30 Paths That Make It Possible To Retire Comfortably

By Shannon
30 Paths That Make It Possible To Retire Comfortably

Almost everyone aspires to become a millionaire someday, but there are some jobs where it would be impossible to earn that much money, even after decades of working. Most multimillionaires made their money through businesses and investments, but those aren’t the only career paths where it’s possible.

There are actually a few traditional jobs where you can actually earn enough to retire a millionaire. We broke down 30 such jobs in the list below.

Plastic surgeons are one of the highest-paid professionals in the medial industry. Credit: Pixabay

30. Plastic Surgeon

In recent years, plastic surgery procedures have become more affordable to people in the middle class. Some women almost expect to get some sort of plastic surgery in their lifetime, especially in cities like Los Angeles. Because of the fact that there is less of a stigma, more people than ever are going to the doctor for a nip, tuck, or facelift. 

Plastic surgeons help women feel more confident in their bodies. Credit: Shutterstock

Reconstructing people’s faces and bodies is a complicated job and it’s a huge responsibility to improve someone’s physical appearance. The median salary of a plastic surgeon is $390,000 per year, while some make upwards of $570,000 per year.

Writer salaries vary drastically across industries. Credit: Kaboom Pics

29. Writer

When you become a writer, you don’t know if you’ll end up a millionaire or a starving artist. The term “writer” is also very broad and encompasses a huge field of specialties. Freelance writers don’t have a ceiling to how much they can make, especially if they go after jobs in high-paying industries. There are plenty of staff writer positions out there that will pay writers in the ballpark of $50,000. Skilled freelancers know how to maximize their profits and make closer to $100,000. 

Writers can work from anywhere in the world. Credit: Shutterstock

Then, of course, there are the multimillionaire writers. There are millionaire first-time authors like J.K. Rowling and Hugh Howey. However, the majority of successful writers put all of their time into pumping out news books every month and are brilliant at marketing themselves. One great example of this is Stephen King. He never sits on his laurels, continues to pump out a new book every month, and is currently worth $400 million.

Highly specialized doctors earn a larger income. Credit: Pixabay

28. Specialized Doctors

So many people go to medical school because they believe it’s almost guaranteed success. Of course, becoming a doctor requires a lot of incredibly difficult math and science classes as well as hands-on experience. Many people find that they cannot handle the lifestyle of a doctor, which is why so few actually succeed.

Some doctors need specialized knowledge in order to diagnose their patients.  Credit: Burst by Shopify

While all doctors do very well for themselves, there are certain specialties in the medical field that make significantly more money than others. Cardiologists can earn $590,000 per year, orthopedic surgeons make $533,000, dermatologists earn $425,000, and the list goes on.

Successful YouTubers can become millionaires. Credit: Pixabay

27. YouTuber

Celebrity YouTubers have become some of the most admired and sought-after career paths for young people. Instead of dreaming of becoming a movie or rock star, kids want to have their own YouTube channel. Just like writers, there is a huge gap in how much these creators make. They now have a policy that you need to meet a threshold of how many subscribers and views you need before your channel can start to make income. 

Some YouTubers start out with a simple backdrop and a tripod. Credit: Burst by Shopify

Some people choose YouTube as a way to express themselves, while others create content that is designed to meet a certain standard for the market. Here at Self-Made, we already came out with a list of the Top YouTube Channels of 2019. If you’re interested in knowing what genres are doing well on the platform, check it out.

Corporate law is one of the highest-paid fields for attorneys. Credit: Pixabay

26. Corporate Lawyer

Contrary to popular belief, not all lawyers are rich. After the 2008 recession, many people went back to law school only to find that their options only made them $50,000 (if they could find a gig as an attorney at all.) There are so many people with law degrees now that jobs that were once given to law clerks and paralegals are now going to rookie lawyers. 

Business lawyers typically make contracts with corporations. Credit: Burst by Shopify

For those who graduated from Ivy League universities and have the right connections, getting into corporate law can make you a millionaire. Lawyers who specialize in mergers, acquisitions, and patents are particularly wealthy, because if they win a case, they could easily earn a million dollars from just that.

Architecture is competitive, but those who get hired can make a high salary. Credit: Pixabay

25. Architect

Most people already know that architects draw blueprints for homes and commercial buildings. Many of them also need some kind of civil engineering background in order to created structurally sound designs. Becoming an architect is incredibly competitive nowadays since it requires finding jobs with new construction. After the 2008 recession, fewer new buildings are being created, so gigs are few and far between.

Architects need to draw up blueprints for new construction. Credit: Burst by Shopify

There are plenty of people out there with architecture degrees who aren’t making much money, but for those who are serious about making a career out of it, they need to travel to a city where there is a lot of new construction. New York City has the highest-paid salaries for professional construction architects at $90,000 per year. The top 10% of famous architects can earn well over six figures.

Pilots make a lot of money for flying people through the sky. Credit: Pixabay

24. Pilot

Most people have flown as a passenger on an airplane. Piloting a commercial airplane is a difficult job because it requires flying complicated machinery for long hours. There’s usually a co-pilot in the cockpit to ensure extra safety during a flight, as well as an in-flight engineer. All of these jobs require certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pilots typically learn how to fly in a small aircraft before they graduate to larger planes. Credit: Burst by Shopify

Getting your pilot’s license is a long process of expensive lessons. Normally, one lesson costs $200, which makes achieving certification several thousand dollars. Professional pilots also usually have a Bachelor’s Degree, but it’s not always required to work at every airline. Yet it can help give someone an advantage over their competition. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial pilots make an average of $115,670 per year.

Physicists often have a PhD and work in a university setting. Credit: Pixabay

23. Physicist

Physicists use experimentation to observe and discover physical phenomena. Normally, a physicist or astronomer needs a Ph.D. in order to find work in academia. However, the federal government usually only requires a bachelor’s degree in physics. Many people imagine a scientist working in a lab, but a physicist actually spends much of his or her time doing research in an office setting.

Much of a physicist’s time is in an office setting. Credit: Shutterstock

Many of them start out by doing research at universities, and they may start a low-paying position for just $30,000 per year. But once they receive their Ph.D, they can move on to post-doctoral research, which is where they can earn over six figures. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physicists and astronomers can make $119,580 per year.

Pharmacists get paid a lot of money for their knowledge of medications. Credit: Burst by Shopify

22. Pharmacist 

A pharmacist’s job is to dispense prescription medications in pharmacies, as well as healthcare facilities. Since they are experts in medication, they are also prepared to answer any questions that the patient may have about the side effects of the drugs.

Medications come in several forms, including pill and liquid syringes. Credit: Pixabay

All pharmacists typically earn a bachelor’s degree in pre-med, biochemistry, or chemistry before they move on to graduate school. A pharmacist must have a Pharm.D., which is a Doctor of Pharmacy. They also need a pharmaceutical license after passing two different exams. On average, a pharmacist makes $126,120 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dentists help to make sure our teeth stay healthy. Credit: Pixabay

21. Dentist 

In the United States, we take care of our teeth more than any other country in the world. So you already know that dentists will diagnose and treat issues with a patient’s teeth. They also treat gums and other parts of the mouth. A dentist will either work alone or with a dental hygienist in private practice. Some also work as an associate dentist at a larger facility.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a need for more dentists. Credit: Shutterstock

In order to become a dentist, students must first earn a Bachelor’s degree in either pre-med, biochemistry, or chemistry. Then they move on to dental school. After taking the board exams, they must take the required written and clinical exams in order to earn a license in each state. Once they achieve the status of “dentist” they will earn an average of $156,240 per year. Some dentists who own a private practice can potentially earn even more.

A purchasing manager buys products for a business. Credit: Burst by Shopify

20. Purchasing Manager

A purchasing manager, or “procurement manager,” is in charge of buying products and services for a business. Some businesses also call this position a “buyer.” This is usually part of a retail store, and they might also oversee lower-level purchasing agents. Part of their duties include negotiating contracts with suppliers, examining the quality of goods, and arranging overseas orders. A purchasing manager typically needs a Bachelor’s Degree in business or a related field as well as several years of related experience, possibly as a lower-level purchasing agent.

A buyer or purchasing manager buys products for businesses. Credit: Kaboom Pics

The duties of the job can change drastically depending on where they work. For example, a buyer for a fashion company may need to meet with designers and attend New York Fashion Week in order to decide what is going to be purchased for a clothing store. Others may need to visit a supplier in China in order to examine the quality of product samples. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, purchasing agents make $67,600 per year while purchasing managers earned $118,940.

Financial advisors help people manage their money. Credit: Pexels

19. Financial Advisor

People often need help managing their money. This is where financial advisors come in. They help to plan someone’s financial future and give advice about budgeting and investing. Some advisors work for an insurance or financial firm while others are self-employed. Advisors work full-time, but they typically meet with clients on evenings and weekends, since they would be working full-time at their own jobs.

Personal financial advisors will calculate the best ways to invest someone’s money. Credit: Shutterstock

A personal financial advisor needs a bachelor’s degree, but anyone with a master’s degree in finance or economics puts them at an advantage. There is also a certification for financial planners and advisors, which can be taken online or through a classroom setting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal financial advisors earn an average of $88,890.

Air traffic controllers help to guide airplanes through the sky. Credit: Pexels

18. Air Traffic Controller

Every commercial pilot coordinates with air traffic controllers in order to maintain safe distances between themselves and other airplanes. Air traffic controllers work in control towers in rotating shifts. This can be stressful because they need to stay awake and pay complete attention in order to make sure passengers and pilots are safe.

Air traffic controllers need to have extensive training. Credit: Shutterstock

This job requires at least an associate or bachelor’s degree from a program called the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative. They also need to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. As of 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports air traffic controllers earn an average of $124,540 per year.

Stockbrokers manage clients’ stock portfolios. Credit: Pexels

17. Stockbroker

While some of the most successful brokers can become wealthy, the average of a financial service sales agent is really an average of $64,120. Their job is to connect buyers and sellers in financial markets. They may earn a commission on those sales.

Stockbrokers have to examine charts every day. Credit: Shutterstock

This is a full-time job and involves working in a high-stress environment. Most brokers have at least a master’s degree in business administration, better known as an MBA. On top of that, they usually have some sort of connection who helps them land a gig in a firm. In addition to their MBA, they also need to pass the Series 7 Exam.

Judges make the final decisions in court cases. Credit: Burst by Shopify

16. Judge 

Judges typically listen to lawyers from the defense and prosecution before making a final decision. In a jury trial, the final decision is up to the panel of jurors, but the judge still acts as a mediator between all parties. A judge has a law degree and has worked several years as a lawyer before they earned the permanent position in a courthouse.

Judges have to listen to stories from individuals all day long. Credit: Shutterstock

The amount of money a judge earns changes depending on their location, as well as their official title. Administrative law judges, adjudicators and hearing officers make an average of $99,850 per year, while magistrate judges make $133,920 per year.

Real estate investors buy and sell houses for a profit. Credit: Pixabay

15. Real Estate Investor

Depending on their individual situations, a real estate investor could also be a broker, sales agent, or even a landlord. But the basic premise is that an investor can buy and sell real estate or choose to keep it and rent it to tenants. By doing so, they increase their wealth through an investment portfolio. Some people have become real estate millionaires or even billionaires from collecting properties.

Real estate investments will grow over time. Credit: Shutterstock

Most people working in real estate have gone through a state licensing exam, which can be taken starting at just 18 years old. There is no degree that is required to buy and sell real estate. You just need a good credit score and income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a broker was $58,210 in May 2018, while an agent made $48,690. This income is going to vary drastically depending on where you live, and how often you help sell properties. On shows like Selling Sunset, you can see real estate agents working in Los Angeles that could sell a multi-million dollar property and earn a six-figure commission.

Information systems managers help to organize data for developers. Credit: Pexels

14. Information Systems Managers

An information systems manager helps to coordinate electronic data processing, information systems, and other forms of computer programming. They might have a number of titles in the IT field but are always expected to perform the same duties.

There are many names for IT management positions. Credit: Shutterstock

Usually, an information systems manager will have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but a master’s degree will give them a competitive advantage. They also need to have some experience in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Systems Managers earn an average of $152,860 per year.

Cybersecurity has become an increasingly important field for people to be in. Credit: Pexels

13. Cybersecurity Engineer 

People who work in cybersecurity are sometimes called “information security analysts.” They carry out measures to ensure that an organization’s computer network is protected from hackers. This is especially important to computer companies, financial institutions, higher education, consulting firms, and so on.

Most major corporations need to hire cybersecurity to keep their data safe. Credit: Shutterstock

Most people who are hired in cybersecurity have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but a master’s degree may put them at a competitive advantage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary is  $98,350 per year. These specialists are sometimes called “ethical hackers” because if they can hack into a company’s website, they can prove that there is a backdoor that needs fixing. Pulling a stunt like this can sometimes land someone a job.

Petroleum engineers often have to travel to multiple drilling sites. Credit: Insider Monkey

12. Petroleum Engineer 

A petroleum engineer works together with companies to develop methods to extract oil and gas from below the surface of the earth. Usually, these engineers are working both in an office as well as going to drilling and well sites in person. They might also have to travel to various sites in order to meet with other engineers, workers, and customers.

Meetings both in and outside are common for petroleum engineers. Credit: Shutterstock

Petroleum engineers have a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. This is a very niche topic not taught at every school, so they might have a degree in mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering and learned about oil from on-site experience. There are also education programs that will take candidates onto the field to learn more about the oil industry. But once someone reaches the coveted status of “petroleum engineer,” they can earn an average of $137,170 per year.

Nurse anesthetists put someone to sleep before they undergo surgery. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Nurse Anesthetist

If you have ever had surgery, you may remember a nurse anesthetist. These medical professionals help to administer anesthesia and also monitor a patient’s vital signs. They also make sure that you can wake up and recover from anesthesia. This specialization comes with a lot of responsibility, because there is always the possibility that the patient could receive the wrong dosage and never wake up from anesthesia.

A nurse anesthetist checks a patient’s vital signs while they are having surgery. Credit: Shutterstock

Nurse anesthetists need to go to medical school and participate in a four-year residency program. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earn an average of $174,790 per year.

Prosthodontists help people who have jar deformities as well as cosmetic imperfections. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Prosthodontist

Whenever someone is missing teeth or needs help restructuring their mouth, a prosthodontist can help patients. They create prosthetic teeth that can fix jaw deformities, give someone oral function back, or even improve someone’s cosmetic appearance.

Prosthodontists can replace missing teeth for people who need them. Credit: Shutterstock

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average prosthodontist makes $191,400 per year. Just like a dentist, a prosthodontist needs to attend dental school. They also need to go to a school that specializes in prosthodontics.

CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Chief Executive

Everyone has heard of a “CEO,” standing for Chief Executive Officer. There are also other chief executive positions like the Chief Financial Officer and Operating Officer. They are usually the highest-earning employees in a corporation and don’t answer to anyone except other executives. If they are a public company, they might also have to coordinate with a board of directors. Typically they have at least an MBA, and several years of experience in business management. Other times, the title of CEO could be passed down through a family if it is a privately owned company.

Chief Executives are some of the highest-earning positions in a company. Credit: Shutterstock

The CEO’s job is to create company policies and give the overall direction of the company. Since they are the highest level of management, they give orders to all other managers and often make the final decision before any sort of major change. Some of the top-earning executives earn millions of dollars per year while others earn significantly less. The Bureau of Labor Statistics averages it out to $200,140 per year.

A psychiatrist will give a patient therapy, and they can also prescribe pills if needed. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Psychiatrist

A lot of people don’t know the difference between a therapist, psychologist, and a psychiatrist. The one major difference is that a psychiatrist has the ability to diagnose a mental disorder, as well as prescribe any necessary medications. They are also at the level of being a proper doctor, whereas a psychologist typically has a master’s degree.

A psychiatrist can officially diagnose someone with a mental disorder. Credit: Shutterstock

Psychiatrists typically deal with stressful cases of people in poor mental health and are compensated for their expertise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earn an average of $220,380 per year. When you are making this much money, it would be easy to live a lifestyle where you live on half of the money and save the other half. In just 10 years, you would have a million dollars saved.

Orthodontists can give braces to people of all ages. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Orthodontist

Orthodontists are doctors who can examine and diagnose issues in the oral cavity, jaw, and teeth. Their goal is to help repair both medical and cosmetic issues in the mouth. They are incredibly popular in the United States, where people really care about having straight teeth. Many parents will pay for teenage children to have braces from an orthodontist so that they can live their adult life with great teeth.

Many Americans take advantage of orthodontist care in their teenage years. Credit: Shutterstock

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, orthodontists make $225,760 per year. With that kind of money, it should be easy to live on over $100,000 per year and put the rest into investment or savings. This would lead them to saving over $1 million in just 10 years.

Field service engineers travel to fix complex machinery. Credit: Shutterstock

6. Field Service Engineer 

Engineering technicians, also known as field service engineers, do maintenance and repairs on engineering equipment. There are a few different industries that use field service engineers, but one of the most lucrative areas is in biochemistry. Health care organizations need help repairing all of their million-dollar machines that go into disease research and hospital care like MRI machines, mastectomy, X-Rays, and much more. This is an on-call position, meaning that you only have to travel to a customer site when someone needs a repair done. Other days they can work from home doing administrative tasks.

Engineers need to do both administrative and mechanical work. Credit: Shutterstock

Field service engineers in the medical field need at least a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry or chemistry, and background knowledge in C++, programming, physics, and microprocessing. They earn a starting salary of around $70,000 per year. As they become more skilled in the field, they can rise to senior levels and earn over $100,000 per year. Outside of the medical field, they recommend a degree in mechanical engineering, but the pay may be lower.

Day traders sell when a stock is high, and buy when it’s low. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Day Trader

Day trading is speculation in the price of securities. It involves the process of buying and selling stocks or cryptocurrencies within the same trading day. Someone who waits several days or weeks for the price to fluctuate is known as a “swing trader.” Becoming a day trader is an incredibly risky move and should only be attempted by someone who knows the stock market inside and out. The vast majority of people who attempt it lose money instead of gaining.

Very few day traders make a profit. Credit: Shutterstock

However, for those who have mastered the art of day trading, they can become multimillionaires and even billionaires. Day traders only have a 3 to 4% success rate, with 97% losing their money. Part of the reason why there is such a small number of successful day traders is that part of the process of learning involves making mistakes and losing money before they finally get the hang of it. You also need a lot of money upfront if you are going to be able to make any gains from small changes in the price of a stock. Most people cannot afford to do this unless they were already wealthy to begin with.

Marketing managers help to plan advertisement campaigns. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Marketing Manager

A marketing manager helps to plan company programs in advertising, promotions, and other general marketing services. They might be working at an advertising or public relations firm or could be part of a large company’s in-house staff.

A marketing manager helps to make strategies for a company. Credit: Shutterstock

Once someone has reached the management level, they usually have an MBA or a related degree in marketing, business, and sales. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a promotions manager earns an average of $117,130 while a marketing manager earns $134,290.

High-end sales earn a commission from their work. Credit: Shutterstock

3. High-End Sales

Salespeople work in every industry under the sun. As you can imagine, it is their job to sell a product or service on behalf of a company or firm. In higher-level positions, they can earn commissions that will help them make six-figure salaries. Real estate sales earn $250,000 per year, pharmaceutical earns $200,000, and software earns $100,000. Even some luxury fashion retailers like Bergdorf Goodman allow their salespeople to earn a commission totaling well over $250,000, which helps them live a comfortable life even in New York City.

Salespeople know how to convince people to buy things. Credit: Shutterstock

The level of education someone needs will vary depending on the field. For example, real estate agents only need a certification, while pharmaceutical salespeople need a higher-level biochemistry or pharmaceutical degree. Of course, not every sales position earns a lot of money. And the promise of earning high commissions is often what gets people trapped into pyramid schemes. Always do your research on a company to make sure it is not a scam.

Developers will create software using code. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Software Developer

A professional software developer creates applications and systems that run on smartphones, computers, and other devices. These programmers might work for a firm that specializes in software design, or they might work directly for the company in order to code and work together with the rest of the staff. The great thing about being a developer is that they can often work from home if they want to since the work is all done from their laptop.

Software developers typically work from home or in a co-working space. Credit: Shutterstock

Usually, software developers have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and they might have a master’s degree if they want to be competitive. They also need to have a portfolio that proves to their prospective employer that they have experience in software development. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers earn $103,620 per year.

A law professor teaches future lawyers how to practice in the field. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Law Professor 

As you might imagine, a law professor teaches legal courses at universities and law schools. They usually have both a Master’s Degree or PhD as well as experience practicing as a lawyer. In order to become a lawyer, you need to earn a Juris Doctorate (JD) after three years of law school.

Some law professors like to teach at their alma mater. Credit: Shutterstock

Certain schools will have an undergraduate pre-law program, but the majority of colleges don’t teach courses that cover more than basic information. Law schools need experienced professors to prepare future lawyers for their careers, so it’s considered to be a prestigious career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earn an average of $130,710.

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