Well, everyone here has given good tips, and you can check out my post in MISS DEBBIE BROOKS'S post about "regretting".
But most audio engineers don't make nearly enough to live off of (especially if you live in LA). A few ways that audio engineers do make decent to good to excellent money are:
1. Working as a perm employee for a motion picture, television, or radio studio, post house, or large venue or school, or touring company.
2. Working as an independant post house, recording studio, etc. while having steady contracts with production houses, institutions, or wealthy artist.
3. "Latching on" to an up and coming producer, artist, or other engineer that will turn out to be famous or a real hit-maker (more prevelant in the past, before producers and record companies got REALLY bad in the nepotism department).
See, back in the day, audio engineering was a mystic, magical art that not too many people new how to perform. Now, with all the schools and books and studios, record company execs like to stick thier friends or lovers or prostitutes (usually male prostitutes) into Full Sail and then into the studio as a favor, thus taking away from the number of open engineer positions (along with many other positions), and surrounding themselves with their own at-work harem.