IS COLLEGE WORTH IT?

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“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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