Step #2 - Get A College Education
In hindsight, going to college for a Chemical Engineering degree has played an important part in being able to retire in my forties. Although my choice of a major was not part of a greater plan, it enabled me to get a great job at graduation, which also paid well. This eventually led to excellent experiences and personal development which led to promotions with significantly higher pay.
As background, I was planning to go to Medical School, when I started college. Therefore, my major was a backup option, in case I didn't pursue a medical degree. By the time I graduated, I needed a break from school and decided to work before applying to medical school. I never did apply to medical school and ended working in the industry my entire career and then retiring.
Here were my benefits and experiences from a college education that I think were important in our journey to financial freedom:
Greater breadth of opportunities. Many of the top companies came to campus to recruit future employees. Without a college degree, I wouldn't have been able to get many interviews with companies such as Exxon or DuPont.
Consideration for better paying entry level jobs. I'm not advocating that everyone should be engineers. However, if retiring early is a goal, college should be used as a financial spring board. Higher starting salaries lead to higher raises, or better salary offers when changing jobs.
Entry level jobs with higher future potential. Recruiters go to university campuses to find potential future leaders for their company. The entry level researchers or managers are expected to become the senior researchers and senior managers of the future.
Yes, but ...
Can't one do well with graduating from college? Some do, of course. A couple of notable examples are Bill Gates and Michael Dell, who dropped out of Harvard and the University of Texas, respectively, to start Microsoft and Dell. However, for most people, one's chances to do well significantly increase with going to college.
Is an Ivy League school going to be better than a state university? Since I graduated from Princeton, I can say yes, AND the advantage is only short lived, perhaps one to two years. After one is an experienced employee, the contributions and results at work matter much more than the school one attended.
Going to college no longer guarantees getting high paying job. Well, it never did. However, one can improve one's chances by graduating with excellent grades in a degree that prepares one for entering a profession.
Finally, while going to college has never guaranteed future financial success, it is unlikely I would have retired in my forties without a higher education. College was an important early step in Our Journey to Financial Freedom. I will also encourage my daughter to make college part of her wealth building plan.
Next segment: Getting The Most From Your Job
Here's the series:
- Our Childhood Preparation
- The Value Of Higher Education
- Making The Most Of My Job
- Lifestyle and Spending Choices
- Setting Goals, Developing Plans and Tracking Process
- Staying The Course
- How Luck Played A Role
- My Personal Finance Mind Tricks
- The Professionals We Used
- When Preparation Met Opportunity
For more on Reaping the Rewards , check back every Friday for a new segment.
Photo Credit: morgueFile.com, Kenn Kiser
This is not financial or education advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC