How Much Will Your Life Cost?

I’ve been talking to my daughter lately about college and her choices. I’m pretty to the point when it comes to talking about college because I think some tough things need to be said. We in this country tend to treat college as some sort of extended adolescence or a time when you can go off to “find yourself”. I don’t agree.

I’m going to ask you to look at college in terms of necessity, not as an investment. An investment will always pay off, theoretically, and let’s face it college doesn’t always pay off. However, if we think of it in terms of necessity we can see the opportunity of college with just a bit more objectivity.

Thinking in terms of necessity, it is necessary to attend college for some vocations like, teaching, engineering, nursing, accounting, or being a doctor. IF you aren’t sure what vocation you are interested in, or it is not a vocation that requires a college education like, drafter, mechanic, electrician, welder, journalist, writer, real estate agent, small business owner, or lab technician; then college is not a necessity.

The truth of life is that when you enter college, every degree costs the same amount of money to obtain, whether or not it is actually financially worthwhile to obtain. For example, lets say our budding business woman decides to attend a college where a 4year degree in Business will cost her $60, 000. She lands her first job at making $29,845/year salary as a retail manager. Her friend, who also spent $60,000 for her 4-year degree but in Accounting, lands her first job at a hospital making $54,000/yr. salary. Whoa, what a difference! They both paid the same for their degree, but clearly one was worth a little more in the end. If the Business major could have looked into the future would she have chosen differently? Better yet, did she even realize their was a difference??

As I am looking at colleges with my daughter, I am asking her to look down the road and note those differences. Why spend $120,000 to get a degree where your average salary will never be more than $40,000? It is not necessary to put your life into that kind of debt if you look at college with some common sense and objectivity. College is not the time to spend money to “find yourself”; it is a time to expand your learning on the vocation that you have carefully chosen.

Don’t gamble with your future, take a close look at the road ahead and make a shrewd decision to be as practical as possible.