Forget about high paying jobs

I’m a closet Redditor (guess I’m out of the closet now, huh?). And today I saw a popular piece on there titled something like “The 10 Highest Paying Jobs”.

I get why people are interested in a piece like that, but they’re totally, utterly crazy.


With a few exceptions (almost all of which are in finance and require you to have attended one of a handful of universities), jobs won’t make you rich. The country is just not set up that way:

  • By definition, if someone is paying you a salary, it is because you are creating more value for him than he is paying you;
  • It’s incredibly hard to save a meaningful portion of your salary, particularly in expensive coastal cities where rent is high; and
  • The tax code works against you (by taxing labor income more than capital income)

If you want to be rich (eg have a high net-worth, whatever “high” means to you), you pretty much have to figure out how to get in business for yourself. That means finding a problem that people will pay to solve and then figuring out how to solve it better, cheaper, faster than the other guys.

The bad news is that this is tough, because business is super-competitive.

But the good news is that it doesn’t require any specific background. You don’t need to go to a high-end college. It doesn’t matter what your parents do. You don’t even need to speak English as your first language.

All of those things help, sure. But, because we live in an amazing country, anyone can get into business and make herself rich by being smart and honest and working really, really, really hard.

So, if you’re motivated by money (and, of course, not everyone is), then you need to forget about what job is the highest paying and figure out how to employ yourself.