The real reason college is important goes beyond the money to financial freedom
Do you need to go to college? Is a university degree going to guarantee money and success in life? Why is college important in the new reality of the gig economy?
These questions have always been asked but it seems the voices saying you should skip college have been getting louder in the past decade. The internet has helped people with barely a high school diploma become billionaire success stories and the value of a degree…doesn't seem so valuable anymore.
But I've got one reason why everyone still needs to go to college, one reason that goes beyond the money and that will change your life.
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The decision to attend college is very important aside from the fact that it could help you go places in the financial aspect. You are making a commitment to invest time and money in your education. It is more than just an investment though. College opens up many opportunities for you and allows you to reach your full potential.
Becoming educated, even in a field unrelated to the jobs you hold, offers invaluable knowledge that can help you excel at those jobs. Life experiences often lead people down roads they never expected to travel, making skills learned during college useful later in life. In some professions you might even need a degree to get started, no matter how much experience you have.
That being said, there are lots of incentives at play when you're considering whether or not to go back for more schooling. You want to make sure that committing your time and money will pay off in the long run.
There's the promise of higher salary, which does come with more degrees than just high school, but this is only one factor that contributes to increased earning potential.
Your degree can take you even further through opportunities like study abroad programs, where students learn about other countries' cultures and their people while gaining valuable experience in their field. These types of experiences can be priceless after all is said and done, so let's think beyond the financial benefits here too.
So, if you haven't been convinced yet, why exactly should someone attend college?
In order to work towards becoming a master of your own future and taking control of the situation by forging ahead with higher education.
The real and most definitive reason college is important goes beyond the money to financial freedom. Yes, it will make you eligible for better jobs and more pay, but it's also an investment in yourself and all that you can become!
Do You Really Need a College Degree?
There’s a popular idea going around that you don’t need college and you’re better off without student loans.
People are lovin’ to rail against college tuition and how you won’t use your education. They point to college dropouts or others like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as proof that you can be successful without college.
It’s all bullshit!
Now don’t think the overwhelming hypocracy is lost on me. I make more on my five websites than I ever did as an economist or investment analyst. There’s no educational requirements, no interview process and no work uniform.
But I still couldn’t have done what I do without a college degree.
The Real Reason College is Important
A degree is the best investment you can make. People with a bachelor’s degree make over $2.1 million on average over 40 years, almost twice as much as those with a high school diploma.
But getting a college degree isn’t about the money. The real value in that degree is the job flexibility and the type of jobs you get.
Like it or not, right or not, a degree is still a requirement for many jobs. Without that ticket punch, the available jobs you can apply for are limited and many times going to be in a few fields.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with getting your hands dirty and doing some hard work in manual labor, I just don’t want to have to do it for the next 30 years. If you don’t have that ticket-punch of a college degree, the odds that you’re going to be stuck in some shitty, monotonous, back-breaking job you hate increase big time.
But Zuckerberg, Branson and Gates didn’t finish college and they’re billionaires. Yeah, and some people win the lottery but that’s luck. These guys are friggin' geniuses. You’re not, I’m not. We need all the help we can get.
I could show you 100 people that have a degree and make seven-figure incomes or 1,000 people without degrees that are trapped in crap jobs.
This isn’t a white-collar vs blue collar thing. It’s not about being an elitist asshole thinking a degree is going to make you better than someone else. This is about having more choices in life.
Without a degree, a lot of employers are going to slam the door in your face.
Does a College Degree Matter if You Don't Use It?
Another one I hear all the time is, but nobody uses their degree anyway.
Yeah, lots of people have jobs outside their degree field. I spent four years getting degrees in finance and communications, two years for my MBA and another three years to earn the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
I’m more of a writer now than I am an investment analyst but I couldn’t do what I do without the experience and skills I learned from that education.
I threw this question out to a group of entrepreneurs, a lot of whom don’t use their degrees. I got responses back from more than a dozen successful people that got a degree and either don’t use it or that now work in a job that doesn’t require a degree.
How many do you think told me they’re still glad they got their degree?
Every. Single. One.
Stephanie of Poorerthanyou.com got a degree from film school before everyone was carrying a fully functional video recorder in their pocket. She doesn’t even work in film but says every employer she’s worked for since has required some type of degree.
Greg Johnson of ClubThrifty.com has degrees in theatre arts and mortuary science, and I swear I don’t know how he picked those two.
Greg makes more running the website with his wife than he ever could putting makeup on dead bodies and but says he wouldn’t trade his college experience for anything.
This doesn’t mean paying tens of thousands for some lame for-profit online university. Those degrees ARE worthless. I’m talking about going to a public university or community college. Borrow the money if you have to, don’t let a little college debt scare you from improving your quality of life.
A college degree is important whether you use it or not. Beyond the additional income you're likely to earn and the financial flexibility, the college experience will open your mind up to a whole new world. College teaches you HOW to think and will bring out your imagination of everything that is possible in your life. That's why college is important and it's something you can't get anywhere else.
Read the Entire College Saving and Investing Series
- How to Start Investing While In College
- How Saving Half My Paychecks is Paying for College
- How to Create a Dividend Stocks Ladder and Live off Your Dividends
- Investment Banking Myths That Many Investors Don’t Know
- What is a 529 College Savings Plan [and How it can Solve the Student Loan Crisis]
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.