Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Buying a College Education - Weighing the Costs

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series.

My name is Stacey Powell, and if you’re ready to not just know better but do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

Lately, we’ve been doing videos about buying stuff, and a lot of people will say that a home is the most valuable thing that you can ever buy. But there’s one thing that I think is far more valuable than even a home, and that is your education. Whether it’s college or a trade school or grad school after your college, even your junior college education, it all comes with a price.

I think what happens with a lot of people is they just try to figure out, “Well, OK, what scholarships or student loans? How can I make this work? How much do I need to work every week, to kind of make it through? How much can my parents help or other people in my family?” And they kind of squeeze it into how they can make it happen instead of really looking at how much it’s all going to cost.

Now, part of me doesn’t really want to tell you to sit down and budget it all out and look at the total cost. It’s kind of like having a kid. You don’t necessarily always want to pencil that out because a logical person maybe would never really have a kid if you look at the total cost and the cost-benefit ratio. But with education, there are absolute statistics about the value of getting an education for the rest of your working life.

There is absolutely return on investment for every hour you put into your education, for every dollar you put into your education. But I will tell you to sit down and pencil it all out. In one of the last videos, I talked about sitting down and comparing prices. Compare prices of the three. Do your research. Do your homework especially if you’re looking at going to some trade school or online school. There are a lot of programs in the news right now, art institutes and chef institutes that promise you’re going to get this great $60,000 job right out of school. Well, a lot of times that’s not true. Maybe there are a few people that get out of those types of programs and make that kind of money.

But make sure that you read, Google, do your homework, look at the total cost and think about, “Well, am I the person who’s always at the top of my class and then going to be the one that gets that best job, that best money or am I maybe oftentimes a middle of the road person or am I somebody that struggles"? And I know those are harsh questions, but the thing is, is that I just want you to think hard before you sign up for $20,000 worth of student loans, $40,000 or if you’re an attorney, $100,000 of student loans. Do you really want that? If you do, absolutely go do it. Go get it. But think hard about what you’re buying before you make those decisions.

Go look in your field at what average salaries are. There’s a great website at Bureau of Labor Statistics, Go look up what your options are. It might be really enlightening for you. And let me know how it goes. If you want to know where to let me know how it goes come into our Facebook group, Team Do Better. And you can chat with me in our private group. You can also sign up for our newsletter at And subscribe below for our YouTube video series. Now go out there and practice some mindful buying.

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