How to become rich: 10 degrees that’ll make you financially stable in 10 years

how to become rich
How to become rich is a question we all have asked. Source: Getty Images via AFP

We’ve all asked our friends, our idols and Google how to become rich fast.

We all want financial stability — the sooner, the better.

Financial stability is the adult equivalent of finally completing your collection of Pokemon cards in mint condition after saving your pocket money and trading with your friends for years.

If that reference is too dated for you, think of the satisfaction you get from keeping up your Snapchat streak, watching that number rise and rise.

Or that feeling when you finally complete the hardest level of a video game, that uninhibited euphoria from achieving a seemingly impossible goal.

You want to keep that success going — regularly and without unexpected changes. That’s what being financially stable is all about.

And in today’s world, getting there is a matter of how to become rich, ideally within a reasonable number of years after graduating.

How we look at and achieve this will differ between you and me. For some, it’s about making your first million dollars or creating enough wealth for your children and grandchildren.

For others, being financially stable is knowing how to become rich enough to pay for your parents’ medical bills, your younger sister’s college fees and your future children’s childcare.

No matter which group you belong to, the right degree can certainly help you hit your money goals.

how to become rich

How to become rich? Start by getting a degree in Taiwan, where tuition is affordable and night markets are the world’s most atmospheric. Source: Sam Yeh/AFP

How to become rich and stay that way

How to become rich is only one part of the equation.

While the right degree can put you on the right path towards your wealth goals, maintaining it is a whole other ball game.

A good way of staying rich is to have little debt — and that includes minimal student loan debt.

So first, you must consider how much you can spend for your degree and if it might put you in debt.

While not all debt is bad, it is important to keep to a budget that best suits your wallet. Try searching for similar degrees at another university — they may have lower tuition or offer financial aid.

Or consider universities in another country — especially the cheapest countries for international students — to avoid paying astronomical rent and transport.

Sort this out and you’re taken a big step in the journey of how to become rich within 10 years. Then, you can tackle other key steps.

According to Investopedia, there are 12 “habits” which can help you reach financial freedom. These habits include:

  • Setting life goals
  • Making a monthly budget
  • Paying off credit cards in full
  • Creating automatic savings
  • Investing now
  • Watching your credit score
  • Negotiating for goods and services
  • Staying educated on financial issues
  • Maintaining your property
  • Living below your means
  • Getting a financial advisor
  • Taking care of your health

These steps may sound simple enough, but in practice, they can get quite tricky.

For instance, sticking to a budget can be hard, especially when you have people depending on you or other responsibilities.

Accidents, which are usually costly, can happen (though insurance could possibly help you curb that).

Getting an advisor sounds like a solution, but it can often be a pricey service and finding a qualified person who you can trust with your money is a journey.

Ultimately, the answer to how to become rich is to make wise choices — and the first step to that is to choose the right degree.

how to become rich

Every individual interprets “rich” differently. How to become rich then becomes a tricky question to answer. Source: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

How to become rich? Start with one of these 10 degrees that’ll make you financially stable in 10 years

How much you need to make to be financially stable will depend on your money goals. A basic rule by experts is to divide your earnings as follows:

  • 50% for housing, utilities, food, and transportation
  • 20% for saving and emergency budgets
  • 30% for other expenses

In the US, this amounts to making an average of US$68,499 post-taxes. This lets you “live comfortably” in America’s 25 biggest metro areas.

The right degree can set you up for a high-paying job that makes this possible.

But a degree with transferable skills that will see you through the next 10 years is perhaps better in the long run.

1. Master of Business Administration

An MBA can provide a big boost in your journey to a fuller bank account. In 2022, 17 business schools reported average annual salaries of US$147,648, up $12,550 or 9.3%, among their MBA graduates.

Stanford MBA graduates reported a base salary average of US$182,272, according to Poets & Quants.

As an MBA provides one with a deep understanding of business management, strategic thinking, and decision-making skills, it can open the door to lucrative opportunities in various sectors, including finance, consulting, and entrepreneurship.

Paired with hard work, this degree is one of the more common answers to how to become rich as it’s often a requirement to snatch high-level roles such as company CEO or even be the building blocks of the next unicorn start-up.

It can be a powerful tool to do business for good or work in another country too.

2. Economics

Graduates with this degree possess a solid understanding of economic principles, market dynamics, and data analysis.

They also have critical thinking and problem-solving skills, enabling them to make informed money decisions and identify profitable opportunities.

This knowledge can be applied in various industries, including finance, banking, consulting, and government — and lead to roles that pay an average of US$128,180 per year.

how to become rich

Graduates with a computer science degree are always in demand. Source: Richard A. Brooks/AFP

3. Computer Science

Those with a Bachelor of Computer Science degree possess in-demand technical skills and knowledge of programming, software development, and problem-solving.

This opens doors to many career opportunities in fields like software engineering, data analysis, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence — which are booming as the world embraces everything digital.

In the US, the 2021 median salary for an information security analyst is US$102,600, which is expected to grow by 35% in the next eight years.

Whereas a data scientist’s median salary in 2021 is US$100,910, projected to grow by  35.8%. Both of jobs require a degree in computer science.

Coupled with dedication, continuous learning, and entrepreneurial spirit, this degree can lead to stability and wealth.

4. Civil engineering

Civil engineers are essential in designing and overseeing the construction of infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, and buildings.

This field offers ample opportunities for high-paying jobs (around US$88,050 per year in 2021) —  especially in sectors like construction, transportation, and urban planning.

Civil engineers who excel in their careers can advance to managerial positions, leading to increased earning potential.

Some engineering graduates end up changing to other industries (regardless of the type of engineering), which is possible because of the many transferable skills you gain.

In the long run, most engineering degrees will stand the test of time because of this.

5. Aerospace engineering

There is still so much about space and the universe that we do not know, and as such, an exploration of this field will certainly carry on for the next 10 or even 20 years.

Graduates with this degree possess specialised knowledge in areas like aerodynamics, propulsion systems, and structural analysis.

This expertise allows them to work on complex projects and contribute to technological advancements.

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), there were 61,400 jobs in this field as of 2020.

This number is expected to grow 8% annually over the next decade. They predict that around 5,100 jobs will be added in the next decade.

how to become rich

How to become rich? Try a nursing degree. Source: Sebastien Bozon / AFP

6. Nursing

The healthcare industry is consistently in demand, and nursing offers many opportunities for career growth and a healthier bank account.

Those with experience and specialised certifications can expect to be well-paid for a long time. Plus, part-time or freelance work can provide additional income.

In the US, a certified registered nurse anaesthetist can earn up to US$195,610, and a general nurse practitioner can make US$120,680.

In 2021, the Royal College of Nursing estimated that the average annual salary of an NHS nurse is 33,384 pounds.

The 2023 pay rise has shifted this average to about 37,000 pounds.

how to become rich

Learn how to solve the supply chain crisis and you may just answer the question of how to become rich in today’s world. Source: Frederic J. Brown/AFP

7. Supply chain management

Supply chain management professionals are crucial in optimising the flow of goods and services, reducing costs, and enhancing organisational efficiency.

With this degree, individuals gain expertise in logistics, procurement, inventory management, and strategic planning.

Companies across industries rely on supply chain professionals to streamline operations, reduce waste, and increase profitability — and are willing to pay well for them.

The average salary for a supply chain manager in the US is between US$107,100 and US$137,255.

If you’re looking for a quicker and less costly way to get qualified, take up certificate programmes or professional designations. They’re much cheaper than a full-blown degree.

8. Finance

With a strong foundation in financial theory, investment analysis, and risk management, finance graduates possess the knowledge and skills to make informed financial decisions.

Graduates with this degree will not only know how to make money but also have an insight into how to grow it and make it work for them. You would essentially have the cheat sheet for how to become rich.

This degree opens doors to careers in investment banking, corporate finance, financial planning, or consulting — traditionally known for offering some of the highest salaries to graduates.

The best part? Performance-based bonuses are a norm, as well as rapid career advancement. A new consultant with a graduate degree can typically make US$150,000 to $200,000, including bonus, at a top firm.

BLS also estimates that jobs in the sector are projected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031.

9. Computer programming

As technology continues to advance, the demand for skilled programmers remains consistently high.

Learning programming languages and gaining proficiency in software development opens up numerous opportunities in sectors like technology, software engineering, web development, and data analysis.

Skilled programmers often enjoy competitive salaries, and with experience and expertise, they can command even higher pay.

How to become rich with a computer programming degree when there are so many tech layoffs?

By continuously learning and adapting to emerging technologies, individuals with programming skills.

Look to larger companies like IBM and keep up-to-date with the latest information.

You can also look for cheaper alternatives for your degree, like free certifications and online courses.

how to become rich

How to become rich is a journey of making good investments — and that starts with getting a degree that leads to high-paying, stable jobs. Source: John Macdougall / AFP

10. Architecture

This degree choice might be the underdog on our list, but hear us out.

Architects design the structures we inhabit and play a pivotal role in designing and overseeing construction projects. For this reason, their expertise is highly valued.

From high-rise apartments to luxury hotels to stoic government buildings, they’re needed in all aspects of the built environment.

With experience and a strong portfolio, architects can command higher fees or establish their own successful practices.

Architecture is a difficult degree, and the job market is very competitive. This might deter you, but it is possible that architecture is the answer to how to become rich.

There is also the environment to consider, and you can specialise in tackling climate change with out-of-the-box designs and rethinking how cities function.

Getting rich with this degree is possible if you are open to pivoting.

Pat Flynn did just that when he lost his job at an architecture firm. He began a blog to help budding architects pass the crucial LEED Professional Exams, which certify that an architect has the necessary chops.

Flynn is now a millionaire.