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August 08, 2021

Nine secrets to earning $100,000

There's no easy way to $100,000 in annual salary. But people who have reached that milestone are offering some advice on how others can get there.

One user on the Reddit website put out a request for anyone making at least $100,000 a year. "What was the smartest decision you ever made?" asked someone going by the name of RicsFlair.

The question generated a wide-ranging discussion about what it takes to climb the career ladder. Some of the predictable responses were in there — work hard, do a good job and the like — but users did have some decent advice for anyone trying to make it in the world.

From the discussion, here are nine secrets to making $100,000:

1. Don't burn bridges. One person didn't tell the boss what he or she really thought when leaving an old job. "Doing so opened a door for me several years later and got me to where I am now."

2. Learn how to negotiate a salary. Many websites and other resources will tell you what you should be earning for specific jobs and skills. "Salaries in any job market are highly variable, and who gets at the top end and who gets at the bottom end often comes down to good negotiation," wrote one commenter.

3. Be prepared to work a lot. Several commenters said the key to earning that much money is putting in many, many hours. One person said his father has an executive job at a hospital, but it has come at a cost. "I admire ... him for what he does and how well liked and respected he is by his peers and patients but I wish he would have been around more because I barely have a relationship with him."

4. Invest early to get the long-term payout. Pay for an education, even though it's pricey, one commenter wrote. Save longer to buy tools and clothes of better quality. Spend the extra time learning everything about your job, not just what it takes to get by.

5. Study something practical in college. "My issue is with the kids who go to college without a clear goal they wish to achieve with their education," wrote one commenter. "They major in something silly (liberal arts? seriously?) and don't specialize, seek experience, or train for a career, and then expect their degree to entitle them to 50k a year and a two bedroom house."

6. Build your reputation early. When you get your first job, you usually have the time to put in more effort outside of normal work hours. "I typically worked 50+ hours a week for the first four years or so and got great ratings over people who had been there longer but only put in exactly 40 hours and were out the door," wrote one commenter. "Better ratings at an early age meant bigger salary bumps. It works just like compounding interest."

7. Always push to climb the career ladder. "Keep pushing management and [human resources] to find out how you can move up and progress within the company," wrote one commenter. "Ask them what you can do to make yourself the ideal candidate for any positions up the ladder that may become available in a few years."

8. Be likeable. "Don't just go in and do your job and leave," wrote one. "Chat with people, be friendly, ask how your boss' weekend was, volunteer for charities through work, participate in a softball league or golf outing ... etc. Building a network of people within your company who like you will pay off later because those people might just be in a hiring position someday."

9. Have the right luck. Even when you do everything right, sometimes it just comes down to luck. "Hard work and all that is very important, but being in the right place at the right time is also important," added one user. "Almost all extremely wealthy people were blessed with the right idea at the right time with the right motivation."

-- Kim Peterson, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...