Let’s just come right out and say it: being poor sucks. We throw that word - poor - around a little too loosely these days. It’s lost much of its meaning. So let’s be a bit more precise.
In legal terms, we can actually break it down into absolute and relative. Absolute poverty is being unable to provide for our basic needs (food, housing, clothing). Relative poverty is finding it difficult to live according to government standards (usually referred to as the poverty line). It might be because of a lack of money, or skill, or both.
Many people consider themselves “poor”. Students often describe themselves that way. Recent grads. Mid-life individuals who are either laid off or downsized. Retirees. The list is long. These people may still have a roof over their head, but they may live paycheck-to-paycheck (or loan installment-to-loan installment). It’s not a good feeling.
Rise Above the Line
How best, then, to get out from under the poverty shadow? The simplest answer is to find some more money: win the lottery, inherit a windfall from a long-lost aunt, discover buried pirate treasure. Simple, yes. But not likely.
The other way? Develop your skill set and find better employment. Much, much easier said than done, of course.
The Best Paying Jobs of 2015
If you’re looking for the big payday, you need to be prepared to invest both time and money to get it. According to CareerCast, the two best paying industries are healthcare and information technology. Their wages and demand have shown consistent growth over the past decade. They need people, and they’re prepared to pay them very well.
Sounds great, but a job in either sector requires a) plenty of expensive schooling (four-year undergrad, graduate degree, and possibly a multi-year residency), and b) plenty of time. If you start now, you could be a surgeon - the highest paying job on the 2015 list - in a little more than a decade.
Most of us don’t have that kind of time or money to invest in making more money. It’s a catch-22.
The highest paying jobs in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, include:
Surgeon, median wage $352,000
Psychiatrist, median wage $182,000
General Practitioner (GP), median wage $180,000
Dentist, median wage $146,000
Pharmacist, median wage $121,000
Those are all high-paying, prestigious positions. But they’re not going to pull you out from poverty by the first of next month. The time and investment involved means they’re not for everyone.
So What To Do?
There are well-paying jobs out there. Some require specialized training and education but far less than the 8-12 years those listed above could take.
Others ask for only a high school diploma. And while they may not come close to the $300,000+ that a surgeon can make in a year, you’ll get there much faster...you might already have everything you need to start.
Without further ado, here are 5 jobs that can stop you being “poor” now!
See Also: How to Get a Higher Paying Job
1. Petroleum Engineer
This position is considered one of your best options by many employment portals. The job concerns itself with exploration and location of oil and natural gas, its extraction, and other activities related to its production. We are an oil society (at least for the foreseeable future), so the industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
CareerCast lists a median wage of $130,000, with a growth outlook of 26% through to 2022. It pays well, and it has demand. Even better, you only need to have an undergraduate degree in a related field to get started. Four years is better than 12, right?
2. Air Traffic Controller
Okay. This one is not for everyone. If you’re easily frazzled, quick to get stressed, or unable to stay focused, then move right along. Nothing to see here.
Air traffic controllers direct the planes coming and going from an airport. For a bigger, international airport, that can be a LOT of traffic. They keep it all flowing smoothly and safely. It’s high paced, high stress, and high salary. The median wage is $122,000 and licensing is standardized the world over. Most controllers attend a vocational school for the job, and then complete various levels of on-the-job training. You need to have nerves of steel, be quick on your feet (or seat, as the case may be), and cool under pressure. The downside, though, is it has a projected growth outlook of only 1%.
3. Data Scientist
There’s a great deal of data out there, and it’s growing all the time. Companies collect data on us at all times - sometimes without our knowledge - and it’s up to a data scientist to sort through the mountain of information. They use information technology, statistical analysis, and various other disciplines to separate the wheat from the chaff, and identify useful data trends. So, you’ll need to be good with computers, analysis, and numbers. You might be already.
A degree or training in IT and/or statistics would obviously be beneficial here, and there are many shorter programs of study that introduce data science itself. The median wage in 2015 is $124,000, with a growth outlook of 15% over the next seven years. Companies are just coming around to the need, and “big data” has arrived in a big way.
This one is not going to net you $100,000+, but it requires very little formal training or special credentials from expensive schools. If you’re fluent in English and at least one other language, you have the basic tools already.
We live in a multi-lingual and hyper-connected world now. An interpreter deals with spoken and sign language, while a translator works with the written word. If you can flawlessly convert from one to the other, the median wage is a very decent $42,000. Not going to get you that beach house in Maui, but it will make you more financially stable.
You could go the extra mile and get yourself some actual translation credentials, but it’s certainly not required. Language proficiency, and a “way with words”, are really all you need to break into the industry. The demand is high and likely only to get higher.
5. Blue Collar Jobs
Number 5 on the list contains several different positions in the so-called blue collar sector. They may not be fancy, but they’re honest work for an honest paycheck, and most don’t require much more than a high school diploma (or equivalent).
There will always be demand for these jobs. Cities, towns, and municipalities need them. Every country needs them. The pay ranges from decent to very good, depending on where (bigger cities typically pay more).
So, what exactly are we talking about?
- Plumbers (HS diploma); ranges from $37,000-67,000, with on-the-job training and apprenticeships. It’s a growth industry, with plenty of work to go around.
- Power Line Installers and Repairers (HS Diploma); average salary of $64,000, with 9% growth projected through 2022. As cities and towns grow, they require more power lines. As the number of lines increases, the amount of repair and maintenance goes up.
- Mail Carrier (HS Diploma); averages about $65,000.
- Garbage Collection and Disposal (HS Diploma); most earn an average of $25/hour.
- Construction Equipment Operator (HS Diploma); average of $41,000/year. Think of the amount of construction happening in any typical place on any typical day. They need people willing to work hard, and the pay-to-education ratio is excellent.
It’s not easy to pull yourself out from poverty if you’re really poor. But if you simply want to increase your income with little or no extra time/money investment, then these professions fit the bill. Work hard. Put your time in. And work up the salary ladder.
See Also: 8 Apps to Make Instant Money
What else would you include on this list? Where is the best money to be made? Leave your opinion in the comments below…