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October 15, 2009


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Nice one! Congrats!

Great post FMF, but some of the comments are amusing me in their predictability and cluelessness already; if you follow the advice you post you're bland and uncreative, a workoholic, unadventurous, a corporate drone, prioritize work over family, etc etc. Hilarious. Reminds me that this is one of the few moneyblogs whose readers don't regularly take that attitude, which is nice.

guinness --

I know. It's sad when people are constantly looking at the negative side of things, saying this or that can't be done, that if the advice is followed it will lead to some bad consequence and so on. Then they wonder why they aren't getting ahead in life...

Great post FMF. The comments have been both enlightening and entertaining. Lots of negativity in the mix over there. Wasn't it Henry Ford that said something along the lines of "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right". There have been some speedbumps and roadblocks in my life, some external and some interal. You have to keep pushing. I am not making six figures yet, but I'll be darned if I'm gonna give up trying.

Get Rich Slowly is a fantastic site. Good post.

The five steps to success are right on the money.

As a retiree, formerly working on the Navy's Fleet Ballistic Missile System from start to finish, at Lockheed/Martin, my manager would always consult with some of the most senior engineers when he was hiring new people. He would interview them first, and then pass them on to us for more questioning and feedback. A prestigious engineering school such as MIT, Stanford, CalTech, Michigan, Purdue, etc. was definitely a big plus, particularly if you are looking for a 'theoretical' type over a 'practical' type but a high grade point average from a State University also carried a lot of weight. The biggest challenge for us was when the first women engineers started showing up, at first we were very sceptical of their abilities but they soon proved themselves and were a great addition to the department. The ones that broke the ice were mostly from MIT.

The most significant condition affecting a new hire however is the work situation. If we had lots of work and were understaffed it was naturally very easy to get hired. However there were times when we were between contracts and there was a hiring freeze. This is why I have to stress Luck, the Economy, (and in my case - the Defense Budget) as making the difference between Feast or Famine, Success or Failure.

If you can't get your foot in the door, and prove what you can do it's hard to have a successful career, let alone make a six figure salary. Just as in investing money, in job seeking also, timing is everything. By the way, 20-30 years ago it was more like a high five figure salary.

Once you're hired you have to impress the boss. I always worked past quitting time, took manuals home with me for study, volunteered for difficult assignments, never turned down any overtime, did my utmost to outperform the competition, and improved my skills by taking in-house classes and obtaining a MS degree in engineering mechanics, in an early bird program at a local university. For the 2 1/2 years it took to get the MS, we finished our evening meal at 8pm, my wife would put the kids to bed, and I would study at the kitchen table until midnight every single week day.

One of the worst things you can do is to take on an assignment that you know is beyond your current capabilities, then screw around for weeks or months making little progress, and then have to admit failure. That's the quickest way to get your name at the bottom of the stacking chart and be one of the first to be let go when any cuts have to be made.

Great post FMF!

I think it’s actually very easy to make 6 figures IF YOU WANT TO.

All the steps you describe are pretty spot on. I just don’t think everybody cares to make 6 figures and are happy just enjoying life just the way they are.

Do really less than 6% of the population earn 6 figures FMF? Just looking at this board, I think more than 35% of the people do.

28 year old MBA kids make $100-120,000/yr and it seems like everybody in Manhattan and San Francisco make over 100K/yr if they have been working for at least 5 years. Could the 6% figure be low?


You really outdid yourself with this one. A gem of a post! One that everyone should print and hang over their bed to look at regularly. Almost a pity the post isn't on

Concojones --


The post will be put on FMF -- in a month or so.

Financial Samurai --


As I asked over there, do you have any data that says 6% is low? I'd love to see it. In the post, I linked to what I could find on salaries, but would be willing to review anything you might find to the contrary.

Why does 6% seem too small. Of the 250,000,000 people who file taxes (even non-working spouses and kid incomes are listed on the returns), 15,000,000 are making more than $100,000/year. That's not a small number and of course as FMF is quick to point out, there are many "rich" people (like Ross Perot) who "earn" less than $100,000k, but have and can spend much more than that.

So while it may seem like more than 6%, I see many reasons why it could look that way without actaully being so.

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