Before you decide what your career path is going to be and what it will take to get you there, remember this: Money doesn’t buy happiness or define your accomplishments. Doing what you love helps you find your purpose and create success.
You have to get to know yourself first to find a career that suits you, so being aware of your strengths and interests is a start. What are you good at? What do you love to do? What classes inspire you or activities do you get completely absorbed in? Write them down.
Find connections between them. Narrow your focus. Research the education and hands-on experiences needed to move this passion from a hobby to the start of your career.
The ultimate goal is to bring together a superior skill set with doing what gives you the most emotional and intellectual satisfaction. We’ve pulled together a few in-demand careers to give you an idea of how potential income can be divvied up into different life expenses – for now and the future. When thinking about your path, it’s important to consider where you want to live since income and expenses vary greatly from city to city.
The tabbed section below shows various in-demand careers with varying levels of schooling and experience, as well as potential salary and breakdowns with generalized expenses versus generalized income to start understanding the big chunks of cash needed to live and what’s left to save, invest and spend.
With a high school degree and varying levels of experience, you can explore many different industries from roles supporting executives at corporations to making pet owners feel welcome at your local veterinarian’s office. The skills you garner working with clients and customers can help refine your career even further and serve you no matter what’s next.
Income: $33,240 each year before taxes
Spending per month: $1,595
Giving, Investing, Saving per month: $1,175
Skilled careers in manufacturing, which require STEM skills such as technology, problem solving, technical and math skills, are becoming more and more needed as the baby boomer generation retires – as are careers in healthcare. Vocational schools or community colleges can teach specific skills or you can explore apprenticeships and mentorship programs enabling you to work onsite or get paired with pros to learn the true tools of the trade.
Income: $43,680 each year before taxes
Spending per month: $2,030
Giving, Investing, Saving per month: $1,610
An associate’s degree and a desire to use communication skills and work with people can land you a human resources generalist position. Generalist roles in a specific industry or area help you get a taste for what you enjoy doing best and can further direct your career.
Income: $51,180 each year before taxes
Spending per month: $2,320
Giving, Investing, Saving per month: $1,945
With a bachelor’s degree and a few years of experience, you can support innovative technologies in fields spanning from entertainment to aerospace. With specialization and more years of experience, you can continue to grow your income.
Income: $84,744 each year before taxes
Spending per month: $3,762
Giving, Investing, Saving per month: $3,300
All different kinds of industries will continue as technology evolves, and companies will be looking for professionals such as applications software engineers, web and app developers and systems analysts. Earning at least a bachelor’s degree and coming to the table with relevant experience can make you a good candidate.
Income: $70,992 each year before taxes
Spending per month: $2,966
Giving, Investing, Saving per month: $2,950
Expected to be a fast-growing job for the next few decades, financial advisors have a current average age of 50 years old – so new advisors are needed to serve clients as they retire. Surprisingly, this career is more about helping people solve problems and create solutions than number-crunching. By listening to develop relationships, advisors can create careers that have flexibility with work and life balance as well as the control over whether owning their business or working as an employee for a larger firm is a better fit. A bachelor’s degree is a good start, and there are specialized certifications you can look into to explore this role where psychology and financial smarts both come into play.
Income: $80,124 each year before taxes
Spending per month: $3,437
Giving, Investing, Saving per month: $3,240
*Based on 2016 tax tables.
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