Investing in education is investing in yourself and it always the best start. Education opens the door to jobs that pay more, people with more education enjoy lower unemployment rates but it’s important to pick the right major and invest wisely.
Some 30 years ago, while I was still a small child, I remember going out to dinner with my dad and some of his close friends. Take into account that my dad was a chief of police at the time and those other individuals at the table were other highly respected members of society, including a judge, bank director, doctor, and so on.
Even though this dinner was a lifetime ago, I can still remember that we had chard and potatoes, as this dish still remains one of my favorites to this day.
When the check arrived, every person at the table reached for their wallet, except for the doctor. Naturally, someone noticed as much and jokingly shouted: “Hey doctor, stop playing dumb, and start reaching into your pockets!”
At that moment, the doctor said one sentence that stayed with me after all this time “When was the last time you saw doctors picking up the check?”
In case you really want to know, he did pay for his share eventually, but you get the point. You never know when you might need some help from a doctor, and you’d want to remain on his good side at all times. As for me, I was still too young at that time to realize why.
At the end of the day, when it comes to the list of the top 10 highest-paying jobs in the world, doctors occupy not one, but three top spots.
Unfortunately, I didn’t study medicine back in the day, but I still made a wise choice as I became a petroleum engineer. After taking a glance at this list, I’m more than satisfied with my choice.
Think twice before you make your final college choice
First of all, a lot of people will claim that you should always do something you love, as it will feel less like work. My personal belief is somewhat different. In order to pay the bills, you have to work, and some jobs are simply better paid than others.
Education is an investment, perhaps the biggest one each of us will ever make. Depending on whether your choice was the right one, you will reap the benefits or pay for your mistakes later on in life.
For example, doctors will get a huge return on their investment pretty quickly, while the teachers will have to work their behinds off to get to the same level. Having a great job not only pays the bills, but some careers bring social prestige as well.
Children are oftentimes too immature to realize the magnitude of their career choices at the end of high school, and the mistakes some make here are very hard to fix later on. That’s why parents play a huge role at this time, as they can provide the much-needed guidance (at least that was the case with me).
Actually, going to college was the only option I was given at the time. Meanwhile, I had different plans, as I wanted to make some instant money, and get my independence right away.
Luckily, I was able to get the best of both worlds due to my side hustle gigs, which worked like a charm. Again, you can see how I failed to realize the importance of education, and look at the big picture, similar to the times when I was surprised by the doctor’s refusal to pay the check.
Fortunately for me, my parents were very adamant about their goal, and it didn’t take long before I realized how lucky I was to have them by my side.
Don’t be distracted by the no degree success stories
There are some exceptions which confirm the rule. The internet is filled with incredible success stories of individuals who became millionaires, without having any sort of formal education. Still, the stats don’t lie.
There are currently more than 10,000,000 millionaires in the United States alone. I would be willing to bet that most of them have university degrees. The 5 people that were able to become millionaires basically represent a statistical error, compared to millions of those who tried to get rich overnight and failed miserably.
Don’t get me wrong, the university degree in itself is not the key factor. However, while attending college, the abundance of knowledge, and personal connections you’ll gain with some incredibly smart individuals will broaden your horizons without you even realizing it.
If you stay glued to your small community for the rest of your life, you will never get a chance to grow as a person. After I graduated and got a job, I noticed that a huge number of my college friends were now basically running the industry.
As my job included supply chain management, I was quickly able to grab a huge piece of the market for myself, thanks to the friendships I made way back in the day in the college dorm. When I look back on it now, who knows what type of career I would have, had I not met all of these great individuals during my college days.
Costs vs potential returns and why it’s important to look ahead
Young people oftentimes look at student debts as an obstacle. For example, medical loans are pretty steep, but it pales in comparison to the amount of money you’ll be able to earn once you get a job.
Sure, there are extraordinary examples of high earners in every field, from athletes to sales managers, but what you have to understand is that these people are at the forefront of their respective industries. On the other hand, you’ll have a hard time finding a doctor or an engineer that simply cannot earn enough money to pay off their student loans.
The debts they accumulate during their college days are nothing when compared with the potential salary. On the other hand, some costs are just not worth it. For example, there are tons of private schools out there, offering nothing but the best for their students, but it comes at a hefty price.
Think about it for a second.
Would you really be willing to invest $100k per year, to master the English language? Sure, you’ll become an expert in this respective field, but there’s simply not enough money there to justify the investments you’ll have to make.
Don’t be afraid to use the calculator if you must, but think everything through before making the final decision regarding your career path. It’s only one of the most important things you’ll ever do.
Ultimately, I will leave you with yet another quote that played a big role in my development.
During primary school, I had a math teacher who was a very experienced mentor, closing in on her retirement years. As kids, we all wanted to play football all the time. Who doesn’t?
My teacher used to say this quite often: “Pay attention to your education, children, as education will play a vital role during the rest of your livelihood. You are my 30th generation of students, and during all that time, only one child went on to become a professional football player and made a career out of it. However, I cannot even begin to remember just how many went on to become doctors, professors, engineers… The chances of success are far greater if you focus on the things that matter in life from the start.”