Research students are not paid as well as you think, and their inventions usually are swallowed up by the company or academic institution they work for. Juxtapose this to this
16 year old that is already on his way.
Research pays you well in terms of distinction amongst colleagues, and reputation globally. I am now getting to the stage where I cannot really move up the pay scale unless I move up into management, or start my own business up. I think the best position
is in being able to create a software product that can allow me to go work in a charity shop 2 days a week, but still afford me a comfortable life
Even PhD students reach a point of saturation, most never release a product or work that is of any real financial value, it's important you recognise this, as it can be very challenging working on projects for years that nearly make it. I have been and am
working with researchers, so I know just how frustrating it can be seeing products fail - most universities are mini-corporations now so you may not have to go very far to get to a user facing product. You need to be very strong mentally as well as intelligent,
cos' it's a hard slog
That's why I'm planning on entering the industry right after I graduate, rather than linger-on in academia as a postdoc.
According to Glassdoor, Researcher's
salaries are pretty generous, whilst the lower-end of the range is comparativly low, I'm surprised at how high the average is.