It is always wise to be careful in choosing with whom you associate and do business. The older I get the more this has proven true.
I’ve known Jonathan and Brad, the founders of ChooseFI, for a long time. I was one of their first podcast guests and have been honored to be invited back several more times since.
They, in turn, have been speakers at my annual Chautauqua and that is the highest honor I can bestow. In short, I like them personally, I respect their work and I trust their judgement.
So a few weeks ago when Jonathan reached out to tell me about a new project he and ChooseFI CEO Ed Tee were working on I was, shall we say, open to suggestion.
As Ed points out in the guest post below, the more you make the faster you can build your wealth, or what I call your F-you Money. Provided you manage it in accord with The Simple Path to Wealth, of course.
Problem is, finding jobs that pay well might not be so easy. But they are out there.
I won’t say more so as not to spoil your read, but I’ll have a further comment at the post’s end. Meanwhile, enjoy!
The Simple Path to a Lucrative Career
Ed Tee: CEO, ChooseFI
Where does Earning More fit on the Simple Path to Wealth?
I’ve always been a fan of the seminal work that JL has done with the Stock Series, which he began as a series of letters to his daughter Jessica.
His stated goal was to provide his daughter with straightforward and powerful investing advice to help her exponentially grow her savings and reach Financial Independence (FI).
His style of communication has resonated with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world and his approach to investing is so influential that it’s considered by many to be a pillar of Financial Independence for its simplicity, effectiveness, and replicability.
In that spirit, I recently broke down some strategies to give my kids a leg up on their own path to FI but with a focus on helping them maximize their earning potential without incurring the student loan debt that most adults are burdened with.
Financial Independence Revisited
But first, let’s take a step back and revisit the principles of FI in a nutshell.
The core idea is to earn more and spend less, with a goal of saving up to 50% of our income, those savings are then shoveled into sound investments like equities and real estate.
Over an intermediate period of time, say 10-20 years, it is highly likely that we can amass enough invested assets to cover our living expenses just by selling a fraction of those ever-growing assets.
That fraction is usually around 4% based on significant research done on historical market performance through boom and bust.
Done right, work becomes optional because we never run out of money, and we get to choose how we want to pursue our lives.
But many people are quick to point out that saving 50% is much more attainable if you are earning $60,000 or more. They are absolutely right – but that earning level is not the case for many of us.
Some of us may earn $40,000 or less a year, with annual expenses at around the same amount.
Forget about saving 50% – it’s hard enough just to tread financial water!
If you are a college graduate, chances are you are looking at a student loan of between $50,000-$100,000 with that job paying only $40,000-$60,000.
This debt makes it virtually impossible to save any meaningful amount for investing in your future.
The FI Trifecta to Building Wealth: Earning More, Spending Less and Investing Better
Tactics for spending less are well-documented. The FI community has done a tremendous job providing creative ways to spend less and save more money. When you focus on value instead of the Hedonic treadmill and the habitual acquisition of stuff, spending less can be high impact and relatively easy to do.
But most of us can only cut so far.
As for investing, if you are reading The Simple Path to Wealth or on this site reading the Stock Series, you have likely already started to optimize your investing strategy. And there is a reason JL calls it “The Simple Path”.
Once you have optimized your expenses and your investing strategy, and you STILL aren’t happy with your savings rate, it becomes clear that…
Houston, we have an earning problem!
Personal finance bloggers and podcasters have historically struggled to provide a great answer to the earning part of “earn more, spend less, and invest better.”
The ideas have ranged from bad and spammy (surveys anyone? Urgh!!) to mediocre and unsustainable.
We could start a side hustle or work in the gig economy, but compensation on platforms like Uber or InstantCart seems to be in a race to the bottom.
They work okay in the short term for distinct objectives like to crushing debt or setting aside that first emergency fund, but in the long term they will only marginally improve your financial situation. And that is assuming you don’t burn out.
Side hustles are less useful for most people seeking FI, especially over a 5-10 year period, while still maintaining a healthy balance.
What about entrepreneurship and real estate?
There are plenty of fantastic websites and blogs that will show you how to start a blog or invest in real estate.
But for someone earning $10-$20 an hour, it feels rather tone-deaf to suggest that the best path for them to reach FI lies in picking up a rental unit or starting a blog.
In most cases these individuals are already commuting, working overtime, and squeezing in time with their families, so where does this additional work time fit in?
How about optimizing your paycheck?
For people that are trying to increase the size of their paychecks, there are two general options:
- Salary negotiation in a current or prospective job.
- Go back to college and attempt to break into a new industry.
The former – salary negotiation – is a powerful skill that can and should be developed. If you haven’t looked into this, you should!
But if you are among the millions of people dissatisfied with their chosen profession and career track and you want to break into something new, you might think you have no choice but to go back to college.
However, if the thought of taking on yet another student loan sends shivers down your spine, I have some good news for you.
How to break into a new industry without going back to college
As I was looking into career options and doing research with my kids, we found a shorter, more direct path to a new tech-adjacent career.
One that did not require going back to college and signing up for more debt.
This path would allow them to easily get a job in a high-demand area, earning a starting salary of $60,000-$80,000 in less than 6 months from getting started. There is no need to learn to code, no tech background is required, and there is definitely no reason to go to college for an expensive degree.
Even better pay increases come quickly, with many earning more than $100,000 a year after 3 years.
What is the secret to this seemingly miraculous path?
Well, it’s neither a secret nor a miracle.
The simple path to a lucrative career is through skill-based certificates in high-demand, tech-adjacent fields.
We are in the middle of a tidal wave of change, but one of the biggest is the emphasis from employers on precise skills vs generic degrees.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Here is an article highlighting how Google is now valuing skill-based certificates just as highly (if not more so) than 4-year degrees in their hiring policy.
Skills-based certificates are the future of work, and that future is here!
Might college be a financial mistake?
For many people the answer is “Yes”.
Think about the implications for a moment.
A 6-month tech certificate in a high-demand field typically costs between $1,000 and $3,000, but it has the same value to a company like Google as a 4-year degree that has a price tag of $50,000 to $100,000.
If you can have $100,000 invested at 28, without the burden of student loan debt, your path to Financial Independence just became crystal clear.
And if you can earn up to $80,000 in year-1 while keeping your expenses low, your Simple Path to Wealth also just got a lot easier.
Using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career
I work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where we featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low.
So when Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build a program called TalentStacker to help other people achieve the same success, I started to wonder if this is something I would want for my kids too.
Jonathan and Bradley went from piloting TalentStacker’s Salesforce Career Development Program to perfecting it in 6 months. More than 1,000 students from all walks of life have completed the program and landed jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries.
That these people achieved such success even during a global pandemic made it abundantly clear that this was something my kids could replicate.
We’ll get into what Salesforce and the TalentStacker Salesforce CDP are soon, but if you want to jump ahead and earn your first Salesforce certification, you can sign up for the free 5-Day Salesforce Challenge.
For now, let’s look at what Salesforce is.
What is Salesforce?
We’ll start by knocking down a few common questions and misconceptions about Salesforce careers:
- A Salesforce career is not a sales job, it’s a tech job that requires no coding.
- You do not actually work for Salesforce, the company. Instead you are the resident expert on how to use Salesforce to help your employer run its business.
- You work 40 hour weeks in a salaried role just like any other standard job, but 80+% of roles are fully remote. So if you prefer to work from home and skip the commute, you can.
- Salesforce jobs are on a huge upward momentum and have been for 10+ years.
- Training takes about 8-10 hours per week to be ready for your first role in 4-6 months.
What is the income potential after Year 1?
Now with that out of the way, let’s talk about what most people are drawn to, the income potential.
While we mentioned the starting incomes range from $60,000-$80,000, maybe even more impressive is the income trajectory over time.
With just 1-2 years of experience, this increases to about $80,000-$90,000.
With 3-4 years of experience, that number goes up to $90,000-$110,000, and continues to climb to around $150,000-$180,000 with 7+ years experience and some specializations.
Most careers never offer these numbers, but if they do, you would need 20+ years of experience and work 60+ hour a week to realize these income levels.
If you want to dive even deeper, check out this article describing the Top 7 Reasons a Salesforce career is a great profession; deep diving into major topics such as:
- Incredible Income Potential.
- Remote Work.
- Career Growth.
- Career Diversity.
Does this sound too good to be true?
Wait a second! Isn’t it really hard to learn this stuff? Why isn’t everyone doing it!
That’s a great question and to be honest, in my opinion, everyone who finds themselves underpaid or dissatisfied with their current job (or lack thereof) should consider it.
However, they aren’t, because change takes energy and effort, and frankly, my observation is that most people aren’t willing to commit any.
Not to mention, even though most Salesforce professionals agree it’s a great career and advocate for it, they don’t know how to show others where to start, mainly because they are too focused on their own success in their own careers.
Bradley however comes from the FI community, and he realized that helping people was more important to him than helping businesses.
So he took a step back, mapped out the path to help someone with ZERO tech experience and ZERO college break into a Salesforce career.
And from what I’ve seen, he’s cracked the code and found the simple path to a lucrative career.
With 4.2 million jobs expected to be added to the Salesforce ecosystem over the next 4 years, it’s no surprise that demand for Salesforce roles far outpaces Salesforce talent which is why the door is wide open for you.
Get started for FREE
It all starts with getting your first certification, which you can learn exactly how to attain with this completely free 5-Day Salesforce Challenge.
This challenge will help you better understand if Salesforce might be something you’re interested in, and give you a step-by-step guided path forward.
It only takes about 30 minutes per day and you take it at your own pace, even if it takes you a few weeks to find the time.
One last quick fact to consider, Salesforce now offers completely free online training and webinars, and they’ve even made all certification upkeep free of charge.
Because there aren’t enough new Salesforce professionals to meet the demands of an ever-growing Salesforce ecosystem. With more and more businesses using Salesforce to power their businesses, getting those 4 million+ jobs filled is going to need lots of new Salesforce talent.
Given what I know now, and what I have seen the program do, I decided it was time to eat our own dog food (a term I learned from my time in the tech industry). And this is where we circle back to my kids.
My oldest son, Zach, already has a job but is looking to speed up his path to FI by doubling or even tripling his income.
My middle child, Zander, just got done with both high school and two years of free college thanks to the great college hacks we use in the FI community.
Both boys looked at the results we’ve seen from the Salesforce Career Development Program, set those facts against the precepts of FI, and decided to give Salesforce a shot.
Zach took the part-time approach, balancing his work demands with following the step-by-step guide and support provided by the program. He is well on his way.
His brother Zander will be taking a gap year to complete the Salesforce CDP on a full-time basis, opting out of his Junior and Senior years at the University of Washington.
We’ll be updating this post in the future with how the boys are doing if JL wishes, but odds are good that they will rapidly accomplish what thousands of others have already done with the help of the Salesforce Career Development Program.
If anything that I’ve shared in this post resonated with you, you owe it to yourself to give the free 5-Day Salesforce Challenge a shot.
It’s free, it’s self-paced, and it may dramatically change your life and supercharge your path to FI.
One of the reasons I found TalentStacker so appealing when Jonathan first presented it to me is that I have some experience with Salesforce. And it wasn’t good.
In my last corporate job, we brought on Salesforce and it was a disaster. Looking back it is not hard to see why: We had no one internally dedicated to understanding and implementing it. Instead, lots of us were trying to make it work individually and with little coordination. We had neither the time, skills nor patience to sort it out.
But that was a decade ago and times change. Now companies realize they need someone on their team dedicated to and trained in Salesforce. Maybe you.
If so, check it out.
By way of full disclosure, TalentStacker is an affiliate partner. If you click on the links and make a purchase jlcollinsnh.com may receive compensation.
Here’s what I’ve been reading recently: