I am a recent graduate from college of business with an MIS degree. I am very fortunate to say that my starting salary is 70k. I truly believe that I have the capability to have a six figure salary in my 20’s (currently 22). I loved this article and the comment section. Aside of what the article has mentioned any tips/advice from someone who can help me add an additional 50k to what I will be making? I’m sure that I will have a side hustle or start a small business while working my full-time job but I’m perfectly fine with that.

Determination and a positive attitude can bring so many rewards. A lot of people don’t need 100k to live comfortably or to be happy, especially if they don’t live in a big city, but I think it’s a great career goal for city dwellers. Getting good grades and going to a strong school are definitely a leg up to a big salary. If I’m interviewing someone and they didn’t write their GPA down on their resume I always ask what it was – if they had bad grades in school from goofing off and partying why should I believe they would be any different in the work place? I want to hire people that are responsible, driven, efficient, and performed well in college.
Too many newbies make this mistake. They think they can avoid ALL online business start-up time and expenses by joining an affiliate program and using the free site they get as their main site. It's a mistake. The best affiliates in EVERY program have their own website where they bring ALL their traffic first. From a "home base" like this you are free to make personal recommendations, promote a variety of programs and earn income other ways such as advertising or selling your own products and services. Growing your own site is a major key to growing serious long-term affiliate income.
“Ultimate” is right! Thank you for this thorough and thought-provoking post. I have yet to venture into affiliate marketing; I’m standing in the doorway, thinking of how to connect my interests and knowledge to an appropriate product. I feel I’ve read plenty to get me started once I have a product, but this is the hardest part, isn’t it? I have just subscribed to Blog Tyrant and will continue to follow Viper Chill — I just want to put all this information to work, and soon!
By the way, your blog convinced me to more than max out all my retirement plans and then some. I naively neglected my savings during my early/mid 20s as I pursued more adventurous(low paying) work in Europe and took out loans for an MBA. I envy your ability to live and work from beautiful Switzerland. I hope that I too can establish myself in such a way to split my time between Chicago and S. America (where my wife is from).

The main problem I have with the 401k is that the investment options suck. All the mutual funds (including target date funds) have a high front load fee (4.25%-5.25%) and high expense ratio (0.9%-to-2.0%). With the ROTH I get the benefits of low-cost (0.05%-0.30%), no-load index funds. In some respects there is little difference between the after-tax dollars in a ROTH with no-load funds and pre-tax dollars in a fund that immediately siphon 4.25% out. Sure, I’m taking a upfront hit on the taxes with the ROTH. However, I am also going to be taking an upfront hit from the front load fees and a continual hit with the higher expense ratio in the 401k
[…] Money is basically made on the coasts with lots of it coming in from San Francisco, NYC, Boston and D.C. Therefore, it costs an arm and a leg to live around these metros. A median house in SF is going for around $1.1 Million, for example. It would be damn hard to make a living and reside in the SF Metro if one isn’t making $200,000 or more. […]
I guess this is what all those internet marketers meant by shiny object syndrome. If any of you fellow beginning internet marketers already have a beginning point (free and trustworthy source) but are looking around for something that will make you “quick money,” don’t give in to the temptation and just keep digging at what you’ve started. There will be a lot of temptations along the way, but do not give into them and just keep doing what you’re supposed to. Eventually you’ll make your money.
The standard route is to work in public accounting and then branch out. So, I wouldn’t consider the public accounting route to be typical, but within ten years you can expect an income to be closer to 200k or as high as 350k if you make partner. Making partner also requires a lot of buy into the partnership shares, so you can think of that as taking on a mortgage. I could get into more detail, but I hope that answers your question!
Hey, I’m also a subscriber of Nichehacks and was on the verge of buying this product due to the fact that I have trust in Stuart. So glad I came across this review first! I am already a member of WA so it sounds like this wouldn’t have taught me anything new. I am supposed at Stuart promoting this but I guess everyone has to make a living! Thanks for the review
You can start your own business or work two jobs. Making an online income seems particularly trendy nowadays. I started Financial Samurai back in 2009. Three years later, I was able to leave my investment banking job to work on this site full time. You never know what you might be able to do. At the very least, register your name online and build your brand.
Among White households, who remained near the national median, 18.3% had six figure incomes, while 28.9% had incomes exceeding $75,000.[31] The percentages of households with incomes exceeding $100,000 and $75,000 were far below the national medians for Hispanic and African American households.[33] Among Hispanic households, for example, only 9% had six figure incomes, and 17% had incomes exceeding $75,000.[34] The race gap remained when considering personal income. In 2005, roughly 11% of Asian Americans[35] and 7% of White individuals[36] had six figure incomes, compared to 2.6% among Hispanics[37] and 2.3% among African Americans.[38]
There are tons of free certifications that you can get that aren’t the “real deal” certifications like CCNA on the technical side or PMP on the functional side. But they are useful. They would be a great talking point for an interview. Maybe you took a Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing course (free), or learned how to use Salesforce (free on their trailhead training site).
While no one is asking us to starve (we’re not artists, for Pete’s sake), popular culture seems to support the notion that teachers can and should live on meager earnings. Take Matilda. You know, the Roald Dahl book you haven’t read since third grade. The teacher in the book who Matilda absolutely loves spends her days eating bread and butter because of her pittance of a salary. It’s a heartwarming tale of dedication.
So then I graduate… and my company offers to send me to any school in the country for my Master’s; pay my salary + the degree and then give me another raise when I graduate… So me being the person I am I applied to a bunch of top schools cause not like I was paying so another full ride (woot woot). So now I’m about to finish my Master’s this December at a top 10 program by the age of 23 and I expect my income and investments to net me probably 140k with a LOT of upward mobility. I live in a state much cheaper than cities like Houston/Dallas… so for sheer buying power I would say I am probably pulling 400k equivalent to someone in the Bay Area or NYC. So if you bust your ass you can crush it out there.
Remember: your audience is coming to you because they a) like you and/or b) find your content helpful/consider you an expert, or someone with more knowledge than them in a particular area that they’re interested in. They WANT to know what food, supplements, cleaning products, makeup, tech tools, knitting yarn, [enter your niche items here] you use… so don’t be afraid to share it with them!
Since I have used various affiliate programs and networks, it ‘s hard to offer an accurate report here, but I will use the report from my major affiliate program and calculate the earnings using that income.  I will also share with you the related network names, which will help you to identify some affiliate networks that can work for you. You can also check out my earlier posts on Affiliate Programs for the WordPress Niche which will offer you a great list of affiliate programs.
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For example, when mechanical engineers design parts of an airplane, the process can be tested and refined before production and sales. In the oilfield, companies are drilling up to 30,000 ft where the reservoir will never be seen by anyone. Yet, engineers must still construct models based on a few well points in the ground. Imagine filling in the entire map of San Francisco with just 4 known street intersections. This is why companies can spend $100 million on a single well and find nothing but rock and water.
Great article. I disagree with step 2. Do not choose Petroleum Engineering as a first degree. One can always do this for a masters degree instead. Best to choose mechanical engineering. The chance of ending up with a high paying job in the oil/oil service industry is the same with a mechanical engineering degree. Most of my professors in grad school in the Petroleum engineering department were mechanical engineers.
John loved the post (though petroleum is not all it’s cut out to be)… my buddy started at 125k + 25k signing in 2015. Was laid off 9 months later (got a 3 month severance). So he made 150k for 9 months worth of work but now he can’t find a job and he’s been looking about a year now… Electrical, Computer, and Chemical are very safe paths to quick bucks (assuming you have stellar grades – I graduated with a 3.9). Petroleum can have that boom, bust cycle that can screw the new guy! Not saying don’t go into it, just know the risks! And remember work your ass off – ADD VALUE to your company and make yourself INDISPENSIBLE so they won’t lay you off.

Just a quick note on the consulting firms you listed. Although the Big 3 are obvious to include in the list, I would certainly remove Booz Allen Hamilton, and even Arthur D. Little. Booz Allen is notorious for under-paying, especially when compared to much better firms. Booz Allen is also primarily a Federal contractor with very limited commercial work (granted their non-compete with Booz & Co. [now Strategy&] is over) – commercial strategy/ management consulting out-pays Federal counterparts.

In a recent post on blog hosting I decided to promote BlueHost as an affiliate as I had used them for years and felt comfortable talking about them to the hoards of readers asking me for recommendations. In the end I applied to the program through BlueHost itself and the stats, tracking and affiliate support offered has been much better as a result.
Personally, I don’t hate the job at the giant tech company, but it’s also something I don’t want to be doing for very long. Along with my wife, we’re taking the approach of living simply and saving ~70% of our income so we can walk away from it all financially independent in 5-10 years if we choose. If any of my side projects take off, we might be able to move onto a more digital-nomad type of location independent life even sooner than that.
In the classical music industry, teaching at school and orchestras are about the only jobs that pay living wage. Also, students (especially string instruments and piano) almost never get into top music schools if one starts after 10 years old. I started practicing my instrument when I was 5. You cannot decide in your high school years that you want to become a member of the SF Symphony, it’s too late.
Great post, I also liked your one on starting a fashion blog. Do you have a post on affiliate linking through social media? I’m pretty confused on whats acceptable, especially for Pinterest. It seems Shopstyle {Shopsense} and rewardStyle seem to work on Pinterest. I started my website on Weebly.. so I am making the oh-not-so-fun transition over to WordPress currently.
We are inflated with humans that hardly get the chance to a good upbringing let alone a good school system. The average wage in America is under $50,000 per family. Per family. Maybe you could actually help us and write a blog on how we unfortunate, 4.0 GPA or not, cant progress past a shitty system. These are the people that need financial help. Its the majority of America…..So, instead of taking your already privileged people in high school and making them richer, because if i could make 75000 a year i would be so grateful and fulfilled, as majority of us would, we would work harder for these companies than the average “privileged” kid…privileged i mean, good parents, good home life, decent teachers and help when needed……which is what America is so lacking, on paper we look great, so does my exhusband whom abused myself and my children for 7 years, maybe you could look at a bigger picture and help us. Help us and we will help you. You have the knowledge, take it to a lower level and help the less fortunate. We need it.
The only thing I will counter with is that there must be at least some interest in the field or grades and job performance will suffer. For my kids, who will be in college after we’ve all been hooked to the Matrix (unless we already have?) in 20 years, I’m going to highly recommend double majoring: one passion major and one practical. Double majors really are a great value and not always that time consuming if you’ve already eliminated pre reqs with APs.
Pradeep, in IT, there’s no getting around not taking tests towards certifications. Certifications is what gets you PAID in IT. Trust me. I career-changed into IT in my mid-twenties. I took a Cisco boot camp, got 3 CCNA certifications (Routing & Switching, Security, Wireless) and finally got a job as a wireless network engineer starting out at 50k/yr. It was shit and I had to travel 100% installing and configuring WiFi in Hilton hotels for an AT&T project BUT I had to get more experience to land a 9-5 with a regular company…and I did.

Having that level of job security must feel great and re-assuring. When I visit other personal finance forums (particularly on reddit) half of the success stories seem to come from computer science majors. It might be the perfect blend of degree value, job availability, and work levels/flexibility. The ability to freelance or work remotely seems to be another potential benefit.
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I could not disagree more with the title of this post. Six figures does absolutely mean something, as long as you don’t make poor financial decisions. You chose to buy all that crap, the worst decision being to buy that expensive house. I am 29, make six figures, and live comfortably. The reason why is because I was able to increase my income while keeping my expenses down. It’s really that simple. Of course, everyone’s life situation is different and normally expenses go up the older you get. My point is that Six figures does mean something as long as you are fiscally responsible. The title of this should be more along the lines of “dumb decisions I made once I started making six figures”.

There are some field of study where making 100K+ is quite tough (think of any child related job; teacher, daycare worker, child animation, etc). There are people who will never make 100K because their talents are not rewarded by money in our society (you will have a hard time finding a firefighter or police officer making 6 figures while all doctors will make it).
I have never struggled with grades. Foolishly, as a high school senior at the top of my class, I chose a small private liberal arts school to attend for undergraduate studies. Even worse, I majored in the humanities, and obtained a Bachelors in Social Work / minor in Spanish. Since a masters takes only one year if you have your BSW, I obtained my MSW directly after graduating.

Hello I just stumbled across your blog. A bit of back ground. I garudated with a degree in accounting in 2008. I got a job at a small firm, but got fired 3months in. I tried my best but I wasn’t getting it and no one was helping me learn. I went back to school did a year of sciences and tried to come back to accounting. I didn’t get another job till 2011 and got fired 11 months in. I learned and applied myself but I also felt I just wasn’t wanted despite my best effort. Tried to get back into it to get my CPA but could not find a job. I found many recruiters to be rude and condescending. A bit more info on me I was a bit of a hot head in college and took shit from no one. I managed to make a lot of enemies very few friends. I feel this is another reason I can’t get work in my home town I just have a bad reputation, and my resume does not look good. I am now almost 30. I want to support my family but and I feel I need to go back and find a useful skill to do so. I was thinking about doing a two year engineering diploma in the energy field; doing IT + accounting; or going into nursing. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you for hearing me out.
to answer the question – yes it is very easy to make 100k – or more. why don’t many do it? many do not know how to go about it (how to even start). that issue stems from education and awareness (no exposure to that environment). those with the awareness do not have the will, or desire as you called it out. it takes a combination of awareness, desire and action to get there. you are right in that anyone can get there – IF they really wanted to
I was really surprised not to see unions mentioned at all in this article! You talk about steps and lanes a little but what raises the wage is the collective bargaining process which doesn’t means unions get everything they want but they have a lot more power and knowledge about the employer’s financial position than an at-will worker bargaining on their own.
I really liked this article. I found it full of good information. I would like some advice from FS as I definitely fit into one of these categories. I have a B.S. from a good university and I have a good job in the medical field making $45k right now with the posibility of 1-5% raises every year. I know I am capable of doing and earning more. I made A’s, B’s, and C’s as a college student without really trying. I’ve considered getting a masters in buisness, but I don’t have a clear vision of what I would do with that. I can’t afford to waste time or money on a second degree if it isn’t going to earn me substantially more money. I have a wife and daughter and work full time. I am constantly looking for ways to make more money. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you.
Thank you for your comment, but I don’t think I felt the need to comment if your post was about “six figures can be achieved in a variety of industries if one is the top of their field”. Don’t we all know that? College prof, photographers, athletes, actors, dancers, musicians, designers, personal trainers etc. You wouldn’t list these as $100k+ industries, do you? I wrote my last comment to explain that symphony orchestra industry also does not fit into the “industries that often pay six figures within 3 years out of school”.
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I am glad to know that Affiliate Marketing is not dead as was presumed in early 2012 when Google pushed out harsh update targeting affiliate sites. I agree the article or blog post needs to be detailed and videos result in more conversions. I personally got succeeded more by adding videos to affiliate content. Anyways Glen all the tips you mentioned have been deployed by me on my blog and they work pretty well.
Thankfully I was able to find an incredible opportunity that taught me click by click how to build a successful online Affiliate Marketing business for LESS then $100 bill, and not only that as you build your team you make $30 commission each person you bring in. So after 4 sales your membership is free. After 6 months I’ve been able to quit my job and work fulltime online, traveling and spending time with my Family.
While I've sampled a few other programs along the way, I continue to promote only a select few programs on a regular basis. As far as affiliate program marketing goes, you won't find too many marketers who are as picky as I am. But picky works. Had I joined that very first affiliate program I looked at, I would have been lucky to make $5,000 last year in affiliate income. Not bad, but a far cry from 80K.
As someone that works offshore. Yes all of those things are free but with Ebay and Amazon a click away it’s easy to spend money. Having the discipline to save when you’re not working is harder than you think. I find it easier to travel(this is me), stay out late, and justify more expensive hobbies which all of these can drain the money you’ve saved while working. .
This is an insightful post. For 95% plus of readers, their job is the most important asset they have. So it is all about the sector, employer (go as elite as possible), and skills you target. Choose correctly, and you can get rich. Simple as that. The trick is believing you can actual get a job with an elite employer. That is more a mindset issue than anything else. Cheers!
Believe it or not, many jobs that pay six figures do not require a four-year college degree. The examples listed here are just a few of the careers to consider in lieu of attending college. Pay varies depending upon experience, training, and physical location, but the average salaries for the jobs listed above are proof that making over $100,000 each year without a college degree is possible.
...It is essential that the duties of the positions be performed with the diligence that their importance requires. Inevitably, then, a society must have, first, some kind of rewards that it can use as inducements, and, second, some way of distributing these rewards differently according to positions. The rewards and their distribution become part of the social order... If the rights and perquisites of different positions in a society must be unequal, then society must be stratified... Hence every society... must differentiate persons... and must therefore possess a certain amount of institutionalized inequality.

Alright, so I started doing construction work for my parents as they remodeled their house. They paid me 10 an hour. This probably started when I was ~ 13. Then I started lifeguarding at 15 and did that until I was 16 (2 summers). I would work about 60 hours a week during that time + continue to work construction on my days off from lifeguarding. Between 13-16 I was able to stockpile ~25k. I used 10k to buy a BMW cash at 16 (which I still drive to this day). The car was a depreciating asset for sure. So I went into junior year of high school with about 15k in cash and a 10k BMW (which was worth 15k but the market was falling out under itself so the dealer sold to me because I had cash and he needed money).


If you aren’t smart enough to get into a top school, then you aren’t smart enough. Period. At some point, you can’t just throw more effort at academics to be better. People have natural limits. So I don’t believe “anyone can get an education at a top university if you try hard enough” is true at all. That would be like saying “anyone can play quarterback in the NFL if he tries hard enough.”

Upper middle class[1] (15%) Highly-educated (often with graduate degrees), most commonly salaried, professionals and middle management with large work autonomy. Upper middle class[1] (15%) Highly-educated (often with graduate degrees) professionals & managers with household incomes varying from the high 5-figure range to commonly above $100,000. The rich (5%) Households with net worth of $1 million or more; largely in the form of home equity. Generally have college degrees.
However, I have a number of friends and family who are K-12 teachers and I have always envied their dedication. Teachers earn less than half of what they deserve because few things are more important than educating the next generation. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the “…bizarre notion that someone’s passion should be enough to pay power bills and mortgages”.

Someone does not have to lose for someone to win. That is called gambling. An example; let’s say you go to a bank to borrow money to start a bakery. You bake a lot of cakes for a lot of weddings. Your customer wins because you baked an awesome cake for there wedding, you win because you got there money, and the bank wins because they got there money back with interest. Also, the bakery bought flower for the cake so there supplier wins, the supplier bought it from the distribution center who wins, the distribution center bought from the manufacturer who wins, the manufacturer bought from the farmer who wins. Everyone wins. Even the government who collected taxes on every step above won.
Your autoresponder is the series of emails that go out to people who subscribe to your website in exchange for something they want. For example, if you sign up to my Author Blueprint at www.TheCreativePenn.com/blueprint you’ll get useful emails, articles and videos, some of which contain affiliate links, all for products that I have personally found useful.

But getting 1000 visitors to any given affiliate site meant I'd have to get about 10,000 visitors to my own site. If I could do that every week, I'd be doing OK for a small business site with a marketing budget close to zero. But I was already learning that it takes time and money to get 10,000 visitors a week. And let's see... for all my traffic generating efforts I would pull in a cool $180 a month? It didn't take a genius to figure out that it might not be worth the effort. I passed.

The most important lesson I got from the book is the importance of choosing a niche; it helps build a loyal community, get expertise and great, contextualized advertising. However, except for the generic "start by identifying your own interests, passions, and energy levels for topics", there's not a lot of direction about how to choose a profitable niche. There also isn't much about search engine optimization (which I fortunately covered in another book) or about keyword research. However, a lot of the things that Rowse and Garrett hold important (niching, ads, etc) aren't necessarily the be-all and end-all of popular blogging.
Also if you don’t have AP credits you can choose to cram in credit hours for a few semesters. It will take most your “fun” time, but you could essentially cut out a semester or two by sacrificing a little here and there. Shooting for 18 or more credit hours would be the goal. You could strategize it anyway you’d like. A couple semesters at 21 hours will really help you cut down your time in school. Now I didn’t employ this strategy but in hindsight I should have. I had a handful of business student friends that did this, and they seemed to have perfectly fine lives. They were even sighted at the occasional party or two, and were always happy.

Oddly enough, here I am building up this one site with recommended products and WAS going to find a picture of Michael Cheney and somehow I ran right into this article at the top of Google. Even though it gave me chills to read it, “oh, maaaan, there probably went $2k out the window” because what you said rang so true, I had to take the journalist’s point of view and pull it back around to some other things I realized instantly.
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