Author Topic: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)  (Read 5521 times)

socalmillennial

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COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« on: February 22, 2016, 11:48:53 PM »
Some background:

I am 16 years-old*. My hobby (obsession) for dealing with money began when I was either 12 or 13, I can't remember. At the time I was really trying to figure out some direction in my life. My dad suggested I read "rich dad-poor dad"; that gave a me a clear understanding of money. I wanted more, not just money, but more financial knowledge. I started reading books on the subject, but nothing that really gave what MMM does here on his blog. The books basically always gave some sort of way to make more money than you were already making. At the time I had started a few businesses, dealt with eBay for bike parts (to restore a Chicago-built 5 speed schwinn), and was definitely over-consuming. A key concept I learned from one of the handful of books I read, was NOT to "do what you love ... and the money will follow"; instead the book said to "do what you love ... but follow the money" (Book: Business Brilliant). Now I mostly go by: Do what pays the most, if you like it - great! If you don't- man up and work hard for that money.

High school rolled around . . . and so began the inundation of "college-this" and "college-that". College here ... college there. I took hard courses, never went outside**, became depressed and somewhat suicidal, studied all day. My face became covered in zits and acne (it was disgusting to look at my face every morning when I woke up).  My mind never left a state of school - the weekends were spent studying, staying up late on sunday nights to complete whatever BS my teachers had assigned on friday. I lost sleep. Got only 4 or 5 hours on average. My grades were A's and B's, yet I felt everyone else was doing better (and they actually were). Half-way through freshmen year, I developed a nasty addiction to coffee. Coffee in the morning, coffee in the afternoon, coffee at night. I could never focus and I learned nothing that is actually useful, and everything else I forgot after the chapter test. Sophomore year rolled around and I continued with hard classes. Yet my grades were not doing as well (only slightly not-as-great). My life continued to suck. I rarely attended cross country practice, told them I had a knee injury to get out of just about everything. Registration rolled around for next (junior) year and somehow, someway - I chose somewhat easier classes. That was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made for myself.

It is now February of junior year, and everyone is asking where I am going to college (yes, EVEN if you just met them 5 seconds ago!! "where the hell are you going to college?" - they ask). I have been researching college (university) for at least 3 years now.  ALL MY LIFE I had heard the same lines: "Go to college, there is NO OTHER option. You won't go anywhere in life WITHOUT a college degree." I bought the BS for years. Then I found some articles on the internet about doing other things instead of college. They were mind-blowing. I could NOT believe I was actually reading what I was reading. How in the hell could anyone ever denounce university??? The sad part is that the articles are true.

College is way-overpriced, way past what inflation would call for. College used to be "prestigious" because a select-portion of the population went there. But now that everyone is told to go to college, we have graduates working part-time at Starbucks trying to make ends meet. This large amount of college applicants allows universities to become expensive. My parents both went to college. A state school about 20 minutes down the street (by car). Both of my grandfathers went to college. One of my great-grandfathers grew up in Germany and came over before WWI. Other than that, I am a western-european-mut. I work as a busser at a Macaroni Grill down the street (they told me I would be a server on the 5th day, but that I was too young, sadly). What I am trying to say is that I work my butt off, and I know it. Not to mention it is a great workout. ***

The point I am trying to make is that college is NOT that appealing to me. I like working, I don't like sitting in a classroom listening to some middle-aged-old-fart, talk about god-knows-what, just so I can take a test after two weeks, only to not remember the information the following week. I often find school to basically just be a recitation of "facts"; with the exception of math. This recitation kills me. There is no thought to it; just read, remember, write; Everyday, for what feels like forever.

Trades, yes TRADES, are what interests me. My parents would think I was bat-sh*t crazy if I told them that. I know I am smart, but I just can't see myself in a cubicle repeating the same work everyday.

You can make the argument that college provides a place for high-schoolers to "mature" into adults. SURE you could make that argument, if your definition of "maturing" is: getting drunk, partying, and attending frat parties while contracting some sort of STD.

Don't get me wrong, those types of things are fun. I like having fun, but I also like working hard. Work really hard- play hard.

There are a plethora of articles that I have read about not attending college. Most of them under the google search: "why to not go to college". Likewise, there are a plethora of articles I have read about attending college. One of the impactful articles was MMM's "50 jobs over 50k (without college)". Some of those jobs I could easily see myself doing. Plus I know I could easily start my own business, like an Electrician or Plumbing Company; where even more money can be made. Another impactful article was: http://www.returnofkings.com/29389/ignore-the-unwarranted-hate-of-trade-jobs ****

These are the type of articles that let me know there is another path. A path seldom-taken.

So my question to you is: should I take the college path or forge my own path?


Yours truly,
- Socal Millennial

*my dad is in his late 40's and we get mistaken for brothers all the time. I really don't look 16, and I definitely don't act 16. Most people who I meet think I am at least 19, some have told me 25, but on average I get 22 most of the time.

**I also had a varied social life before I went to high school; which faded into oblivion. Only recently have I gotten back to being "social" - dating girls, enjoying time with those I value.

***Not only is it a great workout, but before I got my job I would never work out. Honestly speaking, pretty much the only way you can get me to workout is if there is some monetary reward at the end. Though recently, I am finding time to workout outside of my job. It is doing wonders for the way I feel and my energy levels.

**** return of kings has some controversial articles, I understand some of you may take offense from the website, but instead I would just like to focus on the one article I linked, as it pertains to what is being discussed in this topic.

I understand we are all busy, but please no one-word responses, MMM is a place for sincerity and explanation. :)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 11:51:26 PM by socalmillennial »

MandalayVA

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2016, 04:34:07 AM »
College is not a requirement for a successful life.  My former neighbor dropped out of high school when he was your age, got in as an electrician's apprentice, and now owns a successful business.  School will always be there. 

(Mods, you'll probably want to move this to Ask a Mustachian)

Drifterrider

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2016, 07:31:29 AM »
If academia comes easy to you, follow that path.  If working with your hands gives you more satisfaction, follow that path.  There are successful people who never attended secondary education and unsuccessful people with multiple degrees (you will find them working at McDs.)

A degree in a desired field (in demand) can help you in that field.  But if you don't want to earn a living doing that type of work, you will not be happy.

matchewed

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2016, 08:51:41 AM »
Your call dude. Don't look for validation from other people. If you know that college won't be good for you then don't do it. Go ahead and work in a trade.

You can be successful either way. Your post seems to be filled with contradictions though. If your main drive is follow the money and do whatever is necessary to do that, then college is that route. It's probably the first foundation in order to have a very high income. I'm not saying that you can't be just fine without it, it just seems that you've shotgunned some random stuff at us that doesn't fit together quite so well. So this doesn't jive. You say you'll do whatever you need to in order to make the most money then you quickly undermine that statement with the rest of your post.

Any form of training and education involves some basic level of understanding and retaining information and communicating it to others. Do not disparage it so quickly. You may not like the format but you seem to be bucking against that self professed ability to do what is necessary to work for that money. That includes your current education. You chose to take the easier route, that's fine, if you were unhappy doing the harder route it's cool to back off.

I would take some time and just find out what are you good at. What are your natural tendencies? What interests you? What excites you? Develop skills in those areas.

MrsDinero

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2016, 10:10:19 AM »
It sounds like you are feeling very overwhelmed and a bit anxious.  This is completely understandable.  A couple of things I would suggest is lay off the coffee, stop putting so much pressure on yourself, and breathe.  It sounds like you are burnt out from all the course overload. 

Yes this is time to start to figure out what you want to do but there is nothing that says you must plan your entire life right now.  A lot of us on here have had several different types of careers.  Some made switches because of happiness, or money, or because they felt stuck in a career with no advancement.  There is nothing wrong with changing sometime in the future. 

Chasing the money can work out but can be downsides to it.  What if you end up in a high paying job that you feel is just sucking the soul out of you?  It has happened, where people hate the job but don't want to lose the salary.  I'm not saying don't chase the money, I'm just saying don't ONLY chase the money.

As for your question about trades vs college.  That really comes down to you and what you want.  I personally do not feel there is anything wrong with either path as long as you have a plan A and a plan B.  Maybe see if you can shadow someone in the field you are interested in. Ask them about their training, apprenticeships, daily routine, etc.  See if it is something you would be interested in.

Yes going to college can lead to higher paying jobs, however beginning working full time 4 years before your peers can also put you ahead of the curve, especially if you are very focused.

If you end up doing trades I would still recommend taking college classes (community college?) that are focused on finance and business related topics, especially if you are planning to start and run your own business.  Never stop learning.


Edit: My younger brother was obsessed with money from an early age too.  He ended up becoming an accountant.  He had to get his bachelors and a masters, but loves his job.  He travels a lot for work, gets to work with money and numbers and makes a very good salary. 
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 10:12:41 AM by MrsDinero »

galliver

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2016, 11:33:19 AM »
You say you are drawn to the trades, but I am wondering, have you taken a shop class? Made something in your garage? Disassembled and cleaned out a sink drain? Performed car maintenance? You may well have, but while you mentioned taking hard classes and feeling uninspired by the material, you mentioned no experiences relevant to hands-on work.

You write off college due to the monotony of classes and tests, but you don't expect toilet after toilet after backed up drain after toilet after water heater to be monotonous also? I'm not necessarily saying one is better than the other, just that your proposed "solution" to this problem isn't one.

You write off college as irrelevant, but who does your surgery when you mess up your knees climbing under sinks for a decade? A team of college+ educated doctors and nurses. Who makes and/or signs off on the plans for the house a contractor builds? An architect, engineer, or both. I'm not convincing you, just trying to cover that there are some places you just can't get without a college education. (Some understandably, others less so; but regardless, there are positions for which you will not be considered without the diploma.)

So, while the "do what you love" thing is bullcrap, the question "what do you want to do in life" is not. You don't have to live for your job but you do have to do it daily for years, even if you retire early. If you are anything like me at your age, you have hardly any idea how many jobs and careers are out there! I have a friend from Washington state who is teaching in China. One who is a marine biologist and goes out on a boat several times a week.  One who just got a job as an adventure guide. One who is an animal trainer at a zoo. One who's a photographer, and her bf had a media company that's made some commercials for major brands. The reason they tell you to do what you love is you are so much more engaged and good at your job when you actually care, rather than just being in it for the money.

So, rather than treating "college" and "trades" as monolithic entities, figure out what field, what job you think you want to be in, what you want to do every day, and decide what education or preparation you need after that. (If you aren't sure, it does seem like trades/work have a lower "buy in", and college is too expensive to waste. But you do lose your younger, unattached years when your brain us more flexible abd you are used to academics. There is always a trade-off.)

MasterStache

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 11:36:05 AM »
I don't think merely asking weather you should go to college or not is a valid question. The question you should ask yourself is what are you passionate about? And does it require further education? If so, are there ways to reduce the expenses. Grants, scholarships, working odd jobs, possibly even joining the National Guard. What about going to a local college that has a 2 year program. Typically MUCH cheaper. I've worked with Engineers that have only 2 year (Associate) degrees. Many 2 year colleges will transfer credits to larger Universities for an undergrad degree. Just some suggestions. There are numerous opportunities.

I constantly tell me kids to find what they are passionate about and pursue it anyway they can. I really don't care if it involves college or not.

robartsd

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2016, 12:10:51 PM »
February of junior year of high school is not a time to be closing doors. Apply to some college programs you think you may be interested in, but also research trades you may be interested in. Find some sort of mentor who sees value for you on either path and will help you consider your options. A summer job in a trade this year would be of great value to you - save the money (you can even let your parents believe the work is more about saving for school than exploring potential careers at this point).

Do take the advise posted here to ease up on yourself and lay off the coffee. I also think community college business classes would be valuable to you in a trade career.

Cassie

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2016, 12:19:25 PM »
My ex went to college and got both a BA and MA because his mom was dying and wanted him too. He was very handy and always wanted to go into the trades. So at 30 he was one of the oldest apprenticeships to learn to be a tool and dye maker. There were plenty of people in the trades with a degree because they liked it and the $ was good. When he got overtime he got time and a half and double time for reading his book and waiting for the line to go down so he could fix it.  His job allowed me to be a SAHP to 3 boys and obtain 3 college degrees with no debt.  I would suggest job shadowing people in the various trades to see what their job actually involves. Some trades wear out your body young in your 40's often like carpentry and plumber. Others like tool and dye makers, machinists, electricians usually do not.

stoaX

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2016, 04:21:22 PM »
You say you are drawn to the trades, but I am wondering, have you taken a shop class? Made something in your garage? Disassembled and cleaned out a sink drain? Performed car maintenance? You may well have, but while you mentioned taking hard classes and feeling uninspired by the material, you mentioned no experiences relevant to hands-on work.

You write off college due to the monotony of classes and tests, but you don't expect toilet after toilet after backed up drain after toilet after water heater to be monotonous also? I'm not necessarily saying one is better than the other, just that your proposed "solution" to this problem isn't one.

You write off college as irrelevant, but who does your surgery when you mess up your knees climbing under sinks for a decade? A team of college+ educated doctors and nurses. Who makes and/or signs off on the plans for the house a contractor builds? An architect, engineer, or both. I'm not convincing you, just trying to cover that there are some places you just can't get without a college education. (Some understandably, others less so; but regardless, there are positions for which you will not be considered without the diploma.)

So, while the "do what you love" thing is bullcrap, the question "what do you want to do in life" is not. You don't have to live for your job but you do have to do it daily for years, even if you retire early. If you are anything like me at your age, you have hardly any idea how many jobs and careers are out there! I have a friend from Washington state who is teaching in China. One who is a marine biologist and goes out on a boat several times a week.  One who just got a job as an adventure guide. One who is an animal trainer at a zoo. One who's a photographer, and her bf had a media company that's made some commercials for major brands. The reason they tell you to do what you love is you are so much more engaged and good at your job when you actually care, rather than just being in it for the money.

So, rather than treating "college" and "trades" as monolithic entities, figure out what field, what job you think you want to be in, what you want to do every day, and decide what education or preparation you need after that. (If you aren't sure, it does seem like trades/work have a lower "buy in", and college is too expensive to waste. But you do lose your younger, unattached years when your brain us more flexible abd you are used to academics. There is always a trade-off.)

+1

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 07:57:05 PM »
If you want a degree, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.

If your only goal is to make money quickly, find something that is difficult, with a high barrier to entry, that nobody wants to do, but must be done. If I had life to live again and was just looking for money, I'd probably be an aquatic construction and demolition specialist. Basically someone who welds and blows stuff up underwater. Often in unforgiving places. You have to know how to dive. You have to know how to weld - underwater. You have to know how to destroy things just right. You have to be willing to go anywhere. You have to be fine with going into freezing, polluted, or dangerous waters. But you get PAID, largely because you just may die, and you're doing something hard.

But very few people want to live a life of misery for the money. What is it you want to do? It sounds like you don't want to sit in class. You don't (or didn't) want to work out. You don't want to work in an office. You seem to want to be a "grown up". I don't see anywhere that you mention what you do want.

Perhaps finding your likes is a good place to start.

grizz

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2016, 10:41:01 AM »
I have a bachelor's and a master's. They don't mean shit, especially in nowadays. (But I will say one good thing about college--you meet people. Connections get you jobs and/or opportunities.)

Nothing wrong with trades. Pick a good one and save your $$$$.


matchewed

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2016, 11:02:12 AM »
I have a bachelor's and a master's. They don't mean shit, especially in nowadays.

What does that mean? I'm pretty sure that's not the case and that they do in fact mean something even today.

katsiki

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2016, 11:22:19 AM »
Perhaps, a community college with a technical program or vocational program would be a good way to sort this out.  Just a thought.

I agree to some degree that college is not all it is cracked up to be; however, it can open doors.  Many employers use a degree to weed out applicants.  ie can you stay committed to make it through a degree program?

Good luck!

Fishindude

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2016, 11:39:21 AM »
I am a strong advocate of the trades, working with your hands and learning a marketable skill.
The average skilled tradesman in America is in their 40's or 50's.   The trades are starved for new talent, working conditions, pay and benefits are getting better all the time.
Lot's of directions you can go here.

I would advise staying out of residential or light commercial construction work.   
There are exceptions, but generally poor wages, no safety, no house keeping, crooked employers not paying insurance and benefits, lots of illegals, no substance abuse policies, etc.

mamagoose

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2016, 02:54:00 PM »
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the personal / social benefits of going to college. You're never going to have access to that kind of a dating pool again in your life (seriously, tens of thousands of singles living in close quarters for 4 years). I went to college & grad school b/c I'm a nerd and love learning, and came out with a husband+best friend who I probably would not have met if we weren't on the same campus at the same time. I'm not saying go to college to find a spouse, but it's a great place to start looking while you're there for an education.

Cassie

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2016, 03:08:50 PM »
That is if you can afford to go away to college. Many kids have to live at home and go to the local college.

Exprezchef

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2016, 03:19:54 PM »
I think TV personality Mike Rowe has an interesting view on just this topic. Check out his foundation page and watch some of his videos.
It might help you decide what path to look at. 

http://profoundlydisconnected.com/

srob

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2016, 05:03:20 PM »
You don't have to choose between college and a trade. You could go to an inexpensive community college to learn a trade such as welding, construction, etc. Then if you change your mind and want more education, you could transfer to a university. It is not a bad option to go that route even if college is definitely what you want, bc you can get general ed classes out of the way for cheap. It is easier to get good grades at most community colleges too...my wife transferred to a university after getting her associates at a comm college, and the univ gave her a full tuition scholarship bc she had an awesome gpa, that would have been much harder to get at the univ if her general ed classes had been done there. You would want to make sure that the coursework transfers if that is your plan though.

I do understand where you are coming from. I had extensive post-secondary education--over a decade, and now I work in an office making good money. I miss working with my hands though, so I have bought some rentals, some of which are self managed, giving me the opportunity to fix and occasionally remodel stuff. It is great.

Many a tradesman had confided in me that they wish they had gotten a degree, and are making sure their kids do it. It does open doors. It doesn't mean you have to be a cubicle dweller. I know a guy who is graduating from a university with a construction management degree and a minor in welding...

robartsd

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2016, 05:07:24 PM »
Many employers use a degree to weed out applicants.  ie can you stay committed to make it through a degree program?
Typically holding down a full-time job for an equivalent number of years is just as good (if not better) at letting HR know that you can stay committed. A relevant degree certainly can trump unrelated work experience in many cases, but unrelated work experience may be better than an unrelated degree depending on perceived complexity or level of responsibility. Certainly experience in a related job is often more important than an unrelated degree.

human

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2016, 06:59:12 PM »
A lot of people are avoiding the real advice: you're 16 chill out already. You haven't been doing anything for "years" yet as you keep trying to point out in your post. You've been in high school for three years, get over yourself already. Many people here have been in university for "years", I was in for 7 years because I worked 30-40hrs a week in undergrad and then full time during grad.

You took hard classes and you feel others did better than you with less effort. It would help if you stated what those classes were, maybe they just aren't interesting to you. When I was in university I loved reading about topics I was passionate about and loved debates with other students. Of course I never did papers until the last minute so hated the actual work but at least I enjoyed the intellectual pursuit. I'm sure you could find a cheap community college or state school to not risk too much dough and try out something for a year before committing.

In the 90s us grunge kids all went through an existential crisis, it wasn't "what about the trades!!!11!!!??!??!" it was "dude . . . fuck dis and fuck dat, I just wanna party." Nothing unique here . . . most kids I met in university were there just to get the "degree" and partied most of the time, most turned out ok with decent 9-5 jobs.

I think the problem with this forum is that everyone keeps advocating do what you love and love what you do so much is that it becomes dogma and you are considered a failure for doing some joe schlub job you don't love. When I read about the jobs people do here that make them "sooo happy!" I wanna puke because it sure sounds like boring work to me.

So finally here's my advice: find out what your aptitude is and what the job market is like where you live. Go to a cheap uni or a trade school and live at home with your parents while studying. Pick an education that won't leave you swimming in debt and will give you a job that will make you the best coin for a short 15-20 year career. Retire at 35-40. This is what I'm telling my 16 year old self right now, I started saving too late. Had I started right out of uni I wouldn't be working anymore.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 08:30:20 PM by human »

Fishindude

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2016, 05:04:40 AM »
Pick an education that won't leave you swimming in debt and will give you a job that will make you the best coin for a short 15-20 year career. Retire at 35-40.

A nice thought, but near impossible for the average American, unless they want to live in a box under a bridge after retirement.
Most folks will be doing things like buying homes, raising children, etc. which will take much of their income during first 15-20 years of career.  Nothing wrong with shooting for the moon, but comfortable retirement after a 30-35 year working career at age +/- 55 is a huge accomplishment and still ten years ahead of normal retirement age.

robartsd

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2016, 11:22:32 AM »
Pick an education that won't leave you swimming in debt and will give you a job that will make you the best coin for a short 15-20 year career. Retire at 35-40.

A nice thought, but near impossible for the average American, unless they want to live in a box under a bridge after retirement.
Most folks will be doing things like buying homes, raising children, etc. which will take much of their income during first 15-20 years of career.  Nothing wrong with shooting for the moon, but comfortable retirement after a 30-35 year working career at age +/- 55 is a huge accomplishment and still ten years ahead of normal retirement age.
Have you read the blog? I'm not sure what your definition of average American is, but I think most Americans could be quite happy with life with the 44% savings rate required to retire in about 20 years if they plan for it by living frugally and developing marketable skills to get a decent wage. Most American's can't retire at age 40 because they took on too much debt in their 20's.

MMM's expenses (including housing) run about 40k/year for a family of 3. Two adults earning $20/hour each and working full time should be able to live on 40k/year and save enough to retire at that spending level in about 20 years. Of course MMM's family doesn't have child care expenses because they retired to be full-time parents, so a one-earner family might need $40/hour to retire in 20 years, or each earner in a two earner family might need to make $25/hour to make up for child care expenses.

Fishindude

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2016, 01:00:09 PM »
Yes I've read the blog and understand the math.

I greatly appreciate many aspects of the MM philosophy, but also realize that one size doesn't fit all.
The extreme end of the MM philosophy involves living a life way more frugal than many of us are willing to do during both the earning, and the post FIRE years.

humbleMouse

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2016, 02:32:05 PM »
Dont go.  you are wise beyond your age.  i am in my twenties working at one of the biggest companies in the world and i dropped out.  pm me if you have any other questions.  you are going to get a lot of responses from stuffy square ass rule followers on this website who have a low risk tolerance.  dont listen to them.

robartsd

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2016, 03:46:26 PM »
The extreme end of the MM philosophy involves living a life way more frugal than many of us are willing to do during both the earning, and the post FIRE years.
I agree that the average american is not WILLING to do what it takes to retire after only working 20 years, but I take issue with your statement that it is "near impossible". Particularly for someone like the OP who is still in high school, I would encourage trying it. Worst case, they decide retiring early is not worth forgoing X but are still well ahead of those who believed it was "near impossible" and decided not to try.

GorgeousSteak

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2016, 05:31:50 PM »
Well, mostly I just wanted to say good luck.  It is an important decision with real consequences.  But don't sweat it too much, there's always opportunities to course correct.

For me, most of the things I think I got out of college were not related to what I primarily went there for (listening to old farts talk as you put it).  There just tends to be alot of opportunity to form friendships, find groups of people with similar interests, have discussions about everything with like-minded people, time to think about who you are and whats important to you, etc.  Yeah, some if not all of this could have happened without college, but it was something of a catalyst I think.  If your parents are footing the bill for a significant portion of it, I'd lean towards going to college honestly.  You can study almost anything at college, there has to be something you would find interesting.  If you're on the hook for the bill, trade school becomes much more appealing (and if your parents don't like it, f 'em, they're not paying for it), but only if there's a trade you are very interested in.

I would also caution against going too heavily MMM at such a young age, it seems to grip some people a little too hard imo.  I look back and wonder how many great memories I would not have had I embraced this stuff too early because I would have been too stingy.  Definitely don't start piling up credit card debt and probably follow the message about staying away from most material goods, but freely spend on things that involve social activities (like going out to bars, dating, hanging out with friends, etc.) and expanding your bubble (going on trips, trying new activities and hobbies, etc.).

mozar

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2016, 07:00:47 PM »
From another perspective, I went to a university with name brand recognition. Employers are willing to pay a premium because of where I went to.
There are many paths to riches. But I bet some universities will be very interested in giving you scholarships if you have already learned to run your own business.

grizz

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2016, 09:07:16 AM »

What does that mean? I'm pretty sure that's not the case and that they do in fact mean something even today.

It means I know successful people with and without degrees. It's meaningless. I know a bunch of jobless fools with PhDs too, and that is becoming increasingly common, as universities are increasingly relying on adjuncts as wage slaves.

 I get the feeling the original poster could do well without a degree. The fact that he's thinking about this stuff at an early age shows he's well ahead of his peers.

Kaydedid

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2016, 09:38:57 AM »
My husband is a successful tradesman (Journeyman millwright).  He went to the local community college and got a 2-year Industrial Mechanical Technician degree.  He's been told by many folks in the industry that this is a huge advantage, and was what landed him his apprenticeship.  In general, trades that have state-run multi-year apprenticeships and certifications are better-paying (electrician, millwright, plumber vs. welder or auto mechanic). 

Are there any programs at your high school that could get you started along this path?  Some schools have half-day programs for upperclassmen at community colleges for hands-on trades.  Even if the trade program isn't quite the same as your eventual goal, a lot of hands-on skills do translate, and you could see if you enjoy the physical work.  If your school doesn't offer this, how about taking a community college class on your own, maybe during the summer? 

Many trades will be tough on your body.  It's not unheard of for tradesfolk in their fifties to have hips and knees replaced, and sometimes have other health issues due to a culture of crap food, high stress, and no aerobic exercise (which can be mitigated if you're willing to be counter cultural).  If you go the trades route, I'd strongly recommend focusing on ER/FI and/or getting a 4-year degree along the way, so you can move into management after 10-20 years, start your own business, or work part-time.

There is definitely a gap between the number of folks in trades getting to retire and the number of young people being trained to replace them.  If you do it right, it could work out well for you.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 09:42:54 AM by Kaydedid »

zinethstache

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2016, 03:52:16 PM »
DH and I dated in high school. He was a did no homework straight 3.0 student who immediately started in construction and then spent 28 years as an Electrician, finishing up as a Commercian Electrical Foreman running the electrical for multi million dollar jobs. In the end he hated it, but it was a good career that paid decent and yes, he stayed fit.

He graduated a year before me. I was a bit of a late bloomer, found school to be super easy. For some its very hard work, for me I like the puzzle of figuring out whatever the teacher/prof needs to get me that magic 4.0. I didn't focus in school early like you did, It took me until my sophomore year to even think about applying myself. I thought of it as a puzzle to be solved and I learned a lot along the way. I am very artistic so got a scholarship, but to community college. After the first year of full time Community college I got my first full time "company" job. I've worked at two companies my entire life, they've paid my way through college at one class per quarter. I was able to slither along, changing my major 3 times, but because classes still applied to my work, they were paid for 100%. I graduated with a BS in Computing at 32, with a 3.82. Not Stressed, enjoying it all. Fully Paid for by the second employer to take me under their wing.

Suffice to say you will be fine whatever path you choose as long as it works for you.

End of our story is that DH retired at 43 and manages our rental properties with skills fully paid for by his 28 years in the trade (He still continues hes CEUs to have a current state electrician license). I am retiring next year at 49 and am excited for us to be free to travel and do some larger property rehab projects down the road in our free time. My education will certainly come into play for me for the rest of my life (Im very good with financials, computers, web etc), but honestly I LOVE working with my hands and cannot wait to be working a "trade" along side my life partner.

You obviously write well, and are a thoughtful high school student so keep working the angles to do what you want. Do NOT listen to those who say you need to work hard at what your doing no matter what, you can always make a change to something that makes you happy.

My parents and in-laws are still somewhat shocked with what we've been able to make of our lives. They were nay sayers initially when DH stopped working, and then did not need to return to work (we started out with a 6 month "hiatus") because our finances were in order for one income, something rare I guess.

Oh and a great skilled job to consider is IT work. I've worked in IT for most of my career and it pays REALLY WELL. I am not joking. It is not the least stressful bank you can make, but for me I just let the stress roll off me and keep on keeping on. By the time DH was at the most senior level and I was a senior analyst I made like 30% more then he did.

The best of luck to you, I can't wait to read more about your path you choose! Because your entry was so long and well written, I wonder if you might consider making a blog here? Think about it...

boarder42

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2016, 04:02:19 PM »
IMO. IF you were studying as much as you said and still got Bs in HS you shouldn't pursue college. A trade is much more up your alley with your work ethic. 

Murse

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2016, 02:56:36 AM »
My opinion is college is only worthwhile in specific circumstances. Good community colleges in your area? What are you interested in? Are you looking to fire asap or looking for a career you may want to do for life? Would you have to take out debt? Can your family help, in what ways? What would your income look like in your chosen field?

Questions also need to be asked about trades, what will your income look like? How quickly will it raise, what are the working conditions? Are you okay with the working conditions?

If the goal is fire ASAP we just need to maximize income while minimizing expenses.

My personal path was I got a 1.6gpa in HS but was smart, just chose not to participate. my parents told me to go into nursing, I started prereqs with the idea that if I changed my mind I always could, I never found anything that interested me. I got into nursing school (community college), it was AWEFUL. I started thinking about continuing on to become a nurse practitioner to increase my earning potential, then I learned of MMM and realized that my income would be fine. I still don't know if I want to work forever or FIRE, the current goal is FI ASAP while enjoying life. if after I'm FI I decide I want to continue with school I'll get a masters, I doubt it will happen but I'm leaving it on the table.


tobitonic

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2016, 06:04:37 PM »
My biggest advice is to be open to change. And be kind to yourself and others.

coffeehound

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #34 on: February 29, 2016, 01:05:12 AM »
I don't know that this is a yes or no question - if you're willing to work hard, and you want to make money, and that state school twenty minutes down the road from you has an elephant for its mascot, you might want to take another look.

I used to work at said state school, and it has LOTS of academic programs for entrepreneurs. If you're interested in the sciences, it actually has one that offers a HUGE scholarship for people who are interested in science and entrepreneurship.

And, as mentioned above:
CHILL OUT - You don't need to decide right away. "Where are you going to college?" is small talk, like "how 'bout them Angels?" or "did you see the Ducks game last night?" You're putting unnecessary pressure on your self. Take a moment and breathe.

You mention in your post that you've read up on finance, but don't mention that you build things as a hobby, or like working with your hands.

Finally, is it possible that you're depressed, and this making it difficult for you to find a direction that's meaningful for you?

Tjat

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Re: COLLEGE: Yes or No? (Trades...?)
« Reply #35 on: February 29, 2016, 05:34:41 PM »
As some have mentioned, it would be easier to comment if you were to share your interests, skills, and goals. It sounds like you want to make money, but not obscene amounts, just enough to live the life you want to live BUT you are worried about being stuck in a job you hate. I also imagine you don't want to be overloaded with student loan debt.

My advice - enroll in a local community college where you won't have to take out obscene loans. Is there a trade you're interested in? If not, I can't imagine you'd do well in just picking one and assuming you can learn to like it. If so, learn it. Or consider the military. I would also caution against thinking a college degree will only either land you in a cubicle or a barista position.

The key is figuring out an inkling of something you like that also correlates with earning money. If you're passion is artsy, it'll probably be tougher to get an education in it and succeed financially.