Across the country and all over the world, thousands of students are celebrating their accomplishment in graduating college. The praises pour in, the encouragement is overwhelming and for some the gifts are still flooding the homes. What a great feeling!? If you have just finished a 4 year degree, a graduate program or higher, I want to personally congratulate you. You have attained an important milestone in your life.
So, why did you pursue that college degree? I would guess that at some point in your life you’ve probably heard a statement similar to this: ‘Go to school, get a good education to get a good job and you’ll be set and successful’. Does that sound familiar? You’ve probably also heard that those with a college degree earn significantly higher than workers who did not attend higher education or did not graduate from high school.
The questions I like to pose are ‘What do you consider successful?’ and ‘How do you want to live?’ Your response to those questions drives your viewpoint on the two statements I mentioned above. Plus, how you want to live may not line up at all with what a college degree can offer you and you would end up wasting 4+ years and thousands of dollars by attending a university. And trust me, a lot of people figure it out too late.
The goal of Money-Smart Millennials is to provide you with information that would help you make wise decisions. If you plan on getting a higher education degree, expect to spend at least $57K for a public institution. In 2017, according to Time magazine, the average 4 year degree salary was just under $50K. I have a bachelor degree and it has served me well. However, I know many individuals who are doing very well in life and financially without having to go to college. So the bottom line is, it is your decision to make considering your desired outcome. But what exactly is education for us millennials?
Traditionally, when we think about education, we tend to think of a classroom, a professor, a degree. Yet today, because of technology and the nature of the global economy there’s a growing need to keep up with the latest trends and expand the knowledge beyond that of a formal education. Plus, education should continue after the college years in all areas of life, especially communication and leadership. To succeed, you should embrace the principle of Kaizen (which means never ending improvement). The world is a much more competitive marketplace today regardless of geographical locations, which means you must always to the extra mile. The trend of online learning has revolutionized the way we learn, and today, there’s a focus on more practically applicable courses such as those offered by the Training Connection that have a direct impact on our ability to create value and earn money. See, the paradigm where you go to school and get a good job for 40 years seems to have gone out the window a long time ago. Counting on such a system is like keeping your Blockbuster ID and hoping that a store pops up one day. An academic education no longer guarantees financial stability let alone financial success. There’s a popular saying that goes something like the “more you learn the more you earn”, but learning should not be applied only to the classroom.
There’s a lot of psychological power in learning, in that people feel best when they are achieving things and making progress with a specific endeavor. In fact, physiologically speaking, it produces a psychological boost in the form of an endorphin rush… similar to a runner’s high, the energized buzz we get from doing exercise. Then, there are the financial benefits. In today’s world, most people would benefit from improving their earning ability and keeping up their knowledge in such a competitive market. If you’re not the entrepreneur type, you should aim at rising above the pack of employees. In fact, when you consider the fact that people are ultimately compensated in direct proportion to the value they create (not what they learned in school), any education that helps boost your value to the marketplace is worth the investment. If you want to earn more or even get a job, you need to create more value in terms of the end result you are providing because a job is not simply given to you; this is why specialist surgeons get paid much more than general practitioners, at least a capitalist environment such as the USA.
In short, to make more money, you have to find ways to create more value. The economy of today requires people who find solutions to particular problems and in return, those people are rewarded proportionally to the problem they fix.
In summary, education in the 21st century is no longer just the equivalent of a diploma. Just like your health, it should be maintained and even improved at all times. Today, education is and must be is a way to expand your mind, increase your earning potential, improve your self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence… but it needs to be focused on something that will create more value to the marketplace. Remember, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates never finished college.
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