It's been 26 years since Gordon Gekko of Wall Street pronounced greed is good. We won't take it that far.
What we would say, however, is that paying your bills on time is excellent. Saving some money each pay period is spectacular. Having resources to splurge from time to time is magnificent.
The key to enjoying those types of luxuries is finding a good-paying job. Our Best Jobs of 2013 features a buffet of remunerative occupations spanning the six industries we cover, even the stereotypically starving-artist filled creative industry. Here are those 19 jobs, where both earnings and employment opportunity are ample:
1. Art Director
Average Wage: $95,500
Those professionals responsible for conceptualizing and actualizing the style and image of a publication and product made nearly $100,000 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It's not hard to understand why, when you consider the job's assorted duties, which include spearheading the overall "look" of a publication, advertising campaign, or theatrical production (for the stage as well as the large and small screen), determining a budget and project plan, communicating with clients, and hiring and supervising a design team. The weighty responsibilities of the job usually require applicants to have the necessary training, creativity, and experience, so many become art directors after working as professional artists, photographers, and graphic designers.
Average Wage: $114,490
This job might be your calling if you don't mind juggling. Working as a business operations manager requires the skill to manage both projects and people, and it's best occupied by the super-organized. Being super-educated can also be an asset, as the BLS reports that many managers have at least a bachelor's degree, and often a master's degree in business administration. Regardless of whether you possess the degrees or not, most ascend into this position from a lower-level job. Opportunities for business operations managers exist in a variety of fields, and the average salary was $114,490 in 2011.
Average Wage: $82,710
Civil engineers deal with infrastructure, and could be found working on the design side, knee-deep in construction, or heavily engrossed in research and education. The BLS predicts that this field will grow steadily for the next decade, with particular opportunity for engineers interested in rebuilding aging bridges, levees, dams, and transportation systems. For their work, prospective civil engineers can expect a salary of about $82,710.
Average Wage: $82,320
This collaborative career involves the analysis of computer systems within a business. That could mean implementing new systems, ensuring their proper quality through testing and software updates, training on proper use, and recommending new systems when the current ones become obsolete. The average salary for a computer systems analyst was $82,320 in 2011, but the highest-paid made substantially more—in Bridgeport, Conn., computer systems analysts earned approximately $100,900.
Average Wage: $87,740
Financial analysts study current and historical data, economic trends, and investments to advise businesses and individuals on how to buy and sell investments. It's a high-pressure occupation and those in it often work between 50 and 70 hours a week, but the stress and long hours are usually rewarded with a good salary. The average analyst earned nearly $90,000 in 2011.
Average Wage: $120,450
It's fitting that those with the role of supervising the financial health of companies would be solvent themselves. To do their job, which includes preparing financial statements and forecasts, studying market trends, and approving budgets, financial managers must have exceptional organizational and analytical skills, and, of course, a knack for numbers. In 2011, analysts earned an average salary of $120,450.