My other $100,000 by Age 30 goal

My other $100,000 by Age 30 goal

Kind of funny that even before I knew what the heck I was doing as far as actually have a job or planning out my retirement, I’ve always one financial goal for myself that I’ve kept in the back of my mind, but never put it down on paper err keystrokes and I think I’ve only shared it with one other person. I’ve never really been one to set goals for myself and goals such as saving $100,000 in principal by age 30 for retirement have come as a result of creating this blog and me looking for an excuse to have goals just like all the other bloggers had.

This other goal that I have I didn’t plan nor think about, it just popped in my head one day and well it has stuck around. I’m kind of embarressed to even mention it, because technically it (I think) is not that important to me, but again it’s always sitting there in the back of my mind nagging at me all this time, so I figured what the heck let’s get it out there and analyze it.

I don’t know when I first thought of it or why I thought of it, but I figured once I was done with high school, college, etc. and actually had to get one of those “job” things, how would I know if I was successfull or not? In all other parts of my life before this I could judge if I was on the right track pretty easily. In sports I either started on varsity, our team won conference, went to state, etc. In school I could always take a look at my GPA and know whether or not the effort (or lack there of) I was putting for was paying off. But what the heck do you do for the next 40 years of your life when you are working, how do you really know if you are making any progress? What if 10 years down the road it turns out you are actually failing at work, how do you know? (I guess you could technically get cut 🙂 )

Well maybe I am too narrolly focused, but the only way I could think of to judge yourself was by how much money you made. I had gone to a pretty reputable college and was majoring in a pretty lucrative profession (computer science) and so I figured if I was making $100,000 a year or more by age 30 I would probably be doing pretty good. Now part of the reason I don’t mention it is because even at the time I knew that was somewhat of a stretch for my profession. I’d have to be really successfull or come up with ideas for extra revenue streams (start side companies, etc).

Well I came out of college making $45k a year and 2 years later was all the way up to $47k, I decided I was very undervalued and tried to position my case for a raise. Despite what to this day I thought was an extremely compelling case for a raise, the cards weren’t in my favor at that company and I was very unlikely to get a signifigant pay boost any time soon. So I decided to switch jobs and within a month or so I landed a new job making $56k a year and well coming up on two years later I’ve made it all the way up to $57k a year. So as you can see I’ve been failing pretty miserably at my “secret goal”.

I’ve got less than 3 years to add an extra $43k to my bottom line (a 75%+ increase in salary). Eek 🙂 Now I do have a few things working my favor.

1) I graduated with my MBA (Masters of Business Administration) a little under 2 years ago

2) I am probably about $10-$15k under market for someone in my area with my qualifications (excluding the MBA – a programmer with an MBA isn’t very common)

3) The job I am currently at has tremendously advanced my skillset and I feel much more confident in the value I can bring to a prospective employer, before this I didn’t really know why a company should hire me other than I knew how to code.

Irregardless it’s a pretty daunting feet and even if I do all of the things right that are in my control there is a very good chance that I could still fall incredibly short of that goal, but I suppose now that I actually wrote it down and know that people will make fun of me when 3 years down the road I’m still 40k short it will motivate me to get my act in gear.

Anyway this is a very “soft” goal as while making $100k a year sure would be a nice thing, it’s not something I actually need to support my family, plan for an early retirement, put my kids through college, etc. At same time if I do have the skills, talents, and education to make it happen I probably owe it to myself to give it a decent effort.

So mark my words 2 years 11 months I’ll be pulling in 6 figures 🙂

  • Tim

    Best of luck! I think its a good idea to have a salary goal like that. Keeps you moving forward. Did you enjoy the coursework for your MBA?

  • My Financial Journey

    Actually I very much enjoyed my MBA coursework. I got my MBA while working full-time and taking night classes so it made for some pretty long days and I finished it in two years, but it really was pretty cool.

    Got to meet some pretty cool people (lots of CEOs and VPs in the program), so here is some punk kid programmer teamed up on project teams with a CEO, CFO, and VP of marketing.

    I probably could have got a little more out of the program had I waited a few years to gain more experience and have more real life situations to apply to the stuff we were learning in class, but had I waited say 5 years after graduating from college I really don’t know whether I would have been motivated enough to go back to schoool. 6 months after I graduated I had my first child so all in all I think it worked out pretty good for me.

    Also having an MBA in my profession (computer programming) actually helps me out a lot even if I am not currently using it from a managerial perspective. Knowing exactly what executive or managers actually are trying to accomplish with the programs they are requesting and speaking the same language as them has helped out a ton.

  • I would like to say Good luck to you. Keep focus your goal, if you can do this, I think you will success 🙂

  • Randy

    Want to make six figures in three years? Go back to school. That’s right, I have a cousin and a coworker that have unbelievable stories:

    Coworker – her daughter (24 yrs. old) just graduated with a M.S. degree in Nurse Anesthesiology. Base salary: $155,000. One-time relocation ‘bonus’ paid by the clinic: $75,000. (She used the relocation money to buy a house).

    Cousin – I have a cousin (will be 24 yrs. old in three months) that just graduated from pharmacy school. Base salary $130,000. Downside is that he has to work an overnight shift. But if he wanted to, he could work the daytime shift and take a paycut. (CVS offers a 10% bonus for working overnight shifts.) Sign-on bonus: $35,000.

    So, as you can see if you go back to school and get a degree that’s in a high demand career you’ll be far better off than if you plug away trying trying to make six-figures with a dime-a-dozen MBA degree.

    Plus, a PharmD (degree required to be a pharmacist) will only will take you about 2-3 years (that’s assuming you have a B.S. with a little bit of science under your belt).

    YMMV.

    Randy

  • My Financial Journey

    I’m guessing it would take a little more than 2-3 years for a computer geek/dime a dozen MBA person like me to get a degree in nursing/pharmacy/or some other in demand health care field.

    Besides while maybe not as much of a demand as nurse or something like that us computer geeks are in a pretty high demand career. Maybe not a lot of us pulling in 6 figures at age 24, but I’ve had enough school for a while. Maybe in 10 years when I want to switch careers – although at that point I don’t know if I will be chasing money as much as finding something that I enjoy and has very flexible work environment.

    Anyway its not so much about the money per say as it is about being successfull in my career….maybe if I was a anesthesiolgist (whew care barely spell that) I’d be shooting for $200k a year. Besides I’d rather put people to sleep talking about what I do for a living than actually having to inject an IV into their arm 🙂

  • Andy

    Interesting post, and interesting comments. I think that the ‘dime-a-dozen’ phrase for describing a MBA is a bit too harsh on Randy’s part. However, I do agree that there are VERY lucrative careers for early twenty-somethings if they have the right degree.

    IMO, the biggest value that an MBA brings is the networking. Unfortunately, networking seems to be a foreign concept for some graduate programs. I work for a major university and their MBA program is top-flight (and also expensive). However, the networking opportunities are also numerous.

    Again, good post. Keep up the good work on getting that feedback too! Sometimes the comments are just as interesting as the post.

    Andy

  • So you’re a programmer? I was a C++ programmer in a former life and decided to go a slightly different route a few years ago. I loved programming, was good at it and well paid but my belief is that it’s akin to a pro sports career (with less money). You’ve only got until about 40 or 45 to really make money in programming, after that you’re too expensive compared to younger people. There are architect positions and things like that, but they’re limited to large companies and hot tech areas of the country. Just my take, but I didn’t see much future in progamming. six figures is certainly doable, but that’s not as much money as it sounds like.

  • Jane

    Keep at it! I manage a team of SW engineers and can tell you that 6 figures w/a CS or CE degree is certainly within reach. I do agree tht it isn’t as much $ as it seems when you finally get it though.

    BTW – I disagree whole-heartedly with the dime a dozen comment. An MBA with a technical background (i.e. – a technical person who understands business realities) is not common. Use it to your advantage…

  • Candy

    At 22, my first job paid 45K out of college. I didn’t set a goal in terms of dollar value. In fact I was totally clueless when I graduated. In two years, it went up to 52K. At 26, My second job went up to 58K. At 27, My third job paid 79K. Now I’m 29, netting six figure. It is totally possible, so don’t loose heart. My goal was to learn more, cross train, diversify, be top producer, be aggressive, be the one the boss cannot live without. Money came as a result. I’m turning 30 in a month. I’m proud to be financially secure, but more importantly I’m more satisfied with myself for figuring out my life’s passion and finding my place in the world. Money is a good way for others to measure you. Self satisfaction is a better way to measure yourself in terms of success.

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