- In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. Theodore Roosevelt
Earn 6 Figures Per Year
Let’s start off with some basic necessities:
Desire. Your desire needs to be focused. Mr. Miyagi said it best to Daniel-san, “You Karate do “yes” or Karate do “no”, you Karate do “guess so” get squished like grape.”
Effort. Unfortunately for the lazy, you’re actually going to have to try hard at first. Maybe you’ll wake up earlier than everyone else. Maybe you’ll network like a mad person. Maybe you’ll stop making excuses? No effort, no results.
Knowledge. The more you educate yourself, the easier things will be. Lucky for you, you’re reading this post and likely other great financial publications as well. I spent the past 13 years working in finance, received my MBA from Berkeley, and love personal finance so you’re in good hands!
Optimism. Optimism is what will drive you to keep going when things turn sour. Optimism will make you do great things because you believe things will improve. If you have optimism, you will always find the right direction.
Personality. At the very minimum, it’s important to be nice. At the maximum, your charisma will make believers out of others. People will be drawn to you and naturally want to start helping you and doing business with you. Be nice, but also be respectful. There will be haters everywhere. Embrace them.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s explore the many possibilities of making over $100,000 at any age. I truly believe anybody who wants to make more can make more. This post isn’t meant to be controversial at all. But, as always, feel free to share your thoughts below.
HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE YEARS
It’s important not to be a donkey and get mediocre grades. If you’re just coasting with a “B” or worse, you’re going to end up going to a “B” college or worse. At your “B” college, if you are mediocre again, well then you are going to be stuck with mediocre opportunities.
Do you really think you’re going to be able to compete with the student who gets straight A’s in high school who then gets straight A’s at Columbia for the same jobs and opportunities post graduation? No, because as a rational employer, you’ll choose the straight A student over the B student 9 times out of 10 all else being equal.
Now that you are a terrific student, all you’ve got to do is identify industries that often pay six figures within 3 years out of school: Venture capital, investment banking, management/strategic consulting, high tech, internet. Go apply to the top five companies in each field. Here are some examples:
Venture Capital: Sequoia, Benchmark, Accel, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Kleiner Perkins.
Investment Banking: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Strategic Consulting: Bain, BCG, McKinsey, Monitor, Arthur D. Little, Booz Allen Hamilton, LEK, Oliver Wyman, A.T. Kearney.
Tech/Software: Apple, Oracle, Salesforce.com, Microsoft, HP.
Internet: Google, Facebook, eBay, Paypal, AirBnB, Dropbox, Quora, Uber.
IT Consulting/Accounting: KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers (takes longer to break $100,000, but a high certainty before 30 if you start out of undergrad)
Oil, Mining, Commodities Trading: Vitol Group, BHP Billington, Glencore International, Cargill Group, Koch Industries, Trafigura, Archer Daniels Midland Co, Gunvor International, Noble Group, Bunge, Phibro
Computer & Movie Animation: Pixar Studios (Toy Story), Weta (Lord Of The Rings), Blizzard (World of War Craft)
Engineering: Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering, Software engineering, Structural engineering. Engineers have the starting highest paid salaries around and can find jobs at many tech, internet, software, research, and construction companies.
Health Care: Doctors, Hospital Administrators, Specialists, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, etc.
Classical Music: The San Francisco Symphony’s median salary is $160,000. We know this because they went on strike on March 13, 2013 because they are underpaid by 5% compared to their LA and Chicago peers! 5% and they go on strike!
Police Officers and Firefighters: Cops and firefighters with a couple decades worth of experience regularly earn over six figures a year. Add on their well deserved lifelong pensions and you’ve got a recipe for financial success! Retired SF Chief of Police Heather Fong makes $200,000+ a year from her pension for example.
Big Government: Reach any top tier position in the Federal or State government and you will make six figures a year a long with a nice pension. In fact, there are more than 450,000 Federal employees making over $100,000 a year. Even prison guards make $150,000-$200,000+ with overtime by the way.
The Sharing Economy: I’ve spent the last four months in 2015 driving for Uber to see how much money you can make. My first month, I was average $28/hour. My second month, I averaged $35 / hour. Now, I’ve gotten the hourly rate up to $41 / hour gross. Although the annualized income is not $100,000 yet, it’s still about $80,000 a year if I were to drive for 40 hours a week at my current rate. If I were to average 50 hours a week, I could clear $100,000 and probably so could you after figuring out all your best routes. You can sign up to be an Uber driver here. Definitely drive until you get the driver bonus, which is up to $300, depending on where you are located after you give 10-20 rides.
So there we have it. Great grades, great schools, and working in particular industries will make you $100,000 a year in your 20s. This post names 30 firms who employ thousands combined and there are many more firms out there who pay just as well. The great thing is that if you stick it out at any of these firms for 10+ years, there’s a great chance you will be a millionaire in your 30s and multi-millionaire in your 40s.