December 10, 2016

IS COLLEGE WORTH IT?

“When even shoeshine boys are giving you stock tips, it’s time to sell.”

                                                                                                    – Joseph P. Kennedy

The above quote is used widely when talking about investing in the market.  For example, people have started holding off on gold purchasing due to the fact that even a taxi cab driver, hair dresser, or college professor knows to buy gold.  The fact is if everyone knows about it, the opportunity is dead.

This goes for college.

Years ago, everyone began saying: “You have got to go to college.” Then, they made the money easy to come by and everyone went.  Now, the newspapers and bloggers are beginning to pick up on the fact that many are questioning the worth of a college degree these days.  If everyone goes, then everyone gets the same education. What makes it special?

The fact is Joe Kennedy knew it in 1920 and I know it today: it’s time to get out.

It is too expensive, overleveraged, and bound to crash.  It is time to find other options.  In an article recently published on PhillyBurbs.com, columnist J.D. Mullane explained to readers that “College Sold You Out.”

He began by bringing up the old joke:

Q: “What does a liberal arts major say to a business major five years after graduation?”

A: “Do you want fries with that?”

The question I have today is: does it matter that you were a business major?  They work a lot of hours, but don’t make that much for the time put in.  They are carrying around $100,000 in debt and then marry a fellow business major who also has loans.  They can’t afford to buy a house, car, or take time off for a vacation.

But, around the corner was the dumb kid from the back of the class in high school who, in the four years we spend in school, learned a skill. And instead of raking up debt, made a small amount, while living at home with mom and dad.

Then, when we graduated and thought what a wonderful life we had, he took his four years of experience and went into business with someone or moved up the chain. While we paid off loans, he saved money, bought a house, car, and started on his retirement.

Finally, who determines his salary?  He does.  He has a skill that can be used anywhere in the world and, if he is the only one in the area with that skill, he charges whatever he feels like.  The question is — will I tell my kids to go to college like mom and dad or will I tell them to buy a Dunkin Donuts or Subway franchise or become a plumber?

You can bet it won’t be college.

Anna Domzalski is a staff writer for the Financial Bin. Anna will soon begin her role as Dean of Financial Bin University and will conduct online budgeting classes beginning in February 2012. She can be reached via email at Anna@FinancialBin.com. (Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net).

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  • I’m actually finishing up my BA but I love this article if you only get a cheap BA I don’t have a problem with my kids going to college but unless they want to be a doctor or lawyer I will strongly suggest avoiding grad school.

  • Billy Hill

    True, they don’t have debt and they have a skill/trade but over the course of a lifetime they can be stuck making the same money.  My brother in law is a truck driver, right now he is 23 and makes 45k a year, problem is when he is 53 he will still be making 45k a year…  Every job I’ve ever had has required a college degree and I have seen experiened, qualified individuals apply and not get the position because they did not have a college degree.  I think if you look at college sort of as a vetting service for companies you will see it in a different light.  When they hire someone with no experience that is 22 years old, they can at least count on the fact that they have a college degree and have learned basic skills such as time management, how to balance work and a social life, their GPA will tell how much effort they put into their studies.  Even if nothing that they learned at college will pertain to the job they at least have these basic facts to rely on other than nothing at all expect what someone put on their resume.

  • RichD

    Well said.

    I went to college for Computer Science. What do I have to show for it? A piece of paper to hang on my wall that says “BS” on it. 

    I worked in test and software engineering for 10 years. Almost everything I did in those capacities, I already knew before going to college. What I didn’t already know was primarily the proprietary systems and procedures of the company itself. Everything else I brought myself up to speed with on my own.

    Company I was working for went under in the “dot-bomb” of 2001. Haven’t been able to get work in that field since.

    I ended up going into business for myself – as a photographer.

    I would have been better off spending those college years studying and researching in the library, and gaining practical experience by working in the field.

    Literally the only reason I went to college and got a degree is because of those pencil-pushing, bean-counting HR manglers … er … managers, who won’t even look at your resume unless it has “BS” on it …

    Instead of sending our kids to college to learn how to make money for somebody else, we need to be teaching them how to be entrepreneurs, to own their own businesses, to find ways to take their dreams and turn them into products and services that will make their fellow mans’ lives better, and earn them gobs of money in the process.

  • RichD

    Well said.

    I went to college for Computer Science. What do I have to show for it? A piece of paper to hang on my wall that says “BS” on it. 

    I worked in test and software engineering for 10 years. Almost everything I did in those capacities, I already knew before going to college. What I didn’t already know was primarily the proprietary systems and procedures of the company itself. Everything else I brought myself up to speed with on my own.

    Company I was working for went under in the “dot-bomb” of 2001. Haven’t been able to get work in that field since.

    I ended up going into business for myself – as a photographer.

    I would have been better off spending those college years studying and researching in the library, and gaining practical experience by working in the field.

    Literally the only reason I went to college and got a degree is because of those pencil-pushing, bean-counting HR manglers … er … managers, who won’t even look at your resume unless it has “BS” on it …

    Instead of sending our kids to college to learn how to make money for somebody else, we need to be teaching them how to be entrepreneurs, to own their own businesses, to find ways to take their dreams and turn them into products and services that will make their fellow mans’ lives better, and earn them gobs of money in the process.

  • Rich Demanowski

    Well said.

    I went to college for Computer Science. What do I have to show for it? A piece of paper to hang on my wall that says “BS” on it. 

    I worked in test and software engineering for 10 years. Almost everything I did in those capacities, I already knew before going to college. What I didn’t already know was primarily the proprietary systems and procedures of the company itself. Everything else I brought myself up to speed with on my own.

    Company I was working for went under in the “dot-bomb” of 2001. Haven’t been able to get work in that field since.

    I ended up going into business for myself – as a photographer.

    I would have been better off spending those college years studying and researching in the library, and gaining practical experience by working in the field.

    Literally the only reason I went to college and got a degree is because of those pencil-pushing, bean-counting HR manglers … er … managers, who won’t even look at your resume unless it has “BS” on it …

    Having a degree doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. It doesn’t mean you know the material. All it means is that you know how to sit still, take direction, and pass tests.

    Instead of sending our kids to college to learn how to make money for somebody else, we need to be teaching them how to be entrepreneurs, to own their own businesses, to find ways to take their dreams and turn them into products and services that will make their fellow mans’ lives better, and earn them gobs of money in the process.