Who doesn't want to be a millionaire? You may not be as far as you think. With some faithful saving, you could reach that coveted spot by retirement.
Don't believe us? We broke it down and figured out which jobs, based on mean income statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, could result in a seven-figure bank statement by your final day of work. But working in these fields doesn't guarantee millionaire status - you have save 10% of your salary each year at a 5% compounding interest rate for 40 years.
IN PICTURES: Retire A Millionaire In 10 Steps
The Big Winners
1. Veterinarians - $1,115,740
As they wrestle your sick feline out of its cat carrier onto a stainless steel countertop and proceed to insert a thermometer into poor Mr. Pickle's backside, they definitely don't look like millionaires. But your vet, who makes a mean income of $90,110, could be standing there dreaming of her cushy retirement, when she won't have to do this ever again.
2. Physics Teachers, Post-Secondary - $1,031,666
Beneath that wrinkled, tweed jacket with corduroy elbow patches (what are those even for?) is a professor who makes about $83,320, and could be fixing to retire in luxury. Yes, many college professors, particularly those teaching business, math and science, are eligible for millionaire-dom. So wake up and pay attention! They're obviously doing something right.
3. Administrative Services Managers - $1,009,503
Who knew that these ultra-organized office managers with scrupulous attention to detail could be millionaires-in-waiting? With mean incomes of $81,530, these valuable employees ensure every pesky detail, from mail distribution to "sign here" stickies to filing systems are taken care of. And they make enough money to take care of their retirements too.
4. Civil Engineers - $1,005,169
The people who plan, design and build your city's infrastructure make a tidy sum of $81,180 on average each year, which means they make the cut for our future millionaire list. The next time you cross a bridge, pass a road repair crew or inhale a whiff of a sewage treatment plant, remember that a potential member of the upper class may be financing a comfortable retirement on that work.
Chiropractors ($995,387), real estate brokers ($970,252), power plant operators ($918,495) and sea captains ($875,901) didn't quite make the cut with each of their respective mean incomes. But by increasing their savings each year or making investments with higher returns, these professionals could easily join the ranks of the retired millionaires.
Since most of the world makes less than $81,000 each year for 40 years, it's good to know that no matter what you make, it's worth it to put money away each year. If you, like radio operators ($537,378), farmers and ranchers ($528,834), and postal service mail carriers ($605,974), make more than $40,400, you can easily make it to the half-millionaire point by retirement. (For more on the job market, check out 6 Sectors That Are Creating Jobs.)
Things to Remember
It's important to remember that these calculations rely on factors that often aren't quite as consistent in real life. For one, entry-level employees don't generally start earning the mean income in their fields until later. However, good work results in raises, and over 40 years, one's average salary could match or exceed the mean income. Taxes are also not taken into account, and neither are the big ticket items that come along in life - a down payment on a house or a child's college tuition. But that only places more emphasis on why it's smart to start saving early on in your career, no matter what your income. (For more, see 5 High-Paying, Low-Stress Jobs.)
(Catch up on the latest financial news, read Water Cooler Finance: Shocking Court Rulings, Sinking Markets.)
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