Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

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TopHatFox
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Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by TopHatFox »

Painting with broad strokes here: is landing a 50k+ a year job with a BA a fantasy, or?*

I'm curious, what were some of the life paths--jobwise or otherwise--you chose after college? (assuming college)

*edit: barring finance or comp sci jobs, since the culture at finance likely won't fit and I don't like computer programming
---------------------------------

Part of what I like about ERE is the ~7k a year living expenses, which make a job paying an average 30k salary a viable way to FIRE.

The MMM folk--and likely many of you--often have 50, 60, 70, 80k+ salaries though, which is like playing the FIRE game in cheat mode. ;)
Last edited by TopHatFox on Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:48 pm, edited 6 times in total.

borisborisboris
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by borisborisboris »

Don't you go to a highly ranked lib. arts school? If so, $50k is going to to be trivial, and you should know that by now?

In case this really is a serious question about fully maximizing your income, your best bets for lots of money out of undergrad are to major in math or econ, get your GPA above 3.7 or so, and then do:
-Banking
-Management consulting (practice lots of case studies)
-Big 4 accounting (probably have to major in accounting or similar)
-Rotational leadership programs at F500 companies (just get good grades and know some basic accounting concepts)

A compsci major probably also does very well out of college these days; I don't know as much about it. Obviously if you want to go into anthropology or journalism or something that's actually interesting, you are going to have to live with less money

You'll need to have an internship after your sophmore year, so that you can land a good internship after junior year, so you can land a good job your senior year.

Wall Street Oasis is (or at least was) the site that used to have a lot of info on career tracks and stuff here. The vibe is diametrically opposed to ERE so tread carefully.

billc
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by billc »

$50k is roughly the starting (new grads) professional salary in the Washington DC Metro area. Rent ain't cheap for the most part though.

A generic office job kinda sucks though. If you know how to live efficiently on less money than the average person then just about any job can provide you with a path toward ERE. Given that - focus on doing something useful/interesting with your time.

TopHatFox
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by TopHatFox »

borisborisboris wrote:Don't you go to a highly ranked lib. arts school? If so, $50k is going to to be trivial, and you should know that by now?
Barring comp sci & finance? :)

Most of the jobs aside from the two fields above tend to be non-profit or social justice related, which pay ~20-30k a year. Is there something I'm missing?

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Ego
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by Ego »

The problem is buried in the question. Don't "land" a big job, create it. Same thing goes for the internship that fell through. Start small and grow.

Landing a job is becoming a productive piece of another person's machine. You could do that. Or you could run your own smaller more fuel efficient machine. Maybe, if you are smart and talented and lucky, you could create something that comes very close to a perpetual motion machine.

A Life of FI
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by A Life of FI »

I think Ego gives some good advice but also think it is a question of how soon you want to reach FI.

Just the average starting salaries in finance/computer related fields are $50k+ (one source http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB ... 0000-plus/). However if you went to a well-thought of university in the region in which you were looking for a job (doesn't need to be an internationally known top ivy league school just a well respected university in the state) and had good grades (say a 3.7+) I would think you could probably get starting pay of up to $70k with overtime/bonuses included (plus raises in the following years at often 10%+ a year). If you were making $70k - say $50k after taxes, living on $7k and getting a 10% increase each year, you could reach FI with a 3.3% WD rate in 5 years. Contrast that with the fact that a starting salary of $30k - say $22k after taxes, living on $7k and getting a 10% increase each year would take you 10 years to reach a FI with a 3.3% WD. At $20k it would be take 14 years to reach FI with a 3.3% WD.

And even with the $30k /$20k salary option you probably would not end up doing what Ego is suggesting - just having a less intensive job for lower pay.

So the option I am suggesting is to consider is to achieve FI more quickly and, then eliminating the money worries, create your own machine - as Ego says.

I not downplaying your concerns about the finance/computer fields. From going $70k route in finance myself (I did it in the 1990's so my starting salary wasn't $70k then, but equal to $70k if you adjust for inflation to today) I knew a lot of people that I started with that didn't like it. However if you know you only have to do it for a limited number of years its not so bad, I enjoyed it a lot of the time. Don't think I could say the same thing though if was spending everything I earned and knew I had to keep doing that for the rest of my life just to meet my expenses.

In short if when you finish university you are in the position to make $50k to $70K you are almost halfway to FI using this route (if someone is going create their own machine they usually don't need to go university). Thus I think its worth considering the do both option - take a high paying job in field you are not sure you will like to get to FI in a short period of time and then, after that, create your own machine. There is not much risk in taking this option, if at anytime you decide you don't like it you can always move to a $30k/$20k job (think these are in relatively large supply) or to doing you own thing. However moving in the opposite direction from a $30k/ $20k job or doing your own thing to a $70k job becomes harder the further you get away from the time you finished university.

Chad
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by Chad »

I completely agree with Ego. If you want $50k or more and don't want to work in the fields/jobs that have high salaries you will have to create it for yourself. Cogs in interesting, enjoyable, and fun jobs get paid less, because everyone wants those jobs. Cogs in boring, monotonous, and soul sucking jobs (all those listed by boris - I should know) are higher paid because no person really wants to do these jobs (Though, there are a few lost souls).

You can create your job in a small way as Ego suggests or you can create your job inside one of these major companies. They are both possible and very difficult for most to achieve. (The 2nd way is harder, as you have more competition, get forced into a career box most of time, and others are still setting the rules.)

borisborisboris
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by borisborisboris »

Zalo wrote:*edit: barring finance or comp sci jobs, since the culture at finance likely won't fit and I don't like computer programming
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/ ... ee-part-1/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/ ... ee-part-2/

:D

Peanut
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by Peanut »

What do you study?

With a general liberal arts degree you might consider areas where men are underrepresented as a strategy for getting a higher wage. I say this because I notice that a local preschool promotes the fact that they have male teachers and their family clientele eats this up. I have also heard this preschool pays very well, which I'm guessing means 40k for far less than 40hrs a week. Unlike public school teaching, you don't need a teaching certificate either to get into this line of work, just a good degree and an ability to enjoy the company of children (or at least convincingly pretend you do).

NYT has also recently reported on male nurses making more than female nurses. Different training to pursue this work, but the same strategy of entering female-dominated fields applies.

TopHatFox
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by TopHatFox »

I study geology and environmental studies. I like them both, though geology offers the higher paying entry level jobs.

So far my adviser has told me to get a research internship, and come fourth year, apply to be a research technician, a highly sought after position that pays 40k a year, and often performs menial tasks.

--Or get a two-year masters degree debt-free while living on a small stipend, and likely get paid 60k-120k in an entry level position depending on the job (petroleum = 120k, hydrogeology = 80k)

Personally, I'd rather avoid more school, but the salary difference for only two years seems remarkably different, especially if I am going to stay in a position for 5-10 years.

sky
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Re: Common starting salaries? How to land 50k+ a year job?

Post by sky »

Environmental consultants can do quite well. I mean the type that prepare reports on contamination for commercial and industrial real estate transactions.

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