Earning a 6-figure salary is not as hard as you might think.
There may be some preparation or schooling required, long hours, or even terrible working conditions… but it is possible. I’ve collected a list of interesting ways to make a cool $100k a year. I’m not promising, however, that you will be inspired to jump into some of these right away. With every opportunity there is always a trade-off!
Keep in mind that I’m working through these examples pre-tax. Some of them do have tax benefits due to the nature of the work. Others aren’t so lucky. Either way, if you are serious about pursuing one of these it might be best to consult your Tax Advisor or Accountant.
Warning: This article tries to be mathematically accurate… but it was written in jest. Enjoy!
In this Article
Earning a Minimum (Living) Wage of $15
Alright, let’s see what it will take to earn $100,000 per year earning $15 an hour. Let’s also assume that you will be paid time and half for overtime (any hour worked over 40 hours per week) and that you consistently work the same number of hours each week to make the math simple.
The conditions sound like a stretch but let’s see where this gets us. Since the following is true:
$15 x 40 hours / week x 52 weeks / year = $31,200
Working normal hours at this wage will earn you $31,200 per year. Now that leaves $68,800 to be earned making $22.50 which is the amount earned for overtime.
$68,800 / $22.50 per hour = 3,057 additional hours that needs to be worked.
3,057 additional overtime hours spread out evenly over 52 work weeks is approximately 59 hours per week extra.
Thus, if you work 99 hours per week at a job that let’s you earn overtime (and pays you $15 an hour) then you too can join the 6-figure club… that’s not even a 100-hour week! In fact, it’s only 14 hours per day including weekends.
More than likely, however, you won’t find a lot of employers that will let you work overtime. In this case you would need to work 128 hours a week or approximately 18.3 hours a day. I won’t round on this one since that 0.7 hours will probably need to be used somewhere… probably sleeping, eating or commuting.
Through Investments in the S&P 500
The long term Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of the S&P 500 from 1960 to 2020 is 11.62%. Thus, doing a little math we can see that:
X * 0.1162 = 100,000 where X = 100,000 / 0.1162 = $860,585.20
So, if you have a cool $860,585.20 invested in the S&P 500 you would have probably been able to withdraw $100,000 during many years. Individual years had varying performances, but 100k wouldn’t have been a bad bet.
But what about the 4% rule?
This rule essentially states that it is unwise to withdraw more than 4% of your portfolio in any given year if you want to keep that nest egg for a long time adjusting for inflation. Doing this math results in a substantially larger number:
X*.0.04 = 100,000 where X = 100,000 / 0.04 = $2.5 Million
So, if you are conducting yourself like a reasonable financial planner, you would use $2.5 million to generate an annual income of $100,000. Although that is a lot of money, the ability to get there over the long term (think 40 years) is actually relatively easy.
The monthly amount needed to invest over 40 years to generate $2.5 Million at a rate of return of 11.62% so that you can have $100,000 in stress free income is: $302.
If at the age of 18 you start investing $302 a month into the S&P 500 you could likely retire at the age of 58 with an annual salary of $100,000. Keep in mind I didn’t adjust for inflation, but this actually sounds pretty reasonable.
If you are interested in running your own calculations there is an incredible compound interest with contributions calculator available from the U.S. Government here.
By Following WallStreetBets Playing Roulette
Some folks have turned to the internet to make their fortunes. The Reddit group known as ‘WallStreetBets’ has quickly become a source of public ridicule and outright wonder. The large group of small time investors make wild bets in the stock market that pay out handsomely… and end in tears.
Thus, I won’t even attempt to rationalize WallStreetBets. It’s just not possible.
Instead, I’ll show you how to gamble your way to $100,000 a year. It’s basically the same thing as WallStreetBets, except you can usually get free drinks and be comped a buffet if you should lose all of your money at the casino.
When playing Roulette you can harness the power of 2’s.
You can double your money each time you guess the color that the ball lands on… red or black. You would need to guess the correct color 10 times in a row to turn $100 into $100,000. Just accomplish this feat each year on New Year’s Day and you will be set for the rest of the year!
Alternatively, if you can guess one of the 38 numbers that may show up (00, 0, …., 36) you can get a payout of 35 to 1. This means you would only have to guess the right number twice in a row with an initial $100 bet.
Of course, I don’t recommend the gambling strategy. I just bring it up since it is so similar to the WallStreetBets method: buying short-dated way out of the money call options. If you don’t know what this means, that’s a good thing.
Driving for a Ride Share Service
According to HyreCar, depending on your location and time of day you can roughly expect to make about $20 an hour driving for a ride share service such as Uber and Lyft. Luckily, this is more than our $15 an hour wage above, however, you can’t qualify for overtime with a ride-share service.
Doing the math to get a sense of how many hours per week a person would have to drive to earn $100,000 results in:
$100,000 / 52 weeks a year / $20 an hour = 96 Hours per week.
Working 96 hours per week or 13 hours and 45 minutes per day every single day will get you to the grand prize. There are perks that should not be understated. With these services you can often be hired to drive food deliveries giving you an opportunity to grab lunch and eat while earning some money.
Although I don’t recommend it, you can also snag a few fries or chow down on the condiments of any food delivery… after all, who’s gonna notice? say anything?
Ever dropped a few dollars in a bucket for some street performers? Apparently, a lot of people drop a lot of money into those buckets. According to an article in Business Insider street performers can make north of $1,000 a day working approximately 6 to 8 hours.
The math for this scenario isn’t too difficult. You would need to work about 2 days a week. Given street performers probably make more on weekends, it would be natural to assume that you could just focus on Saturday and Sunday.
The hardest part may be trying to develop a skill or performance worth a passerby’s money. In this case, my own two cents suggest painting yourself gold and standing still… that seems to always convince me to part ways with a few dollars.
As a blogger myself I can proudly say I know just how lucrative it can be. Unfortunately, I don’t see any path towards making $100,000 a year. Making pennies per click on a small percentage of people who click on ads can be a difficult and crowded business proposition.
Suffice it to say, however, that other folks have figured it out.
Developing a niche site that is able to draw visitors in with quality content and then help connect them with good products is probably the easiest way to start earning a significant income through blogging.
But let’s make some assumptions and crunch some numbers assuming that you can make $0.10 a click on an advertisement (gross simplification) and that 3% of folks who visit a post will click on an advertisement:
$100,000 / $0.10 a click / 0.03 Click Through Rate = 33,333,333 Blog Views
Breaking it down further, you would need to have about 91,000 page views a day in order to earn about $100,000 a year. These numbers can change quite drastically based on your assumptions and the type of blog you have.
According to Millennial Money, blogs centered around the topic of Money and Insurance can get about $0.02 to $0.25 per page view. Assuming you can make $0.10 per pageview instead of per click changes things quite a bit. The result is needing only 2,700 page views a day… about a 30x reduction from the above calculus.
In conclusion, it’s definitely possible to make 6 figures a year. Anyone can do it. The pain and effort required though may mean that most folks just have better things to do than try and maximize their earnings.
For those young and hungry enough, however, using your imagination and strong work ethic to increase their income if only for a few years can help dramatically improve their financial outlook if they invest their earnings wisely.
I hope you enjoyed this tongue in cheek article! If you have any other clever ways you can think of to generate 100k a year throw them down in the comments!