade but $200k/yr would make me feel special again!

    100k is still a good salary but not brilliant.

  295. Small business owner in medical device industry. At end of second year in business made a profit distribution among 2 partners gross $130 k per partner. By 4th year $300k + / partner. Keep in mind, a medium sized portion of yearly revenue was kept as retained earnings. Also, keep in mind, for the first year only one partner took a salary….at a humble 35k/yr.

  296. Mick?? are the numbers your talking about all pure profit? or the total from the business? How much is total profit? after paying for insurance, emplyees, utilities, lease or structure, etc..?? very curious.. thanks

    David

  297. oil & gas engineer says:

    Exploration and production entry level engineer with the world’s largest oil company. 92000$ starting salary + 401k + pension plan (unfortunately no bonus) and plenty of opportunities to grow.

    I have a chemical engineering B.S. degree. My fellow petroleum engineers got offered 105-115k starting salary with the same company.

  298. oil & gas engineer says:

    entry level fresh out of college B.S. chemical engineer at world’s largest oil & gas company, 92k + 401k + company pension plan, and plenty of opportunities and room to grow. Live in texas, where 92k goes a long way

    petroleum engineer friends got offered 105-115k with same company.

  299. This site depresses the hell out of me. I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science in 2005 (I’m 28 now and in NJ) and I currently make 65k, doing production support. I’ve never been able to find software dev work or anything else beyond tech support, so this is the most I’ve made so far. The funny thing was I was making 20/hr as a contractor before the company I work with brought me on full time and I thought that was a huge jump in salary. However, due to the insane cost of living in NJ and that almost every college grad in field around my age is making at least 10+20k more than I am, I am not where I should be.

    I guess it is better than being unemployed.

  300. I agree with Mike, this site also depresses the hell out of me! I am an optometrist (2009 grad) with 170K in student loans making 85K/year living 2 hours away from LA (had to move to find the job, LA and other desirable cities are unbelievable saturated with optometrists!). I could make 100K if I worked on Saturdays but I already tried working 6 days a week before (during residency) and it is not worth the stress. My 1 year residency was for further specialization at the VA hospital, you don’t need to do it but it helps make you a more competitive candidate. There are too many optometrists nowadays and they continue to start new schools because everyone wants a peice of the unbelievably expensive tuition! I am 27 and will be slave to my student loans for the next 15-20 years, and then after that will continue to be a slave to the greedy insurance companies who keep decreasing the cost of my professional services. If you don’t want to deal with insurance and be employed by a corporate giant such as Lenscrafters, you can expect to ‘churn out’ 4 patients every hour while opticians and optical staff are breathing down your neck to hurry up. I hope to eventually own my own practice, but managed care and greedy corporations (ahemm!!! Luxottica!) are threatening to cut out private practice optometry as we speak. I can only hope for the best for my patients and for health care providers like myslef who work so hard trying to provide excellent care despite all obstacles.

    “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.” – Winston Churchill

  301. I live in Toronto. I turned 23 a few months ago, and had an offer of 85K as soon as I graduated from my masters in financial engineering. I started working for a smallish but very prestigious consulting firm. Last week, I was headhunted by another much more well known firm that needed a consultant with my skillset. I told them I didn’t want to leave my current firm so early, and they kept asking me to give them a number. My plan was to give them a number so ridiculous that they would just pass on me. I said I wanted 120K base, and 4 weeks of vacation and 100% dental, medical etc. To my utter surprise, they agreed, and I just signed the offer yesterday. With bonus, I’ll probably make about 140K this year, which is pretty great for a 23 year old.

    My point is, the easiest way to make over 100K is to get a very specialized and marketable skill, and get the attention of competing firms. I was contacted through LinkedIn, which is a great networking tool. Keep your profile and experience up to date on that.

  302. I’m a logistics frieght Broker. I Live in the Minneapolis area and pull in 100K. I’m 27 years old.

    Started off making 40K, but with hard work and hustle I’ve made it to my goal. If you’re good at sales and leading people, this is a great industry.

  303. I will speak about tech/software .If you are good in what you do you and enjoy it at the same time then you can make a killing . Top 10% of software and IT guys make more than most doctors and pull big bucks like surgeons

    I have a BS in CS . I change jobs every 2 yrs and crossed 200k by age 32 . Now at 34 ,make around 350k working in the financial industry + 5 weeks of vacation + top tier benefits on the east coast working reasonable 50 hr weeks. I am a type A personality and my goal is to hit 500k in 2 yrs and a million by age 40 . My doctors friends are envious of me :) . Many of my friends are doing consulting in IT pulling 200-300k easy working 40-50 hrs on the west coast . Many top engineers work for decent 6 figrue salaries but they get ton of stock working for startups like facebook , twitter ,linkedin etc . IPO is imminent for some of these companies and you know what that means.

  304. All you ungrateful people complaining 100k is less than what it used to be, please look around you. Look around to the many number of people who is still making much less money than 100k and have to support number of family. If stay appreciative of what you got, you will see the your success and realize you are the top 5% of the population. I graduated with accounting degree at the age of 32 and have not found a job for over a year. If the wife wasn’t a nurse, I would have been out on the street. Though, I remain appreciative……

    Peace

  305. The trucking industry is another sector where people constantly make more than 6 figures. I have plenty of relatives that drive tractor trailers and they earn over $100k/yr and some over $150k. You don’t need a higher education, and many cases the training is free if you stay with a particular company for a few years. They offer signing bonuses to those with plenty of experience. However, most of the drivers that do make over 6 figures are owner operators, in which they own their trucks. You simply need to be in good health, have a decent driving record, and don’t have a problem being on the road constantly. Some have schedules where they work 4 or 5 days straight and then take a few days off, and others come home every night. It all depends on what you want to do. Those driving longer distances make the most.

  306. Oh I forgot to say that starting out as a truck driver you can expect to make between $30 – $35/ yr and then after a few years can reach $100k.

  307. I had 5+ years of restaurant experience. Serving, bar tending, and managing.
    I opened a small bar / restaurant with about 40K in savings.
    Net income first year was 90K. Now 4 years later net income
    is over 200K a year. I work 2-3 hours a day more or less if needed. Place just runs its self.
    Education: I dropped out of high school went back and
    got GED and did a few years of community college. I’m in my mid 30′s
    now.

  308. Doctor…29 years old. Finished Residency this year will make about 210k this year (FY2010), likely about 270-330k in FY2011.

    Have no savings, don’t own a house, dont own a car. 401k has about 20k. have $220k student debt at average rate 4%.

  309. Alex!! I was thinking of opening up a small restaurant or taco/burrito place.. what kind of place did you open up and do you have any sugestions?? thanks

  310. I’m 22 working as a shotgirl on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I get a small commission for every 40 shots I sell, but most of the money comes from tips. I average between $300-500+ IN CASH each night. Drinking on the job is not only allowed, it’s encouraged and helps sell more shots.

    Education: none
    Other requirements: breasts.

  311. Sharon, being attractive, young with a nice bod and breasts certainly does pay!

    I knew a girl who worked as a server in a high end bar and she made $100k a year including tips.

    Anyway – me:

    Age:34

    Age made 1st 100k: 24 (including overtime and bonus)

    Industry: I.T (in banking)

    Education: College – completed 2 year program but learnt nothing.
    Numerous industry certifications.

    Situation now: Work 70 hours a week as a self employed I.T consultant/Project Manager and make $160k per year.
    Have made over $100k per year now or 10 successive years. Not bad for me.

    Other: Income is pretty good, live in a major city in the north east (not NYC). Not much of a life other than work and that is the price to pay sometimes if you want to earn a decent buck.

  312. Dave,
    I opened a small taco/burrito joint with good margaritas
    and tequila selection.
    Suggestions: Get experience in the bar/restaurant industry
    first. Manage a place for someone that knows what they are doing.
    Start small, sell a good product at a fair price that will appeal to a lot
    of people.
    My place seats less than 50 people and we do over 1 million
    a year gross. Nothing over $10 on the menu.
    Good Luck!

  313. I work in the oilfield I travel to Africa for 28 days I have 3 children and a wife that I only get to see 5 months out of a year.
    I make way over 100k, however when my kids ask me why I cant be there for there birthdays, Christmas, Halloween etc… I often ask myself is it all worth it.
    I hold a GED no college experience started from ground up
    I am currently looking to open a bar/food joint so I can be with my family more.
    So in short be happy with the life you have if you dontlike it change your path and take a risk if your young like me you can always bounce back.

    Regards
    Lorenzo

  314. Academic says:

    I second previous commentators on academia/science/tech being good fields to go into. I’m 27, got PhD C.S. from a top school, and I’m taking a 2 year postdoc doing research $100k base salary + 5k stock options. I went to a cheap state school on full scholarship, took some internships during PhD, now have $80k saved. Hours are generally 40-50 a week as a researcher, and flexible.

    One downside for tech is that the salary trajectory is fairly flat over a career, except if one is very good at politics games to make it to upper management (but management career is a gamble because middle management generally sucks). So my plan is to in spare time research/code some trading strategies or even do traditional investing to get some extra income. Or some other business venture. I suppose the flatness of the salary curve is why I’m being pushed into making a second business on the side, since unlike many academics I’m a bit entrepreneurial and money driven. Now 6 digit income is GREAT I’m not complaining, but what’s next? :-) My career doesn’t really offer me anywhere to go “up” to moneywise so my ambition finds its outlet…

    To everyone, I say do what you have PASSION for and are TALENTED at, and don’t worry about the money, it will come. I’m passionate about investing and science. If I had $1 or $10 million I’d still be passionate about both.

  315. Mechanic/ fabricator. High school dropout. 0$ in student loans, 6 months a year off, excellent retirement & health benifits, I get to do what I love, although sometimes it sucks like any job, 122k, last year, not counting the really well paying “side jobs”.

  316. doctor james says:

    Hi, my name is james and i am i Radiologist and i never thought about the money or even how much i would have to pay back but i have been a radiologist for 7 years now and its safe to say im bringing home about 550k a year now im in atlanta, and work long hours so its all in where you live and where you work! plus god gave me this job! thanks.

  317. 2nd Assistant Engineer says:

    My name is Nicholas and currently I make between 110,000 to 130,000 per year depending on the amount of days I work and I won’t turn 24 years old until November. I work as a 2nd Engineer for an offshore shipping company that has ships on the west coast. The work schedule is usually seven days a week working 10 to 14 hour days until my “hitch” is over. When I get to go home I usually have weeks sometimes months of vacation time. My education is a B.S in Marine Engineering Technology. The pay is for a starting 3rd Assistant straight out of school is between 90k to 110k per year.

  318. TenaciousInIT says:

    I am 33 and make 167,000 as an IT Architect. I have 14 years of experience, and started working part-time in IT while in college, making $10 an hour. I did not finish my BS degree until I was 28, as I starting working full time in IT and going to school part-time at the age of 21. I have worked my way up the career ladder, and made alot of sacrifices of my time to travel a long road to relative success. After finishing my BS degree at 28, I completed a Masters in Infosec by age 31. I am currently in a doctoral program, not because I need to or want to earn more money, but because I love me field and love challenges.

  319. All you people making over $100k a yr are overpaid, and your employers are fools. That is over $50 an hr. Nobody is really worth that, and we all know it.

  320. Unbelievable.

    I am a language teacher. The most I’ve made in my career was $57K/year, when I was working up north and getting paid a premium (isolation pay) for doing so.

    Last year, I made $37K. I taught 400+ francophone kids (basically the entire student body) from grades 1-6 English. I am trilingual (English, French, German).

    My days start at 7:30 am, and they never end before 4 pm. Then, I have an hour long commute and marking, planning and phone calls to make in the evenings, so I most definitely put in 50-60+ hours/week, including weekends.

    I would make considerably more across the Ottawa River, working in Ontario (currently I teach in Quebec) if the school boards were hiring, but they aren’t. In fact, many of my colleagues in Ontario have dropped out of teaching altogether due to lack of opportunities. Some are working part-time, others stayed home and started families.

    In contrast to the lack of jobs for teachers in Ontario, countries like the UK and Australia are desperate. If I were younger and single, I’d work overseas. Sometimes, if I am perfectly frank, I wish I could just up and go somewhere exciting and teach abroad.

    Alas, at this stage in my life, I have a husband, several pets and aging parents that need me, so my days of adventure are over. My friends are in the same boat. Most of them have mortgages, kids, husbands, parents and siblings that keep them rooted where they are, despite the dismal career options.

    If I could do it all over again, I would not go into education. The hours are long, the pay is insulting, the kids are becoming increasingly disrespectful, disengaged and intellectually lazy, and there is no parental support. Nowadays, teachers are seen as the enemy. It is sad.

    In my next life, I will not be a teacher.

  321. Pharmacist 23 yrs old. 124k/yr + 10k bonuses. Retail.

  322. I’m with Bud.
    It is simply not possible for one person to really produce 100K+ worth of services in a year. Period.
    But, the comments show that it is possible for foolish bosses to overpay some people like that.

  323. It will be interesting to hear what education, career and salary Bud and Lovely have.

  324. Guys, are you talking $100,000 or more, in US dollars per year?
    Not in some foreign currency, like Phillipino dollars?
    That’s incredible, if it turns out to be fact.

  325. Alex (update) says:

    Just a quick update from a small business owner. I’m just amazed at Bud, Lovely, and Kyle! . I think everyone should make over 100K a year, set your sights higher. I’m high school drop out made over 280K last year from one small
    >50 seat bar/restaurant. Opened a second location this spring and should net 350-400K next year. I work about 20 hours a week, always on call tho. Start a small business!

  326. I’m in law enforcement making 125k-150 k depending
    on overtime.. I realized 100k isn’t really that much.
    When i first broke the 100k barrier, I was living ok
    but not lavish.. I also have a $1300 child support payment
    so maybe that’s the reason.. But last year I made
    150k, which means I made 100k NET.. Now
    that was a nice amount of money and had
    plenty to save.. I think 150k gross and up is
    living the life, not so much $100k

    some above say 100k is too much?? Well there is
    no way they can pay everyone ONE type of salary.The economy
    will crumble as there will be no incentive to promote or do a better
    job.. There always will be a pay scale from the higher rank
    you are, the better pay You will receive.. Simple as that.

    Hey ALEX, owning a small besiness sounds good,
    what do you suggest? And a quick how to plan it and
    get started info would be appriciated

  327. I’ve been working since I was 13. I’m 22 now and already have back problems and joint pains. I work between 40-50 HARD hrs a week between 2 jobs. I don’t make 100k/yr.. Closer to 15k/yr (net).. Broke as a joke most days, living paycheck to paycheck for a while now. I don’t drink, do drugs, and to pass my time I usually read because it is cheap and keeps me sharp. I do have excellent credit though ;)

    I also have:
    a $1400 mortgage for another 28yrs (I rent it out and live in the basement)
    a $421 car payment for another 5.5years. (2011 nissan frontier)
    a $65,000 school loan at 8.7% interest, accruing as we speak, and I don’t graduate for another 7 months.

    My house is worth $215k.
    My car is worth $22k.

    Why can’t a 500k house be purchased by those w/ 100k income? Grow up and be an adult. It’s obvious there is a ridiculous appetite for needlessly lavish accessories. 10k a month should get anybody an entry level luxury brand vehicle of choice, a modest home, IRA accounts, and still yield sufficient reserves to spend when vacation time comes.

    I live my life working at the restaurant, and a part-time position loading supplies in a warehouse. Eating less than six $1-menu items from various fast food restaurants daily, and I rarely buy anything I like. Every day I wake up, however, and my mom/dad/brother/sister are still in my life, though not in my house, and the world still shows its beauty when I look for it.. If I made double what I make now, 30k/yr.. I would probably give my excess to my parents and help them retire, or save up for kids, should i ever have them. You people making $100k+ and not being happy, well, it’s not the money that’s keeping you feeling unsuccessful.

    Shame on you, Bud & Lovely, for belittling people’s worth. It’s not their problem your life didn’t turn out the way you wanted.
    And shame on you, Brian, for your passive attempt at belittling their characters by their profession and income. What an unnecessarily mean thing to say.

  328. I started a job in 2005 with a starting salary of $2536/month, and it was hard getting that job. I spent 3 months in an internship, then a couple of years later landed a contract temp position in the same job, which led to a full-time position. In that position I made a whopping $39,023.40 as an Environmental/Engineering Assistant II when I left. That’s after being promoted, earning a merit raise, and receiving a pay disparity raise (State Legislature felt non-executive and those under $90k were not getting fair pay). I quit that job to go help a family member and 2 1/2 years later returned to that same state agency to take on the same designation just different type of permit drafting for about $4k less (seems that pay disparity went out the window with a state budget short fall). I got promoted to an ES II for the second time and was making $38,146 a year (yes about $1k less than my highest pay before). After about a year and half I quit and decided to try real estate and working with a start up a land survey company. Both of those options are not really working. I guess I could be bitter as I’m now 33 years old and will be shifting my career again, but I actually find it exciting.

    I’m going to go ahead and get my real estate broker’s license for my own personal benefit when buying real estate. This will allow me to avoid the buy side commission and stop giving money to a broker when I do close a transaction or act as a consultant.

    My education is as follows: I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography – Resource and Environmental Studies from Texas State University and 27 hours in graduate coursework. I currently have about $109,000 in student loan debt (I went to a private university for a few years and no one helped me pay for school), but the debt doesn’t concern me. 1) Either I will increase my income level or 2) I will work in government or non-profit and due to the Income Based Repayment (IBR) program in 10 years any student loan debt I have remaining will be forgiven.

    I am now going to pursue a career in accounting. After carefully studying the employment arena I’m going to target a federal job (IRS) first then go private sector later and target one of the big four. I’ll be obtaining a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and follow up immediately with a Masters in Professional Accounting. All told that’ll cost me about 3 ½ years and set me back about $65k in education costs. I’m not worried though as I’ve seen federal auditor positions as low as $33k a year and as high as $125k+. I’ve also seen Asset Management positions with the federal government between $70k and $142k.

    The point is I know with my methodical dedication and persistence I will be earning what I want in due time. Especially now with a clearer understanding of what I am both willing to do and what I want to get in return I know this equates to within the next 5 to 7 years I’ll be in the $100k+ range.

    It really is all about dedication, persistence, luck, networking, and knowing what you want to accomplish. These are lessons I’ve learned in college, business, work, or from others. The most important concept I’ve taken away from all my experience is to remain positive, so I can think critically and clearly and move forward with a smile.

    Good luck to everyone and I hope you all have successful careers!

  329. wow, Georgia is a hard worker. I hope when you graduate that you will get the job you want to making over 100K. You are still very young, ( 22 years ) and have plenty of time to make your mark. I think every student out there is broke. I know I was then I was a student. Your lucky that you actually own a house at age 22!

  330. Wow I’m 15 and all this talk about 100k not being enough scares the bejesus out of me. I always thought 100k was great, but looking at it now it seems like nothing. What do I need to do to become financially secure? What degree will be the most beneficial, and which careers are the most rewarding.

    Why does life revolve around so much work…. Why can’t we have a 6 figure salary and live a life of luxury….

    Inflation’s a b**ch

  331. Wow, what a site. I am older than most posters on here. Never married teacher. Tracy, your post made me really think about the plight of teachers and why I too should post. I started with a BA $18K a year-1986. Three years later I got an M.S. and made. $24K granted that was some time ago BUT back then the avg US salary was $35k. Jump ahead- now I have a doctorate and make $72K as a teacher. I live in a lower cost of living area or, did until the last five years when the cost went 7% above the average. Still it is nowhere near other urban areas. The only thing I can say is that teachers work very hard with multitudes of kids all day. It is draining. What draws someone to it is the helping others aspect. Over time and now with the new laws from Obama, it is turning into something horrible. When the democratic senator from Mich first sponsored Kennedy’s IASA ’94 with the AYP and high stakes testing etc., that was the end of public education from the employment end. People always blame Bush for that but he only continued the ISA laws under NCLB as legislation in place demanded. Now Obama continues with Race to the Top that directly attacks the teacher. States desperate for money apply for the program but they have to change their laws respecting teaching turning it into a high turn-around profession. Think not? consider having 100% of your students having 80%+ on state testing and no more due process to protect you from a principal who just doesn’t like you. The goal is really to destroy Public ed and put in Charter schools. Teaching is not like working in the business world where you can go down the street and get another job. In most areas you have to move to work again and they ARE allowed to say whatever they want to prospective new employers when referenced. I am certainly glad that many of you here are young and make such salaries but remember that the amount you make does not set you above other people but in a position to help others in need. $100K is a good deal of money to be offered but in certain places the cost of living may eat up such abundance. NYC and SF come to mind just in housing alone. Subtract the income tax and a new figure emerges as well.

  332. I am a Chief Executive Nurse. I make over <$189,000 a year. Many people underestimate nursing careers. They say "they don't make a lot of money" I sure think over $100,000 is a lot of money. So I would start looking at a Nursing career. Thank you

  333. Georgia – I don’t give a rat’s ass about you or the 2 loser’s trying to say no one deserves 100k salary. My point about the latter 2 losers complaining is that everyone (bar a few with unlucky childhood circumstances – being abused, residing in 4th world type countries etc) has the opportunity to better their lives.

    Me – no family – orphan. Am fortunate enough to have had a free education and good people around me till 18 years old.

    Age: 34. 2011 earnings will be $260k appx. Working week = 60-70 hrs appx, have been in full time work since 18. I am in the I.T/Banking field. Became a liquid millionaire at 31.

    I work my ass off for it and I know not every Tom, Dick or Harry has the balls, intelligence, committment or will power to do the same. Then again, there are far more intelligent, brave and hard working people than me and I take my hat off to them.

  334. Brian – I never said that I think nobody deserves 100k, lol, where did you get that from? I think every good person deserves wealth. What I DID say, was that if an individual is making 100k/yr and isn’t happy, than I believe their issues can’t be overcome by an increase in yearly salary. I have a feeling you and I would get along. I like to work, and if I had the opportunity to work 60-70 hrs a week, I would, because I value making a living for myself as a responsible, hard-working American. When I graduate college I very likely will work that much! To make it clear, I simply think that people in America who have wealth and are unhappy are just consumed by consumption. There is NO way that I nor anybody else can effectively dictate what people deserve, but 100k/yr is a lot of money. If it isn’t, you are simply an ignorant person. Not a bad person, or doing anything wrong, just ignorant, and unaware that exorbitant amounts of wealth are not necessary for happiness. I would love to be a millionaire, and I think it will eventually happen, but rest assured when I have wealth and I’m still working, I won’t be complaining on the internet saying, “gee, I have/make so much money, but it just isn’t enough!”

  335. I make only 90K as an information security consultant with 8 years of experience. I am getting an MBA to get over into 100K – 150K within the next 5 years. I live in the Midwest and I am 26 years old.

  336. Technical Sales jobs can pay top dollar. My colleagues range from 150 – 250, we are in our early 40′s. Tip for students… major in a growing science, i studied Chemistry. After graduation take a low paying job at a major company. Work hard and learn EVERYTHING. After 5-8 years begin contacting smaller competitors. Ask for what you feel is a high salary and SELL yourself. You will be surprised. Small growing companies need the knowledge and customer relationships you hold. Make sure you generate $$$ for the new company or you could get milked. Last make sure the pay plan has a LARGE personal payment section. Don’t fall for the company generated bonus, in most cases you will be disappointed. You control the personal side and can only blame yourself for a low payout.

    Before going into sales make sure you are a LIKEABLE personality. People buy from people they like.

  337. In Illinois, mainly Chicago and outling suburbs. If you work for almost any city/state job after 10 years you could be making almost 100 grand…Chicago cop with over time 98,000 after 10 years. Teacher after 10 years 70,000 and summers off!!! Fireman making 90,000 plus after 10 years…Crazy that city/state workers are making so much…Best of all, retire after 25 years and receive 75% of your last 3 years income and guarenteed 3% a year increase. No wounder we have no money!!! How great is your 401k or IRA???

  338. Salesperson – The people who make the biggest money are those that combine knowledge about an specific area with great interpersonal skills.

    This is exactly what I do. I work in the insurance industry, specifically medical insurance and a targeted part of it at that. I will make over 200k this year. It has taken me 4 years to get to this point. The second year I crossed the 6 figure barrier. My top end is the sky to be honest. However I think I can hit over 300k in two years which will put me in the top 2% nationally. The thing about insurance is residual income from clients. That adds up over time and carries over year to year. So if you make 60k the first year which i did. I got residuals that equaled my first year plus my earnings for the second which was about the same. Figure that out and that is 120k the second year. Its a great business if you have the personal skills to do it.

  339. I am 28, and make 100k. It’s more than enough money. BUT – If you live in downtown NYC area, or anything like that you aren’t likely in the minority as much as you think.

    Where I live, it’s the minority, especially around my age. I know 3 people outside of my office that make that amount. People saying “you should have a lavish 500K house and a nice car at that salary, because you make a lot…” are being foolish. 500K house payment would be roughly a $3,500 mortgage. You should have a 200-300K house, and invest for the future. Drive something nice. Don’t stretch yourself.

    Another thing: I have already paid 25,000 in taxes, so remember that. That’s a chunk of money each month!

    You should have no problem saving money with that Salary. I have a 200,000 house, and a 30,000 car. If I wanted, I could save $1,500 easily. But with house projects and just being single having fun, it’s more like $750 – $1,000. If you make that money, you can save – period. You just have to adjust your lifestyle.

  340. Also – Money cannot buy happiness. It can buy things that make you happy.

    No matter how much you make, you’ll always want more. It’s unfortunately the American way!

  341. Security Engineer – Education Needed: Any of the following degrees – math, physics, computer engineering, computer science, MIS, information security.

    Practice at home on a lab – lab can consist of networking equipment or if you don’t have money then just focus on programming & scripting skills. Freelance or work as a Lackey for your local security organizations. After about 3-4 years of experience and presentations of various hacks. Companies will start looking for you. Your 3-4 years of experience can be attained during your school years if you are good. Starting pay is anywhere from 60K to 150K depending on the domain of security. Get some certs after school is finished like CISSP, CEH, CISA, GREM.. you can pull a ton of money in at a young age in this field since its soo needed right now. Later on (around after 10 years of experience) transition into project or IT management and get out of the weeds to sustain that pay (100K – 150K) without the continuous long study/hacking hours.

  342. Nuke operator…. no degree….. 130k – 150k for the last 5 years and going up. I love my job for what I do, not what I make but it does help… Liking your job and just being happy is far more important that being rich or not. I just got lucky and like what I do.

  343. Copywriter for a huge corporation. Between 120K-130K depending on the size of my bonus this year. Living in the SF bay area, it doesn’t feel like a lot, but definitely able to afford things more comfortably than I used to, including purchasing a home. I am 29 years old and achieved 6 figures at age 28.

  344. Ricky Blankenship says:

    All you guys have great jobs but im about to graduate highschool after some bad years lol but i really dont know what else to do besides go in the army so if any one have any suggestions on how i can get 100k please let me know????

  345. I’m a product machine operator, salaried at 65k a year, after I was pulling allmost 90k on my hourly rate ($20hr + averaging 30 overtime), I work 12 hours 6 days a week.
    Originally there were 2 of us, but I kept streesing the job can be done with 1 person, being much better than the other and a couple of screw ups on his side, was all I needed to be the sole worker. My hourly rate afterwards went from 15 to 20.
    TTjhen my bosses were a bit fed up with the truck driver, came in late, took too long ect… so I just steped in and I pretty much said: ” let me do it,I can take care of it”. So I leased out a truck, pay my own guy to drive it… after taxes, paying off my driver, gas and toll, I pocket 700 bucks a week.
    Last but my favorite, I own a multi house building, with 4 apartments inside. I recieve about 36k a year from it, but I get sooo much tax credit because of it… a little job here, a little job there, tax reembursment come tax season.

    I can honestly say, $100,000 does not go as far as I imagined… but beats making 30k a year thats for sure.

    Fortune favores the bold and the cunning people, don’t blink…

    Bachelors of art in modern history, Lehigh university
    24 yrs old
    Net income: $113,000
    Gross income $242,000

  346. 24 years old gross $250,000 a year as a shareholder in a service company that does work at a local oil refinery. Just high school. Don’t have to sacrifice personal life either. Only work 72 hour weeks during shutdown once per year.

  347. 32 year-old former teacher currently earning $100,000 at an entry-level oil & gas job. I am the only one on my 15-man crew with a four-year degree, but everyone makes $100-200,000/year regardles of whether they finished 7th grade.
    Love my company and amazing benefits program, but two-weeks on/ one week off is a hard schedule. Lorenzo, I have a wife, a 2 year-old, and a 10-month-old so I share your pain. My wife tells me my 2-year-old girl wakes up at night crying because she misses her daddy.
    This is not an ideal work situation by any stretch of the imagination, but it does allow me to pay off debt from a failed entreprenership and helps us get our feet on the ground.
    We live on 3,000/month in Alberta and use the remainder to pay debt. $16,000 left (all interest free though).
    In my humble opinion $100,000/year is not too high compensation for those of us who sacrifice unrecoverable time with family.

  348. 12 years with a fire rescue department here in South Florida. Will gross 106,000 this year. That’s with only 100 hours of overtime. Work hard….get compensated well. After 25 years of service get 80% of my salary with 3% COLA every year for life. The hard part is getting their with your sanity and health in good condition

  349. WorkedForMe says:

    ECommerce Web Engineer – Education: BS Computer Science. Most important was the ability to learn to do anything needed quickly and to be able to quickly troubleshoot any issue that could possibly arise. I obtained an extensive self education in html, css, .NET Framework, web services, jQuery, .NET AJAX, SQL Server, and a few other technologies after college. This along with the foresight to know when I was as far as I was going to go at a particular company and the knowledge that I had learned all I possibly could in my current role allowed me to move on and make multiple contacts. One worked out and I ended up being able to show my ability to streamline process which made the company more money and eventually (not long) made me more money. Remember the basics were education, continued learning, the ability to move on, and being very good at what you do.

  350. Ricky Blankenship says:

    Hey im graduating high school and i want to find a carrer in the oil company what kind of fields do i look for i aslo like what davar said he is doing but i dont have no idea where to find those kinda jobs any help please????

  351. Under 30. Graduated Wharton and am on med leave from HBS. I’m currently a Data Systems Architect at small boutique language services company in the San Diego area. Everything I know about SDLC, ETL and programming (Java, APEX, VB/VBA) methods is self-taught; no classes.

    With all three of my income streams — salary, NE house rentals, and capital gains — I’m pushed just above $170k last year with around 50-60 hrs/wk of overall work. I pay a management company to care for my properties and my uncle’s friend helps me manage my portfolio, so that allows me to focus more of my time, outside of work, on my family and enjoying life.

  352. corre lation says:

    Hey, I have a Masters in Finance from a top 15 school and did my Bachelors from a UC school here in California. I was making 83k at age 22, 100k at age 24, and now after completion of my Masters I am making $125k at age 27.
    The ironic thing is if you don’t love your job, no matter if you’re making 50k or 500k the money won’t make you happy.

    I recently accepted a job for $125k in Corp Finance at a Computer Hardware Company, which the majority of people would die for but to be honest I couldn’t land anything else after graduation (still not going to complain). However, my goal was to work at a Hedge Fund, Private Equity, or VC. Unfortunately, these firms are so elite that I can’t even crack them.

    I graduated high school at 16 and college at 20. My way out of the corporate ship is to master derivatives trading (credit spreads, straddles, strangles, etc). I have about 3-4 years of personal experience under my belt and I need about 2-3 years more to master the field. From there my goal is about 50% annual return of assets under mgmt. That would be about 3-5% a month.

  353. Hello All,

    I am 37yrs and I make >100k at 1 job as an Senior IT person and gross considerably more at my other endeavors. I work about 40hrs per week. My significant other also make >100k.

    My Gross Info is below:
    Business #1: 162k
    Business #2: 140K
    Rental: 117K
    Job: 124K
    Investments (Stocks, etc): 2-3k

    I am currently increasing my investments. You can make >100 with dedication, planning, working hard, and enjoying what you do. Slowly over time: somehow we become the 1%:) BTW – I work with a lot of 26yrs who make >100K who only have high school diplomas but studied a lot to be the best at what they do.

  354. I’m 28, with a 4 year BA and a 2 year degree. I’m a paralegal and make 55k. My husband is 27, is a commercial plumber and makes 135k. He started making six figures at the age of 25. We plan to pay off our house, get some rental properties lines up, only have 1 so far and then he will start his own plumbing business when he is around 35. I still can’t beleive how much he makes as a plumber, I went to school for so long and wish to make at least 80k. I should have went into investment banking :)

  355. oh and both of us never work over 40 hours a week. I work from home often. Husband is home by 4pm everyday, we always have weekends off. I guess not bad for the flex schedules.

  356. It seems fairly easy to make 100,000 if you work hard to learn a high-paying trade (such as plumbing, Oil and Gas, or IT).
    I’m curious how hard it would be to make 100,000 annually as your passive income.

  357. What are some of the better fields to get into with a decent pay off? Besides the medical field of course.

  358. Maddy, engineering or science based degrees would the be the best ones to go for at this point, in my opinion. If you have strong computer skills and a lot of math smarts, take a look into software engineering for some big $.

    Me: Finance undergrad (mid 1990′s) and an MBA (early 2000′s), though I really don’t use either degree in my current job. They did however help me get to where I’m at by showing initiative and smarts. Like someone mentioned above, learning knowledge about an specific area and combining that excellent interpersonal skills will get you a long way. I’m currently in corporate sales at a biotech company earning $130k base, plus usually around a 30% annual bonus on top of that. I love my job and the freedom it provides and actually even view it as “easy”.

  359. Melissa Kennebrew says:

    I was wondering how I missed this post, but I see it originated in 2007. I make six figures (as of 2011) and I am in Finance/Project Management. Got a Bachelors in Mathematics and a Specialized Masters in Business. I work 40-50 hours/week, but I also have the autonomy/flexibility to take casual lunches with coworkers or friends, and family is my #1 priority so I sometimes have to leave for extracurricular events for the kids. While I still have a ways to go in terms of building my financial future, we are well on our way to eradicating all debt and have a healthy emergency fund.

  360. Software Engineer at a large networking company. I came in via an acquisition, but have been over 100K/year since 2007. I don’t formal education in this field — I’m a college dropout.

    It’s better to be lucky than good, right? I happened to end up at a startup that was willing to give me an opportunity outside what I was hired to do and I’ve worked hard to prove that I deserved it.

  361. I’m 27 now and made my first 6 figures at 23 and have hit 140k this past year. I’m in sales, specifically payroll sales. But it is like anything else, sales can be whatever you make of it. There are more than I can count in my office that make 45-60k. I just hope I can sustain this type of living because I’m use to living with no less….

  362. I’m located it DC metro I broke the 6 figure mark at 25. BS and MS EE. I am 34 now and work as a SR Principle Engineer and currently push about 165k+ salary and bonus. 6 figures is quite easy to get to in a major area like this with a engineering degree. And you need it with things like 15k per kid per yr child care costs….and cheap houses costing 500k.

  363. My wife is a director with a hosptial group. I’m a director of multiple departments at a software company. Not including bonuses we are easily over 200. Add in rentals and bonuses we’re north of 300. Flipside i work 70 to 80 hours a week. I took 7 pto days last year. Wife’s environment is more relaxed with her doing 40 hour weeks. Is it worth it? For her. For me, not sure. Kind of like selling your soul…

  364. My daughter is a pharmacist and immediately out of pharmacy school last year (age 24) she started making $130k at a national chain drug store.

  365. 31 years old and made $142K during 2011 in mortgage industry (Loan Officer). It is a tough racket these days, but top producers still make good money. Off to a good start to 2012…shooting for $170K-$200K. Just as with any sales job the catch is that you are always on the hunt. I would trade for a $100K salary at a 9-5 any day. On the other hand the great thing about sales is the job security. You won’t meet a top producing sales person in most any field who is worried about their job.
    My degree is actually in education.

  366. Salary of $115k but bonus of 110K to put me near 225k yearly. I am a Director at an Energy company working mainly on business integration. Lot of work and even more travel. Definitely feel like the company’s prostitute by doing whatever they need for the right price. Downside is that the bonus is tied to not just my performance but company performance so even though I may have hit a homerun for the year, if there is no money to go around, my bonus takes a huge hit. Expecting less than half of the 110K for 2011 performance.

  367. Avoid working as a teacher/prof if you’re interested in $. Husband has PhD from top school in Biology (7 yrs grad school), but we opted not to pursue top U positions b/c they’re hell on families (demand insane workload: publish, bring in grants, teach – and they don’t compensate great to boot). He teaches at a CC and after 7 yrs is still working well above 40 hrs/wk during school year.

    Perks: He gets 3.5 months off a year, we live in a region we really like (and is affordable, on purpose). He also has autonomy and flexibility in his work, but the pay is still poor w/ no way it’d ever break 6 figures even if he took on overloads and summer classes. No pension here, but a decent 401k match and decent health care.

    It’s kind of amazing we have as good of education in this country as we do given how little we compensate people for the work. (We’re frugal, and I’ve worked in consulting for a decade, so we’re in good shape, but it was a really intentional decision to chose time and quality of life over money, and sometimes I wonder if we made the best choice. If we were both in consulting full time, we’d both have 6 figures.)

  368. I make 120K plus bonuses. I am an operations manager for a food business company. I am 35. If you want to retire early mind your own business. A good salary means a lot of responsability and usually no life. My goal is to work 5 more years and start my own business. I want to have three houses by then. I own two right now.
    Learn about investing and save money so when opportunities come you are ready.

    Money is not everything in life. If you want money it should be because you want to help people, or if you want to retire early should be because you want to use your time to help other people….

    Selfishness will stop you from reaching your destiny…..Life should be about helping others….

  369. Thank you Scott. I am considering a career in the IT field at the moment, but then again, I am only 15.

  370. I have no college degree, but I did attend a 900/hr(9month) Technical school in 1997. This tech program cost me a little under $10K, with financial aid and Sally Mae spreading the payments over 10 years. This will be my second year where my W2 shows my earnings at $100K+. I am a System Admin in the Central Massachusetts area. I have to say, I am a hard worker that has a knack to soak things up. I think with motivation being the main factor anyone can reach this goal. i grew up in public housing with my single mother working 3 jobs at times to support her 3 kids. I’m expecting to make close to $110K this year and proud of it. I wish the best for others shooting for this goal and if you stay motivated you’ll get there. Good Luck!

  371. Real Money Maker says:

    With the Great Depression, oh I mean Recession, in full swing and Ben Bernanke going crazy on the fiat printing press along with the ECB bailing Greece and all the Euro Paper Bombs countries, 100K is loosing purchasing power fast with the soon to come hyper inflation that is leading to the US Dollar eventually losing its world reserve status. OK, enough lecture… we all need to be creative and resourceful in making enough paper to pay the bills and to eventually buy real assets (Gold, Silver, Land, Property, Whiskey & Rum… to ease the pain).

    Job1: I’ve been doing IT Consulting for 12 years now and started at 68K, 12 years later in the same company I’m making 131K + bonuses.

    Job2: I also run my own business as a Corp and make additional income with Google Adsense running How To videos on Youtube and running a Resume and Job Ads site… add $100-300/monthly Vegas money. Google Adsense revenue works!!

    Job3: I also manage 2 rental properties that make me an extra $500/month after mortgage and taxes. Minimal work here as I have good tenants, at least for now.

    100K+ is not what it used to be since the dollar was born it has lost 95%+ of its value and continues its path to its true intrinsic value of $___( enter bad number here ). This blog, conceived pre-housing and Bernanke debt bubble may need to be re-titled to “Do You Make A SEVEN Figure Salary? Share Your Horror Stories Holding On To A Declining Dollar.”

  372. I make just over $150k a year but I’m almost 40 and live in the NYC metro area, so it’s really not that big a deal. Here’s the break down:

    I’m a Project Manager at an IT firm making $95k/yr before tax working 40 hours a week (9-5, Mon-Fri).

    I’m also a club and private event DJ working for myself and also through various non-exclusive agents, pulling in about $60k/yr working about 2-3 gigs per month at approx 6 hours per gig (including set-up, run of show and break-down) working mostly Friday and/or Saturday evenings.

    I also rent out my DJ gear when not DJing and also do ad-hoc commercial sound system installation projects averaging about 2 hours a week and pulling in about $20k per year just from this side business.

    Education: Bachelors in Telecoms Technology Management plus PMI and CTS certifications (industry specific, paid for by employer)

    Experience: Approx 10 years

    Family situation: Married with 3 kids, wife has a masters and works as a teacher pulling in about $75k per year. We live modestly and eat out about once a week, have a dedicated family day on Sundays and are paying for full-time child care during the week.

    We definitely don’t live lavishly (I take mass transit to work) but that allows us to put about $4,000 a month towards savings and about $500 per month towards my wife’s college loans. I have zero debt.

    As you can see, it’s all about what you do with what you make!

  373. OK, so I guess it’s more like $175k…

  374. Most recent update for me. Still traveling to Africa, still making well over 150k a year now due to promotions and raise’s. Im approaching the 200k mark rapidly should be there in the next 2 yrs. Look at this way, there are not many people who can be away from there familys for 1 month. Also be on a floating rig with 24hr operations working everyday for that month. Almost debt free, all my kids college is paid for. I have a 401k, and a roth IRA as does my wife. As for the bar I will be opening in 2013 finally. Will continue offshore work till my bar is stable.

  375. Justin T. says:

    27yrs old, $180k in 2011, $200k projected for 2012. Run my own business. No college education, no debt, two kids and a stay at home wife. $4k month in expenses the rest goes into gold/silver bullion. Your crazy to have a 401k/IRA/CD etc etc etc. in this economy. 1yr worth of living expenses in savings the rest in coins.

  376. Clayton U says:

    40 years old,Went to Denver,CO and landed a $120,640 job in IT. Had to run back to Phoenix,AZ cuz my 6month old son was badly sick and the new job is paying me only $73000.Both jobs were only 40 hours a week and no weekends.
    I think it has a lot to do with luck and timing.

  377. This web site is quite interesting. Im 26, Engineer with masters degree, work in oil and gas in Texas, relatively low cost of living, no state income tax. Make 90k base salary but with overtime and bonuses should make around 130k this year, many other perks. Frequently work 70+ hour weeks, very stressful environment, turnover rate is very high, travel a lot. 100k is definitely not what I dreamed it was when in college and the Executive track in this industry is really not worth the money… I guess it’s all relative to the way u want to live. My new goal: get phd or MBA + PE license, start a consulting firm and work for myself.

  378. I make over $500K/year – consultant to the white house over regulations in healthcare.

  379. @AIQ I am in the process of getting into the same business. How has business been? So to start you just contacted manufacturers and asked what they needed? Was it really that simple? Best of luck and continued success to everybody on here.

  380. The $100k mark is a very interesting amount of money in today’s economy. But my story is slightly different. I was earning $105k per year in 1992 at the age of 47 when I lost my position as a Senior Vice President at a major California bank resulting from a merger. Because I was “long in tooth”, it was extremely difficult to find a good paying job. I was very fortunate enough to compete for and land a professional civil service position. However, I started at less than half my old salary. Over an eighteen year period, I was able to build my salary back up to over $140k per year before I retired. What is amazing to me is that the $100k+ level in 1992 was just as illusive then as it is now to most people. By that I mean the amount of education plus effort it takes to earn that amount of money has not really changed. And quite frankly, the only thing that seems to cost more these days is buying a home. Unless people throw away their money, the cost of everything else has not changed that drastically. My best wishes to anyone who strives for and reaches this landmark salary.

  381. Update to my post from Feb…I was hoping for $200k….should finish at $300k plus this year in mortgage. Cyclical…but when times are good you can take advantage if you are willing to work.

  382. Lorenzo (Future Subsea Consultant) says:

    Well IM leaving my current company because the competitor offered a 100k more than my current employer. Still no degree, total yearly income for 2013 looks to be about 230k. Gotta love the oilfield lol 3 more years I will become a Subsea Consultant and should bring in about 500k to start. Life is good!!!!!

  383. How can I make a quick $1000 for college?

  384. 28 year old Medical Device sales rep…no degree… $280k 2012 in Philadelphia and another 80k on a patent I bought and sold from a client (surgeon). 2013 income will be at least $380k and estimated at $450k as I am being relocated to NYC. I am the #1 rep in the company. I have been making $150k-250k/yr since I graduated in 2007.

  385. Update since we’re approaching year end:

    Last year: 200k Appx
    This year: 200k Appx
    2013: Should be between 145k and 185k

    Me: Project Manager (IT) at 115k (including bonus) with a side consultancy business (Legacy IT systems).

    Age: 35

    Working fulltime since 18. $240k 2 times, $200k 2 times, $150k 3 times, $100k 5 times, $90k once, $60k 2 times, $30k once, $20k once. All includes overtime/side work and bonuses.

    Education: High school

  386. Police Sgt with overtime for 2012 plus rental income for two houses I own, made total $225,000.00 ..B.S. degree. I’m in my mid-30′s

  387. Somnolence says:

    Most I ever made was $17.50 an hour. I was terminated from a job nearly four years ago, but I’m really not sweating it and haven’t drawn a dime of unemployment. I am 59 years of age, and I have six figures in an ira, six figures in the bank. My wife, who is 64, draws a pension, continues to work, and like me, has her own account with six figures in the bank, six figures in pensions, and will soon be eligible for Medicare. The small house we own was paid off long ago, we drive older cars, 1997 and 2004 respectively, and live fairly simply. In this day of terrorism we have no desire anymore to travel abroad; would rather stay home, go to Texas or Florida. So believe it or not, life CAN be good for many with modest means.

  388. 28yrs old, $400k/year, medical device sales. 100% commission. No college degree. Started in 2008 making $100k steadily worked my way up to $400k+. Crazy thing is I still stress about money and don’t feel any better off then when I was making $100k. No debt but stressed.

  389. 39 years old, no degree. I am a Wireline Engineer (Oilfield Service), I avg. 24k a month. I dont take much time off (by choice), but this wont last for ever so I am riding this puppy out.

  390. Online Adult Advertising – Sales Director
    28yrs old, no college, been in professional sales since 18. Started in business level telecommunications. Sould earn 175k in 2013. Great job, get to travel the country and hit 4 European countries every summer. Conventions are good times with friends since its such a small industry.

    Downside. The Internet never sleeps and you deal with millions of clients dollars monthly. Lots of stress, long hours, have to stay up to work with people in Europe as well some times till 4 am then back in the office at 9. Totally worth it!

  391. I’ve been posting occasional updates here for about 4 years now. I’m an IT Security Developer now and last year made about $170k with full benefits and about 2 months of paid time off in total. The wife made about $155k (she’s a Hospital Director). I’m thinking of going into consulting and possibly making around 220k next year… I can’t wait till one day I come here and say we’ve crossed the 7 figure mark. It just seems so hard though. Are any of u making 7 figures? How did u get there?

  392. I am in awe at this site and particularly this post. I am 16 and exploring my future possibilities and everyone’s posts here have contributed greatly to my search. Thank you all for taking your time and providing comments, advice and updates on how your lives/careers are going. Best wishes to you all and hopefully I can post my own success story sometime in the future!

  393. Bill S. says:

    Sera,
    Do not believe everything you read here on the internet.
    And definitely, do not believe the incredible success stories of people discovering buried treasures using metal detectors.
    What a hoot!

  394. Bill S, I’ve been following and posting updates to this threat for over 4 years and I don’t remember seeing anyone claiming to have found buried treasures using metal detectors. What are you talking about? Almost everyone seems pretty credible to me.

  395. I’ve been around quite a while, and it’s been my experience that nearly everybody likes to lie about how much money they make. They are embarrassed by their real earnings. I have even done it myself. People making such fantastic amounts as reported on here are not credible to me. I worked in one of the fields mentioned here for 20 years, and neither I nor anybody I ever heard of made such great sums of money as many are saying on here. The buried treasure reference was just other example of where folks stretch the truth. I did not say that anybody on this website ever mentioned that particular fairy tale. What another hoot! And I wanted 16 year-old Sera to be know that real life is not such an easy-money success story as depicted on here.

  396. ZeroCool says:

    This will be my first 6 figure year at age 28. I started out in the IT field in 2006 as a support rep making 30k. Life has really opened up since then.

    * I landed a remote job as a support engineer for 65K per year.
    * Designed a website using one of those free web apps and they company the created the app offered me a remote job for 30k per year.

    Mean while when i landed these remote jobs of course i was working in an office making 55k per year as a Network Administrator. I told them i quit and would be working my new jobs from home. The company ended up needing me for 12 months and agreed to pay half of my salary. at age 28 bringing in a total of $125k (8300 per month) is simply breath taking.

    Note I’m no rocket scientist. I just work hard and it seemed to have really paid off. My family (girl friend & son 4yrs) and friends cannot believe my life. sometime cant either. Must admit the few month or 2 i went a little nuts shopping. but since then have gotten focused.

    Edu:
    –High school diploma
    – Technical trade school
    – Always had a gift for electronics and web technology

    Just wanted to share my story.

  397. I went from making between 70K – 100K/yr over about 10 years in the tech industry not including one buyout that net me a nice little profit of about 100K extra in one year.

    That’s nothing compared to my wife who is an artist though :). She started an art school for kids about 4.5 years ago in our apartment. We went from zero students to 90 students in about 1.5 years and she was grossing about 125k at that time. 2.5 yrs ago, we decided to open a real business location and now have about 350 students year round, 100 summer campers, and are busting at the seams in our tiny 1200 sqft space. This year, we should gross about 600K (net 300 or so). Things have been going so well, I left my job about 9 months ago and couldnt be happier. We’re about to sign a lease that will more than triple our space and grow our school to about 1.5 million gross annually in about 2-3 yrs by our best guestimate. So much for my comp sci degree from ucla :)

  398. Made $315k last year in mortgage. Should land around $370kish this year. Work like a dog and stress constantly but in a year I should be able to take it easy and make/work less. I am 100% commission and in a year would happily consider a position making $100k in a salary role.

  399. Is anyone on here into advertising? If so, is it a good industry to be in right now?

  400. $100k isn’t much these days. Most well educated people I know that have a STEM degree earned that before they reached 30. $200k is the new $100k.

  401. I’m a Master’s prepared RN, live in a low COL area and in my early 30′s.

    I will make approx 115k this year. Graduated undergrad with 10k in SL. Grad school was paid by my employer. I work 36 hrs/week (3 12 hr days) with 2 months of vacation time. Life is good. Have little kids and barely need daycare. :-)

  402. Hopefully I can get some career advice on here

    I’m 22 years old and have not gone to college or ever had a real job(unbelievable patient parents). I’ve tried college 2 times and left after a couple weeks, academically I would of been fine but I’ve suffered from social/general anxiety for years. I realize now I don’t even want to go to college but I’m not sure whats left for me now with no skills or job experience.

    I’ve been thinking about insurance or something with sales or opening some kind of small business with my dad.

    My goal is to be making 100k+ in 10 years but that might not be so much by then.

    College wasn’t for me but I know I am intelligent, just looking for some direction in life.

  403. athrowaway says:

    This will be my first year making $100k at age 29. Unlike many people that earn that amount I actually only work 40 hours per week. I sell networking equipment to businesses/schools etc. Last year I made $63k and the year before that $28k. It’s unreal bringing in this kind of money now and we haven’t upgraded our lifestyle at all and live in the same house, don’t buy excessively and it’s great b/c we don’t need to worry about money anymore.

  404. Ryan

    My advice is that you will need to make opportunities for yourself by networking etc (Perhaps take any old job to get your foot in the door….is better than sitting idle on your back side – if that’s what you’re doing) then jump on the opportunities and then keep going (ie, devote your life to work, continual studying of your profession and never turn down working over time).

    Till the age of 18, I was a dreamer…dreaming things would happen (as it if it were my destiny) but then realized the only person who can make things happen was myself.

    Ofcourse for any profession where it’s possible to make a decent buck you’re going to need some common sense, intelligence and show some maturity in your approach to life.

  405. 23 years old and doing webcam modeling with my wife for 2 years now. First year made 80K. Second year with a supplemental membership website and recruiting site to get new girls on our show we will top around 120K. We work about 10 hours or less a week. We have lots of freedom and pretty much do whatever, whenever. But obviously the more work we put in the better our business does. We have a feature in an HBO series on sex and technology coming out in January and our foot fetish site is launching this month. In 2014 I expect to make over 160K and all I do is have sex with my wife and do web work(:

  406. Austin Insurance Attorney says:

    You left out one group of 6 figure earners. Those involved in insurance fraud. Kidding.

    I agree with Brian. If you want to earn 6 figures it isn’t so much about the field you are in as your approach and dedication.

  407. Weld engineer consultant says:

    I work in automotive, mainly for the Big Three. I’m incharge of all the welds being put on their vehical’s. It’s a very skilled job. But a lot of overtime is nessasary. I work roughly 60 hours a week, but I make over 150k. I’m only 27.

Trackbacks

  1. Young-Manager » Entrepreneurship says:

    [...] This post from My Money Blog reminded me of another post from Startup Spark (click the image below).  Scroll to the “Small Business” section on My Money Blog, and compare that to the 10 points in the post I link to on Startup Spark. [...]

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