We all know a college degree is essential to certain well-paying career paths– doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, veterinarian, even public school teacher. Also, a few other STEM specialties. However, contrary to what the self-serving Academic experts say, wasting 4-6 years in college is an expensive detriment to most other students.
Not only do they waste $50,000 to $200,000 of capital, at least some of which they could invest more productively; but there is the lost opportunity alternative of actually growing up and learning “hard skills” and earning a healthy income at a time in life when most young people have very few obligations.
The “experts” say a college graduate earns more money over a lifetime than a non-graduate. That was true decades ago, and may be true to a narrow degree today, if the analysis is of “income” only. However, if the potential for “wealth”, rather than just income, is compared; it is not true !
If one takes just $20,000 of the small fortune spent on college costs, and invests it at age 20 into an IRA, this small amount of capital will grow to $600,000- $1 million+ by retirement. This capital more than makes up for the total wage differential. This is TRUE even before you add to the non-grads’ wealth the ultimate capital accumulation of additional investment contributions during the 4-6 years the grads are stymied in college and before you subtract from the grads’ wealth the 10-20 years of monthly student loan payments.
A highly trained, employed non-grad will become wealthier than a run-of-the-mill college grad IF that hard worker is trained in money management & investing AND if he is financially disciplined. Its a no-brainer and, for many people, makes for a more enjoyable life.
IF you don’t want to go to college or are not sure of your long term path, the dumbest thing you can do is go to college and spend the rest of your productive life enslaved to debt. Your parents and grandparents probably disagree, but they grew up in a fundamentally different 20th Century world.
As a child of the 21st Century, you have opportunities unknown in the “good old days”. Don’t squander them!