50 Jobs over $50,000 – Without a Degree (Part 2)

panelAfter the first article in this series, ideas started coming out of the woodwork. You might be amazed to hear about what some of your fellow readers have been up to. We ended up with more than enough to reach the goal of 50, and quite a few were new to me.


Real Estate Related
(thanks to Mrs. MM for many of these)

18: Real Estate Agent – a two month course ($800 at Kaplan) and you are out there. Then after 2 years of working beneath an existing agent, you can even go independent and keep everything you earn. With commissions around 3% of the sale price, you only need to handle about nine $200k houses per year (or four $450k ones, which is silly when you are on the customer end of things but cushy if you’re the agent).

19: Home Inspector – another short training course (plus good building knowledge and interpersonal skills in general), and you can get paid about $300 for 2-hour inspections.

20: Sewer Line Inspector – run a camera wire down through the floor drain in the basement, record the resulting video while looking for cracks in the pipe, charge about $200 per 20 minutes of work.

21: Appraiser – tour the house, run the numbers, email the report. $400 or so for a few hours of work. Initially your agency will take a cut, but of course you’ll start your own when ready.

22: Property Manager – You don’t have to actually buy rental houses, you can just handle the tenants: collecting rent, coordinating maintenance, shielding the landlord from the messy business. Pay can be great at around 1/12th of annual income of each property. With a stable of 20-50 units under management, you already have a $50k job that occupies well under 40 hours a week.

23: Mortgage Broker – understand and originate loan products to people buying houses. Meticulous and lightning-fast customer service is the key differentiator here rather than financial skill or education level. We know several people making well into the six figures in this area.

24: Title Insurance Provider / closer / salesperson – a mysterious industry with a high profit margin.

25: Fixing up Your Own House – With design sense and construction skills, you can move into a junker, renovate it efficiently, and sell it. If you live there longer than 2 years, the profit is tax free in the US. Eliminates most of the hassle of running a professional contracting business with fussy customers. Works best in the more expensive property markets so you do need roomates or spouse to pay the mortgage while you do the work, unless you already have savings to live on.

More Manual Jobs

26: Oil/Gas/Mining industry work – The energy boom in the US, Canada, Australia, and other places continues. In states with high demand, wages have risen far beyond average for people to run the equipment (and even higher for engineers and scientists able to run the overall operation). This story about the lad in Australia making $200,000 (and blowing it all) personifies the industry.

27: Wallpaper hanger – Sound antiquated? Think of hotels, what’s on most of their walls, and how often they renovate: From a reader: “I’ve been consistently pulling in anywhere between $400-$1000 per day for years now

28: Lady Mechanic/Garage owner – Mrs. MM suggested that today’s auto repair garages are generally male-oriented and clueless to the needs of a certain 50% of our drivers. Enter this Rosie’s Garage style of business that would combine full mechanical competence with a better understanding of how female vehicle owners would like to be treated. A very large niche market indeed!

29: HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) technician – furnaces and air conditioners (and their related ducting) are simple machines, but there are not many people in the trade. So the pay is high if you run your own little business.

30: Cable/Phone/Internet Installer: the larger companies subcontract this job out to independent contractors. Readers report that earnings can exceed $50k per year, especially in a growing metro area which tends to result in overtime or holiday work.

On the Road:

31: Truck Driver –  a grueling job at times, but the perpetual shortage of drivers has driven up rates. Bonus earnings if you own and maintain your own rig, and/or work in a remote or high-demand area (seek out the oil boom areas mentioned earlier and specialize in safely transporting drilling/mining equipment or piloting 300-ton rock trucks, for example).

32: Airport Shuttle Driver – on a recent trip to the airport, I got to talking with the Super Shuttle driver. A former electrician, he reported to me that all drivers are now independent contractors who own or lease their own blue vans. This fellow, with a mind for efficiency, was running a van with a smaller diesel engine and optimizing his routes and road selection. He also gives out free beverages and treats people well, which optimizes tip income. Earnings were over $100k per year.

 More Tech and Internet

33: User Interface Specialist – From a reader: ” In a nutshell, I make websites easy to use. I charge $80/hour, but will soon be raising that to $90. There are so few people who do what I do that I turn down about five offers for every project I accept.

34: Computer Technician – “You get a small roster of local business people who need their computers to work, and fix their minor Windows and networking issues. You can even branch into home theater and home automation, and the hotel and conference market. Geek Squad makes big bucks at this, but you can easily outperform them and charge $50-$100/hour”

35: IT Guy at the South Pole – the National Science Foundation contracts out workers in all fields to run the science labs on the bottom of the planet. In exchange for unusual conditions (-100F outdoor temperatures, months of blackness), you get free living with interesting people which allows you to reach the storied 100% savings rate. Honorable mention goes to this South Pole reader/photographer who sent me pictures of daily life in Antarctica. This concept can be applied elsewhere, even on tropical islands: live temporarily where your skills are in demand, get paid more, plus free living expenses.

36: Software Designer – Back in my day, the better jobs in this field required a full degree. Nowadays, you can prove your competence without one and get the same jobs at the more open-minded companies. This doesn’t mean it is easy – it takes a certain type of mind to be marketable at this, and a certain amount of practice on top of the base learning of the language itself. But for those with the prerequisites, Ryan Carson of Treehouse finds these sub-fields are in demand:

36(a)iPhone and Android app developers – Every big company needs phone and tablet apps developed to meet their own specifications. Or you can go it alone and bring your own ideas to fruition. A friend of mine is a tech worker by day, brilliant Ph.D. physicist by night. In his spare time he developed a beautiful iPad physics-based game where you get to shoot planets around each other. Occasionally, people buy it for 99 cents, and if your app catches on, it becomes a source of passive income. With the skills he developed making this game, he can now make other apps very quickly.

36(b) Web Developer- where you create the technology and algorithms that make websites work. Sort of a form of software design or programming.

37: Web Designer – where you create the beauty and functionality seen by users – more of an art/design job.

Catering to the Rich

This is a general category, because once you master the philosophy, you can apply it anywhere.

What do rich people have? Lots of income. What are they lacking? Time, and a supply of people to satisfy their numerous particular demands competently without screwing up.

If you can meet these needs, they will pass your name around the Rich Person Network of Friends and you are set for life.

38: Dog Walker – Four dogs at $15.00 per hour each. Walk around in the park for four hours a day and you’ve got a $50k job that is only half-time (and a great set of legs to show for it too).

39: Doggy Daycare or Pet Spa Owner – a natural extension of the Dog Walker. Dog owners need to go on vacation, and when they do, they pay hotel-like prices to have their pets cared for in their absence.

40: Frugality Consultant / Personal Shopper – I made this job up myself: Rich people spend more on groceries and wine alone than you spend on your whole lifestyle. What if you could run their errands, keep their pantry stocked, and coordinate maintenance of their mansions and vehicle fleets.. and yet save them more than they pay you in salary because you are an expert at efficient shopping, energy conservation, and maintenance? A valuable proposition if you can get your name into the right hands. I often fantasize about creating a “job” like this for myself in Hawaii or Malibu. Sydney would be nice too.

41: Interior Designer or Color Consultant – Here you get paid simply for having good taste and sharing it with others. Start by optimizing the homes of your own rich friends or family members, then getting them beautifully photographed. Then get the portfolio out into the network of high-end home builders and their customers. I have met several of these people and envied their relaxing and profitable jobs.

42: At-home Waxing, Haircuts, Massage, or Spa treatments – who has time to go out to a strip mall to get their pampering these days? Take the business to the customers.

43: The Pooper Scooper – from a reader: cleaning up the back yards of wealthy dog owners pays about $1.00 per minute. Not a glamorous job, but more efficient than flipping burgers for one tenth the pay rate.

People Jobs

44: Salesperson – a general category to be sure, but it pays well if you have the right skills and select the right industry. One hot area today: finding placements for consultants in the software and technology industry. Sales is a dream job for some, hell for others.

45: Debt Collector – hassle late payers over the telephone, collect commissions. I would not have guessed that this pays well, but a reader reported that it is fairly lucrative.

46: Private Tutor – whether teaching younger children or college students, this is an area where solid knowledge of a useful field, and a comfortable manner with people, are what determines your pay. But this rate is usually much higher than $25 per hour.


47: Ebay/Craigslist / Etsy / Freecycle / Kijiji Reseller – If you know the value of a certain product, you can identify undervalued items when they go up for sale. In my case, this might be appliances. By spending five minutes per day scanning new listings (or setting up automated alerts), I could scoop underpriced appliances and buy them immediately.. then re-sell them at a large profit. Bonus points if you have the ability to repair or refurbish things. Better photography and marketing also increases your resale price.

48: Food Truck Owner – the age-old mobile food vendor is back in vogue these days, but with a gourmet twist. By getting your food and your image right, you can develop a cult following in an area and clear $1000 per day in gross sales from a single vehicle. Enormous bonus if you can set up your truck in an area anywhere near a tour bus stop, then get the word out to the tour operators.

49: Boutique Organic Farmer – with the rise of “Foodies”, and big agribusiness companies like ConAgra and Monsanto rightfully deep in the public relations gutter, there is a now a lot of money flowing to people who can produce healthy food locally in high-income areas. In Colorado, I know two entrepreneurs who sell things like organic basil, eggs, and heirloom tomatoes to fancy people and gourmet restaurants, and make more money than either of us doing it. Startup costs were surprisingly low, but you do need to know how to grow.

49.5: Medical Marijuna Grower – in states where this is legal, it is a lucrative field. Competition is growing, but the window of opportunity is still open since many of the early success stories were potheads rather than business people. If you meticulously study and comply to the laws and efficiently grow the fast-growing plants, this is a $100k job out of a single basement.

50: The Military – formerly a mysterious field to me, I learned more about this when living in Hawaii last winter, where many high incomes are derived from the large US bases in the area.  Far from the usual stereotype of a bunch of musclebound guys with guns, the US military is in reality just the world’s largest high-tech company. Most of the jobs are related to circulating enormous amounts of technology, people, information, and equipment around the world. So there is far more engineering and office work than there is shooting and jet piloting. Pay and benefits are generous, especially if you can get assigned to a post far away from where you originally lived, thus scoring a tax-free housing allowance. Or get the fully funded university education that comes as part of some contracts. And that’s before we even get to the part where you work for 20 years and then qualify for a plentiful pension and free healthcare for life afterwards. It’s not easy and there is the chance of danger, but it is a real career.

We’re up to 50, and I didn’t even get to the end of the list submitted by family, friends and readers. The field of Alternative Moneymaking really is a big one, but hopefully these examples serve to illustrate the general theme.

To earn more money, you just need to identify one of the many showers of cash that are spraying in this prosperous but inefficient world, then position yourself under it with a bucket. Starting a new business can be risky, but if you do it from a position of strength (minimal startup costs, a day job, and a low personal cost of living), your chances are much better.

Further Reading: some of the ideas above were from Tyler Tervooren, the chief “Professor” at Advanced Riskology. I enjoy his blog because the stories and philosophy revolve around kicking ass at life in general through diligent risk-taking, which is exactly the right way to approach job hunting.

  • Jonathan August 6, 2013, 2:42 am

    Lady Mechanic/Garage owner – funnily enough, that’s what Princess Elizabeth, now HMQ, trained as in the British military during the Second World War — and look how she’s done!

    Debt Collector is good; there’s an ancilliary, more hands-on, version, which is being a repo (-ssesion) man. Somewhat dangerous in a fire-armed society, but not so bad in places like the UK or Canada: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-repo-man/episode-guide

  • captainawesome August 6, 2013, 5:39 am

    The benefits of military service don’t come without sacrifices (I feel like the cost of divorce should be factored in there somewhere) but for the most part pay and benefits are pretty good in comparison (2.5 paid days off a month for example, who really gets that much time off in corporate jobs?) as well as things like tax-free housing, incentive pay, not to mention for those lucky enough to get them, re-renlistment bonuses and bonuses for staying within certain jobs. It becomes hard to find a comparable salary (although there are some calculators that can estimate) in the civilian sector that match not only take home pay, but health care, pension and tax free shopping at commissaries and exchanges. That being said, I can’t tell you how many people I watch blow their paycheck on the 1st and 15th because they don’t know how to budget/save. I wish more of them would read blogs like these

    • Mark B August 6, 2013, 2:41 pm

      I have a couple of friends who went into the service right off the bat out of high school, put their 20 years in (or however long it is) to max out on the retirement benefits, got training while in the military, then at age 38 or so started nice civilian careers. In fact, one of them became a cop and got a second retirement, then in his 50’s went to work for the large company where we met. He stayed at the company for 10 years of so, and will get a partial third retirement. So, starting out in the military can be totally beneficial for the rest of your life if you work it right.

      • captainawesome August 7, 2013, 5:26 am

        If you budget and save accordingly, 20 years is all you need. However, there are “incentive” bumps to stay extra years (the % of your pay increases at certain milestones over 20) and up until 30 years. For people who love doing what they do, staying until 30 isn’t too hard. But in my experience the people who are staying until 30 years or staying the extra few years are the ones who need to work to pay things off. They are the same ones who feel they have to work after their first retirement, as opposed to finding a job that they genuinely like or just enjoy time with family and friends by not working. Of course with the way our government has been treating the budget over the last few years, I am making adjustments to my retirement plan so that I have the option to get out and not need the pension to be FI

  • Ann August 6, 2013, 5:58 am

    Hey, MMM, can you please comment on or write a blog about self employment taxes and insurance? Many of these professions would put a person in this category, and taxes have significant impact on take home (i.e. 50K sounds great until you realize your takehome is more around 30K). You would probably also need to be licensed/bonded/insured for many of these jobs, and I have no idea how the “bonded” part of that works.

    • Opus August 6, 2013, 6:26 am

      I agree that we need to consider the costs of doing business. I am a real estate agent. In Quebec, where I live, the real estate licence is 1500$ a year, additional insurance is 500$ a year and being a member of the local Real Estate Board costs 186$ a month. On top of that, you have to spend on posts, signs, business cards and a lot of other stuff.

      The agency to which you are affiliated takes a substantial part of each commission and the monthly fees with the big agencies (Remax, Royal Lepage for example) are several thousands a year.

      Then, you have to pay taxes to the government. 50 000$ gross a year will not leave you with much. Here, the average commission is 2 to 2.5% and an average home is 200 000$.

      I like several of the other jobs mentionned tough. Some look like a lot of fun and with much lower overhead costs.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 6, 2013, 7:32 am

      I encourage people to play around with online tax calculators to figure this stuff out.

      In the US, I don’t think there is any situation where a $50k gross would become $30k net after taxes (since this implies a 40% overall tax rate on fairly low income). But you do make one good point: self-employed people have to pay the full Social Security and Medicare premiums (13.x%), while employed people only see 7.x% of this on their pay stubs.

      The thing is, the tax benefits of self-employment tend to equalize this: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/tax/09/self-employed-tax-deductions.asp

      • Brian1975 August 6, 2013, 8:55 am

        I spent 13 years as a self-employed carpenter. I got out of it mainly because the market was going. I had been through two other slow down period’s and when you need the money they are tough times. Regular check’s don’t always exist. And in my area a contractor is required to purchase a state license. At this time it’s not that costly but in time I think that will change. A lot of the big builder’s don’t like having to compete with the smaller guys. Before you enter the construction carpenter trade take some time to talk to local guys in your area. Get a feel for what you might be facing in licenses and also codes and inspections. Talk to an accountant to get a feel for the taxes as it can bite you in the rear if you are not prepared.

        It’s a great field. I own rental property so I get my fix by fixing those up and my wife and I just purchased a 5 bedroom for 35k that need’s some work. At the present my rental’s will give me a nice salary once the mortgages are settled. I Only take out 15 year mortgages. The saving’s over the life of the loan pay’s for itself. There are two way’s to make an income on property one is to own outright and be free and clear of debt and all the money is your’s minus taxes and expenses. Or to mortgage the properties for the longest period of time and make your money on the spread between the loan and expenses and the income. I prefer the paid off method.

        If you want to get into Carpentry find a good carpenter and offer to work with him. I don’t know any Carpenter’s that I have met in the 15 years I worked as one that would not share their knowledge. For most of us it’s an ego boost to share what we have stored away in our heads. Google work’s and old book’s as well.

        Currently I work in the investment field and enjoy an office setting job with a consistent pay check. But when the mortgages start disappearing I will be going back to my roots and doing what I want to when I want too.

        I enjoy reading your blog it has given me some good idea’s and confirmed some that I already had. I didn’t have the luxury of a 401k early on so most of my time and effort went into Real Estate. At current the wife and I do not pay a mortgage and have a place to live. That is winning in my book.

        I was once asked my thoughts on the Rich Dad Poor Dad series and other’s basically if you can get rich on real estate. My reply simply was what is the writer doing these days. He is writing book’s and doesn’t own any real estate. If it’s so good why is he not still involved? Rental’s are not easy they take time and effort. But in the end they are very worthwhile.


      • Meg August 6, 2013, 12:49 pm

        The number of deductions you can legitimately take as a self employed person are nuts. 20% of our rent, heat, electric and internet costs are paid pre-tax. The health insurance, office supplies, the computers and the cell phone are all tax deductible. You can save much larger amounts for retirement, and have a lot more freedom in how they’re invested. Even if it’s not your main gig, it’s worth having a self employment side hustle for that alone.

  • Rahul August 6, 2013, 6:11 am

    One doesn’t need a college degree to start a career in the hotel industry. The job growth rate is very high & most of the promotions are usually made from within the company. One can start of as a dishwasher,bellman,waiter & can end up being a General Manager. One can expect to be a GM in 10-15 years, if they are a good worker

    General manager makes about 200,000-300,000K In a luxury hotel chain. A good number general managers start out from the bottom & work their way up. Some pursue a diploma in hotel management while working fulltime


    It’s a global industry so you can expect lots of travel. So if you genuinely like meeting people & making sure they are looked after, travel & food. This industry is for you.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 6, 2013, 7:07 am

      Whoa.. that sounds pretty good even to me. I would enjoy managing one of those luxury palaces, although they’d probably fire me instantly if word got out that I was Mr. Money Mustache.

      • Rahul August 6, 2013, 11:54 am

        Yeah it’s pretty awesome. Checkout this article here. I am no way affiliated with the four seasons. I am just a student from hyderabad,India. Who is going to sydney next month to pursue a masters in hotel management, I did my BA in journalism & politics.


        It’s pretty old,but provides a good insight into pay,etc of the industry.

  • Gerard August 6, 2013, 6:15 am

    My former boss did the fixing-up-houses thing (#25) when she was young and staying home with her very young kids. Most of her work was cosmetic, but she put a lot of effort into the yard and garden. After a couple of years, they’d sell at a large profit and move on. She contributed nearly as much to the family earnings as her full-time-employed husband.

  • Ree Klein August 6, 2013, 6:43 am

    Gotta say, the list of 50+ things is eye-opening. I don’t have a degree and did really well over my lifetime making well over six figures.

    I started as a bank teller, then became the branch trainer, tried selling investments (didn’t work bc my voice sounded young and I was inexperienced), became a corporate trainer and it went awesome from there.

    I don’t belong in Corp America anymore, but I found that if you teach yourself, speak up and have a voice and work with integrity, the rest will follow. That’s likely true when being your own boss, too.

    Thanks for shooting holes in the belief that there are no good jobs out there and that no degree equals no income!

  • Melissa August 6, 2013, 8:16 am

    Delivery driver! I suppose you could lump it in the truck driving category but you are home every night, weekend and holiday if you work for UPS like my husband does. He makes over $80k with overtime and the benefits are amazing. We have great health insurance and pay nothing for premiums. They even still have a pension in addition to being able to contribute to a 401K.

  • Kate in NY August 6, 2013, 8:47 am

    If you have young kids in elementary school, you might want to consider offering “Before School” care at your home. For working parents who leave earlier than school starts, this kind of service can be invaluable. Kids get dropped off at my house from 7:15 on (I am up anyway with my own kids), and the bus comes at 8:45. I charge $10 per child per day – and in NY, at least, it’s for such a short period of time that I don’t need a license. I generally make a couple hundred (in cash) a week – for an hour and a half of work per day, tops.

    In the afternoons, I have my more lucrative gig – tutoring students on the SAT/ACT for $85 an hour. For that, a degree is probably necessary (though I’m guessing that my PhD in English was probably overkill).

  • Andrew August 6, 2013, 8:50 am

    Lady Mechanic! I actually go to a shop that is owned by a lady mechanic… She’s been on tv and in the newspapers, talking about how many mechanics like to take advantage of people especially women. While I don’t really see her that often under the hood fixing cars, she definitely built a big client base. Great list!

  • Val August 6, 2013, 9:27 am

    Do you guys have an idea of how much can a freelance photographer make?
    I started learning photography as a hobby (online courses, books and a lot of practice) and recently my picture taking skills have become quite decent. I’m starting to consider the idea of becoming a freelance photographer but I have no idea of how much money can be done.
    I have a degree in Finance and currently work in the finance field, but my passion has always been the arts (painting, drawing, photography) for which I have no formal education. I’d love to find a way to make a living by being an artist. Sadly, the few artists I personally know are kind of starving… not much of a motivation…

    • CALL 911 August 6, 2013, 10:56 am

      Well, Anne Geddes and Peter Lik are freelance photographers – so the sky is the limit! More realisticly though, expect to be starving for a while. The money for more regular folks is in events (mostly weddings), which clump to weekends in the summer. Since finance usually gives you weekends off, try to build a group of pics to show people, and go to wedding planners and build a website. Starting out, emphasize that you are always available on weekends for last minute cancellations. Starting will be hard, but is doable.

  • K2000k August 6, 2013, 10:26 am

    Caveat is needed for #22. A lot of states have certain licenses that you must have which makes working this job as a side job problematic. My state, Washington, you need a real estate brokerage manager license to be an independent property manager. Getting a brokerage management license requires that you have 3 years of experience working for a real estate broker with a real estate license, or 5 years of experience in some aspect of R/E that is relevant i.e development, law, appraising. Very problematic to do this part time unless you have someone who owns properties that is willing to ‘hire’ you. Admittedly you can get around it, or ignore it, however you run the risk of running afoul of the law:

    “The unlicensed person can’t advertise or tell the public that they are providing property management services, or hold or authorize disbursement of trust funds. For more information, please see RCW 18.85.151(12).”


    The being said, it isn’t impossible, and I haven’t been completely detered from getting into it part time, since I think I can personally make the case that I have the relevant 5 year experience in various aspects of R/E, but individuals who haven’t worked in R/E at all are going to have a hard time becoming an independent property manager in the state of Washington.

  • Mark August 6, 2013, 10:36 am

    My brother is a handyman (jack of all trades) He is always busy. $26 an hour and he is as busy as he wants to be. All through the housing bust he was working away with many repeat clients. Nice person, good quality and clean job site will alway have work.

  • CALL 911 August 6, 2013, 10:56 am

    Not to give too much away, but a relative started a business helping a certain segment of the population manage their money. Not “invest in X” or “move it to the Caymans to avoid taxes” – but manage their checking. My relative has these peoples bills come directly to him/her. S/he has a checkbook for each customer. The bills get paid on time. When I first heard of this plan, I bit my tongue. Sometime later (to my admitted surprise), the business model is working. Apparently the guarantee of never paying late fees is worth a “management fee” to some.

    • Elisha April 25, 2015, 3:39 pm

      I would do that in a heartbeat if they checked over each bill and made sure I wasn’t being over-charged or charged for things I didn’t get. Also if they periodically called to negotiate my bills. Mostly because I hate automatic bill plans and I think that would be worth the money. If they just paid the bills and did nothing else, then I might as well get the discount for automatic bill pay plans or just paying it all at once.

  • MandyM August 6, 2013, 11:42 am

    For Sewer Line Inspection, there is a ton of room for expansion if motivated. Municipalities use this type of inspection work regularly. There is more involved as far as training, equipment, etc and would even require certifications like Confined Spacy Entry, but my point is that you could build a business as large as you wanted in this field. Plus, there are plenty of other related sewer services that tie into this. I’m not sure how much you can make as an inspector working for someone else, but it is probably fairly decent money.

  • Mark B August 6, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Damn already a lot of comments.

    Dog trainer–anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, at least in California where I live, but there are also professional organizations one can join and at least one very good dog trainer school (the curriculum is short but rigorous). So, if you take the time to get really good at this, link up with the professional organizations and market yourself well you can stand out from the crowd and make good money. It would also be a natural, complementary thing to offer bathing, grooming (another skill that needs to be learned), walking/sitting and even poop duty. This is a good paying gig for someone who can offer virtually anything to the pet owner and who also has good people skills.

  • AKAmili August 6, 2013, 2:01 pm

    The military is a good option for some people who are looking for a solid career, but it’s not for all. However, I couldn’t ever recommend that someone go in as an enlisted (high school graduate) instead of an officer (college graduate). Enlisted personnel don’t make much money starting at the very bottom, and they have much less control over their careers than officers do. Although this is about making 50k without a college degree, I wouldn’t recommend the military as an option. It takes a few years to of enlisted service to get to the point of making over 50k. There are many ways to get your college education paid for by the military by signing a commitment to serve as an officer upon graduation. That way you start out making over 50k with only salary and allowances, have no debt from the college education, and enjoy the lifestyle that comes with being an officer. Again, serving as an officer doesn’t fit in this article, but I would never recommend serving as an enlisted.

    • Justin G August 7, 2013, 11:51 am

      Funny you mention career control, because as enlisted you can actually choose what career you want and decline to sign the contract if you dont get an appealing one. Officers you sign the contract, and choose a branch later. If you don’t get the branch you want, tough titties.

      If you want to do it as a career, go as an officer. If you just want to pick up some skills and get gi bill, enlisted is definitely the way to go. It is a lot more fun, you get to play in the dirt rather than file reports and attend meetings. Also, you get FAR more chances to attend cool training and learn interesting things. It is much harder to go to DLI to learn a language as an officer, for instance.

      Also, ROTC is a pretty obnoxious way to get college paid for, when you could enlist in a cool job, learn some useful and valuable skills, then get out and have full gi bill but no ROTC crap to attend.

    • TheGoodFightAgainstDebt August 11, 2013, 10:21 pm

      My situation is almost identical to that of this guy:

      I’d really appreciate your thoughts on enlisting in order to use the Loan Repayment Program. My student loans are approaching 6-figures, and despite my degrees from a top 10 undergrad program, and top 50 professional school program, I’m working as a day-laborer doing landscaping. I can’t stand the thought of not paying back my debts. I’m 30, male, still very fit, speak Spanish, and am experienced with firearms.

    • Jennifer August 14, 2013, 9:23 am

      Thanks for pointing this out. I already did, but I don’t think my comment made it. Yes, the military CAN BE a good choice financially if you play your cards right (officer-hood for example, as you point out) but there are FAR MORE low level military members who cannot possibly be raking in a comfortable 50K+ straight out of high school at 18 years old. The idea that you can is misleading. There are obviously other benefits they receive that don’t ever make it to the wallet, but I have seen many, many more military families struggling as enlisted people. Part of it is their age and money mismanagement, for sure! But throw in a wife (with or without a baby) and you will not be hard-pressed to find military families in line for WIC, food stamps or perusing the wares at Goodwill out of necessity. This is even with a 2 income household. It blows my mind that people think the military makes so much money–but because the officers do, they think they all do. Officers are usually educated, which negates this thread.

    • dude October 1, 2013, 12:46 pm

      Re: the military — while it is true that one doesn’t make much in the lower enlisted ranks, what you can do is serve your 3-4 year stint, then go to work as a federal correctional officer whe you get out, making around $44.5K base salary to start (depending on the geographic area), with decent opportunities for overtime, and plenty of opportunity for promotion. As a full-time law enforcement position, it comes with a 20 or 25 year retirement, depending on your age (age 50 = 20 years, or 25 years at any age), and subsequent pension. In addition, the ex-servicemember can “buy back” their military time toward their federal law enforcement pension (it tacks those years onto the pension, but does not shorten the length of time required to retire, i.e., 20 or 25 years). The buy-back costs pennies on the dollar for what you get in return. Also, with both military and federal law enforcement, you get a matching 401k, good health benefits, and paid vacation (the amount increases with time in service). Finally, the Fed’s 401k plan (“TSP”) is Vanguard-esque regarding its expense ratios and is MMM-approved index funds only. Check http://www.opm.gov for pay and benefits info, and http://www.usajobs.gov for job listings.

  • Mark B August 6, 2013, 2:25 pm

    I almost hesitate to mention this but here I go anyway. Like MMM I was in technology, an engineer first with servers and then with routers and switches. I got sick of how the IT field has evolved, and I had done day trading as a part time hobby for years, so I decided to become a full time trader. I trade e-mini equity futures and I’m doing pretty well.

    Caution–it is VERY HARD and takes a lot of skill. It’s doable though–the problem is, so many people will one day just decide they’re going to day trade, with almost zero knowledge or practical experience, and they lose everything. They then conclude that it’s impossible, “it’s just gambling”.

    It’s not anything like gambling (ok maybe a little like poker), although, obviously, like gambling you can lose money. More than anything it’s a skill, or a set of skills. If one day you just decided to be, say, a cardiac surgeon and start accepting patients without any having prior knowledge or experience, it would probably go badly for you, not to mention your patients. You wouldn’t say that cardiac surgery is impossible, though, would you? You just need the skill set. It’s the same with trading.

    So, anyway, day trading is difficult but possible if you really have the desire to do it, and it’s nice that your daily commute is exit through the bedroom door, make a left at the kitchen.

    • Kelly August 27, 2013, 8:32 am

      I would be interested more in this myself. I have a degree in finance, but I live in a very rural area working two decent income part-time positions. I’ve looked for other work that interests me more, but the financial risk of leaving one of my positions is too great for me right now. I would love to go learn more about trading. Where did you learn most of your skill set? Can you point me in the right direction? kellybrushwood@gmail.com

  • RickS August 6, 2013, 3:05 pm

    Restaurant Management; plenty of jobs earning $50k+ if you do not mind working lots of hours, starting on the bottom and working your way up.

    Another good one is “headhunter”….find a specific field to recruit, build a client base and earn up to 30% of your candidates base salary.

  • Amy August 6, 2013, 3:19 pm

    Mr MM when will you blog again about your Lending Club experiment?

  • City Girl Country Bloke August 6, 2013, 4:12 pm

    It’s funny that you mention U.S. military as a job that makes about 50K. I was in the military for over a decade and received excellent benefits, yearly bonuses, and enough pay to have a comfortable lifestyle. I never made MMM 20’s money but it was comfortable for me. I moved to Japan and was able to save $1,700 to $2,000 a month (which all my friends thought was crazy that I could do that) and that really set me on the path of frugality and saving! You do sacrifice A LOT but my experience was a positive one. It’s a great career or stepping stone, depending on what you want to get out of it. My entire bachelors was paid for by the Navy’s college program and I now have a huge amount of money for a graduate degree with the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It is a great job with great experiences and you make wonderful, lifelong friends. I was also hired before I was even fully separated from the Navy into a very prestigious position with the government and I NEVER would’ve had this opportunity without my experience and degree that I gained during my time. It’s not for everyone but I’m glad you mentioned it MMM!

  • Vincent S August 6, 2013, 8:37 pm

    A few years ago I worked as a sub-contractor for a cable company and it would not be uncommon for me to bring home $1500 to $2500 per week after taxes, and to be sent to Key West or North Carolina to work temporarily, all expenses paid plus making $2000+ per week.

    Some guys doing internet only installs were averaging between $2000 – $3000 per week and working @ 40 hours. Times have changed a little but I have personally seen some of my former co-workers pulling in $2K – $4K weekly checks still, but they are now 1099 employees and responsible for more costs on their part.

  • debtfreeoneday August 7, 2013, 2:28 am

    There are some really interesting jobs here! I love the idea of being a dog walker or doggy daycare owner particularly as I could fit it in with my own dog. I’m not sure I could earn as much as that where I live in England though, as there are other dog walkers in the area charging around £6 per hour. But the more dogs you take on, the more you earn I guess!

  • Derek August 7, 2013, 5:21 am

    Another one to add to the list is a construction job in the Fire Sprinkler industry.

    I used to work as a drafter here, and the guys would get paid $25 a hour back ~15 years ago.

    This was a good job and required a fair bit of knowledge, so it would be hard for illegal immigrants to come in and take the jobs for lower wages.

    • Jenna March 21, 2016, 4:01 pm

      I did a Piping Level 1 Course a few years ago. One of my instructors was in sprinks for about 15 or 20 years. Before he became the sprinks teacher at the college, he was making about $150,000/yr in the trade. Union has first year apprentices making about $18/hour.

  • Peanut Butter August 7, 2013, 6:09 am

    For a long time my BFF worked as a “K9 Concierge” – she’s a freakin’ dog whisperer, and would basically do any little dog job that rich people in Carlsbad, CA couldn’t be bothered to do themselves. She paid for several years of college that way.

  • zweipersona@gmail.com August 7, 2013, 7:30 am

    I’m surprised there’s not more chatter about the garage for females idea, considering it’s a multi-million dollar one. Consider the fact that female drivers have multiplied considerably in recent years, and as education and income seems to start to surpass males, they will likely drive even MORE than males do. Consider also that our culture is becoming more accepting of people living the ‘single’ life, and that many women are wary of car shops, and you’ve got a great idea waiting to be franchised.

    Add going to high schools and community colleges to recruit young females interested in typically male oriented jobs in the future of that business, and you have something that could really boom, and make an enormous impact.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 7, 2013, 6:39 pm

      Glad you like the idea! Remember that the business as you describe it would probably be a bit illegal, due to employment discrimination laws. Especially as it grew to be a chain. But there is no rule against one lady starting a garage, and starting off by hiring some friends.

      • sleepyguy August 11, 2013, 9:16 am

        Hehe, very true…. that’s why you see the odd out of place male worker at Hooters serving tables :)

        Great list… copy and pasted both list for future reference. I’m sure in 20-yrs when my son and daughter are ready to hit the workforce the list would change slightly but it’s a good reference point. Although they are getting somewhat of a free ride (RESP decent in Canada) to get a degree (Yes I know, kinda non-Mustachian :))… I’ll let them decide their futures.

      • Endi July 20, 2014, 11:54 am

        The lady garage idea is a great one but you need to hire your ladies under a casting call rather than a standard Job opportunity. You get around the discrimination laws this way. They are considered “models” that know how to fix cars at that point.

    • Joe Average March 19, 2015, 12:36 pm

      I’m thinking of single women – either pre-marriage or post-marriage – who want a trustworthy mechanic and are on a budget. I’ve heard many stories of predatory mechanics. One older female coworker took her Nissan in for a check up – it wouldn’t warm up (needed $15 thermostat clearly) – and they told her she needed a whole new engine. She of course traded in that car for a new car payment that she could not afford on a $12/hr salary. Of course she was very proud of that new car. This was years ago.

  • Cory August 7, 2013, 7:44 am

    I want to thank you…

    I’m a big spender. I don’t have a huge income or anything but I spend way more than necessary just because… At the rate that I’m going I will be working 9-5 til I’m 95! I don’t have credit cards, if I don’t have the cash then I don’t need it. Don’t owe for my vehicles, they run just fine and I don’t need the next best thing. I have a little bit of real estate debt but have enough equity to be somewhat profitable. The issue is that I spend the crap out of my money because of the theory that” I work hard for it so I should enjoy it”.

    The issue is this: I can’t be satisfied. Spending it doesn’t satisfy any desire of mine. As a matter of fact, I have preached for years that it makes no sense that we spend the majority of our time working, keeping us away from the people and things that we are working for. I have three awesome kids and a beautiful wife that I desire to spend every moment that I can with. Reality has it though, that I spend fewer than just a couple hours a day with them and the rest of my time earning for them. This isn’t my idea of living.
    So I stumble across your blog and realize that with the money that I’ve blown, I could have been retired by now and living my dream life with my family. With a little bit of frugality I could be investing my time in my loved ones instead of spending my time making more money. I could have my money working for me instead of working for my money. So here is a big thank you Mr. Money Mustache. You have inspired me to get the heck out of the rat race, say a big “F.U.” to the “American Dream” and start livin brother… Really livin. Thanks for sharin brother.

  • Poor Student August 7, 2013, 4:11 pm

    No one I think has really mentioned this one specifically, and I know it is far from the most Mustachian thing, but my mother makes really good money driving Mennonites around. They often need to get to places far from home (auctions, medical appointments, etc…) but a lot still don’t own vehicles. She charges $0.75 / km, and then when they are at the destination she receives $8 / hr to wait. During this time she gets paid to do whatever she likes. The van is fairly fuel efficient and often times she can organize it so multiple people need to go on a long trip and she gets paid the same by each one, so that 75 cents can become $4.50 per kilometre. As it is she turns down a lot of rides and isn’t really in it to make as much money as she can, it is just a decent paying job, which is as flexible as she wants and affords her the opportunity to meet very interesting people (her favourite part).

  • Mrs. Piggy Bank August 7, 2013, 10:26 pm

    You did not mention loan signer. Pays $75 to $150 an hour and requires just a notary with very little training. You do have to travel a bit. Or fine dining server. Many work 6 hour shifts and make $300 to $500. As a catering server I made $35 an hour. Restaurant managers do not need a degree (although it helps). Many rake in over 50k a year plus benefits and bonuses. Some great jobs with alternative schedules.

  • Jamie August 8, 2013, 2:48 pm

    Tech Teacher. Although many have degrees, in Ontario you can become a tech teacher with a high school education and a minimum 5 years work experience in your field. Top of the pay grid is $94,000.00 and you have 12 weeks off. Of course you have to be able to manage 20 teenagers with power tools but its a great family job – you are off when your kids are off school.

  • Sara August 8, 2013, 2:54 pm

    Here in the UK I have always thought that a potential great earner would be someone who only did small household jobs. Lots of people have tasks they can’t do especially the elderly, but builders are mostly not interested unless it’s à big job worth charging a lot to do. But people want those annoying small jobs done.
    I love the youngster story – think he’ll go far on that sort of initiave.

  • ErinAdventure August 8, 2013, 5:19 pm

    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet (so many reader comments between the two posts!) but another great job is car detailing. A family friend makes a great living off of detailing cars. He works from home because his clients drop off their cars. I think he charges 50+ per car, which takes around 1-2 hours to detail. I imagine he charges more for larger or dirtier vehicles. He can set his own hours, he does a great job and I know he has a decent customer base. I think it started for him as a side gig and now it fully supports him and his family.

  • El August 9, 2013, 10:11 am

    Film or TV technician. No degree. Good pay. If you work, you never see your friends or family, but then you can take time off for months, which is a good compromise.

  • EngGirl August 9, 2013, 11:58 am

    As a lady who worked as a mechanic to put herself through university (for engineering), I can say that I loved every minute! Not to boast, but I brought in a lot of business for the company, as women seemed to trust me more than the dudes I worked with.

    Also, now that I have the tools, I still do small jobs on the weekend, and trade the work in a mustachian recommended no-cash way for other stuff that I need, or would like, such as ski passes for a brake job, or a day spa for oil change. The world is a magical place!

    Would also like to add to the rich people category – rich people will pay even more for environmentally friendly products/services, such as the environmentally friendly cleaning company that I’m happily starting up as side work!

    Most of the jobs for the rich which MMM specified, you can boost your profits, and help the environment, by putting a green spin on them! Isn’t it amazing how frugality is ALWAYS better for the environment?

    • Shameless Old Lady September 23, 2019, 6:36 pm

      I made my living for about ten years doing custom cabinetry in Park Slope, Brooklyn, advertising as “Woodworking by Women”. (This was roughly 1976-86.) I hired and trained four different women who worked for me during that time. I have no formal training, but have always made things; basically I figured it out as I went along. And advertising very directly as a woman weeds out the trolls very nicely.
      We did simple work, nicely proportioned and attractive, mostly hardwood plywood, made to fit the house into which it was installed (ready-made cabinets do not fit 19th century row houses). I suspect my prices could have been higher, since we almost always got our jobs, but it was still the most money I have made, about $20k per year.
      I spent the last 25 years of my working life as a craftsperson, a wood turner, making and selling cherry salad bowls. Retired in 2015; I’m now 81, so I guess that’s not exactly early—but I always worked from home, never commuted, seldom worked more than 25 hours a week, and pretty much never did anything I didn’t want to do.
      So did I retire very late, or have I always been retired? And does it matter? Because I have enough, and I continue to learn, especially from MMM and all the awesome commenters here.
      Okay. Back to shopping for a cheaper cell phone plan.

      • Mr. Money Mustache September 26, 2019, 8:55 pm

        Wow, thanks for sharing that story! I agree that it sounds like a wonderful life and many of us would love to live that way.

  • rabbithutch August 9, 2013, 2:38 pm

    I don’t think Super Shuttle drivers do as well as you think. Please read this article. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-04-20/business/35452240_1_supershuttle-drivers-franchisees

    “The company says that in a 2009 income statement, Enajekpo reported $147,450.24 worth of business, including some tips. After subtracting fees owed to SuperShuttle, Enajekpo’s net pay from the company was $75,787.18. Enajekpo said that he paid for additional expenses related to his franchise, including a relief driver, gas and car maintenance. His 2009 tax returns showed a net loss of $2,665.”

  • Rob August 10, 2013, 1:27 pm

    If the military is not for you, we also have a diplomatic foreign service. The US Dept. of State will match your pre-service salary (up to $75,000 or so). On top of that, you’ll get an incredibly generous housing allowance for overseas service. You do not, however, get a gun.

  • Cathleen August 10, 2013, 9:57 pm

    It’s not easy to pull in $50K with a “boutique farm.” And it’s really hard manual labor. And something like tomato blight can wipe out a lot of your revenues w/o notice. You don’t just throw seeds in the ground. First of all, you need the ground, and land isn’t cheap in those fancy expensive places where people will pay $8/dozen for non-organic free range eggs. And most veggie producers probably have a greenhouse or at least high-tunnels to extend their season. And you probably need equipment to automate, or else you’ll need staff. Margins are small and you’ll need quantity of sales to make up for it. But you didn’t say this was a list of easy jobs. You certainly do not need a degree for it, but just sayin’ pulling in $50K net is hard to do.

  • Brain Floss August 10, 2013, 10:07 pm

    I’m a 21 year old college student who is doing an internship at an oil company for the summer. I make $26.15 an hour and I’m a mini environmental specialist who makes sure they comply with much needed laws (a hippie like myself’s sweet revenge haha) and solve environmental issues in the field. I spend a good amount of my time outside and not in a stuffy office. I am working towards a math degree (so much for using my college knowledge) and I know plenty of people in the company that don’t even have degrees, or just AA’s. When I graduate if I work for them I will be making 76K a year, with lots of benefits and bonuses and junk like that. I highly recommend investigating oil company jobs, as right now it’s on an upswing.

  • mynameisbrent August 14, 2013, 10:26 am

    For me, landing my 50k+ job was all about “who you know”. I took some AutoCAD classes in college and while I excelled in them, I didn’t get a degree nor did I pursue the field as a career (keep in mind too that this was right after the 2008 slump and companies were letting people go rather than hiring inexperienced 21 year olds). Over the years I’ve worked as a bartender, a DJ, an office lackey, a cashier, and landscaper. But even with doing those things, I always kept meeting people who were in the AutoCAD industry and kept making connections. 6 months ago those connections finally paid off and at 25 years old (now 26), I’m making 50k+ a year while a lot of my former classmates are trying to pay off student loans and unable to find comparable jobs.

  • MicaCeli August 14, 2013, 12:19 pm

    Long time reader, first time poster :) I don’t usually read Blogs but when I do, I read the ‘Stash. (Missed this post as I was on Vacation on your coast in Bend, OR)

    I find it funny and sad at the same time when people just don’t understand how easy it is to make money in America. It just takes a bit of *gasp* work. I have many friends and have met many people that just feel like they should making more money but surprise surprise are not really doing anything about it. I want to help them all but other then constant wining about money and how hard it is they are not interested. (Most have degrees)

    I don’t have a degree (never finished it) but I make over 6 figures doing IT work. All I had to do is teach myself computers at a younger age and then start working.

    I started in a company as a low level call center guy, not even computer related, became the manager of my shift within 3 months. Made contacts with computer geeks in the company and became a backup operator. Made more contacts and became a desktop support guy and again made more contacts and got a position as a network engineer. All within 2 years. No real experience other then picking stuff up on the job and using the internet (yes you can learn everything you need to know on the internet). Led a huge Y2K upgrade in the company.

    2001 came and I lost my job because of the .com collapse. Got a job as a mechanic (self taught) at a Honda dealer. Started as an oil change guy (see a trend here?), and became a full mechanic within 6 months. Did that for 2 years then got a job in IT again.

    Same story as above started out in a help desk type position then just moved around the company doing all kinds of IT things like building websites, calculation spreadsheets and even creating shortcuts on peoples desktops. Then got a position in the same company as an associate Microsoft Engineer (not knowing much of the technology) learned on job, promoted to Engineer in 6 months then Sr. Engineer in 3 years (would have been sooner but politics get in the way sometime). And that is where I am now and am still on an up and up the more I learn or dabble in.

    Remember I did this with 0 Degrees (not even an Associates) 0 Certificates and 0 money down. All it took is a sunny attitude, a little brain power to soak in knowledge, good customer service/interaction and some hard work. None of this was Luck.

    In the words of most Adam Sandler Movies YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 15, 2013, 2:40 pm

      Very nice story!

      Sounds like more than a little brainpower was involved, which we could attribute to luck. But then again, I think we can assume that MMM readers are pretty clever in general, which makes us all lucky.. which confirms your theory that You Can Do It!

  • Kruidig Meisje August 20, 2013, 7:43 am

    This list is subject to local differences. I know that truckdrivers are hugely out of work and the ones with work have low wages. In NL. The market has been highly competitive in the EU for years now, which has driven prices (i.e. wages for self employed people) down very much.
    All home constructing workers have had the markets against them for the last 5 years and a lot of the bigger companies (with a decent balance sheet and order list) have gone bank rupt. The same lousy housing market made a lot of real estate agents go out of business.
    So the list for well earning professions would be a different one here (EU/NL).

  • Andrew Mayer August 20, 2013, 1:25 pm

    I have a close friend who bought a food truck and has been operating it in the Bay Area for 2 years. There is no better market of people willing to spend enormous sums on boutique hamburgers. My friend is a competent manager and hyper-cost-conscious business person. He has worked tirelessly to promote his truck, obtain some of the best vending locations in the City, and operates it in the evenings for catering gigs as much as possible. His food regularly gets commended in “best of” articles. It’s his full time job. And yet–he hasn’t been able to pay himself a dime yet. It’s not at all clear that the truck will ever be profitable.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 20, 2013, 8:59 pm

      Wow! I’d love to see a verbal battle between your friend and one of the ultra-profitable food truck owners (such as the plate and shrimp ones on Oahu), to see where the differences lie. California does have some insane business taxes and fees, but that couldn’t explain everything.

  • Dani August 20, 2013, 6:51 pm

    Just a head’s up: most states require licensure to call oneself an “Interior Designer” (usually testing/licensure is done through NCIDQ). The idea being that Interior Designers may advise on minor remodeling projects and need to know when to call an architect or engineer (Smells like BS to me… NCIDQ’s persuasive lobbyists may or may not be the real reason for such requirements). One may, however, use the term “decorator” or “consultant” with no official qualifications.

  • WalletEngineers September 6, 2013, 10:51 am

    Wow great list. I literally went straight from reading this article do applying for a course in home inspection. I love being handy around the house and being in the market for a new home I was always blown away of the cost to have an inspection or appraisal done. I assumed there was a parent company who employed the appraisers and inspectors but now that I realize they are mostly independent I am extremely interested.

  • Tracy September 9, 2013, 7:48 am

    I am a real estate agent in Texas (since 2003), and I have made a little over $43,000 in the past 8 months. That might not sound like a lot, but I only work about 15 hours a week and can go on vacation whenever I want to.

  • Joel Daniels September 19, 2013, 9:39 am

  • Matt October 10, 2013, 11:57 am

    My 11 year old’s best friend has a dog walking job. She walks 2 dogs everyday for an hour at $5 a dog. That’s $10 an hour and $50 a week that this 11 year old girl is doing……Imagine what one could do with 20 dogs a day at $10 an hour?

  • Linda December 20, 2013, 1:14 am

    Just wanted to add to this list – Software Quality Assurance, aka “Testing”.
    However, in the U.S. you may need to pick your company carefully, and avoid the development “sweatshops” that treat QA badly.

    At least in some countries, Quality Assurance gets paid top notch (sometimes even more than Software Engineers if you’re really good). Pay increases with experience of course, and you might start off with a below-average salary.

    Sometimes you can get in without any certificates, sometimes you may need to get some sort of foundation testing certificate (like the ISEB qualification). But these are much cheaper and quicker than college. At one extreme, there’s more expensive short lecture-based courses that will take you from Testing Noob to Competent Tester in 5 days.

    Average Tester here in New Zealand earns around US$60k, ranges from $50k to $70, more if you work on contract.

    I’ve found it fairly easy work compared to Software Development!

    Edited to say : Do what I did, and learn programming while you’re in QA. That way you can sometimes aim to get into a Development position at the company, especially if you shine in your people skills. Several colleagues have done the same to get high paying software development jobs.

  • Christiana March 19, 2014, 10:12 am

    I have a degree but so far what I do doesn’t require it. I work in fine dining, which is technically a “sales” job as you mention. But let me tell you, the benefits are immense which is why I’ve been doing it for 8 years and it put me through school. It’s short hours compared to the usual 9-5 grind and the pay, while variable, is good at a busy place with a high check average. Build regular clients who visit you and it will get even better. My company offers benefits, health and otherwise, which are sometimes rare but worth looking around to find. Apart from this, I have immense flexibility in my schedule that allows me to freelance doing what I love as well.

  • Josiah March 31, 2014, 9:20 am

    I second #50! I am currently serving on active duty in the Navy. I am married, have a child, and am able to save on average $2,000 dollars per month. I am on the bottom of the enlisted military pay scale and living in one of the highest cost of living areas in the United States (D.C. area) I have done some calculating and with this modest amount of saving per month for the next twenty years, plus my military pension, I will be able to retire at age 42 with a yearly salary between $50K-$60K. This figure would be normal for a go getter that is planning on staying enlisted their entire career. My plan is to earn my college degree and transfer to the officer side of the military and with the bump in pay, after the same twenty years I will be collecting $70K-$80K between investments and pension, completely retired at 42 or 43 with way too much money! Best part about these numbers are that they are all conservative estimations of a return of 5% per year. The military with all it’s financial upsides definitely has some parts that are not as enjoyable, but all in all, there is great opportunity to learn a trade with no experience required, free travel to exotic places, and early(ish) retirement.

  • Sandie May 15, 2014, 2:53 pm

    Yes Debt Collectors can make a lot of money. When I worked Mortgage Collections we had one fellow who consistently made more than the majority of the managers. Managers averaged $40-50K while this guy averaged $60-75K. And that wasn’t including the bonuses we received based on the bank hitting certain goals that were spread among the employees. Man I miss those bonuses! Not the taxes taken out of them but the bonuses.

    We were “salaried” but if we went over 40 hours (which if you were hitting numbers you could work as many hours as you wanted) then it was calculated hourly for the OT. Then we received monthly bonuses based on what Tier we averaged out under. The categories included, wrap time (the time between the call ending, you noting the account & exiting), getting payments on the call & setting up payment plans & them keeping them.


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