10 People Who Surprisingly Make More Money Than You

Flo From Progressive: $500,000 a year


Love her or hate her, she’s stacking cake from one of America’s biggest car insurance companies, and I have no idea why. Seriously, half a million bucks a year to sling car insurance. She’s the latest version of the GEICO cavemen, except a little bit easier on the eyes, and a little bit harder on the ears.

Tollbooth Operators: $50,000 a year and up


You know those guys that you throw your change at every morning? Yeah, they’re probably taking home more money than you annually. Some transportation departments pay their toll-takers a cool 50 grand a year. When you think about it, that’s fair compensation when your job carries the risk of being splattered all over a concrete barrier by an absent-minded driver.

Air Traffic Controllers: $120,000 a year


$120,000 per year seems a little low for someone that has the lives of thousands of people in their hands for hours at a time. Air traffic controller is widely viewed as the most stressful profession in the world, and for good reason. They work in 12-hour shifts and are under constant pressure. I would love to make six figures a year, but I’ll pass on pushing tin.

Newport Beach Garbage Collectors: Up to $85,000 a year with overtime


Just when you thought California wasn’t ridiculous enough, you find out that even their garbage men are hauling in close to $100k a year to pick up the one-percent’s trash. Then again, the cost of living in Orange County is outrageous, and these blue collar workers probably barely break even with an exorbitant California state income tax. Still, $85k is a good looking number, no matter where you live.

Canadian Football Players: $83,400 per season


The Canadian Football League average salary in 2011 was $83,400 American dollars per season. Not a terrible number, but this isn’t even a quarter of the NFL league minimum salary. Some CFL coaches haul in close to $400k a season as well. There’s money up North if you can ball.

Coast Guard Cooks: $200,000+ a year


Alright, so this is kind of misleading. The average starting pay for a Coast Guard cook is $24k a year, but the Coast Guard promotes quickly and reaching the rank of Admiral cook can fetch you a robust $224k/year salary.

Bobby Bonilla: $1.2 Million a year from the New York Mets


The New York Mets were pretty much a giant Ponzi scheme posing as a professional sports team in the 1990s, and ended up giving superstar slugger Bobby Bonilla a gigantic contract in 1991. Due to some creative financial wrangling, Bonilla negotiated his Mets contract to start paying him in 2011, rather than in 1991. So every year, Bonilla gets paid roughly $1.2 million dollars from the New York Mets. If you’re curious, $1.2 million dollars is almost three times the major league minimum and the 50-year-old Bonilla hasn’t played baseball in over 12 years.

Embalmer: $43,000 a year


I’m not really sure why I put this on the list. $43k a year to deal with dead people all day? Not nearly enough.

Hot Dog Vendor: Up to $100,000 a year


People gotta eat, and there’s something about selling processed meat out of a street cart that people are totally okay with. In larger cities, street food vendors can make six figures a year from overpriced hot dogs, chips and drinks. Since when is a Coke four dollars? No wonder these guys can do so well.

Boat Tour Captain: $71,000 a year


Now, this is the life. I’m sure these guys spent time in the Navy or Coast Guard when they were younger, and now they spend their days driving tourists around on glass-bottom boats in the Florida Keys, living a life that would make Jimmy Buffett proud. This is my ultimate fantasy. I have my boating license and I’ve been driving boats since I was 14 years old. Kiss my ass goodbye. I’m moving to Key Largo.

[via Forbes,, Yahoo! Education,]

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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