Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Making College Part of a Wealth Building Plan

In hindsight, one of my best wealth building strategies was to get a great paying job after graduating. I wish I could claim credit for this strategy, but it was my parents, not me, who put the idea into my head.

Looking back on my experience, here’s how I will advise my children on using a college education for building wealth:

Get knowledge and skills that enable access to higher paying jobs. If one accepts that as important, choose a major to enable getting a higher paying job. In addition, knowledge and skills can be acquired outside of the class room, in extracurricular activities.

Similarly, going to college was a business decision. For me, it needs to “pay out,” through a higher paying job that is greater than the cost of attending college.

A good job provides valuable experience to lead to better jobs. Although I didn’t want a job I hated, I didn’t think my first job had be one that I would love to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to gain new skills and learn from the experience. So I didn’t sweat not getting the perfect job and I applied for jobs that appeared to be challenging, rewarding and a growthful experience.

Take the job with the highest offer. I know that some will disagree. I like the advice from Jeffrey Fox in How to Become CEO. He wrote to always take the job with higher pay. Higher pay generally means more responsibility, higher expectations and  future jobs with higher pay.

Photo Credit:, Heather M.

This is not financial or education advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2006 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


Golbguru said...

Good one. I think college (or higher degree) have more to do with wealth building that what usually people give them credit for.
A higher degree usually means a job with a higher pay and better opportunities to rise up the ladder. You can almost double your salary in going from an undergraduate degree to a PhD. How's that for wealth building :)

Anonymous said...

Depends what PhD you have and what undergrad degree you have... The average college associate prof isn't earning any more than the typical white male college grad.

I don't recommend pursuing a career purely based on the highest financial payoff. Better to do something you like and are good at. That increases your chances of excelling in it, rather than ending burning out. But if your chosen area is low paying and hard to get jobs try to also specialize in something that will bring the money.

The Casey Serins of the world need look no further than this:

to see the financial value of education in general...

Super Saver said...

GolbGuru and mOOm,

Thanks for your comments and great points.

Of course, there is not one answer for everyone. I think we are in agreement that it is about making choices, and all of us provided a valid approach on how we would think about making those choices.

To mOOm's point, each specific situation also needs to be evaluated individually.