Calling all individuals who make a lot of money - please share your success stories.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Kendo, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    Before we begin, please note that the purpose of this thread is NOT for braggarts or for those who do not make a decent income to feel down. The purpose of this thread is to LEARN from those who are successful. I know it is in human nature to feel jealous of those who are better off, but I actually find it uplifting and motivating to hear the actual journey of how one became successful because I'm so desperate to attain success myself.

    I'm relatively young and have only been working for 5 years. I make what one would consider average income in the US (over $50,000 USD but less than $75,000). In all honesty, I don't see myself EVER breaking six figures at my current rate due to the nature of my work. I work as an analyst for a financial company but the ceiling for me would probably be a supervisor in my department which isn't exactly my dream job.

    To those that are well off, did you just kind of "fall into" your current job? Or did you know from an early start what you wanted to do and pursued it? What were the steps that you took to make that giant leap financially? Did you switch companies? Just work hard? Play the corporate politics game? Go back to school and get a more advanced degree?

    You don't have to be specific on how much you make or what you do. I'm more curious about the actual journey from when you had nothing to having almost anything.
  2. simply amazing macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2011
    subscribing to this.. me being a graphic designer kind of speaks for itself as far as salary goes :(
  3. GroundLoop macrumors 68000


    Mar 21, 2003
    I make over $100K but less than $125k as an engineer for a defense contractor. I always knew that I was going to be an engineer, just didn't know what type until I got to college (where I got a degree in software engineering). But, I have since transitioned to systems engineering.

  4. Btrthnezr3 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2010
    I would like to learn--but I am doubtful I can ever reach 6 figure status. I am just a lowly teacher and I teach at a poor district. I make way less than most teachers. Gross is about $37,500. :(
  5. acidfast7 macrumors 65816


    Nov 22, 2008
    I find the title of this thread interesting.

    I just want to jump in and say the "success story" does not always have to equate "lot of money." I understand the social pressure to make a "lot of money." But, it is also important to stress the fact that one doesn't have to derive a success/failure quotient from making money. I only make average money (something like you) but I greatly enjoy my work and never dread going into work. It's more than I need if I want a family, and anything extra would just be saved anyway.

    To be serious, honest networking in the most important factor. You need to be in people's mind when positions become available, or better yet, before they become available.
  6. Kendo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    I completely agree. I'd hate to have all the money in the world and have no one to share it with. But life is a very diverse experience so you can have the best of both worlds. You can be broke and completely satisfied with your life, but you can also be very happy with your life and be rich.

    I'm more interested in the financial success aspect because as far as being content, that part of my life is covered. I am quite happy where I am as far as happiness.
  7., Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011 macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2011
  8. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    I just kept working. I think I started out at around $600 per month in the late 70's. That was low even back then. Now making 10X that, and then some. Not super wealthy, but a very comfortable life...
  9. simply amazing macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2011
    i know they always say "once you find a job you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life".. don't get me wrong, i love being a graphic designer, but the demands of my job aren't particularly the most rewarding, especially for the pay. and i wholeheartedly agree with you that success doesn't equate to money, but it sure would be nice. i mean looking from the outside in, i would consider myself successful as a whole.. but financially, i'd like to think otherwise. i'm completely, utterly happy about all the other aspects of my life (girlfriend, family, etc.), but in this society, you can't help but automatically think of success without relating it to money. but thank you for reminding me to count my blessings instead of what i don't have
  10. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Jan 30, 2004
    having a drink at Milliways
  11. Zerozal, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011

    Zerozal macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    Busted my hump to earn my BS in Biology/Chemistry minor, then went to work doing very basic lab testing at a Pharma company for a not-so-great salary. While working for said Pharma, I went back to school part-time (evenings/weekends) to earn my MS in Biotech. So, for 3 years I worked 8am-5pm at a full time job, then drove to class and spent all evening in class, then drove home, then worked on homework/papers/presentations for the rest of the night and on weekends, then did it all over again the next day until I earned my MS.

    Am now working for a different Pharma company earning 6 figures +.

    So how did I do it? A lot of hard work and long days, that's how. (And am damn glad I did!).

    Very few people "fall into" 6 figure jobs. Most of us have to go to school (and school, and school), then work hard.

    From the OP's post: "Did you switch companies? Just work hard? Play the corporate politics game? Go back to school and get a more advanced degree?"

    Yes, all of the above!
  12. pollaxe, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011

    pollaxe macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2010
    West of England
    That combination didn't work out for me, alas... ;)

    Edit: I should note my doctorate is in History and no-one makes any money at that, except David Starkey!
  13. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    That's too bad.

    You discovered, too late, that no one ever learns from History, and are therefore doomed to repeat it. ;)

    Or that's what they seem to prefer. :rolleyes:
  14. glocke12 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    Growing up, we were at times at or near the poverty level. I recall my parents being on food stamps, various welfare programs, etc. Living conditions at home were terrible, alcoholism and prescription drug abuse was rampant for both parents, as was the arguing.

    In high school basically fell in with the stoner crowd and spent every waking moment stoned on something or another, college or what to do after high school was never discussed, hell, my parents never even saw a report card. Eventually I dropped out of high school.

    After working a couple of years I realized without and education of some sort Id never have anything and would always be poor. Ended up getting a GED, saving up some money, and with the help of student loans and pell grants got a degree (BS only) in biochemistry in 1996.

    First year out of school I worked in a factory for six months than got my first real job in pharma only to laid off a year later. Spent another 3 months being unemployed until I got another job in pharma making around 60k, and since than have had that same job working my way up in the company to get to where I am at now. I don't run my own lab, but I do have alot of autonomy when it comes to my day to day work, and I am currently grossing just over 100k.

    It is demanding work, and doesn't leave much room for other things, but I prefer it to the alternative (not working).
  15. macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2011
    Forget a PhD - it's the rubber stamp of incompetence. You'll never live it down. Do a useful 4yr or 6yr, then go accomplish something. Phds are the last resort of total losers.

    If you utterly fail in the marketplace, then tuck in your tail THEN do the PhD, then you can get a gov't job and brag how special you are for the rest of your life.

    Other than my sig, nobody knows I have a doctorate. If they knew, I'd be quickly compared to 99% of the other phds - and my credibility would become nonexistent.
  16. Iscariot macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2007
    I was a designer for a few years myself. Lousy pay, lousy industry, lousy clients all leading eventually to lousy work. (It's kinda nice that some of my better work is still up in my neighbourhood and I get to see it on a daily basis, though.)

    In terms of success now, I make almost 2X as much now as I did as a designer (and my take home is way higher because I can write so much more off). I'm not yet making the 6 figure mark the OP spoke of, but I will be within the next 3-5 years, and I've been twice offered a position paying 6 figures that I didn't take because, ugh, middle management, no thanks.

    What did I do? I took a certificate over a weekend and spent $200 on liability insurance. That's my only qualification for my job. I've done a lot of continuing education since then which has certainly been useful in making me better at my job, but I could have been just as successful with time spent in the library instead.

    I don't mean to imply I didn't — or don't — work hard, because I busted my ass working 80+ hours a week unpaid building a client base and buying coffee for industry leaders to get 15 minutes of their time. I still work minimum 60 hours a week, and I did a 12 hour shift today. And I am crazy ****ing good at my job and I love every second of it. But the biggest and most important part of the equation was that I switched to a service industry aimed at baby boomers and planted my feet in an affluent part of town.

    @OP the median salary in your country is pitiful; you're doing better even than the median household income.
  17. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I don't want to go into too much detail but for me its split between hard work and luck.

    I worked at my hobby for years and just as I was close to giving up (well, winding down so I wasn't putting so much time into it) a publisher came along and we both worked out a way we could make a lot of money from it.
  18. appdicted macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2011
    Ok no millionaire yet, but this is what I'm doing

    Maybe start with something you can do from home like internet marketing, freelance webdesign/translating, that kind of stuff.

    And if you don't have it yet get your Masters/Bachelor depending on what you got right now. Even though it might not be that important to you, employers tend to value it and it might become a hurdle in later promotions.

    Talking about promotions, make sure you get promoted if not be on the lookout for something else.

    Work your ass off, but do it smart, try to get as much stuff done that will give you good credit with your superior. Don't just be the guy that your co-workers can dump their mundane tasks on. Show up at the critical times, make people think you are working hard.

    Most important thing is to move up, a lot of people love their job and that is fine, but if you really want to earn big in the six figures (100.000 should be attainable for most holders of a masters degree) you got to seize every opportunity and be ready to switch jobs.

    But I think this kind of attitude starts young and you can see it for example at people who were and are making money with online marketing, online poker and stock trading.

    Oh before I forget, ask yourself what you really want, money itself will not bring you happiness, and you can make decent money doing something you really like as well. I found out law wasn't for me even though I could have earned quite well being a lawyer, it wouldn't make me happy.
  19. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Not going into too much, I basically got really lucky. Found a job in the corporate world as a graphic designer, got some stock options and the stock went though the roof. Going to use that money and make more from being a partner in a restaurant.
  20. RRNYC macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2011
    I'm 42 years old and according to our President, I fall into the category of the wealthiest americans. It sure as hell doesnt feel like it! I live in the most expensive city in the country so I'm far from not having to worry about money however I cannot complain. I know how fortunate I am.

    I work on the sales side of the medical device field but as a director level. I've always enjoyed being in sales and I knew I couldnt handle being in an office all day so I went into pharmaceutical sales. This was back in the 90's when it was even more competitive than it is now and on top of making pretty good money, you could spend the company's money like it was water. No real hours to speak of as long as I did the required work. I wanted to do something similar but have more control over my income which is why I moved over to medical devices.

    Like most wage earners, I could think of better things I would rather do but none would give me the financial security I currently have. Someday soon I plan to move on and try starting my own business but the time and opportunity hasn't been right.
  21. RRNYC macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2011
    With all due respect, Ph.D's have their place but I certainly wouldn't advise anyone getting one unless it pertains specifically to a field that it benefits you and your employer.

    Part of the problem with this country is that people get useless degrees thinking its their ticket to a six figure job. When reality hits and they're making an average salary while working in a field that has nothing to do with their degree, they bitch and moan that they're unable to pay off their student loans blame anyone but themselves for their lot in life.

    Hard work, networking and some luck will get you a lot further in life than anhindrances degree 99% of the time unless it's a specialized degree for a specialized field
  22. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I totally agree, work smarter, not harder. I'm not suggesting be lazy and not get a degree or to go school, but getting a phd just because of the money will make your life miserable.

    If you look at multimillionaires and billionaires, most are not PhDs.
  23. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2009
    With all the PHd talk in here (I don't have one) but my college buddy did the whole undergrad, masters and PHd route. He landed (what I assume) a comfy job as a biomedical researcher. He makes a pretty penny to say the least. 750k house, 3 cars, a boat. He's got some nice toys.

    The flipside to that is he's in debt about $300k in student loans as a result of him chasing his PHd. While he makes a high salary and has lots of nice toys, he's up to his eyeballs in debt and, oddly enough, living paycheck to paycheck. If he ever loses his job, he's screwed big time.

    Having a PHd in some fields is probably a good thing but it mostly boils down to persistence and drive in whatever field you choose to do. In most other instances, it's probably going to come down to how much ass you can kiss. I see lots of wealthy ass kissers round these parts.
  24. Macman45, Nov 17, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011

    Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Now That

    Is what it's all about....Okay, I'm in the Music business, I'm "Comfortable" True dedication is not £$ related.

    I got kicked out at 14, had just one talent...I could sing. Joined quite a few very unsuccessful bands, and then realised I could only play the piano. Bought a el cheapo guitar (12 string) and played and played until I had polished a 40 song "Street Repetoire"
    Went out and busked to live...

    For a year. People noticed, I was invited to gig and the rest Is hard work and dedication really, I am now in my 50's and like the Joe Walsh song. "lives been good to me so far"

    Find something you love. Make it your one and only drive, exclude everything else (I have been through 3 marriages and a lot of strife) but work at it.

    Be good at whatever it is you do, and take pride in a job well done....Above all?

    Be happy, better to be broke and happy than rich and miserable. Trust me. I know.
  25. Kendo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    Did you get into the business due to your sales background or because you studied pharmacology in school? I have to admit, pharmaceutical sales does sound intriguing and would seem like an ideal mid-career change from finance.

    It is true what you say about blowing the company's money. I have an acquaintance whose job is essentially to take out clients to fancy restaurants and show them a good time.

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