August 7, 2012, 5:39 am

250k – 35 hours, Are You Day Dreaming?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Alternative Income,Career
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The other day, I read a very interesting piece from Financial Samurai where he was asking his readers what the ideal income and the ideal amount of work was for them. Sam recently “retired” from corporate life and now aims at a new objective; making over 200K in less than 20 hours per week. Sam and I are not always on the same pace, but we agree on something; making 200K+ and working 60-80 hours a week is not really impressive. In fact, if you want to work hard and have no life outside of work, you can probably reach the 200K. But the real challenge is to reach it without burning out!


In my own terms; I’ve already reached the perfect balance between money earned and work done in a week. My family is the most important thing in my life, so having a huge career has been taken off the bucket list a long time ago. My goal was to make a low six figure income and work less than 35 hours per week. I’ve reached a 6 figure income at 28, and have been working four days a week for a while now. But if I can find a way to make a few extra bucks without working more, I’ll definitely do it!


Since life is full of coincidences, I had a similar discussion with one of my friends before I read that post. The discussion was about how to make 250K per year without working 60+ hours per week. We were trying to find a way to make it happen with a realistic plan. Unfortunately, while it’s not impossible to make it happen, it’s not easy either. To make it clear, we are talking about a gross income of $250,000 and less than 35 hours worked per week (which leaves us 7.5 hours per day of work).


$250,000 Salary Jobs


The first thing that came to my mind was to list potential jobs that would lead to a $250K salary and forget about the number of hours worked. Even then, the list is pretty short:

–          Health professional with a specialty (doctor, dentist, veterinary, etc)

–          Top notch lawyer

–          Associate accountant in a big firm

–          VP and CEO positions

–          Trader

–          Sport professional

–          Incredibly talented artist

Hum… that’s about it… right? The list is short but it will become even shorter if I add that you must work “normal hours”. Actually, I could even extend my criteria from 35 to 40 hours a week. Unfortunately, none of those jobs would actually pay you $250,000 and more and allow you to work less than 40 hours a week.


How Can You Reach $250,000 Without Working All The Time???


That’s a very tricky question. To answer it, I’ll try to take my own situation and see if I can grow my income to 250k without working more than what I am now. So the first point I need to work on is my day job. I don’t want to change it as it is one of the rare positions where I can manage my own schedule and limit the number of hours worked. This is, obviously, conditional to bring more numbers than expected. But the rule stands; as long as I kill my objectives, I can work four days a week.


When I’m being conservative, I can expect to make $96,500 from my day job. This is including a bonus of $10,000 which is very conservative. Over the past three years, I’ve made bonus of $33K, $33K and 64K. This year, since I’m starting a new portfolio and I don’t have many clients yet, I expect to make 10K.


Over the next five years, I can work on two things to get my day job pay me more. I can’t get any promotions as I’m already on the top of the “food chain” in this department. Since I don’t want to become a manager or VP, I can’t expect big salary jump. However, if I get a 2% raise for the next 5 years, I could roughly increase my total income by 8K. 2% is fairly reasonable and cover for inflation.


The next point I can work on is my year-end bonus. This bonus is calculated based on my performance. If I perform well, I can expect to make 40K in bonus. If I go crazy, I can expect a bonus around 100K. But I like being conservative so I give myself five years to reach an average bonus of 40K. So in five years, I should show a total income of $144,500 with my day job without working more hours than I am right now.


That’s not so bad, but I have still $105.5K to find!


Get a Side Business to Cover


To be honest, I think that the only way you can actually reach a $250K salary with less than 35 hours a week is definitely through your own company. But even then, you’ll have to work several years at more than 35 hours/week if you want to reach that goal. Building a business is not easy and a lot of time and energy is required. This is why I’ve decided to keep my day job and slowly build a sideline.


My online company currently generates the equivalent of $30,000 in gross income each year. This includes all benefits derived from my company. Before I looked at my side company, I had $105,5K to find to reach 250K in five years. Considering my company, I’m now at $75,5K.


I guess the good news is that in five years, I should show a stable income of $175,000. This is what I made last year but it was an exceptional year and never thought I would reach such high figures in my life! In five years, this should become my expected income. With the current numbers I see in my company at the moment, I think I can expect to double my “benefits” and reach $60,000 in five years. We are currently using most of our cash flow to pay off debts and it’s working perfectly. So if we continue in the same direction, we will be able to pay ourselves back for all our efforts in five years!


It Will be Darn Hard to Reach 250 K in 35 Hours but It’s Feasible


With this plan, I should be making $235K in five years. To be honest, when I started writing this post, I didn’t know what the final figures would be. After an hour of planning and calculating, I found out that I could reach a huge income within the next five years. I’m actually surprised by the outcome of this post and now believe that I will reach 250K by working 35 hours a week. It will be darn hard, but it’s feasible!


Have you ever thought of doing such calculations? The point is not to reach 250K, but to reach your own goal. It could be 80K if you are currently making 50K. I think that if you plan it, you can make it happen and will be surprised by the outcome of your calculations!

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Hi Mike!
Most of the time you raise valid points, but today I’m not certain on the 35hrs and 250K. Anything is possible, but some things become a stretch. Some weeks you’ll pull in 70hrs, other weeks it will be 40 hrs, and it all sort of balances out. That being said, I’m certain you put in close to 35hrs a week on your blog alone right now, and you own multiple blogs. Between emailing with advertisers, networking, writing posts, editing posts, helping our your VAs, meetings with your partner etc etc, I bet you put that many hours on your blog alone (without your FT job). In order to make the 35 hours up top realistic, I’d like to see you track one week (every minute) and post it here.

Maybe I’m being unrealistic on my opinion, but being a single blog owner who writes and does it all himself, I know what hours I put in. Just my two cents (and yes I do know you outsource a lot, so I figured that in)

I really should come up with a goal. However my current job which I like is 40 hours a week. I also put a ton of hours into my blog but it is starting to pay off!

Hi Mike,

That’s really great! I think that I need to figure out how to make $250K within several years, too! Would you incorporate your stock portfolio to this $250K/year goal?


Hey Eddie,

I actually work 10 hours a week on my sites. This is why my cost structure is so high. I outsource almost everything :-). So right now I am working 40 hours a week (30 at work and 10 on my blog). I’m not so far from the 35 😀


all my stocks are in RRSP (registered retirement account) so they won’t be generating “income” per se until I retire. However, if I had a non-reg account, I would certainly count it and add it to my overall income. after all, investment income is the best passive income 🙂

Hi Mike!
Yes, you do outsource a lot. I suppose if you don’t invest in your business, you can’t get ahead. I’m still too cheap ..Haha!

by: The Financial Blogger | August 7th, 2012 (10:35 am)

Hey Eddie,

I didn’t always outsource everything ;-). At first, I was definitely working 20-25 hours a week on my blogs. Then came my family and I wanted to decrease my overall numbers of hour at work (day job and blog business). I’ve dropped my day job at 30 hours and paid VA to manage my business. I have 2 independent VA that are able to do almost everything. This is why I don’t have to spend much time with them.

We organized quarterly discussion with my partner. in between, we just say “hi” via emails 😉

Sounds like a good goal Mike! I think it will be fun to try and get there at least. I’m focused on the journey and am not going to over exert myself to get there, but have fun instead.

My question to you is this, should I or should I not include my past spoils as park of my 20h/200k goal? It took my 13 years of savings and investing, but I ear about 45K/year with 0 work due to CD interest income and dividends. I also earn another 25K/year from rental property, which maybe requires 1-5 hours a Year.

Is it cheating to include the ~$80,000 a year in passive income thanks to my past efforts, or should I include it?

by: The Financial Blogger | August 7th, 2012 (12:14 pm)

Hey Sam,

I don’t think we can get there without having fun. If you don’t have fun, chances are that you won’t perform as well as you could.

I would definitely consider it. Income is income, right? At least, when you pay taxes, all sources of income would be considered :-). Therefore, your goal is now to generate “only” 120K in 20 hours 😀

Will you keep track of your income on your blog? It would be fun to follow your journey!

Well, this was a fun exercise! I like that you value your time so highly that you outsource and put a cap on the number of hours you work.

I do believe that it is impossible to make 250K with a “JOB” without having the lifestyle that goes with it… As long as you work for someone, your time and your abilities are exchanged for money. You might get more money, but not without more effort and more time put into it…

And then what happens when you want to take a break? Usually, your income also takes a break ! So you never really build something that really sustain itself and that could give you the lifestyle that you want.

Well isn’t that really the reason why we work in the first place… to get the lifestyle that we want?

I’m sure some people do it for the money per se but I don’t believe that is the majority.

I like some of the comments here about loving what you do and enjoying the work in itself as being rewarding for you. I came to realize that we need work in our lives in order to achieve a better self. Look at retired people that don’t have any hobbies, or passions to work at… They look so miserable and sad.

Work is important, money also. What we don’t want is to be oblige to do things that we do not want to for too long… and I think that’s the whole point of this point.

How much time can someone give to a “JOB” that is more than what he feels is sanitary for him/her.

And usually the high pay “JOBS” come with the obligation of investing yourself to a point of not being able to enjoy your life as you would. But, on the other hand, the work on a business will not look as much of a burden since the person chose to invest that time in his/her life to build something and he/she could be proud of.

I actually think it is possible. And that’s because I’ve seen it done. But it’s not from a job, it’s from other businesses that are profitable. So you are heading in the right direction.

Sounds good Mike. I have a way to pay zero taxes on about $65,000 of my income though, whoo hoo!

Hey Nicolas,

it is true that high paying jobs are more demanding. I guess it is a matter of finding the right balance for yourself. I’ve decided to not go that route because I enjoy my time spend with my family. None of those high paying jobs would allow me to do that ;-(


cool for you, but will you track it down and report it on your blog or you just announc your goal and not follow-up on your blog?

This is a bit off topic, but why why would someone want to “write” for one your many blogs when they could own their own domain and be master of their own universe?

Only ask because most large successful blogs have staff writers

by: The Financial Blogger | August 8th, 2012 (10:52 am)


because it’s 100 times easier to get paid to write a post than making the same amount of money from that post on your blog ;-). Most people have a hard time growing and monetizing their blog. Getting paid for their articles is a better way for them to earn immediate income.

I totally think this is possible. You just have to have a plan. You’ve already got a great system in place with your blogs that I am envious of. It seems that for anyone to get there you’d really have to have a great product or service that could command service revenue.

Hi Mike,
A few thoughts. 🙂

1) I was a freelance IT consultant for 9 years, and never made $250k in a year but certainly cleared $200k, while working under 40 hours/week. The difference for me would have been one more project, or an upsell to an existing project. I burned out on the direction, otherwise I would have easily cleared it, probably starting 2011.
2) Senior technical staff (programmers, engineers) make over $250k/year, as do top salespeople, some service staff in NYC and of course sex workers.
3) You have to let go of the 1:1 model of trading time for money. I know some consultants who make $1million a year or more, and work ~20 hours per week. A hint, they don’t do it by charging for the hour.
4) Personally I am not interested in income, but AM interested in net worth. I would rather work for nothing and then have a big cash-out. Starting a built-to-sell business works like this. My big challenge has been finding something I really want to do.

Thanks, and yes it is hard work to grow a successful blog

by: The Financial Blogger | August 9th, 2012 (5:42 am)

Hey Jason,

that’s a pretty cool career path!

In regards to point #2 and #3, it is still a small majority who makes over 250k without working more than 40 hours a year. Some consultants are definitely making 1M$ per year but it’s like becoming a football player. If you make the NFL, you’ll be a multimillionaire but if you don’t, you won’t be making much!

income and net worth are pretty much bound together for most people ;-). I guess that saving money from your income is probable the safest way to build wealth. On the other side, I totally agree with you that high net worth is achieve via a business (hey! half of my net worth is in my company!).

thx for your comment!

My neighbor has a lot of experience in IT security and has just retired from his first career. In every interview that he’s had he’s scoffed at offers below $150K and made clear that he isn’t going to work more than 40 hours a week. He is tripping over job offers. He’s convinced that setting the tone that you are worth a lot more than they offer is way to get the better paying opportunities.

One place offered him a shade over $100K and he walked out of the meeting. They are now calling him weekly trying to get him back.

Thoughts on any of this?

Yes I can see him being able to get his asking price.

My best way to turn a situation in my favor was to get another offer from a ‘decent’ company. As the decent offer was developing, I would tell my target company I had another offer in the works, then tell them the offer was formal, and I gave them 48 hours to get something together. Then people move fast. I once negotiated my rate $25/hr higher by using this, for a 6-month contract. My key is not to bluff. B/c the target company can say, “We’re not ready to act so do what you have to do” and then ask how it’s going three months later. One time my “target” project came to fruition later in the year, and when they came back they paid closer to what I desired.

My job now (pre-sales), the most senior tech guy I work with makes at least $300k. His brilliance has won our company several multi-million dollar deals. IMO even if they’re paying him $500k it’s not enough.

To more directly repond…

The problem is that IT is increasingly being viewed as a commodity, when it should be viewed as custom consulting. At least at the senior levels. Then when somebody comes in and is really good, and is insulted by the commodity priced offer, the company starts sweating bullets because they’re going to lose market position when nobody in-house can figure out how to solve the problem at hand.

Your friend should give them enough carrot-and-stick to make them sweat for another week or two, then go back and ask for whatever he feels he’s worth or $200k whichever is bigger. Better yet, he should charge $100/hour through an S-corp, where he can do a lot of the work from home.

BEST…is for him to charge by the project.
“Yes I can do this, in 6 months for $75k.”
Then he can set his own hours and not get dragged into meetings.

Hi Mike/TFB,

I think your NFL analogy applies to blogging as well. It is the ultimate hyper-capitalism.. the very elite few make millions, while the 99.9% make peanuts if that.
(of course, the 0.1% usually make their millions by selling “how-to-make-millions” products and services to the other 99.9% of bloggers, but I digress)

The thing I would argue in favor of careers, is that at least success in those fields is honest and legit. I mean, maybe not all of Hollywood, but certainly for specialty doctor, accountant and senior IT person. There’s no way to fake success in those directions. Even financial planning.

The other thing is re: income/net worth. Most people I know that have high incomes, do not have high net worths. They’re spenders. And most people I know that have high net worths…don’t have a lot of income. Serial entrepreneurs who only work for equity, and real estate moguls are the examples I am thinking of. Perhaps it is just my network at the present time.

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by: The Financial Blogger | August 10th, 2012 (11:45 am)

Hey Jason,

there are a lot of money making bloggers are making money by telling other people how to make money online. It’s actually the same case for most money gurus 😉 hahaha!

I guess the problem is that it’s very fun to spend when you make money 😉 lol!

Hi Mike,
What you said is exactly my point.. the “how to make money” scene is basically a Ponzi scheme. And the only criteria for success is gathering the most people possible to join in at the bottom, so those at the top of the pyramid can make bank and maybe put in a good word so the heavy recruiter can someday be at the top of their own pyramid. There is no value, no contribution to the world…no matter how many pretty diagrams Adobe Illustrator can come up with.

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