We all know the jobs that are (virtually) guaranteed to rake in the big bucks: doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.-- no surprise there. Yet as it turns out, a surprising number of jobs pay more than you may think; some don't even require a college education. There are some caveats, of course; many of the jobs involve a personal sacrifice of some sort, be it living underwater for months at a time or being at someone else's beck and call 24/7. However, if you're willing to make some life changes, you may find you're a good fit for one. Here are some of the most surprising:

Who wants hot dogs!

Step inside my office

Food vendors can make bank if they're in the right spot. As the adage goes, success depends on location, location, location, and this rings true for food vendors. One dog slinger working the much-trafficked corner of 35th and Broadway makes an average of $250/day (easily over $100,000 per year if he works 50 weeks a year.) Note that hot dogs are not the only food that will net you more green than Central Park; an ice-cream vendor on 37th and Fifth Avenue can earn up to $700 on a good day. In New York City, where rents for office space can run upwards of $600 per square foot (yes, per foot), these types of vendors generally only need to pay for an annual vendor's license and tax identification number to stake their claim. No rent equals low overhead, and the significant markup on hot dogs and other items means that a busy day can be highly profitable.

If you can take the heat, get into the kitchen

Only 140 more days until I can see the sun

While most culinary artisans aren't making too much money––except for the top well-known chefs with their own line of cookware––there is one position in the industry that does pay exceptionally well. But this is no free lunch: the role is as the lead submarine chef with the Australian Navy. That's right; you'd be cooking for almost 60 hungry seamen and women 20,000 leagues under the sea. Chefs start at a not-too-shabby $58,800 per year not including a $50,000 bonus just for showing up (turns out 50% of success really is showing up!), a capability bonus of $40,000 a year, plus almost $50,000 worth of "seagoing allowance" and "submarine service allowance." All that, and your room and board are taken care of. I mean, you'd have to be okay with living in a massive iron pill capsule and wouldn't see the sun for weeks at a time…but think of the money you'd save on sunscreen!

Someone's gotta do it

And they thought I'd amount to nothing

Taking out the trash is by no means a glamorous job. But if you live in the right area, you can make a mint by doing something no one else wants to do. Some sanitation workers make upwards of $100,000 in New York City. This is not representative of the average "waste engineer" annual salary, which ranges from the high $30's to low $60's, but everything is more expensive in NYC, and trash removal is no different. The upside is that wages are rising much faster than average in this industry because of the lack of available talent.

Roger that

Air traffic controllers – the men and women who ensure airplanes don't crash into each other on the ground and in the air – make over $120,000 year. It's by no means an easy job: they must continuously concentrate (often directing multiple carriers at once), and work shifts during all hours in a dim room staring at brightly lit screens. While the job itself is stressful, if you can hack it for 20 years you'll get to look forward to early retirement at 50 and enjoy enforced retirement at 56.

I see a lot of green in your future

Aunt Mabel says hi and don't overwater her ficus

Psychics, despite their employment in a field of dubious nature, earn an average of almost $100 an hour, according to Payscale. This may seem surprising at first, but given that the estimated 85,000 psychics in the United States pull in approximately $1.5 billion in revenue per year, it may not be so outlandish. Psychics also claim to have high-flying customers, such as executives who can afford to shell out for their pricey service. Whether or not a given psychic has any ability to foresee the future is in the eye of the person paying their salary. Many psychics prefer to act as therapists, guiding people through tough times and hard decisions—and possibly telling them that Aunt Mabel forgives them for breaking that window when they were a kid.

Jeeves, bring the car around

Being a private butler is not usually on the career list at the guidance counselor's office, but it's a legitimate job that with an excellent salary––that is, if you get hired by the right employer. The International Guild of Professional Butlers has 10,000 members in the United States alone and estimates there could be as many as a few million private butlers worldwide.

So, what exactly does a butler do? Unlike in the days of Downton Abbey, people today can generally dress themselves and don't take daily breakfasts in bed (although that does sound pretty great). Today's modern butlers are considered "household managers" who oversee the rest of the staff, schedule household maintenance, receive visitors, organize events, and so on and so forth. They also can act as personal assistants, booking reservations, managing wardrobes (dry cleaning and tailoring), and generally ensuring that life runs smoothly for their employer. The job requires impeccable social skills and etiquette, and you'll need in-depth knowledge of wines and spirits (natch!) to be successful.

A private butler is a trusted employee for those who can afford them and are generally compensated as such: according to the International Butler Academy, these discreet individuals earn between $50,000 and $150,000 annually.

If your current job is just not cuttin' the mustard or if you're someone who could thrive in a stressful, claustrophobic, or even smelly environment, it may behoove you to explore a less conventional job that just might push your income up a few tax brackets.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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