Tax Guru-Ker$tetter Letter
Sunday, July 21, 2002
Making Money Without A College Degree
One of the commonly held beliefs in this country is that a college degree is essential for a career that will earn a good income. A college degree is required for many occupations; but luckily, there are some that have pretty good hourly & annual pay rates, as shown in this chart.
I haven't independently verified the figures in this chart. Where the work is being done in an employee (W-2) status, they are probably correct. However, for jobs that are normally handled on an independent contractor (1099-MISC) basis, there really is no such thing as an average. I am specifically referring to real estate brokers, since I have been working with hundreds of them for the past 25+ years.
As I have often said, the real estate profession, while potentially very lucrative, is one of the biggest gambles of any occupation. Because they are only paid if they succeed in making a sale, brokers & agents can work their butts off, spend a ton of their own money, and not earn a dime in income if a deal doesn't come together. I have seen real estate brokers who go several years with no income, and then have a bonanza year, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars, if they have been able to hold out that long. This feast or famine income stream is most extreme in the world of commercial real estate, which is why most Realtors opt for the slightly more dependable residential side of the industry.
Either way, I could never hazard a guess as to an average income for a Realtor, much less the $47,700 that chart shows.