3. Financial adviser
Why it's great Twenty years ago, no one ever said, "I want to be a financial adviser when I grow up." Now there are nearly 300 college programs for financial planning, and M.B.A.s, lawyers and accountants are jumping to this lucrative but more people-friendly profession.

As company pensions die out and Americans increasingly have to manage their own retirement savings, financial planning is no longer just for the rich. And with Gen X-ers entering their peak earning years and boomers nearing retirement, business will get better still.

What's cool If you have a knack for numbers and a way with people, you can use Wall Street skills without selling your soul. You can work for yourself, for a small shop or for a giant financial services firm.

What's not Compliance rules mean lots of paperwork. Stress? You have to build a practice from the ground up.

Top-paying job Advisers who manage client portfolios earn $200,000-plus.

Education A college degree, plus certification and continuing education.