Becoming a millionaire is probably within reach by retirement for those willing to squirrel away their income over many years. But maybe you want to reach seven figures in less time — let’s say 10 years. It’s possible to become a millionaire in a decade, but that’ll require earning and saving more.
If early retirement is your goal, then you’ll need to save a large chunk of money for the next several years. And invest that money in a way to achieve the highest gains. Expected investment earnings is a controversial subject with finance experts giving different predictions of estimated returns. Returns are in the ballpark of 6% to 7% annual gains for stocks and 3% percent for bonds, according to CNN Money. But if you’re willing to bear more risk, returns of 10% or more aren’t out of the question.
There are interest calculators online for you to plan your savings and investment game plan. You enter your initial investment, contributions, interest and time frame. Using Nerd Wallet’s calculator, you can find ways to make a million in 10 years. As one example, if you made $100K per year and were very frugal, you could sock away $5K per month for 10 years. Even with interest being a modest 6.5%, you will have reaped over $900K in 10 years.
Of course, it’s easier to save money if you are making more money. So, how can you having the earning power to become a millionaire? Here are 10 careers that could put you in the millionaire’s circle.
1. Athlete or Sports Agent
Sports is big business and continues to grow, with an anticipated $75 billion in revenue in 2019. Athletes in major leagues (e.g., NFL, NBA) start with salaries at around $400K to $550K each year. Keep in mind pro women’s sports and athletics that have less of a fanbase aren’t going to pays as well. A power forward in the WNBA only starts at about $50K, as compared to her male counterparts in the NBA who earn 10 times more.
The path to becoming a pro athlete requires talent, lifelong dedication, and remaining injury-free during the rise from school to pro sports. While dreams of pitching at the World Series are beyond most people, sports offers lots of high paying jobs.
Become a real-world Jerry McGuire and become a sports agent. You’d represent athletes in negotiating larger salaries and bonuses. Agents typically earn a percentage of an athlete’s contract and a commission on endorsement deals. The money varies by sport, with agents repping playings in the NBA can earn millions each year. Typically, agents have law degrees or a master’s degree in sports management.
2. Software Engineer or Developer
Software engineer or developer is considered one of the best careers because of the high pay and great working conditions. The future job outlook for the profession is especially rosy. The field is outpacing other careers with a 10-year job growth of 24%, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It doesn’t take long to earn six figures in the field. On average, software engineers earn about $109K, base salary, according to Paysa data. Top earners can see pay checks over $200K with company equity and bonus. Entry in the field usually requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
3. Data Scientist
Data scientists are involved in understanding massive data generated by computing. The field is growing and there are jobs available in larger companies. The average salary for this profession hovers around $100K per year, base salary. Tech companies also offer lucrative equity and bonus packages that elevate salaries north of $200k per year. Data scientists have a lot of technical skills including knowledge of data analysis software and some programming skills. Typically, data scientists have a master’s or doctoral degree.
4. Finance Career (Investment Banker or Trader)
A career in finance is a guaranteed way to make a lot of money, but the hours are long and intense. Bankers will work up to 80-120 hours per week, so they can collect a fat bonus at the end of the year. Average salary is around $108,000 per year, but pay gets far higher as an analyst climbs the corporate ladder. Breaking into “Wall Street” requires a college degree and some business-related courses. Excelling in school will make you desirable to campus recruiters who want to bring in promising workers. A master’s of business administration (MBA) at a top business school is another way to break into the field.
5. Actor / Social Media Influencer
Yes, an acting career is risky and most professionals earn very little money. SAG-AFTRA which represents actors in the U.S. cautions aspiring stars that the career path is difficult. However, you may be curious what top actors and social media influencers earn. An actor working in New York or Los Angeles, global hubs of movies and advertising, the average pay hovers around $70K.
Despite these hurdles, actors have qualities and talents, which are in high demand — looks, charisma, physical skills and an appealing voice. Thus, actors can get money by using their talents to sell services and products via commercials and social media. A new generation of influencers have created their own online content, which gets millions of views. These influencers snag sponsorship deals and get pay for views from publishers such as YouTube.
6 . Real Estate Broker or Agent
Acumen in real estate can reap huge financial rewards. Salaries of real estate agents vary widely — from a low of $60,000 to over $100,000 for managers and associates. The bigger the house sale, the bigger the commission. But it takes a lot of work to earn a good reputation to win the big deals. Real estate agents have the advantage of having an inside track on favorable investment opportunities. Entry into real estate varies by state. Some states require some college coursework, whereas others have no education requirements. Usually real estate agents are licensed, which means paying fees and passing an exam.
7. Game Developer
Gamers might wonder if there was a way to make money playing the games they love. Game developer is a high-level profession, but the average pay of $90K isn’t quite as high as that of a computer programmer. A college degree in computer science is important to break into the field, but having experience is equally important. Having a portfolio to show you have the chops to develop games is important, so that you can get a career-making internship or first job.
8. Physician or Surgeon
Medicine remains a rewarding and lucrative profession, although the costs of medical school have skyrocketed. Medicine isn’t a career suited for people who want to make a lot of money quickly. Training, which includes med school, residency and possibly fellowships takes 6 to 10 years to complete. Medical school debt is in the neighborhood of $200,000 except for the fortunate few who get scholarships. Making a million in ten years after becoming a physician is possible, although young doctors must tighten their belts early in their career. According to the White Coat Investor, doctors need to get better at saving money to become millionaires. All medical specialties bring in six-figure salaries, although surgeons and specialists fare better than generalists.
9. Management Consultant
Television shows like House of Lies depict consultants as fast talkers who collect a large checks but do little else. In reality, management consultants solve problems and capitalize on opportunities for companies. Consultants are involved in a variety of corporate projects, often ones that involve making positive change. This profession exists in every industry, so there is a lot variety. The works favors hard workers who are willing to put in long hours to draw a high salary exceeding $130,000 on average. The education minimum is a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s in business administration (MBA) is preferred by some companies. If you can demonstrate you are among the best and brightest, a management consulting firm may hire you and train you to advance in the company.
10. Corporate Lawyer
Corporate lawyers advise a variety of companies — from small startups to large corporations. These legal experts who bring great value to companies are compensated well. Major business activities and milestones such as mergers or going public require the help of corporate lawyers. The average corporate lawyer earns over $123,000, according to Paysa salary data. While law is among the highest paying professions, there are education requirements that take time and are costly. Lawyers need to attend law school for three years to get a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree and then pass the bar exam to become licensed to practice law.