Author Topic: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?  (Read 5555 times)

humbleMouse

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General question for the forum:

Has anybody who posts here managed to
 
      A) Save 100k+
      B) Come from a background of working in restaurants and with no college degree. 

If so, how did you do it?  I am just wondering because I am always staggered by the number of people with high paying jobs on this forum.  Everybody I know works in restaurants and has barely any money, even many people with a college degree. 

Any examples of mustachians who made it to the top from the bottom with no degree???


Larabeth

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2016, 10:44:19 PM »
I've not been working in restaurants, but I make around $17/hour at 911 dispatch with no college degree (thanks to a lot of extenuating circumstances, but at least my student debt wasn't too high!) and am on track to FIRE in 2022.

A lot of it is being willing to cut down on extraneous spending including food, housing, etc.  Preferably find a roommate.  When you aren't making six figures, there is less room for your personal tastes in the 10-15 years til retirement.

Working restaurants can be useful because you have more time for a side hustle.  Also, polish your game and look for a better job in a fancier restaurant.  For awhile I made good money at a fondue place.  Then 2008 hit and since I was last to be hired, they let me go first.

Also plan on working a bit longer than you initially think you will need.  That way you have some cushion money.

N

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2016, 11:56:51 PM »
I guess we have. My husband and I both dropped out of college during our freshman years.

Husband came home, starting working again at the fruit market he worked at during high school. His dream was graphic design, and he got a job at a ad company and started at the bottom. Now he has a job at a printing company and his gross income was 76K 2015.

I worked as a server and bartender after leaving school. I used to make about 600 a week cash (this was 20 years ago). When I was 25, I started working as Realtor, but didnt enjoy it. A year or two of that, and I found an office job where I earned 13$ an hour. I left after i had my first kid and have not held a real job since. I do some childcare sometimes.

Anyway, we have about 82k  in retirement investments and another 6k in savings. So we arent too far off of 100K. And, we are currently 42 and 51 years of age. We didnt get serious about saving until 3 years ago.

Goldielocks

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2016, 12:22:38 AM »
General question for the forum:

Has anybody who posts here managed to
 
      A) Save 100k+
      B) Come from a background of working in restaurants and with no college degree. 

If so, how did you do it?  I am just wondering because I am always staggered by the number of people with high paying jobs on this forum.  Everybody I know works in restaurants and has barely any money, even many people with a college degree. 

Any examples of mustachians who made it to the top from the bottom with no degree???
A student in my class (studying for PMP and a certificate in project management) has just started working as an asst project manager, after 10 years serving in restaurant businesses.  Now she is a very smart and pulled together person..    so the project management courses just got her the interview, she got the job herself.

« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 07:30:39 PM by goldielocks »

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2016, 08:10:39 AM »
My dad's wife bought a home outright and managed to save over $40k by her early 40s working as a waitress in diner.

Keep in mind this is not someone who is super financially savvy. So how did she do this? 1. She lived debt-free. 2. She didn't spend everything she made. 3. She prioritized savings over material things.

This woman is one of my original inspirations for becoming a super saver. She was one of the first people to demonstrate that you can still save even if you don't make a lot of money. (Her daily take home in the early 2000s was typically between $80-$110/day.) That said, there was definitely still room for improvement as she doesn't understand investing or passive income and bought a lot of things she didn't need (mostly clothes, literally an entire room full of clothes).

So to answer your question, yes, it can be done. Obviously, it's much harder to accomplish than for someone who comes from a background of privilege, but it is possible. Also, don't rule out college for yourself. There may be a way to attend for very little cost to you if you combine a PELL grant, state grant funding and a few scholarships. 

horsepoor

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2016, 08:14:07 AM »
He's probably a freak of nature mixed with a stroke of luck, but my brother did not even make it to middle school in the public school system, eventually got a GED.  He's been a business owner (sold to a larger company and then consulted for them), involved in startups, and is a millionaire with a paid-off home in coastal California.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2016, 08:26:53 AM »
My dad's wife bought a home outright and managed to save over $40k by her early 40s working as a waitress in diner.

Keep in mind this is not someone who is super financially savvy. So how did she do this? 1. She lived debt-free. 2. She didn't spend everything she made. 3. She prioritized savings over material things.

This woman is one of my original inspirations for becoming a super saver. She was one of the first people to demonstrate that you can still save even if you don't make a lot of money. (Her daily take home in the early 2000s was typically between $80-$110/day.) That said, there was definitely still room for improvement as she doesn't understand investing or passive income and bought a lot of things she didn't need (mostly clothes, literally an entire room full of clothes).

So to answer your question, yes, it can be done. Obviously, it's much harder to accomplish than for someone who comes from a background of privilege, but it is possible. Also, don't rule out college for yourself. There may be a way to attend for very little cost to you if you combine a PELL grant, state grant funding and a few scholarships.

Thought of a couple other points that are relative to this story:
1. Her parents were of little help. They made her pay rent from her 18th birthday until she finally moved out at 24.
2. She did not have a spouse or significant other supporting her or adding significant value to her financial situation. Her first marriage was to my father at age 42.
3. She is child-free. The money was stocking away was initially supposed to be to support a child, but she ultimately decided not to have any children.
4. There were plenty of mistakes made such as money she gave to a significant other to build a home. With minimal mistakes and a better strategy, I believe she could have saved 100k by age 45. She certainly has the willpower; she just doesn't have the education.

Mtngrl

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2016, 08:33:12 AM »
My brother dropped out of high school and went to work sweeping up in an auto shop. He worked his way up over the years and now manages the service department in the largest Toyota dealer in Houston. He has made 6 figures a year for the past 20 years, owns three rental houses and has a side hustle selling scrap metal. The key to his success is that he worked his ass off and still does.

I have another friend (also a dropout, though I would never recommend that course of action) who started out answering the phone at a law practice and now manages a fairly large law office and makes about $80,000 a year.

Their example tells me don't be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up someplace.

randymarsh

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2016, 08:41:00 AM »
Not me, but a coworker of mine and her husband are doing pretty well and don't have degrees. They did attend college 1-2 years, but didn't finish.

She does office admin work, he works for a large telecom company as a field technician. 1 rental house.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2016, 09:07:08 AM »
I have a friend who doesn't have a degree, has a varied job history, including restaurants, and now owns two successful bars. He's not a big spender, has stayed in the same 1-bedroom apartment for god knows how long, and surely has plenty of money saved up.

I never worked in a restaurant, but I don't have a college degree, started working as an office temp, and now make 100k salary and have a lot in investments.

Uturn

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2016, 09:19:43 AM »
I make over $100k and only 6 credit hours.  I've delivered pizza, worked in the kitchen of a BBQ place, been an over the road trucker, sacked groceries, and even tried my hand at car sales once.  You get there by sheer determination.  The way I got started is when I was 26, I decided that I didn't want to be poor anymore, and started to look around at what jobs paid better.  I decided to give IT work a shot, but didn't know anything about it.  I sold everything I could and bought a used computer, a used folding table to put it on, and a bunch of books.  I had a minimum wage job at the time, and instead of going out partying with my friends and coworkers, I went home every night and studied.  I did this for about 4 months, then got an entry level desktop support job.  I took the extra pay and bought more used computers, routers, switches, and more books.  I did this for over a year until I got a decent paying job and good skills.  It sucked, really sucked.  And was the best thing I ever did for myself. 

The key is to realize the you have to do it, no one else is going to do it for you.  I never expected my employer to pay for my training, I never wined about no one helping my career.  To this day, I still learn a new skill on my own time at least once a year.  I am a network engineer, but also know the inner workings of Windows and Linux.  I understand security and can get around in Kali fairly well and do some hacking.  I've never told anyone "that's not my job", rather I say "well, let's figure it out."  When you are developing your skills faster than your coworkers, not complaining, and getting shit done, your boss will notice.  If the boss doesn't notice, well then you have a ton of new skills that the new employer is going to love. 


matchewed

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2016, 10:04:07 AM »
Not necessarily restaurants but I worked in a grocery store for four years with no degree. I made the decision to find a better paying job and found one. Worked their for 9 years and left to get an education. Had 180k when I left the better paying job.

No college degree at that time. Just finishing my Associates this semester.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2016, 10:19:19 AM »
Two more stories for this thread, these are both Directors (making 100k+) with a professional services firm:

Director #1 was in the Marines as a youth. When he came out of the Marine Corps he was working as an artist making only 12k a year. He decided that he needed more money to support his family, so he got a job as a print services associate. While working at the print services company, he got a bachelors in finance and moved into the finance department. He worked his way up in finance roles until he was offered an Implementation Director role. In about 15 years, he worked his way from an entry level position to Director.

Director #2 started with the printing services company as a 20 year old punk in the mail room. While working in the mail room, he found a mentor who inspired him to get his life together. He began taking some classes part-time and moved into an IT role. From there he became an IT service manager and then a senior manager. From there he accepted a corporate solutions role and ultimately made Director after 18 years with the company. Director #2 still does not have a bachelor's degree.

matchewed

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2016, 10:22:28 AM »
Although I chimed in with my story I don't really get the point of these threads.

How do you do it? Well you decide you want more for yourself and you go out and do it. You do what's necessary to achieve your goals. So go do it. What other people did doesn't really help you very much. What are you going to do? is the correct question.

CabinetGuy

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2016, 10:51:58 AM »
I worked in restaurants for years.  When I relocated to MA, I got a server job at a really nice restaurant...for 4.00 and hour.  So I quit, found a job working at a small cabinet shop making 9.00 an hour with no experience.  Three years later I was making 18.00 an hour, work truck, cell phone, 401k, and profit sharing. All before age 25.

I'm now self employed, make decent money, and still no college degree.  It can be done, but you gotta bust your ass.

Jon

CabinetGuy

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2016, 10:55:34 AM »
Although I chimed in with my story I don't really get the point of these threads.

How do you do it? Well you decide you want more for yourself and you go out and do it. You do what's necessary to achieve your goals. So go do it. What other people did doesn't really help you very much. What are you going to do? is the correct question.

Op probably just needs some inspiration.  Sometimes it's easier to take a path out when you know someone else has already done it in some shape or form.  It can get frustrating hearing that you need a college degree to succeed every day. 

My two cents.

GuitarBrian

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2016, 12:22:36 PM »
Never worked in a restaurant. But here is what happened to me.

I did not finish high school. Quit at 14 with one year to go. No college.

Currently been playing music for 13 years. Never made much by any standard. Basically band money covered living expenses, travel ect.. I got to save my CD sales, this was 10Kish most years. Since I had no expenses I put all this in stocks and Gold/Silver.

Real estate crashed, gold went up. I sold my stocks and bought 2 rental houses in Phoenix.

Took over the band as manager 2 years ago. Still not making big money.

Current net worth, 325k.

Now working 6 months a year.

Cassie

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2016, 12:27:28 PM »
When my oldest was young he dropped out of college and was a server in a fancy restaurant and made tons of $ from the tips. Eventually he got sick of it and went back to college. My DIL has a college degree but is making more $ as a cocktail waitress again due to the awesome tips.

humbleMouse

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2016, 12:28:36 PM »
Although I chimed in with my story I don't really get the point of these threads.

How do you do it? Well you decide you want more for yourself and you go out and do it. You do what's necessary to achieve your goals. So go do it. What other people did doesn't really help you very much. What are you going to do? is the correct question.

Op probably just needs some inspiration.  Sometimes it's easier to take a path out when you know someone else has already done it in some shape or form.  It can get frustrating hearing that you need a college degree to succeed every day. 

My two cents.


Honestly the point of the thread was mainly to de-bunk this theory: It can get frustrating hearing that you need a college degree to succeed every day. 

I actually have over 70 college credits but don't have a degree.  I worked in restaurants for 6 years and then taught myself programming and get paid decent.  I want to hear about other people who have achieved savings and success through alternative routes.  Right now I am still in the debt payback/get a big emergency fund phase. 

The stories here are great - would love to hear more.


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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2016, 12:45:57 PM »
I went to work out of high school in construction, started out on a shovel. Now own that business, we did $25 mil in sales in 2015.  You don't need college, you need street smarts and work ethic. 

Zikoris

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2016, 01:10:15 PM »
I don't have a degree, and have saved just about 100K. I've never worked in a restaurant, but have done similar menial things - fast food, hospital kitchen, farm labour, working in shops, and low-level warehouse work. Now I make about $20/hr (plus a lot of overtime) doing entry-level office work, which is fine because I still have the same lifestyle expectations as when I worked the minimum wage jobs.

If you're wondering about the specifics of making the transition, your best bet it to apply in the hospitality departments at really large offices that have a lot of client functions - law firms, accounting firms, and so on. Especially law firms. They tend to hire people with restaurant backgrounds, and once you're in and have some actual office experience, you can easily move into other types of work. Or just stick with office hospitality work, which is really fun.

Bearded Man

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2016, 06:34:39 PM »
While I didn't work in restaurants or retail, I made it but I graduated after the fact anyways. At 153K salary alone not counting high investment income, I am still going back to school to get my MBA and am almost done now. With all the options with state schools for reasonable prices online, there is no reason to not at least consider actually biting the bullet and getting a degree. Yes, you can make it without a degree, I did it, others have done it, but the fact is you will have a higher salary as a college graduate than not in the vast majority of cases.

A degree is something that cannot be stolen or taken from you generally. It pays dividends for life. It's worth the effort. Four years of sacrifice for a lifetime of pride and benefit...

Plus keep in mind there are a lot of jobs you cannot apply for without a degree. FBI, etc. We had an executive level IT position recently but it required an MBA, etc.

Get the paper, it's worth it.

« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 06:38:54 PM by Bearded Man »

use2betrix

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Re: Has anybody here made it out of restaurants with no college degree?
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2016, 07:16:46 PM »
Most my coworkers and friends in the oil field are making 150k-250k and don't have degrees. I can't think of any that have degrees.

I have an associates degree but it doesn't really help. I'm 27 and making over 200k.

There are lots of ways to earn good incomes without degrees. If you dont have the drive to do the research, you're better off going to school. You'd be be better off starting a thread of "these are my plans to make over 100k without a degree."

There's plenty of people working at restaurants that DO have degrees.

There's SO much more to success than a degree or even education/intelligence. Yes. Some careers it's required. Yes. It does typically help. All that aside, there are personality and work ethic traits that can help as much if not more. If no one likes you, you're emotional, you don't work hard, you aren't reliable, etc, you'll probably struggle. What's pathetic is how many people struggle at those basic traits. They can't prioritize. Their attendance is garbage. They simply don't perform at all.

I'm not that smart when it comes to technical knowledge even though I'm in a management position of a technical department over people 20+ years older than me. All the "non-technical" stuff, however, I am a rockstar in. Fortunately, I know where or who to find answers for most all the technical stuff. In terms of contributing, stepping up, and just going above and beyond in my role, I excel. It has more to do with my constant work experience since I was 14, and reading people well and their motives. I'm not a big socializer and keep to myself, but I know what people are important, what they value, and go above and beyond making sure they know I relate to them.