Hello, I'm Michael, am 17 and uncertain about my future (as I'm sure anyone my age is). you see, I aim to be a theoretical physicist in the future and Im worried a bit: Yes, I know, you shouldnt pick a job just for the money, but I do worry about how much does a theoretical physicist make. do you need to be extraordinary brilliant to be paid well? I actually have an idea what to do about that (if a theoretical physicist pay is low). in my country once you turn 18 you must enlist to the army. now, here we take the army VERY seriously, we're surrounded by crazy Jihadists and we're no strangers to them attacking us (or at least trying to). I say this to show that, if I wish, I can begin my theoretical physicist career here, in the army. I can go to a university at the army's expense and be an engineer for a few years (4 years study, 6 serve). If I will manage to get into one of the exclusive programs, I might work in research (actually the only way I would do all of that is of, and only if, Ill get to one of those programs. That being said, I can just serve the usual 2 years and 8 months in intelligence, and then study how I want and not how the army wants. Im sorry if I was unclear or if I wrote too much, it's late and ive done alot of work lately. I guess I can summarize all of these in this way: 1. how much do theoretical physicists make? 2. can one be an engineer first and then become a theoretical physicist? thank you for reading and answering! p.s: I forgot to mention that here we have almost free education, even if I will not study with the army's money, it wont be a problem.