We’ve been telling high school students for decades that if you want a better paying job, go to college. And while that’s generally true, it’s not a guarantee. Planning ahead will help ensure your degree jumpstarts a successful career.
College involves a financial decision. These days, it may be second only to buying a house. Financial planner and teacher Rob West has advice on making your decision pay off on this MoneyWise Live.
Here are some bullet points to think about when considering your educational direction:
From the Pew Research Center:
From Georgetown University Using data from the Census Bureau:
Most college students graduate with some student loan debt so that makes it even more important to plan ahead. The average student loan debt is around $40,000. It's strongly advised students do everything possible to keep that debt as low as possible and certainly no more than what you would expect to earn in your first year's salary. This will ensure you can pay it off in 10 years.
It's simply a fact of life that some occupations pay more than others. You have to factor in the fact that the median starting salary in education is below $32,000 a year and social work is even lower at $28,000.
If you’re called to lower paying professions, you have to understand that it will be more difficult for you to pay back your student loans than for someone in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
You should also consider job satisfaction. As the saying goes, "find something you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life." But that has to be weighed against the earning power of any major you might consider if you’ll have to pay back student loans.
Next, Rob and Steve answer some listener questions at 800-525-7000 or via email at Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org:
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