- Personal Finance»
- Paying for College
College Is Not For Everyone
College for All Is Misguided
In America everyone is encouraged to go to college or university and get a bachelors degree. I don't agree with this narrow elitist thinking. There's a certain snobbiness that goes along with getting a college degree. Often times it makes the person with the degree feel better than and the person without it less than others. There's a staggering amount of student debt that weighs on the shoulders of those that owe it. Student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy normally which makes it more burdensome. You have it for life. How nice. I got a four year B.A. in a liberal arts subject, and I really don't feel like my degree has benefited me much at all. In my case I bought into the college mentality and it didn't pay off. Let's look at some alternatives to going to college.
If a person qualifies for it they could join the military. This option is not for the faint of heart to be sure. You have to be willing to put your life on the line for your country. Still the benefits are excellent. You really don't have to worry about anything in the way of survival needs. It's paid training and a guaranteed job when you're done with the education part. If you can deal with it for 20 years you get a lifetime pension and benefits. Another thing oftentimes not mentioned is you have a solid stable income stream to invest for 20 years. This can produce a nice dividend stream as well as the pension when you get out. It's possible after doing your 20 to never have to punch a clock again.
A person could learn a trade like plumbing, electrical, carpentry, air conditioning, auto mechanics, and the like. I've heard from several people that few individuals go into the trades these days and schools are cutting back budgets for them. I'm not totally sure this is true, but if it is it's dumb dumb dumb! This is where the college elitism comes in. At least in this American society there's an attitude that blue collar trades are less than white collar college degreed paper shufflers. I don't agree with that mindset. We need those that can do something practical, physical, and real.
One could also just get out there and start slinging hash at a minimum wage type job immediately after getting their diploma. The possibility to become a manager is always there or even moving into a corporate position. It could be in fast food, retail, or whatever, and even on mimimum wage one could start building wealth if they can keep their outgo under their income. A bigger income helps, but it's not everything. As I mentioned in one of my other articles I believe controlling expenses is more important.
If you think you have it in you you could start your own business of some sort. This is often considered the most difficult path, and maybe it is. It depends on your perspective I guess. The very essence of capitalism is being an entrepreneur. It's being a a producer instead of a consumer. Some people have a burning passion to do their own thing and have a plan to do it as well. Starting small and cheap is the way to go on this one. With some research you can find opportunities that have low barriers to entry. Maybe having some kind of a day job and swinging for the fences on the side can work.
I hope this helps to open some people's minds about the possibilities besides college. This list is not all inclusive. I'm sure there are some I didn't think of. If you're being pressured into going to college and you don't want to go consider your other options.