It’s rare, but it isn’t impossible to live the six-figure lifestyle as early as 20 freakin’ 2
An FKD Feature exclusive

If it sounds too good to be true, that does not mean that it necessarily is. Money is the elusive deity that we all pray to but who often remains obstinately incommunicado. This goes double for students fresh out of college. The best chance for most of us grad students to see a $100 bill is to watch The Wolf of Wall Street, draw one on the back of our hands in crayon or get lucky, find one on the street, and die of a surprise-induced heart attack. So, when sites frolic around touting the possibility of a $100,000 paycheck or more, and fresh out of college no less, it can be quite a hard thing to believe. A rarity, indeed. But, again, not impossible.


Ladders is an online site that specializes in jobs paying more than $100,000. They recently compiled a list of current job openings that fit the bill. Ladders also was so good as to crunch some numbers, analyze some data and figure out which career areas would allow us to be in a position to reach for those job positions — and which ones would enable us to do so with only five years or less of professional job experience. And here it is. The list we’ve all been waiting for:

  1. Engineering and construction

    Jobs over $100,000: 930
    Best city: San Francisco (51 jobs)

    9. Project management

    Jobs over $100,000: 1,030
    Best city: New York (97 jobs)

    8. Science and education

    Jobs over $100,000: 1,111
    Best city: Boston (144 jobs)

    7. Human resources and legal

    Jobs over $100,000: 1,150
    Best city: New York (157 jobs)

    6. Accounting and finance

    Jobs over $100,000: 1,168
    Best city: New York (213 jobs)

5. Marketing, media and design

Jobs over $100,000: 1,471

Best city: New York (270 jobs)

4. Operations and general management

Jobs over $100,000: 1,692

Best city: New York (142 jobs)

3. Healthcare

Jobs over $100,000: 3,002

Best city: New York (270 jobs)

2. Sales and business development

Jobs over $100,000: 4,958

Best city: New York (463 jobs)

1. Technology

Jobs over $100,000: 16,747

Best city: San Francisco (1,848 jobs)

Keep in mind

While cities such as San Francisco and New York City may carry weight in areas like job opportunities, there are a fair share of drawbacks when one factors in things such as cost of living. Although you may land that job, it is highly sought after (er, probably because it is a six-figure job for relatively little experience). And even if you land it, chances are a huge hole will be burning in your pocket just to buy groceries and go out a few nights a week. While you might be thinking “Who cares? I’ll be rich,” you should remember that rich is relative and living in a cheaper spot where your dollar stretches more could be an equally powerhouse move.

Just as a for example, living in Austin, Texas may not provide you with the same level of job opportunity, but the standard of living is nearly half that of New York City, while the cost of living in Cleveland, Ohio is nearly half the cost of living in San Francisco. Just keep all that in mind!

Check out this NerdWallet cost of living calculator. You can compare all the cities in the United States  (or nearly all of them, at least) and see just how illusive a large paycheck can really be in a city that is counting on you having one. It might not be as great as you think.


Having said that, here are the main takeaways from Ladder’s research:

It may be of little surprise that those jobs that really make the big bucks are amassed around the technology industry, with special emphasis in San Francisco (the mecca of tech). In addition to technological fields such as computer science grads (who graduate at the low rate of 40,000 per year) New York City, in general, seems to be offering a large swath of $100,000 (or more) salaries to relatively inexperienced college graduates.

Ranked the top place for high-paying jobs in fields such as healthcare, marketing and finance, NYC might be the place to be. Overall, NYC has, according to WalletHub, around 3,080 six-figure jobs that require less than five years of experience (there are more than 30,000 that have somewhat more stringent experiential qualifications).

It may seem like a pipedream. But just know that the high-paid life is possible. And not only that. It is even possible with as little as five years of experience to your name!


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Posted 08.24.2018 - 11:00 am EDT