That some professions are more lucrative than others is known. Besides the usual doctors and lawyers, what came as a surprise was that teachers are now figuring in the list of the wealthy with educators making 12% of the list. Here are the ten:
While actors, singers and athletes make news with multi-billion dollar contracts, other conventional high-paying professions remain the source of most millions earned. According to a report published in March 2012by Spectrum Group’s Millionaire Corner, the number of millionaire households in the US last year rose by 2% to 8.2 million and a lion’s share of new millionaire households were the ones where at least one of the members had a managerial job1. Statistics collected by the report conclude that managers make up 17% of the households with $1 million to $5 million in assets excluding their primary residence. The corporate sector has long been considered source of wealth in America. Chief executive officers on an average make around $160,440 in the US, even though this figure would depend on the size of the company as well as the nature of the appointment. For instance while Computer and Information Technology managers took home an average 2004 income of $92,570 USD and marketing managers, made around $87,640 USD in the same year, business managers fared slightly better with average annual salary of $140,350 USD in 2004.
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A major surprise in the above-mentioned Spectrum report is the inclusion of teachers in the newest millionaire households in America. According to the report, educators came behind managers with a 12% share in the millionaire households. One important reason for this is the fact that educators live in a dual-income household which propels it into the millionaire club unlike financiers and doctors who may be taking home higher individual salaries but living in single-income households. This is probably because the pressures of their jobs prevent spouses and partners from working full-time given – as a result the total income of the household is lesser. The National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union, estimates starting salaries for teachers at $35,139 with a bachelor’s degree while educators with a master’s degree earn as much as $64,883. Initially this may not seem much but plans are afoot to raise their salaries much higher. New York City charter school earned headlines in 2008 for its plans to pay teachers $125,000 in exchange for working longer hours and assuming additional duties. A voluntary program instituted in Washington, D.C., last year could raise total compensation for some teachers to $140,000.
The traditional image of financial fat-cats taking home unbelievable amounts of money in their annual pay checks holds good even when the economy is far from the swinging pre-2008 state. Investment bankers, hedge fund managers and insurers are among the highest paid professionals in America and even though the recession of 2008, took off some zeros from their paychecks, they continue to enjoy some of the best salaries in the country. In the US, depending on the field of expertise, reputation and location, the average annual salary for an investment banker is between $45,000 and $80,000 per year. According to 2011 figures by Payscale.com, security trading investment bankers earn the highest annual salaries at $65,773. However if a person is working in a city like NYC and has several years of experience, then he/she could definitely be taking home an annual paycheck of around $70,000 to more a million. Add to this the fact that investment bankers get hefty commissions and bonuses and their net pay could easily get them into the millionaire club.
The legal business is one of the highest paid in America and depending on the field of expertise, reputation and location, a lawyer can expect to earn in millions per year. In fact according to 2008 figures from the US Department of Labor, the median annual wages of all wage-and-salaried lawyers was $110,590. But top firms in cities like New York and Washington D.C are reported to start salaries for first year associates at $160,000 plus a yearend bonus.
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Doctors in USA are one of the best-paid professional groups, higher than college teachers or even engineers in general and for the most successful among them, earnings could easily run into a million and more. Among the doctors too, there is a wide range in earnings. This is partly because of the nature of specialization into various disciplines like cardiology, oncology, obstetrics or family practice. For example the cardiac surgeons and anesthesiologists have some of the highest earnings while salaries of general practitioners and podiatrists are on the lower range. 2003 Statistics from the US Department of Labor reveal that the average salary of general and family practitioner in the USA is $139,640 a year while an anesthesiologist on an average makes around $184,880 a year. Of all the specialists, the one with the most varied salaries were the surgeons. This is mainly due to the nature of a surgeon’s area of specialization. While an American cardiac surgeon can earn as much as $400,000 a year, the average salary of a general surgeon is a mere $103,700. Yet another factor determining a doctor’s salaries is the area of practice. The best paying states for surgeons for example in the US are New Hampshire and Nebraska while general physicians in Nevada can expect to get a higher pay packet than even some specialists.
- Software entrepreneurs
If you think that a geek is good enough for simply fixing the virus on your laptop, think again. Software professionals and internet entrepreneurs are among the richest individuals in America today - Software mogul and cofounder of Microsoft, Bill Gates continues to be the richest man in US and the second-richest in the world with a net worth of US$53 billion. Yet another software millionaire, Lawrence Ellison enjoys a net worth of $28 billion. Co-founder of Google, the most popular web search engine, Larry Page is believed to be worth around US $17.5 billion like his partner Sergei Brin. What’s more internet entrepreneurs are often among the youngest millionaires too. Mark Zuckenburg till recently was the youngest single billionaire on the planet and he is worth all of two billion dollars, according to the Forbes 2009 list of the super-rich. There are several others like gaming mogul John Vechey who owes his $60 million fortune to popcap Games and Alexander Levin who at just 25 is best known for having launched the popular hosting tools Word press and Imageshack which are now two of the biggest revenue earners on internet with annual revenue of $57 million and $56 million respectively.
- Movie Actors
Acting in movies has long been the making of many millionaires, especially if one can find a niche in major movie industry like Hollywood. A case in the point is Hollywood star Johnny Depp who has been reportedly carrying away $50 million in fees since 2009. Even though Tom Cruise has not delivered a big hit in the last couple of years, he is surely one of the richest actors in Hollywood, not only because of an asking price of $25 million per movie for several years now but is one of the few producers who can guarantee the success of billion-dollar franchises. Comedy film actors in Hollywood seem especially successful with Ben Stiller’s earnings to the tune of $38 million in 2010 while another funnyman to figure on Hollywood’s rich boys’ list, Adam Sandler is estimated to have raked in around $26.6 million in the same year.
The ladies of Hollywood are not too far behind either. Even though Jolie’s earnings in the past years has remained to the tune of $20 million, she is believed to be one of the richest actresses in Hollywood on the basis of her asking fee of $20 million plus for each movie as well as her net worth of $27 million according to the 2009 Forbes Celebrity 100 List. Others in the pack of Hollywood’s richest ladies are Sandra Bullock who’s estimated worth is $85 million as well as Reese Witherspoon with estimated earnings of $32 million in 2010. Julia Roberts remains one of most bankable female actors in Hollywood because of which she reportedly charges at least $25 million per film. As of 2007, Roberts' net worth was estimated at $140 million.
In this profession, certain sports like tennis, basketball and golf seem to bring in the most bucks. The first is true at least for women athletes of the world. Maria Sharapova may not be on the top of tennis rankings but she certainly rules the roost as far as annual earnings are concerned. The Russian-born female tennis star is believed to take home a cool US$24.5 every year, making her the highest-paid female athlete in the world. The Williams sisters are also among the richest sportswomen in the world with Serena having already accumulated more than US$32.7 million in career prize money, the highest that any woman has ever earned in any other sport, and Venus having earned $27.3 million in career prize money.. Professional car racer Danica Patrick owes a place among the richest female athletes on account of her US$12 million pay in 2010. Figure skating champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Kim Yu-Na is the richest female athlete in her sport and her annual income is estimated to be in the range of US$9.7 million. Then again the highest paid professional female golfer, Annika Sorenstam is believed to make around US$8 million a year besides topping the LPGA’s career money list with earnings of over $22 million.
Among the male sportstars, Tiger Woods remains the richest in the world primarily on the basis of endorsement, bringing him US$105 million according to Forbes and US$90.5 million according to Sports Illustrated in 2010. Kobe Bryant, American basketball sensation figures as the second highest paid male athletes with a personal income of around US$45 million last year. Yet another star of the hoops to figure among the richest male athletes of the world is former NBA player, Michael Jordan. His annual income is estimated to be around US$ 45 million Nicknamed the ‘Iceman’, Kimi Raikonnen is a professional racing car driver and is believed to make US $45 million a year Even though he is far from being the best player on the soccer field, David Beckham continues to rake in millions from his lucrative endorsement deals on account of his brand image and status as a fashion icon. While his playing contract with LA Galaxy is reported to bring him a cool US$6.5 million a year, he earns the rest of his US$ 42 million annual pay from endorsements with famous companies like Adidas, Motorola and Giorgio Armani.
Singing, whether solo or in bands, is yet another profession which can rake in millions. The only billionaire on the list of richest female singers is Madonna who enjoys an estimated net worth of US $1.1 billion. Other singers like Mariah Carey and Celine Dion juggles the multiple roles of singer, songwriter and record producer with consummate ease which brings the former assets with estimated worth $750 million and the latter, current net worth of at least $590 million. Barbra Streisand also a critically acclaimed actress, producer, director, composer, designer, author, activist as well as one of the richest female singers with a net worth estimated at $625 million. Despite being in the headlines for the wrong reasons more often than her music, Britney Spears remains one of the richest female singers in the world with an estimated net worth of $500 million. One of the most popular R&B singers at present, Beyonce is estimated to have a current net worth of $390 million primarily on account of the 11.2 million albums that she has sold worldwide and the nearly 25 million singles that she has sold in United States alone.
Among the current male singers, Jay Z, the rapper turned entrepreneur, walked away with a cool $63 million in 2010 chiefly on account of sold-out Blueprint 3 concert tour as well as several profit-making business deals. With an income of $70 million last year, Bruce Springsteen made sure that he retained with his place among the richest male singers in the world. One of the most popular singers in country music genre, Chesney is estimated to have accumulated $50 million last year with the simple expedient of out-touring everyone else. Disney Channel regulars, the Jonas brothers continue to figure among the richest male musicians with their $35.5 million earnings last year Even though Timberlake hasn’t had a major new album release since his Future Sex/ Love Sounds in 2006, his earnings still touched $40 million 2010 on account of his featured appearances, lucrative endorsements as well as profit-making business ventures.
- Airline pilots
Airline pilots are one of the professional groups which make a good deal of money There was a time when wide-body international captains worked a few trips a month and earned $300,000 or more a year however since the recession, the airline industry has been hit badly. Still on average, captains topped out at minimum salaries of $165,278 in 2009, according to fltops.com , an information source for pilots, the lowest top-scale captain’s salary was $123,480 at JetBlue Airways, and the highest among passenger airlines was again at Southwest: $181,270 a year. At cargo companies UPS and FedEx, their captains maxed out at a minimum of more than $200,000 a year.
However one also needs to remember that not all pilots take home the same kind of pay check; those who are just starting their careers may be under a lot of debt since flying schools are insanely expensive. Indeed it is only as they get promoted from first officer to captain, accumulate the required number of flight hours and as they begin to fly the really big jets like 747, 777 and 380, that they begin to make good money.