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15 Little Life Hacks

I should be a personal-finance carnie

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I was at a July 4th BBQ on Wednesday and my friend mentioned how she’s 100% billable right now. That means that every hour she works is billed to a client.

So, in the spirit of being overly competitive with small amounts of information, I decided to try to guess the difference between her income and the amount her firm bills her out at. For example, if her salary comes out to $25/hour and her firm bills her out at $100/hour, the answer would be 4x. (How to calculate your hourly wage from your annual salary.)

I guessed “10x” by assuming that she made $40/hour and her company billed out at $400/hour. Turns out I was off for a couple pieces of data, but I was almost exactly right about the other one. I did this while sitting barefoot and eating a huge piece of meat. I know, I know. How do I do it?

Can anyone guess the right answer?

Here’s a hint: The correct answer was 7x
Hint 2: She’s 25 years old and a senior consultant at a litigation-consulting firm

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  1. i’m going to guess $400 –> $57.14/hr. ~$120k is a king’s ransom for a 25-year-old, but she’s a *senior* consultant, and if the answer were less surprising you wouldn’t have made us guess 😉

  2. I have no clue. You’re just that good?

  3. Jonathan Atkins Link to this comment

    Depends on the state… my guess for AZ would be $50 and $350.

  4. Well it looks like her profits are offf the charts at 75%. Unless both figures are wrong, for 25 dollars an hour, you would have to figure how many hrs a week divided by how much she pays herself right? Thanks!

  5. Whoa! back the truck, here! We must be in an alternative universe. Let me get this straight:

    1. A 25 y/o is a “senior consultant”?

    2. Somebody is paying a 25 y/o $40/hr to do something besides throw a wicked slider or parade around naked?

    Frankly, I don’t care which number is correct… tell me what field she is in! Although I’m middle-aged, I’m sure I could put in a few years training and get to her point pretty quickly.

    Tell me.

  6. Grodge, not to burst your bubble but the IT industry is one of, the many places people at age 25 or younger are making way beyond $40/per hour.

    If you interested in IT and truly have the desire to learn, there is a $50+/hour job waiting for you in most major metropolitan cities.

  7. Just to clarify: does 100% billable really mean “that every hour she works is billed to a client”? From my litigation consulting experience, I would imagine it means that (hours she billed) / (8 x num workdays) = 100%.

    Weekend, overtime, and holiday work count toward the numerator but not the denominator. In this formulation, I’ve had stretches where I was “130% billable.”

  8. James - RE agent & landlord & LO & insurance & rehabber Link to this comment

    “senior consultant” = means boss can charge more by calling her “senior” instead of junior or just consultant

    it’s just a marketing term, doesn’t mean anything. Banks and mortgage brokers do this all the time. One place I worked at put “senior” on everyone’s business cards even if they were hired yesterday and had no experience.

  9. Hi ALO, can you give us examples of positions in IT that makes $40-$50 an hour?