For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

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bigred77
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by bigred77 » Fri May 31, 2019 12:38 pm

I see Managers in my field making $250K give or take working 40-50 hours a week with limited travel/stress. One can make it to this level being good, ambitious, and persistent (you have to wait your turn; put in the years).

I see Directors in my field making $400K give or take working 50 - 60 hours a week with limited travel but some stress. You have to be very good, very ambitious, and very persistent to make it to this level.

I see VPs in my field making $1M+ working 50-60 hours a week and dealing with significant travel and stress. You have to be excellent, politically astute, and lucky to make it to this level.

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leeks
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by leeks » Fri May 31, 2019 12:42 pm

cal91 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:03 am
I'd like to hear too... even if only over $200k.

I'm a structural engineer making $90k + benefits. Sounds decent but factor in 4 kids + wife, single income, and living in California it's lean living. Always thought in high school and college I wouldn't have to live this lean having my PE stamp. Even considering starting off on my own.
If you don't have extended family in CA (and maybe even if you do), I'd just get out of there! You should be able to make roughly as good a salary as an engineer in other parts of the country and your money could go a lot farther.

ohai
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by ohai » Fri May 31, 2019 12:53 pm

When people describe law firm hours, they always give the impression of being high, even if not technically incorrect. Nothing new here.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Presintense » Fri May 31, 2019 1:02 pm

FI4LIFE wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:00 am
I chose a career where I knew I'd never make millions. It is stable with good benefits and higher than average pay. Sometimes I dream of chasing the big bucks and wonder what specific skills have lead to people earning ultra-high incomes. If you earn over $500k/year, what's your story?
I worked in sales and focused on neglected geography. The potential was high and competition was low.
Performance = Potential - Distraction

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by MikeG62 » Fri May 31, 2019 1:06 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:27 am

The money is awesome and has allowed us to become FI pretty early on in life, but we both still work. Nothing about it has been glamorous outside of what money brings.

In our early 30's...Spouse works 60 hours a week, 7 days a week, including while on vacations, and that would be considered a pretty light week...Spouse travels 75+% of the time, we're rarely in the same state together, often not in the same country or time zone. We have averaged about 24-48 hours a week together (including sleep) over the last decade.

There's no magic bullet. IMO, having watched from the sidelines, it boils down to extremely hard work, flexibility, personality, and having good leadership. Spouse's mega corp is the best run company I've ever seen and remains wicked innovative. Spouse has had amazing mentors that picked up on the talent and really nurtured it. The company has invested heavily in my spouse over the years and you don't see that too often.
When you say you are FI, does that mean you can both stop working and live the life you want to live for the rest of your lives? If so, then why would your spouse want to continue working in this manner?

If she’s as highly regarded as you say and her company as innovative and nurturing, has she considered approaching them about a change in her work life balance. After all, it’s not all about the destination (what you do when you are retired), but the journey getting there (enjoying that as much as possible) AND actually getting there (stress can take an incredible toll on the body). The two of you are making an incredible sacrifice.

FWIW, I early retired at 53 from a senior executive position with a sort of mega-Corp (NYSE listed public company, >15,000 employees, revenues of $3B). DW was SAHM for the prior 25 years. In 2005 I felt I had enough of the 60 hour work weeks and constant pressure and stress and spoke with my CEO about retiring. I was done. Much to my surprise he was incredibly flexible in negotiating with me a part-time work schedule (~3 days per week - generally Monday’s and Fridays off) - following a 15 month period where I transitioned my responsibilities to my successor - where I remained in a senior finance capacity but more of a consultative role. No G&O’s no performance reviews, no travel unless I was up for it. This continued for 9 years. Ultimately I left after the company was acquired and the senior leadership team was exited. And yes I earned considerably more per year than the OP’s threshold for most of my time there (even including the 9 years in the reduced work capacity mode).

Just saying that if your spouse is that good and highly regarded, there may be an easier way than what you two are enduring.

Good luck. I will say early retirement is everything my DW and I thought it would be and more. We now live up to the level of our means and travel extensively.
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rjbraun
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by rjbraun » Fri May 31, 2019 1:14 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:52 am
bampf wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:48 am
Stinky wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:40 am
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:27 am

Spouse works 60 hours a week, 7 days a week, including while on vacations, and that would be considered a pretty light week.

Spouse travels 75+% of the time, we're rarely in the same state together, often not in the same country or time zone. We have averaged about 24-48 hours a week together (including sleep) over the last decade.
Congratulations to you and your spouse for making this work.

I expect that the majority of folks on this Board wouldn’t be willing to make the sacrifices that you and spouse have made .....
I am not even sure that is a good deal. You can make $500K without having to work those kinds of hours. If you do the math, that's like $150 an hour. Its possible to work far less and make that money ($250 to $300 an hour). This doesn't sound like a good deal to me. And what is the point in accumulating that kind of money so you can literally spend most of your waking hours toiling for someone else? No thank you!
Well I intentionally didn't specify the salary, but it is over 500k and not just by a dollar. The sacrifice has been huge, but we will ride off into the sunset at the ripe age of 45 and have the rest of our lives to do what we want.

It's definitely not for everyone.
Forty-five is pretty young. Will you and your spouse be able to slow down? I would think that the qualities that allowed your spouse, in particular, to succeed (hard work, drive, ambition, etc.) might well need another outlet for the several decades of your post-mega corp life.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Glockenspiel » Fri May 31, 2019 1:14 pm

bigred77 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:38 pm
I see Managers in my field making $250K give or take working 40-50 hours a week with limited travel/stress. One can make it to this level being good, ambitious, and persistent (you have to wait your turn; put in the years).

I see Directors in my field making $400K give or take working 50 - 60 hours a week with limited travel but some stress. You have to be very good, very ambitious, and very persistent to make it to this level.

I see VPs in my field making $1M+ working 50-60 hours a week and dealing with significant travel and stress. You have to be excellent, politically astute, and lucky to make it to this level.
Which field are you in? In my field (civil engineering), managers make $100k-$150k working 45-55 hours/week, directors make $125-$225k, working 50-55 hrs/week, and directors are generally also VPs.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri May 31, 2019 1:15 pm

ausmatt wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:31 pm
(I don’t like saying this as it sounds conceited — but I’ve always been pretty smart (grades, scores, etc) and read everything I could in a particular area as I went into it ... I think that allows me to progress well without having to work 70 hours/week).
Nobody thinks less of someone 6’10” for saying “I’m tall.”

Also meant to add - don’t burn any bridges and try to stay in contact with your network. It’s amazing how paths collide again in the future and how important it is that you treat people well (subordinates and peers). For example, one of my previous bosses was a key partner at a VC and now runs one of Google’s startup businesses. Another is a very senior person at the company that acquired my last company. One previous peer is always recommending me for potential roles as she’s well connected and sought after. Having spent quality time outside of work with these people creates a long term bond in addition to doing good work together.
+1
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Glockenspiel
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Glockenspiel » Fri May 31, 2019 1:16 pm

leeks wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:42 pm
cal91 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:03 am
I'd like to hear too... even if only over $200k.

I'm a structural engineer making $90k + benefits. Sounds decent but factor in 4 kids + wife, single income, and living in California it's lean living. Always thought in high school and college I wouldn't have to live this lean having my PE stamp. Even considering starting off on my own.
If you don't have extended family in CA (and maybe even if you do), I'd just get out of there! You should be able to make roughly as good a salary as an engineer in other parts of the country and your money could go a lot farther.
Dang. I'm having a hard time imaging a structural PE making that little in California, unless it's like rural northern CA, or something...I'm around the same salary with 11 years experience as a civil, in a city in the Midwest.

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snackdog
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by snackdog » Fri May 31, 2019 1:21 pm

The lower end of middle level management at any significant western corporation should get you there, although you may need to include bonus and stock in some cases.

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SquawkIdent
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by SquawkIdent » Fri May 31, 2019 1:22 pm

corn18 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:08 pm
One piece of advice I will offer is if you are not making $500k a year, please LBYM and save like a good BH so if you do hit $500k a year, you have options. We were debt ridden (like a LOT) always spending more than we made. Even when we were making $300k / year. We looked rich and were dead broke. Then we got a clue (read The Millionaire Next Door) and got our spending under control. Then out of debt. Then found ourselves at age 48 with no savings at all. Luckily, that's when the $600k / year started and we are saving like crazy. We should be ok.

But I always imagine what today would be like had we just managed to save 10% of our income up to age 48 and stayed out of consumer debt. We could either retire way early or splurge on some stuff. As it is, we are spending $120k / year and saving $300k. It is what it is.
+1

Always try to LBYM. If you don’t, bad things happen. Just ask lots of pro athletes.

Bungo
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Bungo » Fri May 31, 2019 1:24 pm

Nothing particularly special. Senior software engineer in the Bay Area at one of the FAANG companies, negotiated a good RSU package and employer stock has been doing well (roughly half of my total income). Have only been above $500k AGI for the past two years, though, and not very much above.

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FlyAF
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by FlyAF » Fri May 31, 2019 1:28 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:06 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:27 am

The money is awesome and has allowed us to become FI pretty early on in life, but we both still work. Nothing about it has been glamorous outside of what money brings.

In our early 30's...Spouse works 60 hours a week, 7 days a week, including while on vacations, and that would be considered a pretty light week...Spouse travels 75+% of the time, we're rarely in the same state together, often not in the same country or time zone. We have averaged about 24-48 hours a week together (including sleep) over the last decade.

There's no magic bullet. IMO, having watched from the sidelines, it boils down to extremely hard work, flexibility, personality, and having good leadership. Spouse's mega corp is the best run company I've ever seen and remains wicked innovative. Spouse has had amazing mentors that picked up on the talent and really nurtured it. The company has invested heavily in my spouse over the years and you don't see that too often.
When you say you are FI, does that mean you can both stop working and live the life you want to live for the rest of your lives? If so, then why would your spouse want to continue working in this manner?

If she’s as highly regarded as you say and her company as innovative and nurturing, has she considered approaching them about a change in her work life balance. After all, it’s not all about the destination (what you do when you are retired), but the journey getting there (enjoying that as much as possible) AND actually getting there (stress can take an incredible toll on the body). The two of you are making an incredible sacrifice.

FWIW, I early retired at 53 from a senior executive position with a sort of mega-Corp (NYSE listed public company, >15,000 employees, revenues of $3B). DW was SAHM for the prior 25 years. In 2005 I felt I had enough of the 60 hour work weeks and constant pressure and stress and spoke with my CEO about retiring. I was done. Much to my surprise he was incredibly flexible in negotiating with me a part-time work schedule (~3 days per week - generally Monday’s and Fridays off) - following a 15 month period where I transitioned my responsibilities to my successor - where I remained in a senior finance capacity but more of a consultative role. No G&O’s no performance reviews, no travel unless I was up for it. This continued for 9 years. Ultimately I left after the company was acquired and the senior leadership team was exited. And yes I earned considerably more per year than the OP’s threshold for most of my time there (even including the 9 years in the reduced work capacity mode).

Just saying that if your spouse is that good and highly regarded, there may be an easier way than what you two are enduring.

Good luck. I will say early retirement is everything my DW and I thought it would be and more. We now live up to the level of our means and travel extensively.
Yes we could probably both walk now, but my spouse has some unfinished business in their career so to speak. They want to see what the next move up brings.

As far as the long hours and extensive travel, we're on the back 9 in that regards (hopefully on the 18th green tbh). The company has been extremely grateful for all of the sacrifice and all above recognize it. On top of that, we've relocated all over the country which hasn't gone unnoticed either. I'm *told* that I should get my spouse back in the next 6 months and that it will be permanent. I doubt it will ever get to 40 hour weeks and weekends off, but if we could get to even just 1 week of travel a month we'd be good and that is what I'm told is coming. Hopefully the end is near.

Edit to add: Lest anyone think evil Mega Corp is somehow taking advantage, we've known exactly what each role entailed each time we've relocated or taken a promotion. This is what we signed up for and have been rewarded handsomely for it. Eyes have always been wide open and the company forthcoming with it's expectations.
Last edited by FlyAF on Fri May 31, 2019 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

warner25
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by warner25 » Fri May 31, 2019 1:30 pm

groovy9 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:34 am
There's a mountain of evidence that earning more money beyond having your needs comfortably covered (think $60k to $100k range for a family of 4 in most areas of the US) doesn't make people happier.
I think the assumption in these studies, which is often true outside of the Boglehead community, is that people spend nearly everything they earn. So I think the evidence points to spending or consumption beyond $60-100k not making people happier. That makes sense to me. But I think many on this forum would get significant happiness from doubling or tripling their income and putting the entire after-tax increase into savings, not spending more at all. I'm sure I would. It's about peace of mind.
IMO wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:59 am
How exactly does one work a 100 hr week on a regular basis?.. How much time per day is the commute, getting ready for work, eating, going to bathroom per day? No kids/time with kids? Take a dog for a walk? Any exercise time? Edit: forgot sleeping... This may be considered a financial success, but in my book that would hardly be a goal to strive for in life.
For military service members deployed to a combat zone at the tactical level for up to a year, working 14-16 hours/day for 100 hours/week is common for leadership positions. Yes, it's basically work and sleep with no other overhead because you have no family present, your bed is 100 meters from your office, and things like food and laundry are all pick-up/drop-off services. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all in uniform with co-workers, so you're thinking and talking about work. And then sleep gets interrupted by emergency work-related issues. In my experience, it was a good day if I had an hour to talk to my wife on the phone, go for a run, or read a book. I showered about once a week. I do agree that this is not a goal to strive for in life.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by SC Anteater » Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 pm

Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:01 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:25 am
HawkeyePierce wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:23 am
I'm at $325k as a software engineer in Colorado. It's entirely possible I could pass $500k in 5-7 years.

I never work more than 40 hours a week and don't work at all on weekends, evenings or when on vacation. When I go on vacation I delete my work email account from my phone.
Thread over, we have a winner.
This is absolutely the winner. I don't see the point in making more money If you have to give up having a family, then what are you working for, to retire early, do then do what, die alone? Id love to get to the point where DW and I make $200K, she makes 60K and I think moving out of non-profit I can get 125K right now, so almost there, with bonuses might be close, but after $200K, what more can I do, just buy a bigger house to pay more taxes, to pay more maintenance, to have to hire a maid and a lawn service to buy more stuff, it is just stuff, what matters is family and spending time with them.
You probably won't get all that. My HH makes close to 200K and other than biannal 'big' vacations (Europe, Hawaii) we don't have a lot of spare change since we've got two in college (both public). As in, we eat rice and beans at least 2 days a week.

We've only made this much the last couple of years, so we weren't able to save a ton for college, so we're cashflowing it. Still, I'm shocked at how little 200K gets us. Our PITI is about $2600/mo, fwiw.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Bacchus01 » Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:10 pm
It's relatively straightforward to be in your mid-30s, you and spouse making $250k a piece and working 40 hours a week as Managers / Sr. Managers in MegaCorp.

Describes my household at least.
Was household income the question?

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FlyAF
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by FlyAF » Fri May 31, 2019 1:38 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:14 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:52 am
bampf wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:48 am
Stinky wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:40 am
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:27 am

Spouse works 60 hours a week, 7 days a week, including while on vacations, and that would be considered a pretty light week.

Spouse travels 75+% of the time, we're rarely in the same state together, often not in the same country or time zone. We have averaged about 24-48 hours a week together (including sleep) over the last decade.
Congratulations to you and your spouse for making this work.

I expect that the majority of folks on this Board wouldn’t be willing to make the sacrifices that you and spouse have made .....
I am not even sure that is a good deal. You can make $500K without having to work those kinds of hours. If you do the math, that's like $150 an hour. Its possible to work far less and make that money ($250 to $300 an hour). This doesn't sound like a good deal to me. And what is the point in accumulating that kind of money so you can literally spend most of your waking hours toiling for someone else? No thank you!
Well I intentionally didn't specify the salary, but it is over 500k and not just by a dollar. The sacrifice has been huge, but we will ride off into the sunset at the ripe age of 45 and have the rest of our lives to do what we want.

It's definitely not for everyone.
Forty-five is pretty young. Will you and your spouse be able to slow down? I would think that the qualities that allowed your spouse, in particular, to succeed (hard work, drive, ambition, etc.) might well need another outlet for the several decades of your post-mega corp life.
Agreed. Spouse will likely go into something in a mentoring capacity, think guidance counselor at a school or similar. Me, I've never enjoyed working, though I'm educated, hard working, and successful. I'll have no problems just chilling.
Last edited by FlyAF on Fri May 31, 2019 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by stoptothink » Fri May 31, 2019 1:40 pm

I have two friends that make $500k+, one inherited his father's concert promotion business and expanded it. The other is a financial advisor who owns his own firm. They are both <40, not brilliant by any stretch (one has a GED, the other a liberal studies degree from a university you have never heard of), but they are the most natural salesmen I have ever met.

My boss is well into the 7-figures, he's the CMO and one of 4 founders of a company that had nearly $4B in revenue last year. There is nobody at my ~4,500 employee company that doesn't have a "C" next to their job title who makes even remotely close to $500k. I know some of the senior VPs are around $300k. My job title changes with the direction of the wind - currently it is "senior director" in a science department - and it was a really big deal when my salary (barely) crossed $100k 2yrs ago. I have two other PhD scientist colleagues who are senior directors in other departments who make less than I do.

I do have amazing work/life balance. Other than 6 weeks a year, I very rarely work more than 40hrs and they have kept to their word in minimizing my travel so far (4yrs). Our biggest competitor offered me a nearly 40% raise 2yrs ago, but I was going to have to travel a lot.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by JBTX » Fri May 31, 2019 1:44 pm

Traveler wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:50 am
Jayhawk11 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:29 am
Wife makes ~500k at a mega law firm (market bonuses move it around a bit). She did it by going to a top college and a top law school and working all the time. 100 hour weeks pretty regularly. She's a workaholic.

I followed the same path and bowed out before partnership and now make ~150k as a public servant (HHI of 650-700 depending on bonuses).

So, be really lucky to be born with the genetic intelligence in a country where such mobility is possible, be really lucky to be born into a family that cultivates and values education and hard work (and sacrifices for you), be really lucky to avoid fates like disease or abusive parents, then be both lucky and hardworking in your school career, then be lucky and extremely hardworking post-grad school (lots of smart and hardworking attorneys get the axe for things out of their control, i.e. Great Recession).

So extreme amounts of luck (macro and micro) peppered with uncommon work ethic and diligence. Easy peasy.
Every so often I see someone say they (or in this case, the spouse) regularly work 100 hours a week. I simply don't believe it. This means that Every.Single.Day. the person works 14 hours and 17 minutes. There aren't enough hours in the day. Maybe a week here or there but I don't believe the "regularly".
I'm making no judgment or assertion on Jayhawks comments, but overall my observation is similar to yours. I worked in a mini mega Corp where people logged all hours worked and the average for salaries was only about 42 hours. I tend to be one that arrives later and stays later and rarely in any of my jobs do I see people in the office past 6pm. Sure, some people may catch up at home.

My suspicion is people tend to add in their commute time and any lunch time. Some people will "work through lunch" at their desk but accomplish very little.

Also, many of those people who work 40 could probably do it in 20-30. I would be in contract jobs and struggle to find 30 hours a week. Somebody would leave, I'd take over some of their responsibilities and within a couple of weeks still struggle to find 30 hours.

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FlyAF
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by FlyAF » Fri May 31, 2019 1:50 pm

I won't speak to the 100 hour thing, I don't think my spouse has ever gotten near that (at least I hope not), but you guys do realize that we're not talking about the average salaried worker right? At the pay grade that we're discussing here, we're talking about the select few at the top that are running the entire company. These people live and breathe their jobs and are most of the time are thrilled to do it. I'm not sure I've ever worked more than 45 hours a week in my life, but I only make a fraction of 500k.
Last edited by FlyAF on Fri May 31, 2019 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by rjbraun » Fri May 31, 2019 1:52 pm

$500k+ per year is doable working on "Wall Street", but a good portion of that will likely be in the form of an at least somewhat subjective and discretionary annual bonus (could be combination of cash and deferred stock). While my data may be somewhat stale, someone at the VP / Director level might have a base of $175,000 to $250,000. The bonus can easily be at least double the base in a good year. Even in a not so good year, if you're valued by management you might very well get a decent bonus if you performed but the firm just had a bad year. So, the next step up would be the Managing Directors, and with a higher base of, say, $250k+ they probably won't be an MD for long if they are not at least matching their base in annual bonus.

The jobs I'm referring to, in addition to investment bankers (involved in mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, debt or equity issuance, etc.) would be in sales and trading (selling bonds or stocks to institutional investors, or trading and putting capital at risk for a bank). The investment bankers' hours can be long and involve lots of travel. The sales people may have to travel and go to client dinners, etc. but apart from that the hours shouldn't be so brutal (compared to bankers). Traders' hours are manageable, but you've got to have the right constitution to be able to watch your p&l drop and not panic.

Almost any successful hedge fund or private equity manager will easily top $500k+ in compensation. The next highest compensated people at the firms might be the ones raising capital for the funds, in addition to the senior investment team. The marketers typically need to travel. In addition to raising capital they also have find a way to retain clients, even if the fund's performance is poor. So, that can be a lot of pressure. Also, hedge fund and private equity managers, who own the firm, can have pretty healthy egos. :wink:

https://www.businessinsider.com/wall-st ... ake-2018-7
Last edited by rjbraun on Fri May 31, 2019 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri May 31, 2019 1:57 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:50 pm
I won't speak to the 100 hour thing, I don't think my spouse has ever gotten near that (at least I hope not), but you guys do realize that we're not talking about the average salaried worker right? At the pay grade that we're discussing here, we're talking about the select few at the top that are running the entire company. These people live and breathe their jobs and are most of the time are thrilled to do it.
I get that, but most of them are still 60 hours a week or less. More if you count business meals, conference calls while commuting, strategizing while taking a shower, etc.
100 hr weeks are for beginning iBanking analysts, medical residents, some startups, and lawyer’s billing :D .
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

H-Town
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by H-Town » Fri May 31, 2019 1:58 pm

GT99 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:54 am
H-Town wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:51 am
FI4LIFE wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:00 am
I chose a career where I knew I'd never make millions. It is stable with good benefits and higher than average pay. Sometimes I dream of chasing the big bucks and wonder what specific skills have lead to people earning ultra-high incomes. If you earn over $500k/year, what's your story?

A manager level in Big Four accounting firm can earn that level of income in San Francisco. But he or she might earn less than half of that in other cities.
Wait - are you saying a Big 4 manager in SF can make $500k/yr? Are you being literal (for those not familiar, the standard Big 4 career path is Associate, Senior, Manager, Senior Manager, then Partner or Director if you have no sales aptitude as Partners have to sell) or are you including Senior Managers? I can believe there might be handful of Senior Managers around in a place like SF making $500k, but I'd bet there's not a Manager level making that amount at any big 4 anywhere in the country. Average for a first year partner is more like $350k. DW is an experienced Big 4 Senior Manager, and she's just passed the $200k mark in the past year. We are not in a HCOL city - I'd expect she'd be around $300k in SF.
No, not all managers and sr managers making 500k in SF, NY, and Chicago. But not everyone in the same level get the same pay. A data point came from an audit senior manager at a Big Four. She's making high 400k in total comp.

But when you get to 300k territory, a combined HHI where husband and wife have the same career would make over 500k at managerial level. There would be sacrifice since both will have put in significant investment of time and commitment to get to that level.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri May 31, 2019 2:04 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:52 pm
$500k+ per year is doable working on "Wall Street", but a good portion of that will likely be in the form of an at least somewhat subjective and discretionary annual bonus (could be combination of cash and deferred stock). While my data may be somewhat stale, someone at the VP / Director level might have a base of $175,000 to $250,000. The bonus can easily be at least double the base in a good year. Even in a not so good year, if you're valued by management you might very well get a decent bonus if you performed but the firm just had a bad year.
After “the unpleasantness,” limits were placed on the ratio between salary and variable comp. At one time, my wife’s salary wasn’t materially more than her admin’s. That has again loosened up some, but salary very much lags total comp.

Many of these firms say that, barring something exceptional, bonuses aren’t less than half or more than double year on year.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Glasgow
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Glasgow » Fri May 31, 2019 2:18 pm

corn18 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:20 am
Retired military fighter/test pilot ($100k). Transitioned to business development starting at the director level of $200M division ($150k). Moved up to VP of BD at the billion dollar level ($400k) then president of a division ($600k total comp). At the president level, comp is 1/3 salary, 1/3 bonus and 1/3 RSU's.
corn18,
I admire your achievements and you're a rare breed - military fighter to president of a division. Can you elaborate on steps transitioning from military to business development to higher level? It'd help us readers here inspired to look for similar self improvement, hard learning and working ethic path.
Last edited by Glasgow on Fri May 31, 2019 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thegame14
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Thegame14 » Fri May 31, 2019 2:23 pm

SC Anteater wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:01 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:25 am
HawkeyePierce wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:23 am
I'm at $325k as a software engineer in Colorado. It's entirely possible I could pass $500k in 5-7 years.

I never work more than 40 hours a week and don't work at all on weekends, evenings or when on vacation. When I go on vacation I delete my work email account from my phone.
Thread over, we have a winner.
This is absolutely the winner. I don't see the point in making more money If you have to give up having a family, then what are you working for, to retire early, do then do what, die alone? Id love to get to the point where DW and I make $200K, she makes 60K and I think moving out of non-profit I can get 125K right now, so almost there, with bonuses might be close, but after $200K, what more can I do, just buy a bigger house to pay more taxes, to pay more maintenance, to have to hire a maid and a lawn service to buy more stuff, it is just stuff, what matters is family and spending time with them.
You probably won't get all that. My HH makes close to 200K and other than biannal 'big' vacations (Europe, Hawaii) we don't have a lot of spare change since we've got two in college (both public). As in, we eat rice and beans at least 2 days a week.

We've only made this much the last couple of years, so we weren't able to save a ton for college, so we're cashflowing it. Still, I'm shocked at how little 200K gets us. Our PITI is about $2600/mo, fwiw.
I hear your we are right now at $150K ish HHI, but with $2,700 Mortgage, taxes and house insurance, then add two daycares for another $2,500 then cable $200, cell phones $100, gas, sewer, water, one car payment for $200, car insurance is like $175, and it is mostly gone. always thought making 100K meant you were living well, but I also max out my 401K, we wont have two kids in daycare forever and I took less pay to work at a non profit for more vacation and work life balance. But my point is I could get another job making another 40-50K or maybe more if I work in NYC, but then I wouldn't see my kids during the week, would spend weekends trying to make it up which you cant, be even more stressed, and what would I do with the extra, more into retirement? bigger house? more expensive car? how does that help any? it is just stuff. The most important is having kids, being a family, spending time together, so more money would help, but not at the cost of time with family. who cares to retire earlier just to be alone? I don't want to work til I die, and Id like to help my kids with college, some of it, but I also want them more importantly to know me and know what a family is, know they are loved, spend time teaching them lessons I wasn't taught, being there for their first heartbreak, their sports games or dance recitals, teaching them right and wrong. I am not saying I am poor and one day I will have a nice inheritance as well (house in cape cod already in trust in my name) and more the longer my parents live, but I want them to live to see my kids get married and for my kids to know them, those are the goals, not FIRE or FI, or retiring at 45 to be alone.....

Of course Id love to strike it rich in the lottery or something, but that would be so I could have more kids, and help out family and my community

Thegame14
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Thegame14 » Fri May 31, 2019 2:25 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:52 pm
$500k+ per year is doable working on "Wall Street", but a good portion of that will likely be in the form of an at least somewhat subjective and discretionary annual bonus (could be combination of cash and deferred stock). While my data may be somewhat stale, someone at the VP / Director level might have a base of $175,000 to $250,000. The bonus can easily be at least double the base in a good year. Even in a not so good year, if you're valued by management you might very well get a decent bonus if you performed but the firm just had a bad year. So, the next step up would be the Managing Directors, and with a higher base of, say, $250k+ they probably won't be an MD for long if they are not at least matching their base in annual bonus.

I think that is the main thing. Most of these people are talkgin about RSU's and stocks and equity. I am salary and 5% bonus, getting RSU's and equity is a tech thing, most don't get things like that. I get 5% ESOP which is rare. My title I should have closer to 15-20% bonus, but it is what it is, I also get 6 weeks vacation and can take it all....

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FlyAF
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by FlyAF » Fri May 31, 2019 2:27 pm

Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:23 pm
SC Anteater wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:01 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:25 am
HawkeyePierce wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:23 am
I'm at $325k as a software engineer in Colorado. It's entirely possible I could pass $500k in 5-7 years.

I never work more than 40 hours a week and don't work at all on weekends, evenings or when on vacation. When I go on vacation I delete my work email account from my phone.
Thread over, we have a winner.
This is absolutely the winner. I don't see the point in making more money If you have to give up having a family, then what are you working for, to retire early, do then do what, die alone? Id love to get to the point where DW and I make $200K, she makes 60K and I think moving out of non-profit I can get 125K right now, so almost there, with bonuses might be close, but after $200K, what more can I do, just buy a bigger house to pay more taxes, to pay more maintenance, to have to hire a maid and a lawn service to buy more stuff, it is just stuff, what matters is family and spending time with them.
You probably won't get all that. My HH makes close to 200K and other than biannal 'big' vacations (Europe, Hawaii) we don't have a lot of spare change since we've got two in college (both public). As in, we eat rice and beans at least 2 days a week.

We've only made this much the last couple of years, so we weren't able to save a ton for college, so we're cashflowing it. Still, I'm shocked at how little 200K gets us. Our PITI is about $2600/mo, fwiw.
I hear your we are right now at $150K ish HHI, but with $2,700 Mortgage, taxes and house insurance, then add two daycares for another $2,500 then cable $200, cell phones $100, gas, sewer, water, one car payment for $200, car insurance is like $175, and it is mostly gone. always thought making 100K meant you were living well, but I also max out my 401K, we wont have two kids in daycare forever and I took less pay to work at a non profit for more vacation and work life balance. But my point is I could get another job making another 40-50K or maybe more if I work in NYC, but then I wouldn't see my kids during the week, would spend weekends trying to make it up which you cant, be even more stressed, and what would I do with the extra, more into retirement? bigger house? more expensive car? how does that help any? it is just stuff. The most important is having kids, being a family, spending time together, so more money would help, but not at the cost of time with family. who cares to retire earlier just to be alone? I don't want to work til I die, and Id like to help my kids with college, some of it, but I also want them more importantly to know me and know what a family is, know they are loved, spend time teaching them lessons I wasn't taught, being there for their first heartbreak, their sports games or dance recitals, teaching them right and wrong. I am not saying I am poor and one day I will have a nice inheritance as well (house in cape cod already in trust in my name) and more the longer my parents live, but I want them to live to see my kids get married and for my kids to know them, those are the goals, not FIRE or FI, or retiring at 45 to be alone.....

Of course Id love to strike it rich in the lottery or something, but that would be so I could have more kids, and help out family and my community
You're hung up on the retiring early to be alone thing. Who in this thread has talked about retiring early to be alone?

I'm glad that you enjoy being a present parent. I know I sure didn't have that.

fallingeggs
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by fallingeggs » Fri May 31, 2019 2:31 pm

Big4 accounting. Senior manager now 10 years out of college and was closing in on $250k in NYC. Recently moved to a medium cost of living city, so I took a a pre-tax cut, but doing a bit better post-tax/COL.

I fully expect that when/if I make partner, I'll be at the $500k range after 5 years (40 to early 40s), with potential for $1m+ by retirement (60).

It's a lot of work and takes a lot of different skill sets, but is rewarding both personally and financially. It's like running your own little business inside a much larger one.

And the world will always need accountants, so we aren't going away. All the Firms trace their roots back 150+ years.

tk1978
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by tk1978 » Fri May 31, 2019 2:32 pm

Partner at a big law firm. And just for the record, I have never worked a 100-hour week, not even close.

EddyB
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by EddyB » Fri May 31, 2019 2:43 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:44 pm
Traveler wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:50 am
Jayhawk11 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:29 am
Wife makes ~500k at a mega law firm (market bonuses move it around a bit). She did it by going to a top college and a top law school and working all the time. 100 hour weeks pretty regularly. She's a workaholic.

I followed the same path and bowed out before partnership and now make ~150k as a public servant (HHI of 650-700 depending on bonuses).

So, be really lucky to be born with the genetic intelligence in a country where such mobility is possible, be really lucky to be born into a family that cultivates and values education and hard work (and sacrifices for you), be really lucky to avoid fates like disease or abusive parents, then be both lucky and hardworking in your school career, then be lucky and extremely hardworking post-grad school (lots of smart and hardworking attorneys get the axe for things out of their control, i.e. Great Recession).

So extreme amounts of luck (macro and micro) peppered with uncommon work ethic and diligence. Easy peasy.
Every so often I see someone say they (or in this case, the spouse) regularly work 100 hours a week. I simply don't believe it. This means that Every.Single.Day. the person works 14 hours and 17 minutes. There aren't enough hours in the day. Maybe a week here or there but I don't believe the "regularly".
I'm making no judgment or assertion on Jayhawks comments, but overall my observation is similar to yours. I worked in a mini mega Corp where people logged all hours worked and the average for salaries was only about 42 hours. I tend to be one that arrives later and stays later and rarely in any of my jobs do I see people in the office past 6pm. Sure, some people may catch up at home.

My suspicion is people tend to add in their commute time and any lunch time. Some people will "work through lunch" at their desk but accomplish very little.

Also, many of those people who work 40 could probably do it in 20-30. I would be in contract jobs and struggle to find 30 hours a week. Somebody would leave, I'd take over some of their responsibilities and within a couple of weeks still struggle to find 30 hours.
Even for law firms that may have alternative billing arrangements with their clients, the individual lawyers are still overwhelmingly likely to keep track of their working time in 6-minute increments. Although it's long ago for me, my personal experience, and my more recent observation of those who came after me, tells me that ending up with 6 to 10 100-hour weeks in a year is not that unusual. Does 6 or 10 of those weeks in a year count as "regularly"? I don't know, but I know it can feel like you've barely recovered from one when the next one hits (and if they're bunched, it's horrible. Horrible).

Edited to add: And yes, this is for relatively junior people, in specific practice areas. It is not universal or forever and always.

Topic Author
FI4LIFE
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by FI4LIFE » Fri May 31, 2019 2:52 pm

For those asking, we don't need to split hairs. If you make $489k you can still contribute. If a two income household is bringing in $500k+ you can contribute too. It's an open discussion.

SouthernFIRE
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by SouthernFIRE » Fri May 31, 2019 2:54 pm

Partner at boutique plaintiffs firm. Hit a couple decent contingency fee cases a year and there you go. The risk/fluctuation in income isn't for everyone but there are no/very few billable hours and I haven't worked a night or weekend in years.

financialdude
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by financialdude » Fri May 31, 2019 2:58 pm

I did it as an independent consultant with a unique specialty.

GCD
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by GCD » Fri May 31, 2019 2:59 pm

I myself never broke $500K, nor did I do it jointly with my wife. However, I have 2 friends who made over $1M as attorneys. Interestingly, neither went to a top law school. One went to Loyola (Chicago) and the other went to Hofstra. I see a lot of talk about top 14 law schools which I never really understood. Top 14? Pretty arbitrary. Why not top 10 or top 15? And Hofstra is ranked around 100 and Loyola around 80. They did work their butts off though. They both eventually made partner, obviously. One took vacation time on paper, but not in reality. He did this to jack up his billable hours. The firm had some formula where taking your vacation time, but actually working it somehow boosted your billable hours over just letting it pile up.

At one NYC firm, the associates were met with a menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Room service basically. The sad part being that you were obviously expected to be at your desk for all three meals. They had a Starbucks inside the office, because they didn't want any associates wasting time taking the elevator down to the one in the lobby.

So yeah, Alpha pay, Alpha work ethic.

I can't speak to the specific hours put in by one, she's the spouse of a good friend. The other was my roommate in law school and I can assure you that he really did work 14 hours a day M-F and 10 hours a day on Sat & Sun for about 5 years. The hours declined later on, but it was still enough to sabotage his marriage.

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simplesimon
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by simplesimon » Fri May 31, 2019 3:09 pm

GCD wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:59 pm
I see a lot of talk about top 14 law schools which I never really understood. Top 14? Pretty arbitrary. Why not top 10 or top 15?
I believe it's because the top 14 law schools have been the same schools for a very long time. Lawyers get a bit weird about rankings.

I know someone who went to a low ranked law school, networked her way into estate law (much lower hours than lit/M&A) at a regional firm and pulls in $300k as an associate.

regularguy455
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by regularguy455 » Fri May 31, 2019 3:16 pm

GCD wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:59 pm
One took vacation time on paper, but not in reality. He did this to jack up his billable hours. The firm had some formula where taking your vacation time, but actually working it somehow boosted your billable hours over just letting it pile up.
I've encountered this. The target is usually Utilization (Billable Hours / Base Hours). If you're on vacation, your base hours are zero. Any time you work boosts your Utilization.

Thegame14
Posts: 1088
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Thegame14 » Fri May 31, 2019 3:18 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:27 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:23 pm
SC Anteater wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:01 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:25 am
Thread over, we have a winner.
This is absolutely the winner. I don't see the point in making more money If you have to give up having a family, then what are you working for, to retire early, do then do what, die alone? Id love to get to the point where DW and I make $200K, she makes 60K and I think moving out of non-profit I can get 125K right now, so almost there, with bonuses might be close, but after $200K, what more can I do, just buy a bigger house to pay more taxes, to pay more maintenance, to have to hire a maid and a lawn service to buy more stuff, it is just stuff, what matters is family and spending time with them.
You probably won't get all that. My HH makes close to 200K and other than biannal 'big' vacations (Europe, Hawaii) we don't have a lot of spare change since we've got two in college (both public). As in, we eat rice and beans at least 2 days a week.

We've only made this much the last couple of years, so we weren't able to save a ton for college, so we're cashflowing it. Still, I'm shocked at how little 200K gets us. Our PITI is about $2600/mo, fwiw.
I hear your we are right now at $150K ish HHI, but with $2,700 Mortgage, taxes and house insurance, then add two daycares for another $2,500 then cable $200, cell phones $100, gas, sewer, water, one car payment for $200, car insurance is like $175, and it is mostly gone. always thought making 100K meant you were living well, but I also max out my 401K, we wont have two kids in daycare forever and I took less pay to work at a non profit for more vacation and work life balance. But my point is I could get another job making another 40-50K or maybe more if I work in NYC, but then I wouldn't see my kids during the week, would spend weekends trying to make it up which you cant, be even more stressed, and what would I do with the extra, more into retirement? bigger house? more expensive car? how does that help any? it is just stuff. The most important is having kids, being a family, spending time together, so more money would help, but not at the cost of time with family. who cares to retire earlier just to be alone? I don't want to work til I die, and Id like to help my kids with college, some of it, but I also want them more importantly to know me and know what a family is, know they are loved, spend time teaching them lessons I wasn't taught, being there for their first heartbreak, their sports games or dance recitals, teaching them right and wrong. I am not saying I am poor and one day I will have a nice inheritance as well (house in cape cod already in trust in my name) and more the longer my parents live, but I want them to live to see my kids get married and for my kids to know them, those are the goals, not FIRE or FI, or retiring at 45 to be alone.....

Of course Id love to strike it rich in the lottery or something, but that would be so I could have more kids, and help out family and my community
You're hung up on the retiring early to be alone thing. Who in this thread has talked about retiring early to be alone?

I'm glad that you enjoy being a present parent. I know I sure didn't have that.
FLYAF guy whose wife works 100 hours a week said they didn't have kids because it would have hurt her career trajectory........and is talking about how he is FI at a young age.... ok great, you have lots of money but never see your wife for most of your working life, have no kids, and will die alone rich, doesn't sounds like a great life to me no matter how big a house, or fancy a car, or how many vacations you take.... what is all that money worth, just going to die with it cant even pass it down, I guess charity maybe....

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corn18
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by corn18 » Fri May 31, 2019 3:23 pm

Glasgow wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:18 pm
corn18 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:20 am
Retired military fighter/test pilot ($100k). Transitioned to business development starting at the director level of $200M division ($150k). Moved up to VP of BD at the billion dollar level ($400k) then president of a division ($600k total comp). At the president level, comp is 1/3 salary, 1/3 bonus and 1/3 RSU's.
corn18,
I admire your achievements and you're a rare breed - military fighter to president of a division. Can you elaborate on steps transitioning from military to business development to higher level? It'd help us readers here inspired to look for similar self improvement, hard learning and working ethnic path.
Nothing special, really. My network created the opportunities. My performance got me the jobs. Some call that luck. I call it the intersection of opportunity and preparation. The network is a very important part of advancement. If you don't like networking or aren't good at it, your "luck" will be different from those that are good at it.
Don't do something, just stand there!

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FlyAF
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by FlyAF » Fri May 31, 2019 3:25 pm

Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 3:18 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:27 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:23 pm
SC Anteater wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:01 pm


This is absolutely the winner. I don't see the point in making more money If you have to give up having a family, then what are you working for, to retire early, do then do what, die alone? Id love to get to the point where DW and I make $200K, she makes 60K and I think moving out of non-profit I can get 125K right now, so almost there, with bonuses might be close, but after $200K, what more can I do, just buy a bigger house to pay more taxes, to pay more maintenance, to have to hire a maid and a lawn service to buy more stuff, it is just stuff, what matters is family and spending time with them.
You probably won't get all that. My HH makes close to 200K and other than biannal 'big' vacations (Europe, Hawaii) we don't have a lot of spare change since we've got two in college (both public). As in, we eat rice and beans at least 2 days a week.

We've only made this much the last couple of years, so we weren't able to save a ton for college, so we're cashflowing it. Still, I'm shocked at how little 200K gets us. Our PITI is about $2600/mo, fwiw.
I hear your we are right now at $150K ish HHI, but with $2,700 Mortgage, taxes and house insurance, then add two daycares for another $2,500 then cable $200, cell phones $100, gas, sewer, water, one car payment for $200, car insurance is like $175, and it is mostly gone. always thought making 100K meant you were living well, but I also max out my 401K, we wont have two kids in daycare forever and I took less pay to work at a non profit for more vacation and work life balance. But my point is I could get another job making another 40-50K or maybe more if I work in NYC, but then I wouldn't see my kids during the week, would spend weekends trying to make it up which you cant, be even more stressed, and what would I do with the extra, more into retirement? bigger house? more expensive car? how does that help any? it is just stuff. The most important is having kids, being a family, spending time together, so more money would help, but not at the cost of time with family. who cares to retire earlier just to be alone? I don't want to work til I die, and Id like to help my kids with college, some of it, but I also want them more importantly to know me and know what a family is, know they are loved, spend time teaching them lessons I wasn't taught, being there for their first heartbreak, their sports games or dance recitals, teaching them right and wrong. I am not saying I am poor and one day I will have a nice inheritance as well (house in cape cod already in trust in my name) and more the longer my parents live, but I want them to live to see my kids get married and for my kids to know them, those are the goals, not FIRE or FI, or retiring at 45 to be alone.....

Of course Id love to strike it rich in the lottery or something, but that would be so I could have more kids, and help out family and my community
You're hung up on the retiring early to be alone thing. Who in this thread has talked about retiring early to be alone?

I'm glad that you enjoy being a present parent. I know I sure didn't have that.
FLYAF guy whose wife works 100 hours a week said they didn't have kids because it would have hurt her career trajectory........and is talking about how he is FI at a young age.... ok great, you have lots of money but never see your wife for most of your working life, have no kids, and will die alone rich, doesn't sounds like a great life to me no matter how big a house, or fancy a car, or how many vacations you take.... what is all that money worth, just going to die with it cant even pass it down, I guess charity maybe....
You need to do a better job reading before you got off on a tangent. First, I've been very careful on this website to not identify my gender or that of my spouse's. Second, I said that my spouse works 60'ish hours a week, never 100. I also said that I never wanted kids, so choosing not to have them was a pretty easy choice (yes career did play a "small" part in it). We would've made the same choice if we were dirt poor. I also explained that we don't have a big house, nor have we ever. Ditto for fancy cars. We do go on nice vacations.

I don't follow you on the die alone thing. Are couples that choose not to have kids alone?

I understand that my lifestyle is not for you. Your lifestyle (raising kids) sounds like my nightmare, however it doesn't bother me at all how you choose to live. Why do you have such strong feelings about the way that we choose to live ours? You like being a parent, I don't like working and want to retire early. Can we simply not hang out and have a digital beer here?

ohai
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by ohai » Fri May 31, 2019 3:30 pm

I think two factors are missing here, which are 1) location, and 2) age. If you are making $500k and are 50 in New York, so what? That's like normal. However, if you're 24 and making $500k in Dayton Ohio, I want to know your story...

Everyone so bitchy about the 100 hour guy, including the guy himself. I find this pretty funny.

Thegame14
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Thegame14 » Fri May 31, 2019 3:32 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 3:25 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 3:18 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:27 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:23 pm
SC Anteater wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 pm


You probably won't get all that. My HH makes close to 200K and other than biannal 'big' vacations (Europe, Hawaii) we don't have a lot of spare change since we've got two in college (both public). As in, we eat rice and beans at least 2 days a week.

We've only made this much the last couple of years, so we weren't able to save a ton for college, so we're cashflowing it. Still, I'm shocked at how little 200K gets us. Our PITI is about $2600/mo, fwiw.
I hear your we are right now at $150K ish HHI, but with $2,700 Mortgage, taxes and house insurance, then add two daycares for another $2,500 then cable $200, cell phones $100, gas, sewer, water, one car payment for $200, car insurance is like $175, and it is mostly gone. always thought making 100K meant you were living well, but I also max out my 401K, we wont have two kids in daycare forever and I took less pay to work at a non profit for more vacation and work life balance. But my point is I could get another job making another 40-50K or maybe more if I work in NYC, but then I wouldn't see my kids during the week, would spend weekends trying to make it up which you cant, be even more stressed, and what would I do with the extra, more into retirement? bigger house? more expensive car? how does that help any? it is just stuff. The most important is having kids, being a family, spending time together, so more money would help, but not at the cost of time with family. who cares to retire earlier just to be alone? I don't want to work til I die, and Id like to help my kids with college, some of it, but I also want them more importantly to know me and know what a family is, know they are loved, spend time teaching them lessons I wasn't taught, being there for their first heartbreak, their sports games or dance recitals, teaching them right and wrong. I am not saying I am poor and one day I will have a nice inheritance as well (house in cape cod already in trust in my name) and more the longer my parents live, but I want them to live to see my kids get married and for my kids to know them, those are the goals, not FIRE or FI, or retiring at 45 to be alone.....

Of course Id love to strike it rich in the lottery or something, but that would be so I could have more kids, and help out family and my community
You're hung up on the retiring early to be alone thing. Who in this thread has talked about retiring early to be alone?

I'm glad that you enjoy being a present parent. I know I sure didn't have that.
FLYAF guy whose wife works 100 hours a week said they didn't have kids because it would have hurt her career trajectory........and is talking about how he is FI at a young age.... ok great, you have lots of money but never see your wife for most of your working life, have no kids, and will die alone rich, doesn't sounds like a great life to me no matter how big a house, or fancy a car, or how many vacations you take.... what is all that money worth, just going to die with it cant even pass it down, I guess charity maybe....
You need to do a better job reading before you got off on a tangent. First, I've been very careful on this website to not identify my gender or that of my spouse's. Second, I said that my spouse works 60'ish hours a week, never 100. I also said that I never wanted kids, so choosing not to have them was a pretty easy choice (yes career did play a "small" part in it). We would've made the same choice if we were dirt poor. I also explained that we don't have a big house, nor have we ever. Ditto for fancy cars. We do go on nice vacations.

I don't follow you on the die alone thing. Are couples that choose not to have kids alone?

I understand that my lifestyle is not for you. Your lifestyle (raising kids) sounds like my nightmare, however it doesn't bother me at all how you choose to live. Why do you have such strong feelings about the way that we choose to live ours? You like being a parent, I don't like working and want to retire early. Can we simply not hang out and have a digital beer here?
edioted
Last edited by Thegame14 on Fri May 31, 2019 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri May 31, 2019 3:32 pm

Yes, being childfree is a legitimate choice (one could even argue that it should be the default position). Anyway, it is OT. Let’s not get this interesting thread shut down.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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FlyAF
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by FlyAF » Fri May 31, 2019 3:33 pm

Agreed about age and location. For us 39-42 in TX. The younger one is the one that pertains to this thread.

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unclescrooge
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by unclescrooge » Fri May 31, 2019 3:33 pm

groovy9 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:34 am
FI4LIFE wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:00 am
Sometimes I dream of chasing the big bucks
There's a mountain of evidence that earning more money beyond having your needs comfortably covered (think $60k to $100k range for a family of 4 in most areas of the US) doesn't make people happier.
I feel those studies are completely bogus.

They are churned out by professors who need to keep publishing in order to get tenure.

There is a self selection bias. As you make more money, you have less and less time to fill out surveys and the data becomes more sparse and likely to lopsided.

They are also likely to be highly impacted by where you live.

If a researcher told me I would be happier at $75k than $400k in house hold income, I would happily kick him in the teeth. Ok, maybe not, but I feel strongly about it. :mrgreen:

Maybe there is a declining value over $300k, but it's highly impacted by cost of living, especially housing costs, and state taxes.

latesaver
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by latesaver » Fri May 31, 2019 3:34 pm

Traveler wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:50 am
Jayhawk11 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:29 am
Wife makes ~500k at a mega law firm (market bonuses move it around a bit). She did it by going to a top college and a top law school and working all the time. 100 hour weeks pretty regularly. She's a workaholic.

I followed the same path and bowed out before partnership and now make ~150k as a public servant (HHI of 650-700 depending on bonuses).

So, be really lucky to be born with the genetic intelligence in a country where such mobility is possible, be really lucky to be born into a family that cultivates and values education and hard work (and sacrifices for you), be really lucky to avoid fates like disease or abusive parents, then be both lucky and hardworking in your school career, then be lucky and extremely hardworking post-grad school (lots of smart and hardworking attorneys get the axe for things out of their control, i.e. Great Recession).

So extreme amounts of luck (macro and micro) peppered with uncommon work ethic and diligence. Easy peasy.
Every so often I see someone say they (or in this case, the spouse) regularly work 100 hours a week. I simply don't believe it. This means that Every.Single.Day. the person works 14 hours and 17 minutes. There aren't enough hours in the day. Maybe a week here or there but I don't believe the "regularly".
i was in investment banking from 2004-2008. if you were (un)lucky enough to be on a team that always had a deal going on, they worked like that all the time. Maybe not every weekend but seriously, their lives were miserable.

lots of us kept spare ties at our desks, toiletries, etc. You never knew when you were going to be spending the night under your desk.

on a related note to the OP - get a miserable job in investment banking, grind it out for 3-4 years. then leave and go to a hedge fund, PE shop, family office, etc. 2% and 20% can add up to a lot of money, especially if you have multiple funds.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri May 31, 2019 3:35 pm

I’m not a very material person, and my wife makes a lot of money, and I’d like her to retire, but I’d be a lying sack of stuff if I said more money isn’t better than less money.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

sergio
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by sergio » Fri May 31, 2019 3:36 pm

I know three people who are in that salary range. They definitely deserve it but it's not a lifestyle I'd like to have.

One is a surgeon who was in school until his mid 30s and works 60+ hours a week. Another is a sales guy who spends 90% of his time on the road. The last is the founder of our company, who risked everything in the 1980s (even mortgaged his house) to start the company. Worked 80+ hours per week for several years with a minimal salary until things started to pick up and he could afford to hire a second employee.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by GCD » Fri May 31, 2019 3:36 pm

corn18 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 3:23 pm
Some call that luck. I call it the intersection of opportunity and preparation.
I agree completely. I had a monologue with my teen-age son about this issue using these very words a few days ago.

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corn18
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by corn18 » Fri May 31, 2019 3:37 pm

This is a chart of my income, net worth vs. saving 15% of my income. I finally catch up this year to the just save 15% all the time line. Sure wish I were smarter when I was young.

Image
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