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20 Jobs That Shouldn’t Pay Americans as Much as They Do

With the rise in cost of living that the United States is experiencing, saying a job is overpaid is a bold statement. But the key is in comparison. Case in point? Why should a mega-church preacher make more money than a high school teacher?

As this list shows, some professions offer an overinflated salary compared to the labor required in other occupations. 

What Makes Someone Overpaid

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The idea that someone is overpaid is subjective. But for this list, Mindfully American focused on occupations that are compensated generously despite relatively minimal skill requirements. We also looked at jobs that pay well within a given industry but require fewer skills or a lower time commitment than comparable positions. 

1: High School and College Football Coaches

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Americans love football, and coaches are richly rewarded. At Barber Hills High School in Texas, the head coach position pays over six figures. Meanwhile, the median salary for secondary school teachers is only $62,360.

2: Management Consultants

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management consultants earn a median salary of $96,000. While some may provide legitimate services, they have a reputation for providing generic input at a high rate. 

3: Hospital Administrators

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Hospital administrators often make well over $100,000 to manage hospitals. With top earners taking in upwards of $300,000, many feel this position is overvalued. 

4: Mega-Church Preacher

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According to Mark 10:25, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” However, mega-church preachers often rack up significant wealth. For example, preacher Joel Osteen reportedly has a net worth of $40 to $60 million. 

5: Optometrists 

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The time it takes to become an optometrist is far less than that of other medical specialties. Optometrists often only handle routine eye appointments, yet they receive a median salary of $125,590 per year. 

6: Meteorologist

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Predicting the weather isn’t always an accurate science, and meteorologists are often wrong. However, top earners in the field bring home big bucks. Al Roker, for example, reportedly makes $10 million per year. 

7: Hedge Fund Managers

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Hedge fund managers often charge exorbitant fees regardless of their fund’s performance. They may also be incentivized to take too much risk, leading many clients to see them as overpaid. 

8: Corporate Lawyers

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It’s rare that a corporation needs legal services on a daily basis, yet many keep a lawyer on retainer. Corporate lawyers often bring in well over $200,000 per year, far more than other legal positions. 

9: Congressional Representatives

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Congressional Representatives earn a base salary of $174,000 per year, significantly more than the average American. They also don’t work a full year. A quick look at the House calendar shows they take several weeks off throughout the year and the entire month of August off. 

10: Life Coaches

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Life coaches are known to charge high fees while essentially offering motivation you could have gotten from a poster. Some may be legitimately helpful, but many people walk away feeling like they’re overpaid cheerleaders. 

11: Anesthesiologist 

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Anesthesiologists have an important job, but they’re also paid more than many surgeons. They make over $300,000 per year on average, and most of their time is spent with sleeping patients. 

12: Psychiatrist

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Psychiatrists listen to people’s problems for 50 minutes at a time. Yet, they charge an hourly rate, although there are understandable reasons why therapists of all kinds typically keep their sessions to 50 minutes. Psychiatrists often make more than physicians and even some specialists. 

13: Petroleum Engineer

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Petroleum engineers tell oil companies where to dig and get paid well for it.  Some of them have advanced degrees and years of training, but technically, you only need a bachelor’s degree to be successful. 

14: Pharmaceutical Executive

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Some argue that a high salary is necessary to attract top talent in the pharmaceutical field, but many Americans remain skeptical. Pharmaceutical executives are highly paid and many feel their salaries are the result of blatant greed. 

15: Real Estate Agents 

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Real estate agents typically make 3% of a home’s sale price. In a high-priced market, this can amount to a huge paycheck, which may not align with the amount of work it took to create the sale. 

16: Economists

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Economists are paid well because their future projections and market insights are seen as valuable. However, much of what economists provide is educated opinions, and they’re often incorrect. 

17: Lobbyist

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Lobbyists typically make at least six figures to wield their influence on politicians. Since many Americans view them negatively, it’s no wonder that they are often seen as overpaid. 

18: Professional Athletes

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Americans love athletes, and many of them pull in big salaries, especially compared to others in their industry. Just look at the salary of a big-name baseball player, like Shohei Ohtani, who reportedly signed a $700 million contract with the Dodgers, versus a minor-league player who makes about $1,100 per month. 

19: Sales Managers

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Sales managers may drive company profits by bringing in new revenue streams, but arguably, the operations team does the heavy lifting. However, sales managers usually make more than their operational counterparts. 

20: CEOs

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Most Americans think CEOs are overpaid, according to recent polling. Many CEOs make over 300% of the average American salary. 

The Most Overpaid Industry 

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Entertainment is often listed as the most overpaid industry. Entertainment in the U.S. is valued at over $2 trillion, and many CEOs of production and streaming companies make well over $300,000. 

The Most Underpaid Job 

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The most underpaid job in the U.S. is arguably that of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Although EMTs are often first responders, they typically make less than $20 per hour. 

How Much Money It Takes To Be in the Top 1%

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Whether you dream of being in the top 1% or think you might already be there, one thing is certain: The income a household makes to be in the top 1% club varies by state. Here’s how much you need to make to have a higher income than 99% of Americans.

How Much Money It Takes To Be in the Top 1% in Each State

Most to Least Expensive States To Retire

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Are you hoping to settle down in a cheaper state during retirement? These are the states to consider and, equally important, those you’re better off avoiding.

Most to Least Expensive States To Retire Ranked From 1 to 50

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