How I Earned Over $105,000 at Age 25
Erik is the author of the personal finance site The Mastermind Within.
Today he shares how he was able to earn over $105,000 in 2017 as a 25-year-old.
Making money and increasing my income are two of my overarching goals at this stage in my life. With more money, I can put more money to work via investments. With more money in investments, I will grow my net worth. Then, with a growing net worth, in the future, I’ll have more options. And with more options, I’ll be able to do anything.
But that’s not why I want to share my successes with you. I want you to be able to achieve the same success as me – that’s why I write at The Mastermind Within.
Here is how I was I able to earn over $105,000 at age 25:
- First, I created multiple income streams for myself. I earned over $5,000 in three different areas.
- Second, I’d built a reputation as a high performer at work, and received a solid raises over the past few years. In this post, I will be sharing with you how I was able to do this in just three years of working with my current team.
I want to share with you my tips and recommendations so you can replicate my success.
My knowledge is meaningless unless I share it with you.
I Created Multiple Income Streams
My income came from three main income streams: my 9 to 5, some statistical consulting, and house hacking.
Passive Income Streams are the Best Income Streams
At age 25, I’ve made some smart decisions over the past few years to get to this point. First, my house hacking and rental income. When I was 22, I bought a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house and had three of my friends move in and pay me $1,650 a month in rent.
This was the 3rd year of living with roommates, and this helped boost my income by $13,500 on the year. In November, they moved out, so I’m out of luck on the rental income for now, but have brought in over $39,000 in rental income over the last three years.
Because of this decision to take on risk with a house, and assume the role of a landlord, my income instantly grew by over $10,000 a year for the past three years. Getting a $10,000 bump in any job is great, especially if it’s passive income like real estate!
Active Income Streams are Still Good
Second, I took on a side hustle doing statistical consulting for doctors. An old co-worker connected with me back in February and asked if I’d be interested in helping his consulting business. He is a bio-statistician and has many connections in the medical industry. At $85 per hour, I couldn’t say no.
While this consulting is not passive income, I don’t care. Pay me $85 an hour and I’ll do a lot of things! For about 70 hours of work this year, I was able to add a little over $5,000 in income and look to do the same in the coming years.
Finally, my day job as a statistician and programmer brought in nearly $90,000 in income. I’ve been able to get to a solid salary at a relatively young age through advanced education, improving my skills (which I will detail in the next section), and being in a technical and highly sought after role at a great company.
Creating Value at My Day Job
In college, I was a Math major, and in particular, focused on the theoretical side of things. I wanted to apply my problem solving skills at the highest level. Problem was that theoretical mathematicians need lots of schooling, and don’t necessarily have the greatest job prospects.
In high school, I passed the Calculus BC test with a 5 and as a result, could start college skipping over the first year of Calculus. Since I was able to pass over the first 2 calculus classes, this put me on the fast track to graduating.
I came in as a sophomore because of my credits and was set to graduate in three years. As a 20-year-old math major, with little to no applied knowledge, I knew I needed to get some more education.
Gaining the Necessary Skills Through Higher Education
I applied and was successful in getting into a Master’s of Financial Math program to further my education.
At the same time, I wanted to test the job market. I was working as a bookkeeper at a hotel and restaurant management company making $16 an hour. At the very least, maybe I could increase my wage to $20-25 an hour and gain some additional skills.
When I was interviewing, I was a little bit disappointed. Many of the jobs for a mathematics undergrad paid in the $40-45k range, and were not all that interesting. Looking back, a computer science degree may have been the way to go, but I didn’t go with that.
I continued to work as a bookkeeper and started the Master’s program. A year later, I started interviewing again and successfully secured an offer at a highly reputable financial firm. My starting pay? At age 22, a $63,000 salary and a 8% bonus ($5k).
In just two years of additional school, I’d increased my income by $20,000. I’d say that worked out to my advantage.
Congrats, I got a Job. Now What?
In 2015, I was paid about $60,000 through my day job since I didn’t get the bonus until 2016. This is fantastic for a 22/23 year old, but, my personality is NOT one to sit around and wait for others to help me, and to do things for me.
As I mentioned above, one of my goals in life is to increase my income, so I can save more and improve my financial situation.
After seeing the success my father has had with his entrepreneurial and business efforts, I want to push the envelope and see what I can do. He is someone I look up to, and whose life I base most of my goals towards. With a great family, great friends, and great financial situation, there’s not much more he can ask for.
From 2015 to 2017, I increased my income from my day job by nearly $30,000. How did I do this? I’m sure there are many explanations here, but I’ll focus on three:
- Providing Value to the Entire Department through creating Efficient Solutions
- Securing a Job in a Highly Visible Department at a Reputable Company
- Working on Communication and Leadership Skills
Creating Solutions which Benefit Everyone in the Team
“You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” – Harry Truman
Some work situations are difficult to navigate. Many people are trying to back stab you, and nickel and dime their way to the top. I don’t like that strategy, and instead look to provide solutions which make processes more efficient, and allow everyone to work less.
In my first year in my current role, we needed numerous codes to run testing on our models. Many of my teammates had their own code for these models, but there was not a unifying set of codes which could be used across all models. In addition, we were interested in adding a few more tests which would require new code.
I was up for the task. One thing I’m very good at is creating scripts which are usable for multiple situations. I ended up adding 4 different sets of code for the 10 team members over a 3 week period, and became a friend to everyone.
I was just looking to help the team, and I ended up helping everyone – saving potentially 10-20 hours per person, but also allowing the output to be unified across portfolios.
Being a servant to your team and wanting to help others is definitely a recipe and strategy to follow to be more successful. I look to serve others and add value in any way I can.
The managers have agreed, they were quite happy with my efforts and solutions. Projects like these have definitely helped my case for a higher salary over the past few years.
Working at a Great Company in a Highly Visible Department
My current job is in a department which gets a lot of scrutiny from various regulators at the federal level. The team I’m in builds statistical models (different types of regressions, dependent on the target variable), and requires skilled programmers and statisticians to create these robust models.
In the banking industry over the past 10 years, there has been an increased need for compliance in a variety of areas. Combining the high scrutiny with required programming skills, you get a very specific skill set with few people fitting the mold. This allows for a higher level of salary across the department.
In addition, the company I work for is a Fortune 500 financial institution and one of the largest banks in the United States. All of these factors contribute to a higher salary.
Focusing on Communication and the Soft Skills in a Technical Role
Last Spring, there I was, age 24 and sitting in a room of 30 people presenting our Loss Given Default models. To my right, I had a few team members – some senior analysts and managers – who weren’t presenting.
I’m not bragging, I’m just telling you the raw facts of the situation. I was chosen by the head of our department to present because of my communication skills and my ability to translate technical concepts into everyday language.
I’ve been working on my communication skills for a number of years – through everyday conversation, by creating this blog and working on my written communication, and focusing who I’m communicating with.
Communication is only possible if the other person understands what you are trying to tell them. Focusing on the other person is of utmost important in communication.
To conclude on this point, through increased responsibility and solid communication skills, I’ve been able to increase my value and increase my salary.
Your Level of Success is Rarely Exceeded By Your Level of Personal Development
“Your level of success is rarely exceeded by your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”- The Miracle Morning
I’m not here to brag. I’m here to help you and your situation. I could have all the answers and information in the world, and it wouldn’t matter unless I shared it with you.
Value and success all come back to one thing: your personal development.
Back in 2012, I started researching ways to build wealth. I set a goal to increase my income, in an effort to increase my net worth. Along the way, I was exposed to the concepts of investing in real estate, and became interested in that asset class.
During this time as well, I started reading many great personal development books – books on communication, daily habits, leadership, and general life philosophy tips. With every book I read, and each concept I tried to implement in my life, I started to get better, a little bit day by day.
As a math major (and introvert), communication and talking about myself has never been my strong suit. After 5 years of working at it, doing numerous presentations and panel events, and blogging for a year, I can say I’m comfortable getting in front of a group, and I’m not longer stressed about presenting my ideas.
My Recommendation for You: Provide Value to Those Around You
My recommendation for you is to provide value to those around you. That is a vague statement, so let me expand on it.
There are many people we interact with on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis. With each person we interact with, there is an opportunity to either add to that person’s life, subtract from that person’s life, or leave that person’s life be.
Think about this for a second: how would you feel if you could add to every single person’s life you came across. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? If everyone walked away from interactions with you saying, hm, I really like that guy/gal.
It’s not going to be easy – and I can assure you, I struggle with getting in to this mindset with all I have going on.
Another recommendation is to read one book a month on the topic of personal development. I’d recommend starting here: 3 Books to Read if You Want Success. I wrote a post awhile back about the three books which made the biggest impact on my life.
Reading books about self improvement and then applying what you have learned will bring big results. Knowledge without action is useless, but with action is incredibly powerful.
Read 1 book a month in the space of personal development and look to add to people’s lives, and I guarantee you will be seen as more valuable in the eyes of others in the years to come.
2017 was a fantastic year in terms of income. I’m hoping that the coming years will also be great, and that I can use much of the money to continue to build a solid investment base for the future.
It’s not how much money you make, but how much you save. I have learned that money can be slippery when you aren’t watching it close.
I hope this post can be an inspiration to you, but also a helpful guide as you look to provide value in the world.
Being a servant and having a servant attitude will get you to unimaginable heights.
Give, and you shall receive.
Work on yourself, and you’ll get to your goals.
We overestimate what we can do in a day, but underestimate what we can do in a year.
I’m looking forward to seeing where the future takes me and I’m glad that you are along for the ride.
Republished with the permission of The Mastermind Within.