CNBC make it 2024-03-18 02:00:52


The 16 worst-paying college majors, five years after graduation

Students who major in liberal arts, performing arts and theology earn the lowest salaries within five years of graduating from college, a recent New York Federal Reserve analysis reveals.

All three majors made a median annual income of $38,000, the lowest out of the 75 majors in the study. Other low-paying majors include leisure and hospitality, history, fine arts and psychology, all of which made $40,000 or less per year.

For context, that’s slightly less than the U.S. personal income median of $40,480 as of 2022, per the latest data available from the U.S. Census.

Here’s a look at what the lowest-paying majors earn early in their careers.

With liberal arts degrees, graduates tend to get paid less overall, for various reasons. For one, their skills may not be directly related to generating revenue, even if their vocation is a benefit to society.

Or, it can be a case of too few well-paying jobs compared with the number of graduates each year, as is the case for fine arts degrees. As such, the lack of demand can drive down wages.

Education majors tend to be paid less, as well. While teachers have good job security, summers off and pensions, they’re usually paid by state governments, which have lagged in keeping wages commensurate with inflation. In recent years, the “teacher pay penalty” has gotten worse, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Unfortunately for teachers, they don’t fare much better later in their careers. When looking at “mid-career” graduates — those ages 35 to 45 — education majors are the worst paid among all majors.

Here’s a look at the mid-career rankings.

Early childhood education majors in the middle of their careers earn the least out of all majors. With a median annual income of $48,000, they only make $8,000 more than they do right after graduation.

In contrast, the highest-paid majors for both early and mid-career earners tend to be in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as STEM fields. 

Engineers earn the highest median income right after college, with computer engineers ranked first at $80,000 per year. Their pay grows to $133,000 by the time they’ve reached the ages of 35 to 45, the highest of all majors.

It’s worth mentioning that mid-career graduates all make more than the U.S. personal income median of $40,480. The median pay for all mid-career majors is $75,500, according to the New York Fed.

Data for this annual study was compiled from U.S. Census data from 2022, the most recent available. The study excludes majors currently enrolled in school and is limited to a working-age population of those ages 25 to 65 who work full-time, with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

13 budget-friendly places where couples can retire abroad and live on as little as $1,500/month

Retiring in the U.S. can be expensive. In Florida, often the favorite state of the nation’s retirees, settling down to enjoy your golden years can cost as much as $58,396 a year.

That’s one reason why many Americans choose to leave the States and retire abroad. Nearly 450,000 people received their Social Security checks outside the U.S. at the end of 2021, up from 307,000 in 2008, according to a 2023 report from the Wall Street Journal.

But not all international retirement destinations are created equal, especially if you’re on a budget. Last month, International Living released its list of the 13 destinations where a couple can retire for as little as $1,500 a month.

International Living used the following seven categories to determine the best locations out of over 200 countries in the world:

  1. Housing
  2. Visas and benefits
  3. Cost of living
  4. Affinity rating
  5. Health care
  6. Development and governance
  7. Climate

In addition to taking those factors into consideration, International Living also looked at the availability of high-speed internet, networking opportunities and English-speaking locals or service providers in each country.

While the cities and towns are spread across the globe, some countries are especially affordable for retirees. Mexico had the most cities on the list, and five destinations were in Southeast Asia.

Top affordable retirement destinations in the Americas

  • Querétaro, Mexico
  • Isla Mujeres, Mexico
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • Armenia, Colombia
  • Arenal, Costa Rica

Querétaro, Mexico, was one of the three South American cities included on International Living’s list.

It is located in north-central Mexico, just over two hours from Mexico City. The local airport also offers direct flights to several hubs in the U.S., including Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston and Chicago.

Querétaro offers a mild climate and various warehouse store shopping options, such as Costco and Sam’s Club.

The estimated monthly costs for a single person in Querétaro are $744.50 before rent, according to Numbeo.

In Querétaro, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is 10,571.43 MXN or about $633. The average rent for the same apartment size in retirement hotspot Florida is $1,236, according to Zillow.

Top affordable retirement destinations in Asia

  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Kuching, Malaysia
  • Hoi An, Vietnam

Chiang Mai, Thailand, is one of the five Southeast Asian cities listed in the International Living survey.

It is the largest city in northern Thailand, home to hundreds of Buddhist temples. It is an hour’s flight from Bangkok, the country’s capital.

Not including rent, a single person’s estimated monthly costs are $515.50, according to Numbeo. Additionally, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is 14,100.00฿ or about $395 per month.

Chiang Mai is home to Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand. It is known as one of the best places for birdwatching, and the park on the peak is home to over 300 species, according to Hotels.com.

Top affordable retirement destinations in Europe

  • Alicante, Spain
  • Granada, Spain
  • Bergerac, France

Granada, Spain, is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalusia and is a city full of Spanish and Moorish history.

The city is also home to the University of Granada, which has an estimated 47,000 undergraduate students spread over several campuses around the city.

It offers retirees the opportunity to embrace the more relaxed Spanish lifestyle while still being connected to the more youthful culture of living in a “college town.”

A single person’s estimated monthly costs are $771.30 before rent in Granada, Numbeo states.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs an average of 583.33€ a month, or around $637. That’s still about $677 less than the average rent price for an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, one of the best places to retire in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report.

Conversions from euros to USD were done using the OANDA conversion rate of 1 euro to 1.09 USD on March 15, 2024. All amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar.

Conversions from Thai Baht to USD were done using the OANDA conversion rate of 1 Thai Baht to 0.02 USD on March 15, 2024. All amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar.

Conversions from Mexican Peso to USD were done using the OANDA conversion rate of 1 Mexican Peso to 0.05 USD on March 15, 2024. All amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

I moved to Geneva, Switzerland, and pay $6,970/month for a luxury apartment: Take a look inside

I’ve been an expat for most of my life. Originally from Japan, I’ve lived in a total of six countries. For the past 15 years, I’ve called Geneva, Switzerland, my home.

When my then-husband and I decided to move here, to his hometown, our first child was just 10 months old. We wanted a change from the hustle and bustle of New York and London, where we’d worked long hours as investment bankers.

Raising a family here has been a tremendous blessing. Now my ex and I co-parent two teenagers. His house is just a five-minute walk from mine. Geneva is different from anywhere else I’ve lived, and I’ve found something that truly works for me.

A look inside our Geneva apartment

One of the first things I noticed about this apartment was its traditional charm and ornately decorated ceilings.

I have a spacious entryway, and two bathrooms located near the foyer. One bathroom has a bathtub, while the other is equipped with a shower and a washer-dryer.

To the right of the entrance is the kitchen, where we spend most of our time. My daughter is a passionate baker and my son is an eager taste-tester. The walls are adorned with their childhood artwork.

Homes in Europe typically don’t have as much storage space as ones in the U.S. We don’t have any built-in wardrobes, so we’ve improvised with closets in the entrance and drawers in the kids’ rooms.

We have three bedrooms. Mine also functions as my home office. My company AVoyage helps women advocate for themselves financially: I launched it in 2022 after consulting for a number of years. 

There are some great views from the apartment, including St. Pierre Cathedral and the region’s oldest public high school, where my son currently goes. You can get a glimpse of Jet d’Eau, the grand water fountain in Lake Geneva.

The cost of living in Geneva

Our lease is open-ended, and any rent increases are linked to an index based on inflation. We haven’t experienced a rent hike in the past 15 years, primarily because there hasn’t been significant inflation here.

When we first signed the lease, the security deposit was set at three months’ worth of rent. My monthly expenses include $6,970 for rent, $384 for parking, $1,452 for health insurance, $578 for heat and $266 for internet and phone.

While the public school system here is great, kids don’t have class on Wednesday afternoons, so childcare can be an expensive scramble. 

Though life in general can be pricey, it feels worth it to me. The high cost of living is balanced by Geneva’s commitment to a high quality of life for its citizens. The city has strict regulations for environmental protection, food safety, and healthcare standards. The minimum wage is $27 per hour.

Switzerland consistently ranks one of the safest countries in the world.

I’ve personally found Geneva’s healthcare system to be exceptional. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, I was able to undergo surgery within nine days. I received excellent personalized attention from a team of highly skilled and attentive doctors during a very frightening time. Thanks in part to this rapid and effective response, I am still in remission six years later.  

I feel completely at ease with my neighbors, some of whom have lived here for 50 years. Being a part of this community gives me so much joy.

I love the neighborhood

Geneva is very accessible. When I need to get chores and errands done in the city, everything I would need — from the supermarket to the post office — is all so centralized.

In London, one chore would take me half a day. In Geneva, I can get six to seven done in that time.

We’re surrounded by charming bakeries, delightful ice cream shops, a yoga studio, stylish boutiques, cozy cafes and inviting restaurants. Serene Lake Geneva is less than a mile from our place and I often go there to jog, walk or even wakeboard.

Geneva is a hub for organizations like the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Economic Forum and the Red Cross. The city attracts diplomats and expats from around the globe. Walking down the streets here, you’ll hear people speaking a variety of languages.

My children grew up speaking French, English, German and Japanese. (Even with the strong international presence here, in order to integrate fully into the community, you have to be willing to pick up some French.)

I love that we can travel to so many places, as the international airport is less than half hour away from the city center. One downside is a lack of direct flights to some areas of the U.S. Those stopovers can sometimes make my family in Japan seem even farther away.

The upside of our location is that a 30-minute drive in any direction from Geneva puts you into a stunning alpine landscape that is perfect for hiking and skiing. By car, we can visit France, Italy, Germany and Austria with ease.

Once my children are grown, I hope to spend more time in the U.S. and Japan — but home will always be in Geneva.

Shizuka McNeill is a finance specialist based in Geneva and the founder of AVoyage Financial Literacy. Shizuka is a seasoned speaker, investor and devoted mother of two teens. Her goal is to financially empower women all over the world.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

If you and your partner use any of these 5 phrases regularly, your relationship is stronger than most

Speaking to your partner with respect and appreciation is important, especially in times of conflict.

The most successful couples, according to psychologists, regularly express devotion, understanding, and contrition.

Here are the five phrases that couples who have a strong connection use most, according to experts.

1. “Thank you.”

John and Julie Gottman are psychologists who have studied more than 40,000 couples in search of answering the question: What makes love last?

The one phrase they say all successful couples use often is “thank you.”

“A thriving relationship requires an enthusiastic culture of appreciation, where we’re as good at noticing the things our partners are doing right as we are at noticing what they’re doing wrong,” they wrote for CNBC Make It.

This is especially true for small, everyday acts, they say.

“Tell them why that small thing is a big deal to you: ‘Thank you for making the coffee every morning. I love waking up to the smell of it and the sounds of you in the kitchen. It just makes me start the day off right,’” they say.

Don’t miss: 2 phrases to use to be a more successful employee or manager—and 2 to avoid, according to leadership coaches, psychologists

2. “Help me understand this.”

Harvard psychologist Cortney Warren says successful couples don’t avoid conflict, they just better navigate it.

We often assume we know what our partner is saying when in reality they might be expressing something more nuanced or totally different.

“If your partner reacts to a situation in a way that you don’t understand, telling them that you want to know them better is key to resolving conflict and bonding at a deeper level,” Warren wrote for CNBC Make It.

3. “I can forgive you. Can you forgive me?”

When you’re in the heat of an argument or at the end of one it can be hard to express forgiveness. Do it anyways, Warren says.

“Studies have shown that couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer, more satisfying relationships,” she says.

4. “I am committed to you.”

“Being in a relationship is a choice,” Warren says. “Reassuring your partner that you’re still choosing to be with them and to work through challenges will help create a sense of safety and stability.”

This might seem obvious, but communicating your promise to one another can help you and your partner feel validated.

5. “I like you.”

“The healthiest couples don’t just love each other, they like each other, too,” Warren says. “Loving someone is an intense feeling of affection; liking is about seeing them for who they are and acknowledging the attributes you enjoy about them.”

Even if you and your partner aren’t arguing, remind them that you like them.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

I’ve studied 100-year-olds and longevity habits for 20 years: What I eat every day

When it comes to extending your lifespan, it’s crucial to be cognizant about the foods you put in your body.

Dan Buettner has made it his life’s work to research the world’s longest-living people. The 63-year-old coined the term “blue zones,” which refers to the places around the globe where residents’ lifespans exceed the average life expectancy.

His research covered a variety of factors, including diet. But what does Buettner himself eat after a lifetime of learning about longevity?

“I’ve spent 20 years studying the longest-lived people, and I know what they do as populations to live a long time,” he tells CNBC Make It. “But I’m not one of these obsessed Silicon Valley millionaires who is sacrificing their enjoyment of daily living to see if we can tack some years on the end.”

These are the diet decisions that Buettner, who recently released a line of frozen meals based on popular blue zone recipes, makes every day to stay healthy as he ages.

1. Eating within a 10- to 12-hour window

“I know that the longest-lived people are eating most of their calories in about a 10- or 12-hour window,” Buettner says. “And so I usually have just two meals a day.”

Buettner has his first meal each day around 11 a.m. and his second meal at about 7 p.m.

“Miami nightlife kind of forces me out,” the Florida resident says. “It’s not exactly blue zone that way, so I tend to have breakfast at about 11.”

2. Having beans for breakfast and dinner

From his research, Buettner has learned that people who eat a cup of beans a day tend to live about four years longer than those who don’t.

“I always get my beans and try [to include them in] both meals,” he says. “I start my day with Sardinian minestrone, which has three kinds of beans and about five kinds of vegetables.”

He also adds capsaicin-rich red pepper flakes, which can help to increase metabolism. Buettner tosses in some oregano and rosemary to help lower inflammation and get more antioxidants.

3. Going out to eat often

Though Buettner acknowledges that going out for dinner nearly every night doesn’t align with a longevity diet, it’s a part of his life that he doesn’t feel a need to change.

“It’s hard to eat really healthy when you go out, no matter where you go,” he says. “I try to eat plant-based.”

When looking at a restaurant menu, he tends to gravitate toward the side dishes. A few of his favorite side dishes include:

  • Cannellini beans
  • Spinach
  • Roasted potatoes

He also enjoys going to Indian restaurants where he’s able to find a lot of plant-based options like red or green curry tofu and chickpeas.

“These are as satisfying as eating meat, but without any of the saturated fats,” Buettner says.

4. ‘Don’t eat meat at all’

“I’m about 98% plant based,” he says. “I don’t eat meat at all. And people in blue zones did eat a little bit of meat.”

While the average American eats about 220 pounds of meat per year, blue zone residents only eat around 20 pounds of meat annually. Though he refrains from eating meat himself, Buettner says it’s fine in moderation.

“I think a longevity diet probably has room for meat once a week or so without too much harm,” he says.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.