If you’ve been thinking about starting college, you might be wondering is it worth going into debt for college. There’s no easy answer here, but there are a few things you should take into consideration before you make up your mind.
Is it Worth Going into Debt for College?
I was just having this very conversation with my mother the other day and if I had it all over to do, would I have gone to college in the first place, and secondly would I have gone into debt to do so.
The quick answer is no. I wouldn’t have.
There are good reasons for that, but there are also good reasons to go to college even if you have to go into debt to get your degree.
The Cons of College
My sister always says the one thing no one can take from you is your college degree, and there is truth in that statement.
It is an asset and it is yours and yours alone.
She got a graduate degree and teaches college, so she might be biased in favor of the college option.
Even so, there are plenty of reasons it doesn’t make sense to go.
1. You’ll Be Paying that Debt for Years to Come
If you do take out student loans that debt will hang around your neck for decades. It will always be there until you pay it off.
There is no getting rid of it.
Trust me. I know.
I went way into debt for my degrees. It was foolish of me at the time and I had to twist myself into knots to get my student loan debt paid off.
Even if you don’t finish school, you will still have to pay off your student debt.
Even if you decide you don’t want to work in your field of study, you still have to pay it off.
2. Chances are You Will Be Working for Someone Else
Okay, now I am going to let my bias show.
I hated working for someone else. I worked in the corporate world and hated every single minute of it.
I didn’t like getting up early. I didn’t like being told when I had to be at work and when I could leave.
I didn’t like someone else deciding how much money I made either.
I know none of that bothers some people, but I couldn’t stand it.
I find it kind of funny that we go to high school and can’t wait to go to college.
Then when we’re in college we can’t wait to graduate so we can start working and be a real adult.
What so many don’t realize is just how horrible that day-to-day cubical living really is.
Are they truly happy working for someone else?
Maybe you are. I know that my sister could never stand the thought of working for herself and not having the stability that comes with a regular paycheck, and that’s perfectly fine.
But the terrible truth is, most people hate their jobs.
They work them anyway because they have no choice. They have responsibilities and bills, so they are stuck.
Of course, some of those responsibilities include paying off your college education.
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3. There are Too Many Ways to Create Your Own Wealth
The ways to create your own job…or better yet business in today’s world are astounding. I’m amazed every day.
People, kids even, are coming up with ways to make money that I would never think of in a million years.
The truth is, you no longer have to rely on someone else to give you a job.
There are so many ways to create your own wealth instead of working for someone else creating theirs.
When you work for yourself, you don’t have to worry about the job market or if you might lose your job one day.
You don’t have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning to force yourself out the door to drive to a job you hate. (Or maybe that was just me.)
You can create your own destiny, and the only education you need is what comes from trial and error.
In today’s world, you really only need to go to college if you plan on getting a professional degree that requires a college education such as being a doctor or nurse or lawyer, or accountant.
Of course, there are a bunch of other jobs you need a degree for, but you get my point.
It is true that I use my education to work for myself. I have two degrees in writing and a degree in accounting.
I use them to write this blog.
But if I didn’t have a degree in accounting, I could still have a blog. It just might be about gardening or some passion of mine.
The point is, I could still find plenty of ways to create my own wealth that doesn’t need a four-year college degree.
Life is short.
You should find your passion or passions and then have an impact on the world by sharing them.
There is a lot of pressure on young people to go to college, and I understand it.
It’s just that for a lot of people that degree doesn’t mean what it used to.
The Pros of College
Okay, I will climb off my soapbox and dive into some of the pros of going to college even if it means going into debt to do so.
1. You Will Earn More
Statistics show that you will earn more with a college degree over a high school diploma in the workforce.
If the idea of working for yourself makes your stomach turn, then having a college degree with certainly get you a higher starting salary and a larger annual salary.
You will also have more opportunities to move up the ladder at your job.
In fact, you may not be able to get the job you’re hoping for if you don’t have a college degree.
You might not have the tools or skills that your future employer is looking for.
The company you want to work for could pass you over even though you might be perfect for the job because they are looking to check off certain boxes when it comes to a new hire.
And having or not having that degree could play a big factor in whether or not you get the job.
So, if you plan on going down the traditional route of working for someone else in a white-collar profession, then going to college is worth it.
2. College is Necessary for Some Degrees
As I mentioned above, for some professions there is no getting around going to college if you want to work in them.
The medical field, engineering, finance, and so on require a four-year degree or more.
If you are going into one of these fields and will be making good money once you’re in them, then you should be able to handle your student loans.
What you don’t want to do is go to a private school that costs $25,000 a year to go into social work and expect to ever pay off your loans.
I know someone who did that. She ended up owning over $100, 000 dollars and got a job that paid her $25,000 dollar a year. Sure, it is a caring and necessary profession, but the financial realities don’t make sense in the long run.
For many people, a community college or associate degree or certificate for a trade makes a lot more sense and costs a lot less.
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3. The College Experience
It’s true that a person gets more out of going to college than just their degree. There is the whole college experience.
Meeting new people, being exposed to new ideas, it’s great.
I loved being on a college campus and living in a dorm.
It’s something I’ve always thought everyone who wanted to should experience.
But times have changed.
College is so expensive now, that unless you have money to burn, you shouldn’t go into debt just to have the experience of hanging out at the student union.
To Sum it All Up:
College is great and in some circumstances, it makes sense to go into debt to get your degree. However, for many people in today’s world, the numbers don’t add up. There are too many ways to create your own wealth and work on your own terms that won’t require student loans.