Continuing In Your Education - A Good Investment?

We previously wrote about things to consider if you were thinking of changing your career, and the resulting implications. Today, we examine what to consider if you’re thinking of continuing your education, particularly from the financial side.

From Jonathan Pond's Ponderings:

Obtaining more education is usually a good thing, but it does have financial implications or else I wouldn’t bring it up. Education, particularly adult continuing education but also degree programs, can be acquired either for “consumption” or “investment.”  Taking an art criticism course would be classified as consumption unless you’re in the art business. Consumption makes you a better rounded and perhaps more interesting person, but probably not a more economically valuable person. On the other hand, additional coursework in your chosen field of study is (hopefully) an investment in a more lucrative financial future.

If you’re thinking of a career change that is going to require a considerable amount of formal education, you need to consider the economic potential of leaving your current career in favor of a new one.  It’s fine if you move into a less lucrative career if you understand that in advance. For example, perhaps you’re tired of the drudgery and stress in your job as an engineer earning six figures. You dream of getting into psychology or teaching, both of which would require a lot of full time college work. You certainly need to factor in the income hit you’ll be taking in the future on top of the financial sacrifice of returning to school. You also need to be realistic about the job prospects when you complete your schooling. In the above example, psychology jobs may be scarce while teaching jobs are likely to be more plentiful, with attractive fringe benefits to boot. 

Other money tips for Monday:

  • Set a good example for the youngsters in your life. It’s not easy raising children. Never has been. But it seems to be harder now than it was for earlier generations. While there are far more important child-rearing responsibilities, the one I’d like to proffer is to strive to set a good financial example for the children and other younger generation family members in your life. This includes being prudent in the way you spend, save, and invest your money. That’s the best thing you can do to increase the odds that your children will grow up to be financially responsible adults.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  • If you’re having trouble paying your bills. A recent study indicates that a quarter of American families currently have trouble paying their bills on time. Whatever the cause of a financial predicament for you or a family member, as hard as it may be, the best thing to do is to contact the lenders before they contact you. They may be able to devise a plan to help you better afford to pay your credit card and other bills. You might be encouraged to speak with a credit counselor, but be sure to contact a legitimate credit counseling organization. Sadly, there are many who purport to be credit counselors, including most who advertise on television, but who do nothing more than wreak further havoc on your predicament. To find a worthy credit counselor, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (www.nfcc.org)