CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Derivative
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:05 am

CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Derivative » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:11 pm

I am wondering if becoming a CPA is the best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money? I have some friends who are CPA accountants and they have their own business and are expanding it to 4+ different locations in different cities AND different states. I am wondering if my goal was to make the most amount of money + keep the most amount of money, that a CPA + accounting business would be the profession and job for me. Basically, I want to be able to use tax strategies to maximize the amount of money that I earn and keep.

My other dream is to become a doctor (surgeon) and have a successful business but I don't know if it is smart or possible for me to do both MD + CPA? Is CPA overkill if I want to maximize how much money I earn and keep? I am 25 y/o. Should I only focus on being a doctor or is getting both degrees smarter if my goal is to not only become a doctor but become extremely rich and financially independent with businesses & real estate?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

miles monroe
Posts: 1155
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:14 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by miles monroe » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:21 pm

do what you're good at and hire a cpa. and a fee only financial planner.

alfaspider
Posts: 1107
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by alfaspider » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:25 pm

As far as keeping money- Merely having a CPA license does not automatically make one frugal just as being a doctor doesn't make one healthy.

As far as making money as a CPA- like most professions it's all over the map. Fortune 500 CFOs (many of whom are CPAs) make millions per year. But there are plenty of shingle-hanging CPA's doing individual and small business work that barely scrape by. So much can depend on your background and experience.

Chuck
Posts: 1943
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:19 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Chuck » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:28 pm

Do you have any career preference besides money-making potential?

Derivative
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:05 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Derivative » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:32 pm

Chuck wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:28 pm
Do you have any career preference besides money-making potential?
Doctor + Business + Passive Income is my preference. And obviously I am not becoming a doctor just to make money (I don't think anyone would want to do that as the studying is insane). I actually want to research better surgical procedures and devices, etc.

Thank you. :happy
Last edited by Derivative on Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 3710
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:32 pm

Around here it is investment banking and similar, basically Wall Street. Top school, MBA in finance, job on Wall Street. Annual bonus makes anesthesiologist or white-shoe law partner earnings look like chump change. In a good year, a secretary to some of the top people can take home a several hundred thousand dollar bonus.

Derivative
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:05 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Derivative » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:35 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:32 pm
Around here it is investment banking and similar, basically Wall Street. Top school, MBA in finance, job on Wall Street. Annual bonus makes anesthesiologist or white-shoe law partner earnings look like chump change. In a good year, a secretary to some of the top people can take home a several hundred thousand dollar bonus.
Yes I know. I have researched the earnings of top executives for companies and they earn millions per year. But I think the probability of getting that position is very low right (less than becoming a surgeon or even a plastic surgeon)?

Pacman
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:50 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Pacman » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:37 pm

Weren't you the guy posting about a month ago who runs a tutoring business but wants to go to medical school? I'm not sure whether to take this post seriously, because of some of the phrasing such as "extremely rich" which honestly sounds immature. But anyway, I am a CPA and would recommend it only if you are actually interested in it. This profession would feel like a prison to someone not suitable for it. The profession has good stability and decent earning potential, and the costs to getting a CPA are pretty cheap compared to the value you get. It's also not a bad profession if you want to be self-employed one day or drastically scale back in your later years - there are plenty of 70 year old CPA's still churning through tax returns for clients in the spring, then vacationing the rest of the year. But honestly, CPA and MD don't belong in the same sentence when discussing career choices - I couldn't think of 2 more different paths.

Nowizard
Posts: 1315
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Nowizard » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:42 pm

Consider a reboot and move away from considering a profession based on which one provides the most money. Though we all want to be secure financially, and that leads most of us here to choose something with a probable path toward that, focusing simply on money is not likely to lead to a positive outcome over the long haul. Find something you love that is at least reasonably practical financially, and you will find that satisfaction follows, money being only a part of that equation. Also, if you are 25 and not already on the way to becoming a doctor, you are well behind the game for most of us.
Tim
Last edited by Nowizard on Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SQRT
Posts: 592
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:44 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by SQRT » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:43 pm

Giving the OP the benefit of the doubt.

Getting a CPA (and the university education that allowed it) was an excellent way for me to move from a manual labour warehouse job to a profession. In turn this allowed me to become a C-suite exec at a very large company. I’m sure there are other ways to achieve similar success but if you have the aptitude and personality, getting a CPA is a great “gateway” to a lucrative career.

F150HD
Posts: 1299
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by F150HD » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:02 pm

Pacman wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:37 pm
Weren't you the guy posting about a month ago who runs a tutoring business but wants to go to medical school? I'm not sure whether to take this post seriously, because of some of the phrasing such as "extremely rich" which honestly sounds immature. But anyway, I am a CPA and would recommend it only if you are actually interested in it. This profession would feel like a prison to someone not suitable for it. The profession has good stability and decent earning potential, and the costs to getting a CPA are pretty cheap compared to the value you get. It's also not a bad profession if you want to be self-employed one day or drastically scale back in your later years - there are plenty of 70 year old CPA's still churning through tax returns for clients in the spring, then vacationing the rest of the year. But honestly, CPA and MD don't belong in the same sentence when discussing career choices - I couldn't think of 2 more different paths.
:thumbsup

JBTX
Posts: 2382
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by JBTX » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:12 pm

I have a CPA license but really only use it as a credential. I have never practiced as a CPA.

There is no magic to it. To pass the test you need to take several years of accounting classes and understand the subject matter well enough to pass the test. For those CPAs that are experts in taxes or other specialties they get that from their years of practicing. I have found that there are quite a few people on here that aren’t CPAs and have more detailed knowledge on some specific investment tax related questions than I. A couple of them may even be doctors.

I’d see no reason to be an MD and a CPA. Probably about 80-90% of what you would need to learn to pass the CPA Exam would be of no use to you as an individual investor or proprietor of a self owned practice.
Last edited by JBTX on Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
neurosphere
Posts: 2668
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:55 pm
Location: NYC

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by neurosphere » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:13 pm

F150HD wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:02 pm
Pacman wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:37 pm
But honestly, CPA and MD don't belong in the same sentence when discussing career choices - I couldn't think of 2 more different paths.
:thumbsup
I'm a half-time MD and half-time financial planner and tax preparer. Trust me, it's a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE career path to shoot for, from a salary or net worth perspective. Choose one or the other!
-- Real name: Sotirios Keros. If you have to ask "Is a Target Retirement fund right for me?", the answer is yes.

thangngo
Posts: 760
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by thangngo » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:26 pm

Derivative wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:11 pm
I am wondering if becoming a CPA is the best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money? I have some friends who are CPA accountants and they have their own business and are expanding it to 4+ different locations in different cities AND different states. I am wondering if my goal was to make the most amount of money + keep the most amount of money, that a CPA + accounting business would be the profession and job for me. Basically, I want to be able to use tax strategies to maximize the amount of money that I earn and keep.

My other dream is to become a doctor (surgeon) and have a successful business but I don't know if it is smart or possible for me to do both MD + CPA? Is CPA overkill if I want to maximize how much money I earn and keep? I am 25 y/o. Should I only focus on being a doctor or is getting both degrees smarter if my goal is to not only become a doctor but become extremely rich and financially independent with businesses & real estate?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
It is easier to have a job if you're a CPA. But if you are good at something, do what you good at and keep getting better, you'll make a lot of money. Don't do both MD and CPA. You won't have time, trust me. Pick one that you like and good at and invest in it.

Derivative
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:05 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Derivative » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:33 pm

Thank you guys for all of the responses so far. Each one is very helpful. :happy

smitcat
Posts: 1009
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by smitcat » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:36 pm

I thought you had committed to medical school and were beginning very shortly? Is that not what you had posted a couple of months back?
That is a fantastic goal that obviously requires complete dedication and great focus - why the posts ahout CPA's?

randomguy
Posts: 5365
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by randomguy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:44 pm

If you want to become extremely rich neither being a doctor or a CPA is a great idea. Starting a business is just about the only way to get extremely rich. Just rich on the other hand is open to a lot of professional careers. CPAs are not overly high paid. If I had to guess you friends are doing well because they are running a business and have a bunch of CPAs doing work for them.

And frankly tax optimization is over rated compared to making more money. No amount of tax optimization is going to give someone making 100k more spendable money than someone making 300k

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 17749
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:55 pm

Derivative wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:33 pm
Thank you guys for all of the responses so far. Each one is very helpful. :happy
Do something because you love it, you will never work a day in your life. Do it because you are chasing money and soon you’ll find it is you who is the slave and money is your master.

If you do become a dr. Let us know where you practice, I’ll be sure to avoid your practice. Patients much like clients of a CPA want the practioner to be focused on their needs, not to be focused on how big your wallet, bank account or investment account is.

As suggested above, if you want to make the most money legitimately - become an investment banker. But be prepared to kill or be killed. It’s a high stakes game and it’s not for the timid.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Derivative
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:05 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Derivative » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:11 pm

Wow, again, thank you for all of the post so far. I am going to learn from each one and hopefully grow from all of the advice and insight. It seems like the more posts per thread the better on the Bogleheads forum so please keep them coming!

All of the advice put together is exactly what I am looking for to try to understand better.

:happy :happy :happy

J295
Posts: 1325
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:40 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by J295 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:46 pm

If your skills and temperament allow it, owning your own business is IMO a way to become quite wealthy (no guarantee of course, but it can lead to substantial wealth for some).

I am a retired lawyer, and like most other professions that have a high hourly compensation component made a quite satisfactory amount of money, but professions like this aren't in the same category for wealth generation as business ownership.

I would strongly echo the comments against pursing something solely for the $$$. Moreover, my doctor friends have been quite frustrated the last decade or more with the environment in which they operate (no pun intended) and have routinely told me that they tell their children only to go into the medical profession if they love helping people (they specifically counsel against pursuing medicine for the $$$).

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 12151
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by abuss368 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:09 pm

Derivative wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:11 pm
I am wondering if becoming a CPA is the best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money? I have some friends who are CPA accountants and they have their own business and are expanding it to 4+ different locations in different cities AND different states. I am wondering if my goal was to make the most amount of money + keep the most amount of money, that a CPA + accounting business would be the profession and job for me. Basically, I want to be able to use tax strategies to maximize the amount of money that I earn and keep.

My other dream is to become a doctor (surgeon) and have a successful business but I don't know if it is smart or possible for me to do both MD + CPA? Is CPA overkill if I want to maximize how much money I earn and keep? I am 25 y/o. Should I only focus on being a doctor or is getting both degrees smarter if my goal is to not only become a doctor but become extremely rich and financially independent with businesses & real estate?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
No one will be able to specialize in two completely separate professions. One (or both) will suffer.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 12151
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by abuss368 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:09 pm

I would consider the CPA route as it is the language of business and opens many doors.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 3710
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:37 pm

Derivative wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:35 pm

Yes I know. I have researched the earnings of top executives for companies and they earn millions per year. But I think the probability of getting that position is very low right (less than becoming a surgeon or even a plastic surgeon)?
Not top executive, investment banker. Path is top school, MBA, high-paying job.

What's your current education? If you are thinking about medical school, have you taken the science and other pre-med courses you would need? If not, is there a good school you can get to to take them?

If you are trying to figure out a career path that involves education and are 25, take some classes, see what you like and are good at. You can make good money in almost any field if you are good at it. You don't have to make a top 1% salary or be a genius or pursue two careers to do okay financially; that is really the whole point of Bogleheads.

I think it's okay to decide that if you are one of the people who simply is not going to find work that you really look forward to doing every day, you are better off at least finding work that pays well. It's much better than having a job that you don't look forward to doing every day that also pays poorly. I also think that trying to tackle two career paths simultaneously is a little much unless there is some specific niche that you have your heart set on. I know people, including doctors, who had a professional career and then got an LLD or MBA in order to specialize in their primary field, sometimes because found they didn't really like their primary field but wanted to leverage off it. Sort of plan B, I guess.

I am one of those people who never really had a dream career or found an easy path into a career that I wanted. I ended up taking classes and sort of stumbled into something that let me earn a decent living. So take some classes, starting with one leading to where you think you want to go, to see how it works out. A degree in accounting is sometimes referred to as a ticket to the middle class, same for nursing, but not many get rich in those fields.

The other option might be to forget about education and simply do something that can turn out well: sweat equity in real estate, start a business, create and sell software. People are trying all kinds of things that didn't really exist twenty years ago and some work out, some don't. Seems like the successful ones are doing something they enjoy, though.

darrvao777
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:34 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by darrvao777 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:16 pm

Derivative wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:11 pm
I am wondering if becoming a CPA is the best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money? I have some friends who are CPA accountants and they have their own business and are expanding it to 4+ different locations in different cities AND different states. I am wondering if my goal was to make the most amount of money + keep the most amount of money, that a CPA + accounting business would be the profession and job for me. Basically, I want to be able to use tax strategies to maximize the amount of money that I earn and keep.

My other dream is to become a doctor (surgeon) and have a successful business but I don't know if it is smart or possible for me to do both MD + CPA? Is CPA overkill if I want to maximize how much money I earn and keep? I am 25 y/o. Should I only focus on being a doctor or is getting both degrees smarter if my goal is to not only become a doctor but become extremely rich and financially independent with businesses & real estate?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
CPA, pick the shorter route

I was already an intern by the time I was 25 yo, attending by 29yo. I don't think medicine will be the right track for you. If you are serious about being a surgeon, you won't be making attending money until you are 34yo

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:21 pm

You come to the right forum, you are “money” focus. But seriously, my sister is a CPA, she is the poor one in my family. I laughed when my brother said one of his sons said the same thing.

User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 13134
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:28 am

Pacman wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:37 pm
Weren't you the guy posting about a month ago who runs a tutoring business but wants to go to medical school? I'm not sure whether to take this post seriously, because of some of the phrasing such as "extremely rich" which honestly sounds immature. But anyway, I am a CPA and would recommend it only if you are actually interested in it. This profession would feel like a prison to someone not suitable for it. The profession has good stability and decent earning potential, and the costs to getting a CPA are pretty cheap compared to the value you get. It's also not a bad profession if you want to be self-employed one day or drastically scale back in your later years - there are plenty of 70 year old CPA's still churning through tax returns for clients in the spring, then vacationing the rest of the year. But honestly, CPA and MD don't belong in the same sentence when discussing career choices - I couldn't think of 2 more different paths.
You think accounting would be a prison for someone not suited for it, try medicine, particularly the decade long training pipeline.

It's certainly possible to do medicine and own a business and become wealthy, but it's probably not the pathway to choose if your goal is really to build wealth and honestly, most people (but certainly not all) who are actually going to make it into and through medicine are pretty dead set on it are well on their way by 25. Medicine is a great career for those who wouldn't be happy doing anything else.

But a desire to do research and become wealthy in medicine? That's a harder path. I do know of at least one orthopod who has done it all though, so it's not impossible.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 13134
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:29 am

neurosphere wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:13 pm
F150HD wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:02 pm
Pacman wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:37 pm
But honestly, CPA and MD don't belong in the same sentence when discussing career choices - I couldn't think of 2 more different paths.
:thumbsup
I'm a half-time MD and half-time financial planner and tax preparer. Trust me, it's a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE career path to shoot for, from a salary or net worth perspective. Choose one or the other!
Did I know you did financial planning? Why do I feel like that's news to me? Is this a new thing?
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

ccieemeritus
Posts: 527
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:43 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by ccieemeritus » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:51 am

The best profession if you want to make the most money is printer at the US mint.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 3651
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:33 am

The best profession is to be found by knowing oneself and finding what you love and are passionate about. From that, the money will come, the career satisfaction will be found, and personal fulfillment and growth will be realized. Without those things, all the money in the world will not fill the emptiness of a path not taken.
j :D

User avatar
CyclingDuo
Posts: 1202
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:07 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by CyclingDuo » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:42 am

Derivative wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:11 pm
Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
For every 100 at bats, get 33-35 hits.

That could be worth a cool $20 - $30M per year. :mrgreen:

User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 5302
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by bottlecap » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:29 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:33 am
The best profession is to be found by knowing oneself and finding what you love and are passionate about. From that, the money will come, the career satisfaction will be found, and personal fulfillment and growth will be realized. Without those things, all the money in the world will not fill the emptiness of a path not taken.
j :D
This is the answer.

Obviously, if you want to have money, you have to go into a profession that has decent prospects or avenues of advancement. But choosing a profession on dollar numbers alone will make you miserable and/or unsuccessful.

You are 25. Try out some different jobs. Find something you like and have an interest in that you are not bad at.

Dollars will come from your success, not the other way around.

Good luck,

JT

P.S. there is one way to “keep the most money”: don’t spend it in the first place.

User avatar
neurosphere
Posts: 2668
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:55 pm
Location: NYC

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by neurosphere » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:01 am

White Coat Investor wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:29 am
neurosphere wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:13 pm
I'm a half-time MD and half-time financial planner and tax preparer. Trust me, it's a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE career path to shoot for, from a salary or net worth perspective. Choose one or the other!
Did I know you did financial planning? Why do I feel like that's news to me? Is this a new thing?
Hmm, not sure. I don't hide it (anymore). It's been almost 5 years since I started my firm. :D

clutchied
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by clutchied » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:23 am

Derivative wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:11 pm
I am wondering if becoming a CPA is the best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money? I have some friends who are CPA accountants and they have their own business and are expanding it to 4+ different locations in different cities AND different states. I am wondering if my goal was to make the most amount of money + keep the most amount of money, that a CPA + accounting business would be the profession and job for me. Basically, I want to be able to use tax strategies to maximize the amount of money that I earn and keep.

My other dream is to become a doctor (surgeon) and have a successful business but I don't know if it is smart or possible for me to do both MD + CPA? Is CPA overkill if I want to maximize how much money I earn and keep? I am 25 y/o. Should I only focus on being a doctor or is getting both degrees smarter if my goal is to not only become a doctor but become extremely rich and financially independent with businesses & real estate?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

being a CPA has worked out pretty well for me thus far.

Being a physician is probably the most high demand profession right now. It has huge barriers to entry and is highly sought after everywhere. There is going to be a major shortage at some point and honestly there probably is right now. It's portable.


I think it really depends on what you want to do. Making and keeping money are a function of behavior but not something will necessarily make your work meaningful. What do you want to do?

Surrounding yourself with competent professionals will always be beneficial

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 3651
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:57 am

Many a very substantial wealth mentor has shared their stories and lessons throughout my life. I've been fortunate to be exposed to so many "wealth mentors" whereas many have not in their daily life. Here's an actionable snippet. (names have been changed to protect the diligent)

Conversation between father and son on the steps of the front porch at their home in "Bogleheadville".


"Son, you will do okay if you get an education and a good professional career. . . but as long as you are an employee you will be making someone else rich."

. . . . . "Gee paw. . how did get so wealthy?"

"I work for myself, Opie. I own half the town because I got into Real Estate. First it was buying a little cottage and renting it out. Then little by little buying up the land and leasing it out to the shopping centers, and, of course, the land the Sheriff's office is on. They don't call it landLORDing for nuthin'."

. . . "What about Uncle Goober, Paw?"

"Your Uncle Goober is really smart. He used to be a CPA. Then he figured he was doing all the business records for rich folk and wanted to be one himself. He went out on his own and now owns 45 service stations and truck stops across the entire county. His CPA learnin' is what helped him figure it all out."

. . .. . "Gee Paw. . . is that the difference between being okay and maybe a little rich, and being really really wealthy?"

. . . "That's right Opie. You control what ya make and what ya keep. But ya gotta be doing stuff you like. I like land. Goober likes fixin things."

. .. . "Gosh. . thanks Paw. . you're swell.. . . can anybody do this and get super duper rich?"

. . . "Not everybody, Opie. Lot's of folks are either unlucky, not smart enough, or don't have the constitution for it and give up, or too scared to try. Not everyone can be a Ray Croc who made McDonalds, or Jack Bogle, or that fella that made Berkshire Hathaway. But it's certainly worth giving it a go and having fun if you're inclined to. And, then again, nothin' wrong with bein' an employee either. Whatever makes ya happy."

. . . . "Gosh, you're really swell Paw."

. . . "You too, Opie."
Last edited by Sandtrap on Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:24 am, edited 3 times in total.

Texanbybirth
Posts: 651
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:07 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Texanbybirth » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:09 am

I'm a CPA who prepares tax returns for doctors. It sure seems like I picked the wrong profession of the two from a purely financial viewpoint. :beer

(600th post, woo!)

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 3651
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:13 am

Texanbybirth wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:09 am
I'm a CPA who prepares tax returns for doctors. It sure seems like I picked the wrong profession of the two from a purely financial viewpoint. :beer

(600th post, woo!)
Agree.
I had a degree in Economics/Finance and worked in a bank doing audits. One day I was doing stand-ins for tellers on lunch. Cashed checks for construction and trades workers on Friday. They were cashing checks for 1 week's work larger than I was making in a month. That was the beginning of the end of that career path for me. Fortunately I was very young at the time so it was good timing.
j :D

smitcat
Posts: 1009
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by smitcat » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:17 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:57 am
Many a very substantial wealth mentor has shared their stories and lessons throughout my life. I've been fortunate to be exposed to so many "wealth mentors" whereas many have not in their daily life. Here's an actionable snippet. (names have been changed to protect the diligent)

Conversation between father and son on the steps of the front porch at their home in "Bogleheadville".


"Son, you will do okay if you get an education and a good professional career. . . but as long as you are an employee you will be making someone else rich."

. . . . . "Gee paw. . how did get so wealthy?"

"I work for myself, Opie. I own half the town because I got into Real Estate. First it was buying a little cottage and renting it out. Then little by little buying up the land and leasing it out to the shopping centers, and, of course, the land the Sheriff's office is on. They don't call it landLORDing for nuthin'."

. . . "What about Uncle Goober, Paw?"

"Your Uncle Goober is really smart. He used to be a CPA. Then he figured he was doing all the business records for rich folk and wanted to be one himself. He went out on his own and now owns 45 service stations and truck stops across the entire county. His CPA learnin' is what helped him figure it all out."

. . .. . "Gee Paw. . . is that the difference between being okay and maybe a little rich, and being really really wealthy?"

. . . "That's right Opie. You control what ya make and what ya keep. But ya gotta be doing stuff you like. I like land. Goober likes fixin things."

. .. . "Gosh. . thanks Paw. . you're swell.. . . "

. . . "You too, Opie."

Of course the story has a lot of truth in it.....
But it does skip over all the folks that go into business and do not make it.
We do know more of them then the former.

SouthernCPA
Posts: 638
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:20 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by SouthernCPA » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:26 am

I'm a CPA that has worked in public practice (tax) and now am in Commercial Real Estate development. The key to making money as a CPA is using the knowledge the CPA provides to leverage that into industry - at least that has been my experience.

If you are going to become CPA because you think you're going to make bucketloads of money simply by being a CPA, I'm afraid you will be let down. The knowledge gained certainly gives you an edge over others in business, but it doesn't guarantee you'll make great money. I know CPAs who make $25,000/year and I know CPA's who make millions. It depends how you utilize the knowledge and how hard you're willing to work.

quantAndHold
Posts: 1354
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by quantAndHold » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:28 am

What do you want to DO for the rest of your life? Both CPA and MD would be straightjackets if that’s not what you want to do. There are lots of ways to make money. The key to success is to pick something that pays reasonably well that you like and want to stick with for the long term. Do it, make money, and pay attention to your spending and saving. Repeat for 30-40 years.

If your real goal is just to get rich, your best bet is starting your own business.

I had a CPA who owned his own business as a tenant for several years. There were times he had trouble paying rent.

In knowledge professions, not being interested in the work is an excellent path to career failure. Do something you’re actually interested in.

clutchied
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by clutchied » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:38 am

SouthernCPA wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:26 am
I'm a CPA that has worked in public practice (tax) and now am in Commercial Real Estate development. The key to making money as a CPA is using the knowledge the CPA provides to leverage that into industry - at least that has been my experience.

If you are going to become CPA because you think you're going to make bucketloads of money simply by being a CPA, I'm afraid you will be let down. The knowledge gained certainly gives you an edge over others in business, but it doesn't guarantee you'll make great money. I know CPAs who make $25,000/year and I know CPA's who make millions. It depends how you utilize the knowledge and how hard you're willing to work.

Am CPA and totally agree. I did tax returns for wealthy people for 6 years and figured out how the wealthy make and keep money and now I do that.

farnsy
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:49 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by farnsy » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:45 am

The language of your post suggests that you believe all options are open to you and you are equally prepared for many very different careers. I doubt that is the case--you are not a high school student any more. If you are 25, you should have finished college some time ago. What was your degree in? If you don't have the prerequisites (and good grades) expected by a medical school, then that door is already pretty much closed. Does your undergraduate degree prepare you for graduate work in accounting? Is the option of getting an MBA at a top school even in your choice set based on your career and grades so far?

I don't mean to be discouraging, but if you are sitting down to decide on a career right now you should be aware that many of the most prestigious and lucrative careers are probably not easy options for you. Anything is possible, but some choices would be a huge uphill battle at this point and would some years getting caught up to where other people in that field already were at your age.

To know what your options are, you must consider:

* What your undergraduate major was
* What your grades (and possibly standardized test scores) were like
* The general level of your undergraduate institution (top school, good school, ok school, local/community college)
* What the jobs you have had so far (that you can put on your resume) have prepared you for

I wouldn't mind being the CEO of a fortune 500 company. Very lucrative job with great perks. But my education and employment haven't really opened the door to that job possibility for me (and that is not going to change any time soon), so there's not much use in fantasizing about it. At this point switching to that track would be costly in terms of both time and money and likely not result in me achieving my objective anyway.
Last edited by farnsy on Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

thangngo
Posts: 760
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by thangngo » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:48 am

ccieemeritus wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:51 am
The best profession if you want to make the most money is printer at the US mint.
LOL :mrgreen: :moneybag :dollar

Quantumfizz
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:26 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Quantumfizz » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:52 pm

Some thoughts as a CPA:

I did public for a few years and was top rated. IMO if you can handle the hours there is no other job in the world where you can be completely average (or even below average) at your job and continue to get rapidly promoted with high raises each year. That being said, if you are a top performer it's excruciating to work there as there is almost no reward for performance. E.g. If you could do something in 40 hours and someone else 60, you'll still do the 40 hours and then pick up another 20 somewhere else.

That being said, CPA in general has some much variability to it. You could work on financials in a certain industry for a few years, but have no idea how to handle individual taxation matters, transfer pricing matters for global conglomerates, etc. There are so many different specialties it's tough to say what the career path would be for each.

In my experience, the guys on Wall Street make the most, trading is generally better hours thank investment banking but similar pay. Buy side (Hedge funds, private equity shops, asset managers) make even more. This kind of money you hire a CPA to tax plan for you.

In summary, I think CPA provides a great tool to combat unemployment and earn an above average salary but by no means the most money. I've looked at the CFA (for finance) and much of the accounting on there is close to the level of some of the topics on the CPA and much more difficult in general.

Jack56
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:27 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Jack56 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:35 pm

If you want to become rich quick you might check out your local lottery rather than trying to become a doctor, which requires that you go to school and learn a lot of tedious things like chemistry and biology. And I doubt that learning accounting is a whole lot better.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 12561
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by Watty » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:25 am

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

It will vary a lot within the field but none of the doctors or CPA's that I have known had a very good work life balance.

Doctors get hit especially hard in medical school and their training.

Most of the CPA's I have known worked in a corporate environment and they got slammed and had to work a lot of extra hours every month end, quarter end, and especially at year end and tax time. They also had a lot of extra job demands whenever there was an audit or big business deal that they were involved in. For every high paid CEO that was a CPA I also saw lots of CPA's doing what was essentially doing staff work. They might have been relatively well paid but few of them would ever advance to the top management levels and become mega rich working at a corporate job.

If you do get an accounting degree when you are 30 your prospects of being hired by a big accounting firm may not be good since you don't fit their normal career path at that age. The big accounting companies hire a lot of new accountants each year but the competition for them to advance is brutal and with a big accounting company if you are not moving up the ladder on schedule your prospects quickly dim.

wrongfunds
Posts: 1052
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by wrongfunds » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:24 am

Didn't somebody suggest becoming designated hitter in MLB? I could also add becoming NFL quarterback or becoming NBA star player to make the most money.

Are these type of questions really serious? If these questions were serious, then the above answer is the only serious answer. Hopefully, the person asking the question would then realize how silly the original question is.

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 12151
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by abuss368 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:15 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:33 am
The best profession is to be found by knowing oneself and finding what you love and are passionate about. From that, the money will come, the career satisfaction will be found, and personal fulfillment and growth will be realized. Without those things, all the money in the world will not fill the emptiness of a path not taken.
j :D
Hi Sandtrap -

You post is so well written and said. I could not agree more.

Thank you!
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 12151
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by abuss368 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:18 am

clutchied wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:38 am
SouthernCPA wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:26 am
I'm a CPA that has worked in public practice (tax) and now am in Commercial Real Estate development. The key to making money as a CPA is using the knowledge the CPA provides to leverage that into industry - at least that has been my experience.

If you are going to become CPA because you think you're going to make bucketloads of money simply by being a CPA, I'm afraid you will be let down. The knowledge gained certainly gives you an edge over others in business, but it doesn't guarantee you'll make great money. I know CPAs who make $25,000/year and I know CPA's who make millions. It depends how you utilize the knowledge and how hard you're willing to work.

Am CPA and totally agree. I did tax returns for wealthy people for 6 years and figured out how the wealthy make and keep money and now I do that.
Hi clutchied -

I am interested in your post and it is relevant to this thread and the original posters note. What did you learn from servicing tax return clients? What knowledge gained have you specifically put into practice?

Best.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

BrianMc
Posts: 131
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:03 am

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by BrianMc » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:25 am

I think the OP could benefit greatly through a mentorship. OP has made some interesting posts in the past indicating, among other things, he's an intelligent, small business owner (owns a tutoring company). He appears eager, driven, and ambitious. However, he also appears to be struggling with what to do, career wise, in his mid-20s.

Derivative: Do you have a mentor(s)? This would be someone you can ask these types of questions, but directly. If you haven't done so, service-based organizations such as the Rotary Club could be a good start. In addition to giving back to your community (Bay Area, correct?), you could network, as well. I imagine there are Bogleghead CPAs and MDs who may be members of such groups. Ideally, the mentor would live in your community and would be amicable to such a relationship (don't want to force a relationship, that's for certain).

Bogleheads: If anyone has any experience with mentorships and can elaborate, please do so. Thanks.

Brian

clutchied
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: CPA: The best profession if you want to make the most money + keep the most money?

Post by clutchied » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:12 am

abuss368 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:18 am
clutchied wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:38 am
SouthernCPA wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:26 am
I'm a CPA that has worked in public practice (tax) and now am in Commercial Real Estate development. The key to making money as a CPA is using the knowledge the CPA provides to leverage that into industry - at least that has been my experience.

If you are going to become CPA because you think you're going to make bucketloads of money simply by being a CPA, I'm afraid you will be let down. The knowledge gained certainly gives you an edge over others in business, but it doesn't guarantee you'll make great money. I know CPAs who make $25,000/year and I know CPA's who make millions. It depends how you utilize the knowledge and how hard you're willing to work.

Am CPA and totally agree. I did tax returns for wealthy people for 6 years and figured out how the wealthy make and keep money and now I do that.
Hi clutchied -

I am interested in your post and it is relevant to this thread and the original posters note. What did you learn from servicing tax return clients? What knowledge gained have you specifically put into practice?

Best.

Hey yeah, so it's pretty easy. You would think there would be some type of secret but nope...


1. They had big brokerage accounts, most were actively managed
2. Many had a business of some kind. Most were service oriented.
3. Many had real estate rentals.
4. Many had lots of cash to capitalize on opportunities as they presented themselves.
5. All had lots of insurance and professionals to assist them with their various enterprises.
6. Some had combinations of the above but most tended to focus on either stocks and bonds or real estate. There were a few crossovers but less than I would expect.
7. Most had no debt.
8. Most were self made.


So specifically for me I made the "tremendous" step of realizing they were normal people that started somewhere so I took a leap and started buying real estate. I started saving aggressively and paying down debt.

probably not earth shattering for bogleheads but for me in my mid-20's it made a huge impression on me. Specifically since my family, while well educated, had zero investment experience so I was starting from zero...

Post Reply