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(IT World)   As if all the free snacks and attention from hot chicks isn't enough, here's advice on how to make $200,000 a year as a software developer   (itworld.com) divider line 54
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3518 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Jun 2013 at 11:13 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-13 11:08:44 AM
Of course, they list the inevitable asshole that thinks 2000hrs/year * $100/hr = $200k/yr. Sure, if you never have to take time off, never have billing problems, and somehow manage to keep yourself fully booked while at the same time not taking a minute to do any sort of marketing yourself during the week.
 
2013-06-13 11:18:50 AM
Get 3 jobs?

/DNRTFA
 
2013-06-13 11:21:55 AM
In my experience fewer than 5% of software developers produce work that's even worth $100k/year.

If you are looking to earn several standard deviations above normal, your skills need to be several standard deviations above normal, too.  Do you run one or more extremely popular open source projects?  If not, you probably don't make the cut.
 
2013-06-13 11:24:30 AM
a quick check of efinancialcareers shows senior java and C++ developers at $175k before bonuses.
 
2013-06-13 11:27:53 AM
Not sure how this is still possible with the H-1B.
 
2013-06-13 11:34:43 AM

poot_rootbeer: In my experience fewer than 5% of software developers produce work that's even worth $100k/year.


Truth. The number of developers out there that are straight-up pants-on-head retarded blows my mind. BUT...

poot_rootbeer: If you are looking to earn several standard deviations above normal, your skills need to be several standard deviations above normal, too.  Do you run one or more extremely popular open source projects?  If not, you probably don't make the cut.


LOL. There's more than one way to get yourself noticed in the world.
 
2013-06-13 11:35:59 AM
A Top Secret clearance adds about $12,000 to your salary.  So find a software job that pays $188,000 for an agency like NSA or CIA or FBI that requires a Top Secret, then boom - $200,000.

And that is not even the highest level they go.  There are TS SCI Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information with Full Scope Lifestyle Polygraph, which are harder to get, rarer, and thus people with them are valuable and command higher salaries.
 
2013-06-13 11:37:05 AM
1) Move to an area with bullshiat Cost of Living.  (This is easy)
2) Get a job at super-awesome company like Google.  (This is hard.  Your best bet is getting your failed startup acqui-hired by Google)
3) Profit (or don't because of #1.  In the land of the million dollar starter home, the guy making $120K after taxes isn't rich.  He's not poor, but he ain't rich either).

/Though yeah, the full stack guys make about 50% more over the specialists, because they can go anywhere and do anything.  They're also impossible to hire even with the salary bump.
 
2013-06-13 11:38:11 AM

Shaggy_C: Not sure how this is still possible with the H-1B.


Get a security clearance.

Not that most software gigs requiring a clearance pay over $150k.  But, nearly every developer I know making six figures (and especially outside of NYC or the Bay Area) is grubbing off the military-industrial complex.  $120k+ doing rocket-embedded stuff, 9-5 & no crazy overtime, is really really good money in Oklahoma.  And, of course, no outsourcing or H1Bs.
 
2013-06-13 11:43:14 AM
Wanna make $200K as a software developer? Working on Wall Street is a good place to start

No shiat.  farking genius writing quant code for Wall Street.
 
2013-06-13 11:50:58 AM

meyerkev: 1) Move to an area with bullshiat Cost of Living.  (This is easy)
2) Get a job at super-awesome company like Google.  (This is hard.  Your best bet is getting your failed startup acqui-hired by Google)
3) Profit (or don't because of #1.  In the land of the million dollar starter home, the guy making $120K after taxes isn't rich.  He's not poor, but he ain't rich either).

/Though yeah, the full stack guys make about 50% more over the specialists, because they can go anywhere and do anything.  They're also impossible to hire even with the salary bump.


You are mixing up wealth with disposable income.  People in expensive areas whine about how they are broke due to home prices, but it's not like that money disappears, it's just not readily accessible.
 
2013-06-13 12:02:11 PM

nocturnal001: meyerkev: 1) Move to an area with bullshiat Cost of Living.  (This is easy)
2) Get a job at super-awesome company like Google.  (This is hard.  Your best bet is getting your failed startup acqui-hired by Google)
3) Profit (or don't because of #1.  In the land of the million dollar starter home, the guy making $120K after taxes isn't rich.  He's not poor, but he ain't rich either).

/Though yeah, the full stack guys make about 50% more over the specialists, because they can go anywhere and do anything.  They're also impossible to hire even with the salary bump.

You are mixing up wealth with disposable income.  People in expensive areas whine about how they are broke due to home prices, but it's not like that money disappears, it's just not readily accessible.


The problem isn't home prices, it's what home prices do to everything else.

Expensive home => expensive rents => expensive prices + you actually pay taxes (I make $20K, I pay $300.  I make $70K, I pay $24K).

I might be making $70K a year in the Bay Area, but my father at $28K a year in Michigan has more disposable income (and can actually afford to not have a roommate).

/Though Bay Area home prices are insane because everyone buys a home with cash after their startup goes big and they get a million bucks in a single go.  Any system based around windfalls is going to be nutters as far as luxury prices go.
 
2013-06-13 12:02:31 PM
A bunch of pseudonymous posts from a "hacker" forum?  Really, ITworld?
 
2013-06-13 12:04:07 PM
I like their advice about being a generalist AND a specialist. I've found that knowing too many languages/forms of coding is actually detrimental to getting a job.

/VB.net
/C#.net
/ASP.net
/SQL (MS, PostGre, My)
/HTML
/CSS
/Javascript
/Python
/4D
/Django
/PHP
/off the top of my head, most used daily at my job...
/ouch my brain hurts
 
2013-06-13 12:21:08 PM

meyerkev: nocturnal001: meyerkev: 1) Move to an area with bullshiat Cost of Living.  (This is easy)
2) Get a job at super-awesome company like Google.  (This is hard.  Your best bet is getting your failed startup acqui-hired by Google)
3) Profit (or don't because of #1.  In the land of the million dollar starter home, the guy making $120K after taxes isn't rich.  He's not poor, but he ain't rich either).

/Though yeah, the full stack guys make about 50% more over the specialists, because they can go anywhere and do anything.  They're also impossible to hire even with the salary bump.

You are mixing up wealth with disposable income.  People in expensive areas whine about how they are broke due to home prices, but it's not like that money disappears, it's just not readily accessible.

The problem isn't home prices, it's what home prices do to everything else.

Expensive home => expensive rents => expensive prices + you actually pay taxes (I make $20K, I pay $300.  I make $70K, I pay $24K).

I might be making $70K a year in the Bay Area, but my father at $28K a year in Michigan has more disposable income (and can actually afford to not have a roommate).

/Though Bay Area home prices are insane because everyone buys a home with cash after their startup goes big and they get a million bucks in a single go.  Any system based around windfalls is going to be nutters as far as luxury prices go.


I am sympathetic to a point, I grew up in MD and lived in the DC area for a while so I understand the pain of high prices.  I am extremely lucky in that my income is set at a national level due to my skills and that I have to travel 50% for work, but the prices in Kansas City are super low compared to the coasts.

So the question is, why do you live in SF? Great city, but I've had my share of traffic and expensive living.  Mid-sized cities are extremely undervalued IMO.  I was happy to find out in my travels that quite a few of the cities out here in "fly over country" are actually very livable with solid culture, food, etc.
 
2013-06-13 12:36:43 PM

Usurper4: I've found that knowing too many languages/forms of coding is actually detrimental to getting a job.


And yet in many fields, especially web development, you have to be massively polyglotic to even be considered for a job.  Even where teams are large enough for specialization, a frontend engineer worth that title has to have mastered at least HTML 5, CSS 3, and object-oriented Javascript, and also a number of frameworks like jQuery, Backbone, Bootstrap, etc.  Probably also Coffeescript and HAML and Sass or Less, too, given what's trendy at startups these days.

On the backend it's even worse: ten thousand permutations of the software stack, each with a different language, framework, build toolchain, data store, and deployment model.  And far too many companies who can't see past their nose, who assume that a skilled Django developer couldn't possibly be able to work with Rails, or vice versa.
 
2013-06-13 12:37:19 PM
I don't make $200,000 a year (though I probably could if I took on more contracts... in other words, gave up any semblance of a life), but I do ok. Working in finance, so I get paid like I live in new york, even though I telecommute.
 
2013-06-13 12:38:52 PM

Usurper4: I like their advice about being a generalist AND a specialist. I've found that knowing too many languages/forms of coding is actually detrimental to getting a job.
/off the top of my head, most used daily at my job...


That seems like a lot of daily use languages. We try to stick to one linked set:

C# .net
Linq
SQL
CSS
jquery
HTML

Only thing I can think of besides these are extensions to javascript like knockout, etc that have their own syntax. But that's pretty much it.
 
2013-06-13 12:39:04 PM
Become a lead, stop developing, spend all of your time telling other developers what to do and how to do things.

// do code reviews with outsourced/offshored code, wash/rinse/repeat until vacation/insanity time.
 
2013-06-13 12:42:12 PM
Wait.... I could be getting free snacks? Why didn't somebody tell me this sooner?
 
2013-06-13 12:56:04 PM

ThatGuyGreg: Of course, they list the inevitable asshole that thinks 2000hrs/year * $100/hr = $200k/yr. Sure, if you never have to take time off, never have billing problems, and somehow manage to keep yourself fully booked while at the same time not taking a minute to do any sort of marketing yourself during the week.


It's not an asshole that does that, unless I too am an asshole. I can't bill hours to my clients for when I'm not working for them, like marketing myself. I only bill them for production, or learning distinct new skills/info to solve their problems. Thus the goal is simply to minimize downtime by landing longer contracts. Last year was my first year in six figures; I'm an extremely lucky guy, yes, but a good bit of that was being as flexible as possible to land the long-contract clients.
 
2013-06-13 01:26:48 PM
I make well and above that. How? I work 65-70 hours/week. Then there's my jr dev who can't be bothered to put in one minute over 40 hours. Such a shame.
 
2013-06-13 01:36:54 PM

nocturnal001: So the question is, why do you live in SF? Great city, but I've had my share of traffic and expensive living.  Mid-sized cities are extremely undervalued IMO.  I was happy to find out in my travels that quite a few of the cities out here in "fly over country" are act ...


I live an hour and a half from SF by mass transit (because I can't afford BS parking prices if I drive in on a weekend, I can't afford SF rents, and I can't afford to spend an hour plus each way commuting), working at a Silicon Valley startup (which might blow up big (multi-million dollar payout) and might not (Acqui-hire leading to a nice 20-30% pay bump and a 2-3K little bonus in the first paycheck)).  It's exactly like living in a terrible midwestern suburb except that nobody has a yard and traffic is TERRIBLE (Honestly, I wouldn't mind the taxes if they were bothering to invest in infrastructure).  For better or for worse, SF is it as far as really, really good CS careers are concerned (unless you want to work finance (Lulz, no) or at Microsoft up in Seattle (Been there, done that, got the TShirt, Hell no)).

It's basically a question of "At what point does the crazy amount of money I'm making stop outweighing the sheer crushing dullness and stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck in Silicon Valley with expensive rents and terrible traffic and send me screaming back to the midwest?"
 
2013-06-13 01:43:37 PM
I've been greedy with my time, and it's paying off. I got to where the income is a little silly, but I'm still only 6 miles from home, and have no interest in bumping up my commute. I've had some ridiculous offers from companies mentioned, but declined and used the offers to leverage promotions and raises at my current company.

The thing I've found, is that after a while, the raises just don't mean that much any more. The new money is heavily taxed, so it takes a lot bigger bump to feel it. The other thing is that it just sucks paying so much in taxes every year that my wife and I just end up over-saving for retirement to protect the money.

I've pretty much gotten to the point that I'm still young enough to have fun with the family and with bike racing, I still have my health and energy, and I have plenty of money for nice cars and kids' college. I'm just done climbing. I go in and out of management, depending on project needs. Company likes me, and I enjoy the variety of projects I get to work on (everything from augmented reality on Android to aircraft simulations on PCs to "cyber security" and "big data"). So, I'm not looking to rock the boat, as I don't spend much time in my car, I get a lot of time at home, and I'm having fun at work.

That said, this job pays really freaking well.
 
2013-06-13 02:02:21 PM

meyerkev: nocturnal001: So the question is, why do you live in SF? Great city, but I've had my share of traffic and expensive living.  Mid-sized cities are extremely undervalued IMO.  I was happy to find out in my travels that quite a few of the cities out here in "fly over country" are act ...

I live an hour and a half from SF by mass transit (because I can't afford BS parking prices if I drive in on a weekend, I can't afford SF rents, and I can't afford to spend an hour plus each way commuting), working at a Silicon Valley startup (which might blow up big (multi-million dollar payout) and might not (Acqui-hire leading to a nice 20-30% pay bump and a 2-3K little bonus in the first paycheck)).  It's exactly like living in a terrible midwestern suburb except that nobody has a yard and traffic is TERRIBLE (Honestly, I wouldn't mind the taxes if they were bothering to invest in infrastructure).  For better or for worse, SF is it as far as really, really good CS careers are concerned (unless you want to work finance (Lulz, no) or at Microsoft up in Seattle (Been there, done that, got the TShirt, Hell no)).

It's basically a question of "At what point does the crazy amount of money I'm making stop outweighing the sheer crushing dullness and stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck in Silicon Valley with expensive rents and terrible traffic and send me screaming back to the midwest?"


Yup. Collect experience, find a solid job in an affordable city.  There is nothing I hate more than traffic.  I lived south of DC for a while (outside of quantico) and commuted to the city every day. 40 miles, 2 hours each way during rush hour.

Never again.
 
2013-06-13 02:05:05 PM

ThatGuyGreg: Of course, they list the inevitable asshole that thinks 2000hrs/year * $100/hr = $200k/yr. Sure, if you never have to take time off, never have billing problems, and somehow manage to keep yourself fully booked while at the same time not taking a minute to do any sort of marketing yourself during the week.


2000 hours is a standard, accepted value for the average 40-hour/week worker.  50 weeks * 40 hours = 2000.  That is working regular, full-time hours, and still having 2 weeks of vacation a year.  Considering many high-tech, salaried positions would kill for the chance to work as little as 40 hours a week, it shouldn't be all that difficult to put in the time and effort to get to $200k at $100/hour.

Most programmers I know could probably hit 2000 hours by August without batting an eye.
 
2013-06-13 02:07:51 PM

waterrockets: I've been greedy with my time, and it's paying off. I got to where the income is a little silly, but I'm still only 6 miles from home, and have no interest in bumping up my commute. I've had some ridiculous offers from companies mentioned, but declined and used the offers to leverage promotions and raises at my current company.

The thing I've found, is that after a while, the raises just don't mean that much any more. The new money is heavily taxed, so it takes a lot bigger bump to feel it. The other thing is that it just sucks paying so much in taxes every year that my wife and I just end up over-saving for retirement to protect the money.

I've pretty much gotten to the point that I'm still young enough to have fun with the family and with bike racing, I still have my health and energy, and I have plenty of money for nice cars and kids' college. I'm just done climbing. I go in and out of management, depending on project needs. Company likes me, and I enjoy the variety of projects I get to work on (everything from augmented reality on Android to aircraft simulations on PCs to "cyber security" and "big data"). So, I'm not looking to rock the boat, as I don't spend much time in my car, I get a lot of time at home, and I'm having fun at work.

That said, this job pays really freaking well.


The way I read this the problem isn't taxes but that you earn more money than you reasonably know what to do with. Your 'demands' have been met so you don't feel like sacrificing time to make even more money. If your monetary needs weren't fulfilled you'd be spending money instead of putting an overly large portion of it in a retirement fund.
 
2013-06-13 02:16:30 PM

dj_spanmaster: y bill them for production, or learning distinct new skills/info to solve their problems. Thus the goal is simply to minimize downtime by landing longer contracts. Last year was my first year in six figures; I'm an extremely lucky guy, yes, but a good bit of that was being as flexible as possible to land the long-contract clients.


There's absolutely nothing wrong with that; the difference is that you probably realize billing 2000 hours in a year is unlikely, and adjust your rate (or expectations) accordingly.
 
2013-06-13 02:20:10 PM
As a lead software engineer moonlighting as a software manager that is looking for a new job, I got kick out of that article. While I have been telecommuting for the past 3 years (boy is that wonderful), I have had to slowly assume all the responsibilities of my boss (can't be bothered with technology or technology decisions), as well as run the entire software team and be responsible for all major coding and development. I am just getting paid jack sh*t right now in relation to the amount of responsibility I carry.

Shopping around for a new job has been hilarious to say the least. The sheer amount of head hunters that call you non-stop with very little grasp of the english language has been enlightening. No matter how many times you try to explain you are looking for a full time position, they relentlessly try to fast talk you into taking that 1 month long contract for 50/hr. Even though you don't even fit the job description at all. Oh boy, sounds great. Had someone schedule an interview for me without even asking my availability, it's like a damn free for all out there. They may be confusing me with someone that does not have options.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how much I can get out of some of the companies I have interviews scheduled with. Ten years experience, with 6+ as a lead and 4+ assuming management responsibilities should set me up nicely. Looking forward to more money, not to actually commuting again though.
 
2013-06-13 02:58:16 PM

amundb: As a lead software engineer moonlighting as a software manager that is looking for a new job, I got kick out of that article. While I have been telecommuting for the past 3 years (boy is that wonderful), I have had to slowly assume all the responsibilities of my boss (can't be bothered with technology or technology decisions), as well as run the entire software team and be responsible for all major coding and development. I am just getting paid jack sh*t right now in relation to the amount of responsibility I carry.

Shopping around for a new job has been hilarious to say the least. The sheer amount of head hunters that call you non-stop with very little grasp of the english language has been enlightening. No matter how many times you try to explain you are looking for a full time position, they relentlessly try to fast talk you into taking that 1 month long contract for 50/hr. Even though you don't even fit the job description at all. Oh boy, sounds great. Had someone schedule an interview for me without even asking my availability, it's like a damn free for all out there. They may be confusing me with someone that does not have options.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how much I can get out of some of the companies I have interviews scheduled with. Ten years experience, with 6+ as a lead and 4+ assuming management responsibilities should set me up nicely. Looking forward to more money, not to actually commuting again though.


As someone with double your experience and a number of books under his belt, I agree wholeheartedly, but the sweet gigs are fewer and farther between, thanks to visa exploitation and shifting market priorities. The market's finally starting to open up again - in a year or two, I'll probably go back to contracting. Right now, though, I need benefits & stability so I can close out my mortgage.
 
2013-06-13 03:15:18 PM

tfresh: I make well and above that. How? I work 65-70 hours/week. Then there's my jr dev who can't be bothered to put in one minute over 40 hours. Such a shame.


Yeah how dare him want to work to live and not live to work!
 
2013-06-13 03:35:10 PM

machoprogrammer: tfresh: I make well and above that. How? I work 65-70 hours/week. Then there's my jr dev who can't be bothered to put in one minute over 40 hours. Such a shame.

Yeah how dare him want to work to live and not live to work!


The shame is that if I ask him to actually stay and help because it's near a deadline or something important he still won't do it. Then he whines that he isn't a senior level developer.
 
2013-06-13 03:39:40 PM

DerAppie: waterrockets: I've been greedy with my time, and it's paying off. I got to where the income is a little silly, but I'm still only 6 miles from home, and have no interest in bumping up my commute. I've had some ridiculous offers from companies mentioned, but declined and used the offers to leverage promotions and raises at my current company.

The thing I've found, is that after a while, the raises just don't mean that much any more. The new money is heavily taxed, so it takes a lot bigger bump to feel it. The other thing is that it just sucks paying so much in taxes every year that my wife and I just end up over-saving for retirement to protect the money.

I've pretty much gotten to the point that I'm still young enough to have fun with the family and with bike racing, I still have my health and energy, and I have plenty of money for nice cars and kids' college. I'm just done climbing. I go in and out of management, depending on project needs. Company likes me, and I enjoy the variety of projects I get to work on (everything from augmented reality on Android to aircraft simulations on PCs to "cyber security" and "big data"). So, I'm not looking to rock the boat, as I don't spend much time in my car, I get a lot of time at home, and I'm having fun at work.

That said, this job pays really freaking well.

The way I read this the problem isn't taxes but that you earn more money than you reasonably know what to do with. Your 'demands' have been met so you don't feel like sacrificing time to make even more money. If your monetary needs weren't fulfilled you'd be spending money instead of putting an overly large portion of it in a retirement fund.


Yeah, sorry if I made it look like a tax problem. Taxes are a factor in the diminishing returns. I should also clarify that I'm working 40 hrs/wk.

You're right though. Monetary needs are exceeded. Good place to be. Just a few years ago was when I realized I didn't need to keep scrambling up the ladder as fast as possible any more, and that my employer gets a lot of value just from my experience through things like directing larger scale technical decisions.
 
2013-06-13 03:48:43 PM

tfresh: machoprogrammer: tfresh: I make well and above that. How? I work 65-70 hours/week. Then there's my jr dev who can't be bothered to put in one minute over 40 hours. Such a shame.

Yeah how dare him want to work to live and not live to work!

The shame is that if I ask him to actually stay and help because it's near a deadline or something important he still won't do it. Then he whines that he isn't a senior level developer.


I've been on both sides of this - once talking to a manager about how much he thought I ought to be working, I later realized that we had an exact analog to the "pieces of flair" bit from Office Space.

I wasted most of a career because for a long time I was sure that the last "knowledge work" job was moving to India any week now, and so I was just marking time. It's not unreasonable for a developer to come to that conclusion. And if there's no future in your field, and you're salaried, from where should the motivation come to work more? Typically there's quite literally zero reward (either short or long term).

Eventually I got over India-panic, and got a job I can allow myself to like, so it's easier. OTOH it's not at a startup or a death-march-y place, so I can work reasonable hours and not draw scorn for it.
 
2013-06-13 04:51:04 PM

tfresh: I make well and above that. How? I work 65-70 hours/week. Then there's my jr dev who can't be bothered to put in one minute over 40 hours. Such a shame.


How is your employer not aware that salaried employees in computer services may be exempted from overtime?
 
2013-06-13 04:55:02 PM

amundb: Regardless, it will be interesting to see how much I can get out of some of the companies I have interviews scheduled with. Ten years experience, with 6+ as a lead and 4+ assuming management responsibilities should set me up nicely. Looking forward to more money, not to actually commuting again though.


As someone in a very similar situation, I wish you luck.  I was not expecting the process to be taking this long; it certainly didn't the last time I was job seeking seven years ago.

Have you considered the option of talking to your boss's boss about how you're actually doing all the management he's supposed to be responsible for, and proposing a department re-organization that would save the company money?
 
2013-06-13 04:56:46 PM

tfresh: The shame is that if I ask him to actually stay and help because it's near a deadline or something important he still won't do it. Then he whines that he isn't a senior level developer.


If your process requires anybody to put in overtime just to meet routine deadlines, your process is broken.
 
2013-06-13 05:08:20 PM

poot_rootbeer: tfresh: The shame is that if I ask him to actually stay and help because it's near a deadline or something important he still won't do it. Then he whines that he isn't a senior level developer.

If your process requires anybody to put in overtime just to meet routine deadlines, your process is broken.


Or you're a startup.

/14 hour Saturday last week.  Wooh.
//Though that was a one-off.  Nice thing about having a startup run by people with lives and families is that there's a fairly hard cap at 50-55-maybe 60 unless something big goes down.  And you get the awesomeness of working at a startup (Unlimited vacation time, flex hours, etc.)
 
2013-06-13 05:11:06 PM

poot_rootbeer: tfresh: The shame is that if I ask him to actually stay and help because it's near a deadline or something important he still won't do it. Then he whines that he isn't a senior level developer.

If your process requires anybody to put in overtime just to meet routine deadlines, your process is broken.


REALLY?! I had no idea. I forgot that we all develop in a utopian paradise where everything is planned out perfectly, no one under or over estimates their time and there's never any management induced scope creep.

If your process never requires anybody to put in overtime just to meet deadline routine deadlines, your process is broken.
 
2013-06-13 05:14:11 PM

meyerkev: If your process requires anybody to put in overtime just to meet routine deadlines, your process is broken.

Or you're a startup.


No, including if you're a startup.

Have more work that needs to get done than people who can do it in a normal work week?  HIRE MORE PEOPLE.
 
2013-06-13 05:34:09 PM

poot_rootbeer: meyerkev: If your process requires anybody to put in overtime just to meet routine deadlines, your process is broken.

Or you're a startup.

No, including if you're a startup.

Have more work that needs to get done than people who can do it in a normal work week?  HIRE MORE PEOPLE.


But then you speed up your burn and shorten your runway.  It's a choice.

/Besides, 4 years of college, where you'd work 40 hours a week for 1 class, and you'd stay up "until you're done" means that I'm loving actually going to bed in the evenings.
 
2013-06-13 06:51:59 PM
What I don't understand is why some of you guys don't retire early - like WAY early. If I was making even $100k, I would be retired in less than 10 years - I would save tremendous amounts of money, get rid of all debts, make investments that pay me a decent steady income (possibly stocks, possibly rental housing, any number of things really), and retire. Why work for someone else so you can have a big house or whatever? Why drag out employment if you can get out and have a permanent vacation where you do exactly what you want to do, take jobs that you want, and only for the hours you deem acceptable?

There are a few expensive things I would really like to do - I want to learn to scuba and visit as many beautiful places as I can before we humans blow them up, poison them, or fish every single living thing out. But I really, really don't understand the draw of a big house, except that (as a musician) I could make a practice space. I would rather have the money. You guys talk "cost of living" but even in San Fransisco there are regular people living there, even if they have crappier digs or roommates or whatever. It CAN be done, not without sacrifice, but would you rather have tens of thousands wash away every year and drag out your working life another decade?

Then again, I'm poor and would really, really appreciate money. Perhaps if I was used to having money rain down on me I would do silly things like get overly expensive housing or fancy cars. As it is I've got a rusted homeless-person style bike and a roommate.
 
2013-06-13 07:12:03 PM

adamatari: What I don't understand is why some of you guys don't retire early - like WAY early. If I was making even $100k, I would be retired in less than 10 years - I would save tremendous amounts of money, get rid of all debts, make investments that pay me a decent steady income (possibly stocks, possibly rental housing, any number of things really), and retire. Why work for someone else so you can have a big house or whatever? Why drag out employment if you can get out and have a permanent vacation where you do exactly what you want to do, take jobs that you want, and only for the hours you deem acceptable?

There are a few expensive things I would really like to do - I want to learn to scuba and visit as many beautiful places as I can before we humans blow them up, poison them, or fish every single living thing out. But I really, really don't understand the draw of a big house, except that (as a musician) I could make a practice space. I would rather have the money. You guys talk "cost of living" but even in San Fransisco there are regular people living there, even if they have crappier digs or roommates or whatever. It CAN be done, not without sacrifice, but would you rather have tens of thousands wash away every year and drag out your working life another decade?

Then again, I'm poor and would really, really appreciate money. Perhaps if I was used to having money rain down on me I would do silly things like get overly expensive housing or fancy cars. As it is I've got a rusted homeless-person style bike and a roommate.


I am still paying for the school that got me that 100k a year job. You got to spend money to make money.
 
2013-06-13 07:20:18 PM
I am still paying for the school that got me that 100k a year job. You got to spend money to make money.

Are you a doctor? Do you have a six-figure school debt? You could pay off $50k a year. If I was making $100k it would take me less than 2 years to pay off my college debt, which is quite a bit higher than the average.

Not saying you don't have to spend money, just saying you don't have to spend money on a lot of things people think they "need", like new cars, houses, eating out, etc.
 
2013-06-13 07:22:59 PM

adamatari: What I don't understand is why some of you guys don't retire early - like WAY early. If I was making even $100k, I would be retired in less than 10 years - I would save tremendous amounts of money, get rid of all debts, make investments that pay me a decent steady income (possibly stocks, possibly rental housing, any number of things really), and retire. Why work for someone else so you can have a big house or whatever? Why drag out employment if you can get out and have a permanent vacation where you do exactly what you want to do, take jobs that you want, and only for the hours you deem acceptable?

There are a few expensive things I would really like to do - I want to learn to scuba and visit as many beautiful places as I can before we humans blow them up, poison them, or fish every single living thing out. But I really, really don't understand the draw of a big house, except that (as a musician) I could make a practice space. I would rather have the money. You guys talk "cost of living" but even in San Fransisco there are regular people living there, even if they have crappier digs or roommates or whatever. It CAN be done, not without sacrifice, but would you rather have tens of thousands wash away every year and drag out your working life another decade?

Then again, I'm poor and would really, really appreciate money. Perhaps if I was used to having money rain down on me I would do silly things like get overly expensive housing or fancy cars. As it is I've got a rusted homeless-person style bike and a roommate.


The trick is to get into a position where you really like what you do and you're compensated well for it.  Not an easy trick mind you but if you pull it off the high pay and challenges faced with that sort of program design is intoxicating, provided you're into that sort of thing as an example.
 
2013-06-13 07:28:26 PM

adamatari: What I don't understand is why some of you guys don't retire early - like WAY early. If I was making even $100k, I would be retired in less than 10 years - I would save tremendous amounts of money, get rid of all debts, make investments that pay me a decent steady income (possibly stocks, possibly rental housing, any number of things really), and retire. Why work for someone else so you can have a big house or whatever? Why drag out employment if you can get out and have a permanent vacation where you do exactly what you want to do, take jobs that you want, and only for the hours you deem acceptable?

There are a few expensive things I would really like to do - I want to learn to scuba and visit as many beautiful places as I can before we humans blow them up, poison them, or fish every single living thing out. But I really, really don't understand the draw of a big house, except that (as a musician) I could make a practice space. I would rather have the money. You guys talk "cost of living" but even in San Fransisco there are regular people living there, even if they have crappier digs or roommates or whatever. It CAN be done, not without sacrifice, but would you rather have tens of thousands wash away every year and drag out your working life another decade?

Then again, I'm poor and would really, really appreciate money. Perhaps if I was used to having money rain down on me I would do silly things like get overly expensive housing or fancy cars. As it is I've got a rusted homeless-person style bike and a roommate.


This is my personal math:

* I make $6K/month.  (Note, I'm at a startup so I'm slightly below-market in terms of salary)
* 2K goes straight to taxes (Note: I haven't paid actual taxes yet in this state, so that may go up/down.  From what I've heard, the feds overtake and the state undertakes, and it evens out)
* $1050 goes to rent with roommate.  (Or while I'm searching for a roommate, $2100 goes to renting the entire apartment). This could be lower (a terribad 1 BR is ~$1525), but I'd either have a terrible location, not be able to trust the maintenance people or both.
* Internet at 25 Mbps is $30/month for the immediate future, going up to $60 at the end of the year.   (It's Silicon Valley, this is the slowest internet they offer.  If you're wondering why the tech companies seem out of touch on this issue, this is why)
* PG&E is ~$100/month.
* Car is $400/month, $250 insurance, ~$100 for gas (Note: I went new car, because both of my parents's used cars were actively falling apart when I bought my car and I didn't want to deal with that.  This could be cheaper albeit with the occasional fark you from God when something important blows (And since I only fit into American cars, something would blow.  It's a fact))
* Mass transit is paid for by the company, but if it wasn't, going 3 stops each way to work on Caltrain would cost $130/month.
* Food could be as low as $150/month, but I'm fat, rich, and too close to the "No one is around to tell me I can't have all the Oreos" phase, so it's probably more like $300.

So after taxes, food, sleep and getting to work, I'm out ~$2200 every month.

Loans:
Student loans cost $60/month.  It would've been $170, but I spent 3 months shoving every penny I had and a few I didn't into paying them off early.
Car loan is up above, but it's $400/month.
My bed is wonderful and awesome and was about $2800 after tax, so that's another $225 a month.
I owe Grandma $4000 for helping me move out here.
I owe Mom $2000 for financing my recent unplanned move.
I still need to furnish the living room, so that's another couple grand.

One-off Stuff:
I'm blowing about $100/month on Kindle books.
I recently had an unplanned move and blew about 4K on various things like security deposits, full months rents, a bunch of stuff that I needed and didn't own (like furniture.  I still haven't furnished the living room), etc, etc.
I got into 2 car accidents in 3 days (one my fault, one not), and am out $1K for deductibles.  I also won't have my car for 2-3 weeks while they basically rebuild my car from the ground up.  This will also double my car insurance when the time comes to renew.

Throw on other misc stuff, and I'm running around on about $1400/month after I get a roommate, and $300/month while I don't have one (and that's going into the $6K I owe family or the $1K I owe my body shop).
 
2013-06-13 08:10:23 PM
meyerkev:

This is my personal math:

* I make $6K/month.  (Note, I'm at a startup so I'm slightly below-market in terms of salary)
* 2K goes straight to taxes (Note: I haven't paid actual taxes yet in this state, so that may go up/down.  From what I've heard, the feds overtake and the state undertakes, and it evens out)
* $1050 goes to rent with roommate.  (Or while I'm searching for a roommate, $2100 goes to renting the entire apartment). This could b ...


I'm not a financial advisor, though I will always question the value of a new car - why not a lightly used car, maybe one 5 years old? The height thing is not really a thing, unless you are over 6'4" there are a TON of cars available that are cheap, efficient, and reliable (Nissan Cube, Scion Xb, etc.). Also, free transit sounds like a great way to spend a lot less on gas. You are spending $750 a month on that car (not to mention accidents, etc.), as you know, which is a lot of money.That said, saving close to $17k a year sounds pretty damn good for a start. Once you get rid of parasitic debts it looks like you could easily bring that up quite a bit ($225 a month for a bed? Hey, if it makes you sleep better at night...).

I'm too poor to even start yet, but Mr. Money Mustache has an interesting take. He goes for eliminating debt, saving more than 50% of income, and getting passive income.

In any case, you're doing way, way, way better than me.

I just don't really understand people who make $100k and then work until they are 65.
 
2013-06-13 08:56:44 PM

adamatari: What I don't understand is why some of you guys don't retire early - like WAY early. If I was making even $100k, I would be retired in less than 10 years - I would save tremendous amounts of money, get rid of all debts, make investments that pay me a decent steady income (possibly stocks, possibly rental housing, any number of things really), and retire. Why work for someone else so you can have a big house or whatever? Why drag out employment if you can get out and have a permanent vacation where you do exactly what you want to do, take jobs that you want, and only for the hours you deem acceptable?

There are a few expensive things I would really like to do - I want to learn to scuba and visit as many beautiful places as I can before we humans blow them up, poison them, or fish every single living thing out. But I really, really don't understand the draw of a big house, except that (as a musician) I could make a practice space. I would rather have the money. You guys talk "cost of living" but even in San Fransisco there are regular people living there, even if they have crappier digs or roommates or whatever. It CAN be done, not without sacrifice, but would you rather have tens of thousands wash away every year and drag out your working life another decade?

Then again, I'm poor and would really, really appreciate money. Perhaps if I was used to having money rain down on me I would do silly things like get overly expensive housing or fancy cars. As it is I've got a rusted homeless-person style bike and a roommate.


I'll try to answer.

My wife started out making ~$35k/yr while I was finishing up graduate school.  We slowly built up to where we are now and had some struggles along the way.  I still don't make $100k/yr, but I have a good salary for where we're at (very low COL) and my wife will crack six figures this year.

That said, retiring in less than ten years just isn't realistic for a few reasons.

First, if you're making $35k/yr you might think that someone making $100k/yr makes almost 3x what you do.  That's not really true though because at $35k/yr you pay very little in taxes while at $100k/yr your tax burden is huge.  Between all the taxes, benefit costs, retirement witholdings, etc. my wife's take-home pay is less than half of her gross pay.

Second, you need a lot more to retire than you're probably thinking.  Especially if you want to retire really young.  Decent health insurance is going to cost you several hundred a month.  Even if you live simply, between living expenses and health insurance you will need at least a million dollars to be able to live off of the sort of investment income you can reasonably count on.

So take the case of someone making about $100k/yr and wanting to retire as early as possible.  They're probably actually taking home something like $50k/yr.  If they manage to live on half of that (which is a tough lifestyle for somebody in a $100k/yr job, remember you need to wear decent clothes and socialize with your coworkers), then they're saving about $25k/yr.  It would take about 20 years to build up that million dollars at 6.5% interest.

In the meantime, you have to live on $25k/yr and you're looking forward to a retirement that won't allow you to spend much more than that.  If $25k/yr gives you the kind of life you hope for then you're all set.  Otherwise, you'll probably want to work longer and eek a bit more enjoyment out of both the time you have while you're working and the time you're retired.

I try to look at it as an area under the curve thing.  I want to be as happy as I can be now and while I'm retired.  I sacrifice some now so that I'm more comfortable in retirement (and can hopefully retire a bit early), but I also spend some now so that I have some enjoyment while I'm working toward that retirement.
 
2013-06-13 08:57:20 PM

adamatari: I will always question the value of a new car - why not a lightly used car, maybe one 5 years old? The height thing is not really a thing, unless you are over 6'4" there are a TON of cars available that are cheap, efficient, and reliable (Nissan Cube, Scion Xb, etc.).


So I bought the car one week before I moved out here, when I drove 3300 miles cross-country.  I am 6'4" with a tall torso, which wipes most cars off the map.  (Namely, I'm stuck with American cars and only some of them).  My 2 choices (literally the only 2 cars on the lot I fit into, though if I had known in advance I was getting a new car, I would have headed over to Ford and seen what they had) were:

New Chrysler 200 - $20K (It's not bad.  I wouldn't recommend it (It gets 18 MPG in the city), but if you got it as a rental, I wouldn't turn around and try to get a replacement (especially since it gets 30 MPG on the freeway, and has a 500+ mile range, so you only need to fill up twice a day.  That was nice.))
Used Chevy Impala with 100K miles and no warranty - $10K.

I didn't trust the Impala to make it 3300 miles without a warranty (It had an odd shudder and a grinding noise), so Chrysler it was.

adamatari: Also, free transit sounds like a great way to spend a lot less on gas. You are spending $750 a month on that car (not to mention accidents, etc.), as you know, which is a lot of money.


I can't get everywhere I need to get conveniently without a car.  Caltrain exists, but it takes LONGER to take Caltrain from stop to stop plus minimal walking than it does to drive (and let's not mention the VTA light rail.  FARK the VTA light rail.  It's slower than a bike).  Going to the Grocery store would involve taking 2 buses and an hour instead of driving for 10 minutes (and then I'd be limited because of the trunk issue).  Running around town running a bunch of errands would be impossible because I wouldn't have a trunk.  It's costing A LOT of money, but I'd be spending quite a bit of money renting cars every other weekend and paying shipping costs.  And most importantly, it's money that I have.

Also:
1) I was born and raised in Detroit.  In Detroit, everything requires a car.  (In exchange, I can go faster than 15 MPH on surface streets that aren't Alma/Central Expressway.  Seriously, the light timing around here is farked.)  My grocery store at home was 4 miles away.  (Heck, my grocery store in ANN ARBOR was all the way out in Ypsi. There were closer ones, but they were so expensive (Let's screw the students) it was cheaper to drive.  Of course, my movie theater in Ann Arbor was in Livonia, 22 miles away)  I was kind of expecting it to be similar.  And honestly, everything other than going to work requires a car, so I was right up to a point.
2) My old apartment was $1670/month (I paid $870), but taking the train to work would be 1 hour, 10 minutes (mostly because of the 40 minute walk on my end) compared to driving's 10 minutes.  When my old apartment went away and my office moved to be closer to a Baby Bullet stop and further from me, I went over and got a more expensive, nicer apartment 5 minutes from the next Baby Bullet stop (And even then, driving on surface streets is still faster.  How is that even possible?) so that I could stop spending $60/month driving to work.

The car made sense in the old paradigm, not so much now.

adamatari: ($225 a month for a bed? Hey, if it makes you sleep better at night...).


Yeah.  Basically, an Ikea bed (mattress, box spring, frame) was about $12-1500 after tax (Cost of living suckers), and the nice non-Ikea one that's like sleeping on a cloud was double that (And let me finance, which was very nice to my presently strained finances and nonexistent credit score.  It's 0 interest, so I won't, but I could have that paid off in 2 months instead of 12, and be non-car debt free by the end of the year even with my current short-term financial issues (The unexpected move plus 2 accidents in 3 days is basically sucking all my money plus this month's disposable income))

/Of course, pouring $10K into Student loans and running around paycheck to paycheck dumping another $2000/month into loans was stupid since when shiat happened, I was screwed.  I paid off a quarter of my debt load in 3 months, and got screwed since I didn't actually have any liquid cash.
 
2013-06-14 10:52:41 AM

adamatari: What I don't understand is why some of you guys don't retire early - like WAY early. If I was making even $100k, I would be retired in less than 10 years - I would save tremendous amounts of money, get rid of all debts, make investments that pay me a decent steady income (possibly stocks, possibly rental housing, any number of things really), and retire.


A factor others haven't mentioned: Until next year, when Obamacare kicks in, retiring before 65 was often not an option. It doesn't take canceraids to make you uninsurable; conditions like sleep apnea, having ever taken antidepressants, or having a uterus can be enough. Employer-provided health insurance can't turn you away, and starting next year, neither can individual insurance.

That's where the "job-killing" part of Obamacare comes from: people who would otherwise be entrepreneurs, retired, or both, but are currently keeping their jobs to establish insurability.
 
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