Thursday, April 2, 2009


So I read today that I have pursued an education that is beyond my means.

My degree is worth, on average, 300K over my lifetime. I assume this is representative of a non-teaching lifestyle. I will settle for a lifetime advantage of 150K . This makes my net lifetime profit of 100K once you factor in all of the interest on loans.

But this doesnt help when I start off into my career. The starting salaries are low. The peripheral benefits are either absent (401K), or high (Insurance rates). The interest accumulated during my schooling is roughly 1/3 of my debt at variable and at times obscenely high interest rates. This is the good debt most financial people speak of.

But to say that I spent money beyond my means is ridiculous. I spent what I needed to spend to get a high quality education. Because, a high quality education is what I needed to have a career. Spending less would have resulted in a lower quality education, and thus not much hope of moving up.

Financially, though, didn't I spend beyond MY means. Yes. My parents spent a lot too. I got scholarships, financial aid, and loans. I did what I needed to, and I am paying it all back. Was it worth it?

It is worth it because I have opportunities. And will have opportunities.

My mind naturally goes to this: What if I didnt pursue my maximum potential?
I would still be poor, and I wouldnt have any opportunities. I would have been working longer, harder, for less money (per hour, over a lifetime).

So what should we tell poor kids? Don't seek an expensive degree? Dont maximize your potential? Stay poor? let your kids share in your poorness and pass on the mantra: "You cant afford education!"

The problem isnt education is expensive. Its that jobs pay too little, because companies can't give them a salary without giving them GOOD benefits. I want good benefits, too.

There are other problems too but I am tired.