Many people who do not attend college earn six-figure incomes and become successful without four-year college degrees. In fact, studies revealing that high school graduates earn an average of $1.2 million over the course of their working life illustrate that opportunities exist for those without degrees to make $100,000 or more each year. Achieving financial success without a college degree requires a lot of determination, risk-taking, and networking, but the opportunities are definitely out there.
If you want to really wish for days gone by, try plugging $100,000 into the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ inflation calculator. What you’ll find is that $100,000 in 1980 is worth $288,638 in 2015 money. Want to get even more nostalgic? Crank the year back to 1960, and you’ll see that 100 grand would get you $803,506 annually in 2015. That’s a lot of cabbage.
First, I’m still going to school, so haven’t started earning at my full potential yet. Second, I’m hoping to (at least eventually) have a job as college professor, so my work income will be roughly $65,000 (as you’ve mentioned in past posts), and so I’ll need to build alternative income sources to close the gap. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
I work the first month of school but then quit my job because the engineering was too intense to work and do the workload and expect to get stellar grades. I live in my parents studio apartment, have a full ride scholarship that pays 100% of everything + pays me extra money. I am now making money to attend school and have a new profit for my income/expenses for the school year. Then I get into another engineering internship for the summer. I believe I make around 8k for that. NW is 50-60k going into sophomore year. I get another internship for NASA this summer making 16.75 an hour * 16 weeks. I was a contractor so I have to pay the full SS amount. I probably clear around 7k there. Pushing my NW to 60-70k. Then the next year I start working a year round job junior year (rising senior). I am ahead on my credits again so I work 25-30 hours a week during senior year and full time during the school year. I pull down around 37k over that summer senior year. Pushing my NW to ~ 110k. I graduate around 110k NW, debt free with a job offering me a job package of ~110k a year at 22 and sending me to get my MSEE. I work that summer and save another 15k. I go into graduate school with ~120k or so in the bank. I move to another state for graduate school get a large fellowship + a portion of my salary to go to school. Finish the school year and work 1 more summer and here I am. 23 ~ NW about 140k going into my final semester of grad school.
But if you want to make money – there are things to do besides be an engineer and having been one of those that did a bachelors, medical degree and post doc before I ever had a real job – worked fine even with the loans. I was the first in my family to acheive a graduate degree, paid for it with loans, but my niche career choice I found out about during my pathology traing way down the line worked out.
If you work for a major (Shell, Chevron, BP, Conoco) they pay about 90 – 100k starting for petroleum engineers and about 70-80k for mechanical/chemical/electrical engineers. The exception is Exxon (they pay more because it’s a terrible work environment, but they make the most profits). If you work for a smaller independent, perhaps it gets bumped up 10k or so. Bonuses are typically 10-20%. I’m a recent graduate in Petroleum Engineering working for Shell.
When I was in college, I studied math and chemistry. I did well in Chemistry until I got to the laboratory. Then I started blowing things up on accident and realized I had no career in it. I continued with math. As math got harder, I decided to take “easy” economics and international affairs courses (to blow off steam). I had a knack for getting As in both. One day, I had a conversation with a classmate and my girlfriend at the time. To paraphrase, they said I was great at IR and could have a stellar career in it. So, it gave me an ego boost as well as an improved GPA:
Another good platform to start with is Reward Style. Once you’re enrolled, you can get links for seriously hundreds of different sites–everything from Bed, Bath & Beyond to Anthropologie to PETCO to Pottery Barn Kids to Zulily. While it’s a fairly small commission (usually 5-15%), it all adds up and all you’re doing is helping to facilitate a sale for something you’re already talking about anyway!
When one of our readers at The Write Life buys Chris Guillebeau’s $58 Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing through our link, for example, we earn $29. When James Chartrand’s Damn Fine Words course sells for $1,599 through our site, we earn $200. Lots of creators offer affiliate programs for their products; the key is finding products that appeal to your audience, so you readers want to purchase them.
You found a topic that is of interest to a huge target audience (who doesn’t want to make 100k plus a year?) You spent some money so your website comes up while searching google (therefore generating more traffic to your page) and you’ve written this guide in a way that includes everyone (that way nobody feels like they aren’t able to achieve this same success) Throughout the article you’ve posted links to multiple products/companies which you earn revenue from each time someone clicks them. Along with that there are advertisements throughout that you’re gaining revenue on etc. So essentially, anyone reading this and clicking links is generating revenue for you. Touché
In contemporary America it is a combination of all these factors, with scarcity remaining by far the most prominent one, which determine a person's economic compensation. Due to higher status professions requiring advanced and thus less commonly found skill sets (including the ability to supervise and work with a considerable autonomy), these professions are better compensated through the means of income, making high status individuals affluent, depending on reference group.
Want to earn a six-figure salary? Choose your next career path carefully, and get ready to make a serious investment in education. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, only 55 out of 818 listed occupations offer median salaries of $100,000 per year or more—and 53 of them typically require at least a bachelor’s degree.
Capitalist class (1%) Top-level executives, high-rung politicians, heirs. Ivy League education common. Upper class (1%) Top-level executives, celebrities, heirs; income of $500,000+ common. Ivy league education common. The super-rich (0.9%) Multi-millionaires whose incomes commonly exceed $350,000; includes celebrities and powerful executives/politicians. Ivy League education common.
Hosting – I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and see what real (unbiased) people are saying about hosting. SiteGround was #1 in multiple Facebook polls and #1 in most Facebook conversations (this one too). People who migrate usually see significant load time improvements especially if they’re currently using Godaddy/EIG. I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (#1 factor in WordPress Optimization Guide) and have <1s load times with 100% scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom. SiteGround also does free migrations.
Nerds got a lot of grief in grade school. They were picked on, made fun of, called, “NERD” and other much worse things…lol. But as a grown up “Nerd” I can look back at all the jocks and have the last laugh cause it’s me who is now successful (and better looking), and their 10 seconds of fame on the HS Varsity football team resulted in a job at McDonald’s cause they “ain’t got no edjukaton”. Cheers to all those who are smart, took the grief, and are now living the good life! 🙂
– Don’t get stuck in a rut. Meaning, if a job or opportunity has no more learning potential then get out and get a different orange to squeeze. Until your late 20’s or early 30’s, consider education, experience and opportunities the #1 form of payment. An environment that allows questioning the workings of an industry and one’s company with answers from higher up is a gold mine.
You are right about inexpensive housing in Chicagoland. To each their own, but in my very humble opinion moving to the Northside of Chicago from New York City proved to be one of luckiest/smartest things I ever did lifestyle, career, marriage, and savings wise. Salaries are comparable to other large wealthy metros, but housing and other expenses can be as much as half due to zero physical constraints on sprawl. That is other than Lake Michigan to the East, which is like a freshwater sea with city parks, beaches & waves. The lakeshore is also where population density is highest and property most expensive in the 10 million person metro…yet still reasonably affordable for what you get.
Petroleum engineering only requires a bachelor’s degree. Lawyers, doctors and pharmacists can make over six figures out of the gate too. But when does the gate open? After 3-5 years of additional schooling? After a couple years of residency when you turn 30 and have $200,000 in student loans? The beauty of this job is that a masters degree, PhD or an MBA are not required to advance, not even for the vice presidents who clear $300,000-500,000 in salary and who knows what in stock options.
Nearly $5,000 in affiliate sales is awesome, and I see this as a turning point for bringing in a respectable income from the site. (I’ve written more in this post about how we’re monetizing The Write Life.) But before we dive into how we accomplished this, I want to put that income in perspective for you. It’s still a drop in the bucket for our company, for three reasons:
Its all relative to what you need, I was in Sales (Corp 401k and Pension) right out of college and made a 200k a in the early 90’s with consistency then had years where I made 1m in my early 30’s. However I hated it. I was smart and banked it in the lucrative Boston Real Estate market and in my late 30’s left sales and took a more boring desk job with less travel and more time for my kids. I made about 100k +/- a year for but put together a nice traditional pension. In my early 50’s, after my kids graduated college (Yes I did pay) I finally took my graduate degree (Masters in Urban Planning) and put it to work as a planner in a suburban town, where my staring comp dropped to 65k, now in my late 50’s I am the Dir of Planning for a small city making about 160k and happy in my work for the 1st time ever! Also the benefits working in government are 10x what they ever were in Corp America. Do what you love
Anyway, back to this program called the Seven Figure Franchise. There have been many affiliate programs that have come and gone over the years promising all sorts of wealth and prosparity. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that people make money with affiliate marketing, but like some of the people her have mentioned, you have to do it in the right way.