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Careers that can support horses...

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    Careers that can support horses...

    I just graduated this year with my associates, and I'm applying to colleges now to get my bachelor's. I thought I had it all worked out, but I'm starting to panic slightly.
    I'm interested in science, my plan was/is to go for biology, but after looking into the average salary a bit more (~55k) I'm worried that it won't be enough to support a horse.

    My ideal is to have at least one horse (maybe 2 max) at a safe, clean boarding barn with enough left over to take a lesson every now and then and some shows/clinics a few times a year.

    What are the chances that it would be possible? Do we have any scientists here?


    from my nearly 40 years with horses if I earned $X the cost o taking care of the horse(s) was always X+1


      it depends on where you work and the quality of that work . I work in private bio-pharma I have an AA and I earn much more than that. ( I am, however at the end of my career ) I know our entry level RAs earn more than that.

      be careful with average salary they often do not delve into alternate compensation ( stock/ bonus / incentive) and certainly what you may earn in Kansas City will be far different than what you earn in one of the giant tech centers. What you earn in private industry is going to be far different from university research centers or small companies

      I would encourage you to continue on your biology track, consider pharma industry. You may find that the combination of take home and incentive pay will allow you the pleasures you want.

      It is also very rewarding , bringing cures and knowledge to patients in need
      -- * > hoopoe
      Procrastinate NOW
      Introverted Since 1957


        First and foremost, do something you enjoy.

        Second, find a career that will allow you to ride! My friends who are vets and doctors, while they can afford the best horses, don’t have much time on their hands to train.

        From the top of my head, the people I know who can afford 1-2 horses and ride at the upper levels (dressage/eventing/jumpers) are dentists, lawyers, real estate agents, business owners, different types of engineers and pharmacists.
        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

        Originally posted by LauraKY
        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.


          Average salary in a "field" is meaningless without looking at the job categories. Going into a field without understanding the job categories is also rather foolish. I would suggest you do some intensive research and self education which could also include talking to your professors and your college career counseling. This will help direct your choice of courses and majors as well.

          In general salaries in the sciences tend to be higher than in the helping professions or creative fields maybe not as high as in financial services. However every field has a range of actual jobs and the high salaries in say creative jobs could be better than the lower tier salaries in finance or sciences.

          Where did you see the figure of $55k? If this was a comparative list what were they saying for other fields? Was everything low balled?

          ​​​​​In any field it's usually a good move to first, go into something you are good at and can excel in. And second then aim at the most interesting and best paid jobs in that field.

          Here are some things I could imagine a biology major doing (some might require more training beyond a BA).

          Teaching elementary school science. Running routine tests (urine, blood, human or animal) in a big commercial lab. Working in environmental monitoring for government, corporations, or nonprofits ( same job would pay very differently at each of these). Research lab either university or corporate, at many different levels from just carrying out routine work to designing the research. Pharmacy or medical equipment sales. Writing for science publications. Nurse or doctor. Teaching university.

          I'm sure there's lots more, it's not really my field. But my point is you don't step out of a science degree in a job as a biologist the way you step out of a teaching degree as a teacher or a law degree as a lawyer.

          Rather there are many many jobs that hire biologists and a wide range of them.


            A big part of your 'true' income is the cost of living where you are working. There are eye-popping salaries available in many fields in cities such as San Francisco and NYC, but the cost of housing, transportation and everything else means that even a single adult could barely survive on that money.

            It may matter less how much you make than where you are located. There are smaller population areas, with much shorter commutes and lower housing costs, where it would be possible to comfortably keep at least one horse on $50k/year. And there are areas where it would be very difficult to keep a horse even at $75k/year and up. Not just due to different costs of keeping a horse, but due to different levels of housing costs and other costs of living.

            In areas where you end up living 45 min+ from your work, due to the cost of housing closer to work (this is common), the commute will eat up much of your horse time. That's 1 1/2 hours every day just going to & from work (equivalent to almost another full work day each week). You may also have a lengthy commute to your horse. And you might have some other things you want to do with non-work time. And you might even want to pursue a relationship that also needs time. Even if you are willing to do the driving and load the miles on your car, there will be days when the demands of work won't allow you the time for a lengthy drive to your horse. If you can manage the "itty bitty apartment in the city" lifestyle to be very close to work, it might be more do-able. (There used to be a blog about that, don't know if it is still going.)

            Do careful research on the areas you are thinking about living regarding the specifics of what life with a horse would be like - distances; drive times; what you could afford re housing, as well as board locations and costs.

            This might be a time to do a riding arrangement other than horse ownership, something you can easily cancel or modify, until you work out the realities of ownership.

            Good luck on working out a happy life, wherever you go!


              Salary is only one part of the equation. What is the cost of living where you want to live? Do you or will you have children? Do you or will you have a partner who contributes to household finances (of course that can change at the drop of a hat)? Some high paying careers may involve lots of schooling and having to pay off student loans (MD, Veterinarian, Dentist, Ph.D). Are you willing to cut back on things so that you can afford having a horse? Like driving older cars, being low maintenance, being frugal, not eating out much, etc etc? I think there is a whole lot more to it than salary. Best of luck to you. I couldn't afford a horse until I was in my 40's and I make a fair number of sacrifices to do so.


                Cost of living for sure. Where I live a condo is $500,000, a 3 bedroom bungalow is $1.2 million and horse acreage would be at least $5 million. You could get a very nice farm elsewhere for less than the costs of a condo here.


                  My advice is not to worry about horses until you are well established career-wise and financially re:savings and investments. The Time Value of Money is a real thing. For example. If you invest $1000 at age 23 in an index fund is going to be worth approximately $20,000 at age 62. Do the same thing at age 24 and it is worth approximately $18,000. Doesn't sound like much difference but it piles up quick.

                  Having horses right out of school is going to severely negatively impact your financial situation. I've seen a lot of people who "must have a horse" and then end up in their thirties without any savings and usually a pile of debt.
                  A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


                    Or you find something unrelated to your degree. I have a bachelors in English, and I'm a small town cop. But I own my farm, two horses, two worthless donkeys, and live happily within my means.
                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                      I think it is especially challenging these days with the crippling student debt...and the seeming pressure to find a career path while you are getting a degree.

                      When I graduated from college in the 1970's I had no idea what my career would be. I got to try different jobs: teaching,store management, recruiting. By the time I was 26, I got a job in outside sales (thank you Affirmative Action), bought a horse and switched from hunters that I had done as a kid, to eventing.

                      The most important thing to remember is that it is a journey not a destination. As others have posted: do what you love and be open to the fact that there are no straight lines for most of us (exceptions being vets, MDs, engineers, and lawyers).


                        Original Poster

                        The 55k estimate I got was from websites that calculated averages of people's income, and yes, 55k was one of the lower ones (other sites estimated 60 - 70+) but I thought it was better to take the lower value vs the higher incase I end up being the lower.

                        When I say biology, I mean the job title is a biologist. I'd like to do lab research, preferably away from the public.

                        I'm interested in pharma/med related biology, but after researching it a little bit it said that the jobs require a phD and I'm not sure I'd like to be in school for that long (though it may be something I'd look into in the future.)

                        hoopoe - If you don't mind, what's your job title specifically? How would you recommend someone enter into that field?

                        I'm also super interested in genetics and a biology degree is a good place to start for that, but again, I'd like to be done with school after I get my bachelor's.

                        Right now it's just me, no children or partners. If I do have kids, itll be after I graduate and (preferably) have a few years of experience in my field.


                          I have a degree in Biology and it's useless. I wish I had been a lot smarter in my choice. I finally landed a job with a very successful company in their lab by getting through a four month hiring process that included two interviews, full background check, references etc, only to have them come back and offer me $13/hr!! And they weren't budging! The woman in HR was absolutely shocked that I flat out turned them down and told them they wasted my time.

                          I have been waiting tables for 22 years and I make $20-30/ hr on a good night. No healthcare or benefits though.


                            Originally posted by clanter View Post
                            from my nearly 40 years with horses if I earned $X the cost o taking care of the horse(s) was always X+1
                            This for the win

                            Without reading the other responses, it is impossible to give you a specific answer. What area of the country do you live in? What is the cost of living? Do you plan to own a house? Get married? Have 1 or more kids? Save for retirement? What about the rest of your lifestyle? So many factors involved in answering your Q. But, a great one to still consider at your age to try to plan ahead.


                              Original Poster

                              Oh yikes, thanks for the differing opinion. That is what I'm worried about.

                              I don't have interest in many other things, my choices were between psych and science, and science seemed like the better option.

                              LSMarnell How recent was your job search? I've looked at some job sites and there seem to be many available positions, and from the sites I've looked at all seem to agree that there is average job growth.

                              She's Pure Gold I live on the east coast, a few hours from DC. The cost of living around here is low, but there also doesn't seem to be many opportunities around here. I'll probably have to go to the DC area or leave the state to find work.

                              I'd like to own a house but don't expect it in the next 10 years. Possibly marriage, kids much later down the line.

                              Luxuries aren't important to me, I don't eat out, I have a small wardrobe, no other major/expensive hobbies. I'm not currently working so I have no savings, but I plan to save for retirement when I do.


                                It was 18 months ago. Now granted, I probably would have been offered more had I completed an internship, however, the internships were 3 months UNPAID, and, no, I am not working for anyone for free.

                                Since I have graduated I have been told by numerous people that Bio majors have the lowest starting salaries of all the sciences, and that it is a poor choice for a stand alone degree. (Bachelors) I agree after seeing the job market around where I live. If I could do it over I would definitely do something in Tech or business.


                                  In a profession you will almost always start low but can finish quite high, assuming you are competent and manage your career well.

                                  In a job you will start higher, but finish lower unless you move into "management." That will also be governed by your demonstrated abilities.

                                  Averages are always suspect. Mean income income information is likely to be much more realistic as it will give you a picture of both the high and low end of the skill being considered.

                                  Horses are luxury goods. They can be important to a fulfilling lifestyle but, unless you want to become an equine professional they are an adjunct, or maybe even a "side show." I would not build an entire career path based upon equine ownership.

                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


                                    Original Poster

                                    Guilherme I've always been taught mean and average are the same thing.. what do you mean by the mean being more realistic?

                                    I want a career that pays well and (preferably) that I like. And if I can't get one I like, then I'll give that up and get something boring that pays well. I don't want to live a lifestyle where I'm always worrying about bills, or constantly scraping by. And I'd really like to include horses in that if I can, but they aren't the thing that is driving my decision.

                                    LSMarnell Thanks for replying. I wouldn't mind low starting if I can get better pay with experience. What might be a better stand-alone degree? Biochem or biomed? Or another type of science?


                                      Originally posted by Slaptail View Post
                                      Oh yikes, thanks for the differing opinion. That is what I'm worried about.

                                      I don't have interest in many other things, my choices were between psych and science, and science seemed like the better option.

                                      LSMarnell How recent was your job search? I've looked at some job sites and there seem to be many available positions, and from the sites I've looked at all seem to agree that there is average job growth.

                                      She's Pure Gold I live on the east coast, a few hours from DC. The cost of living around here is low, but there also doesn't seem to be many opportunities around here. I'll probably have to go to the DC area or leave the state to find work.

                                      I'd like to own a house but don't expect it in the next 10 years. Possibly marriage, kids much later down the line.

                                      Luxuries aren't important to me, I don't eat out, I have a small wardrobe, no other major/expensive hobbies. I'm not currently working so I have no savings, but I plan to save for retirement when I do.
                                      You are smart to approach your degree from an income generating perspective. There are a lot of government contractors and engineering firms in the greater DC metropolitan area. Engineering firms hire a lot of scientists. Look for some job fairs; maybe you can go and talk to some of them and see what kind of science fields generate higher than average income. I think that if you can get out of the entry level position and into more of a project/research management position you will make more money. So maybe toss some business/management courses in with your major. Good luck!


                                        OP there is no job out there these days where you can just do a little training, find a niche, keep your head down, earn good money and have job security. It just doesn't work like that anymore in any field because the job market is fluid and changing.

                                        Whatever field you are in you need to think of how to make yourself have extra value. A lot of that will be about people skills whether you are in team leadership, management, project development, sales.

                                        My guess is the entry level lab staff job is something that is relatively replaceable, and also that mny routine tasks can be automated and deskilled.

                                        What can't be automated, deskilled, or outsourced to India is the decision making, the invention, the problem solving, and the brains behind the project. If you can become part of this tier you are much more valuable than if you are part of the entry level work. This is also the difference between a job and a profession.

                                        ​​​​​​​Also there are going to be streams of biology that are more cutting edge and in demand in future than others. Figure out what those are.