Author Topic: Continue going to school at 34...?  (Read 577 times)

JanetJackson

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Continue going to school at 34...?
« on: June 12, 2018, 05:18:46 AM »
Hi Friends,
I'm at a crossroads currently with my schooling.  I've been working toward a degree on and off for 10+ years (I am 34/SINK).  I have an AS, but do not have an undergrad degree yet. 
I've requested transcript reviews and met with admission counselors via phone/skype/etc for TESU, WGU, NAU, UIU, and a number of other schools, and it seems like no matter how I lay it out, and no matter what degree I choose, it's going to cost me between 8-10k to finish school, and about a year, maybe a year and a half, since I work more than full time.
I don't have anything specific I'm working toward, no direct passion for a degree,  I have just been hoping to open up more doors to myself.  If I could just get myself to and over the 50-60k income level, my savings rate (which is currently about 50%) could grow so much!
 
I currently work in a nonprofit as an assets manager (about 30 hours, they can't give me more- but do offer me a flexible schedule with work from home hours) and have a part time job tutoring on the weekends, and a quickly growing small business walking dogs/pet sitting.   I make about 2000-2300 at my day job per month (it's hourly, so it varies a bit).  I started the dog walking about five years ago and it's just really taken off by word of mouth.  I can reliably average about 2k/month with the pet care business and have to turn away about 10 requests per month, sometimes more.
I have health insurance through the marketplace and an IRA, no work-related benefits.
I have no desire to ramp up the tutoring, as I don't enjoy it even a little, but it pays well.

… So with all of that info... should I bother with the formal education if it's going to put me 10k deeper into debt?  I've been AGGRESSIVELY paying down my student loans (two paid off, one more to go) and I am very very debt averse, even when it makes more sense to invest (I know, I know, I just hate the principle of debt and I think about my student loans multiple times a day).  I have 10k left to pay from my lowest interest rate student loan (I paid the higher interest rate ones off).  It is at 2.5%.

I'm at an impass… I've had my umpteenth phone interview with an admissions counselor, and I do well in school (I'd be bringing in a 3.5, maybe 3.7 GPA, I'd have to check), but I just don't enjoy it at all.  I've been taking one or two classes here and there and then financially recovering and then taking one or two more... for YEARS... it's exhausting, but also feels like wasted money since I'm well past my AS credits.

I just want someone to tell me what to do, ha.  I love the dog walking and will probably eventually either leave my day job to scale it up, or hire someone for the business so that I don't have to turn clients away.  I've had coffee dates with a few people I know who own dog walking business in mid-large cities, so I know the potential there... but would I be squandering the years of education that I do have by opting into that?

HALP, I need a grown up.
"Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future" -John F. Kennedy

jlcnuke

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Re: Continue going to school at 34...?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 06:42:13 AM »
The purpose of education is to acquire the knowledge needed for a career/job. Without a goal of some sort for the education to contribute towards, there's no reason to go in my opinion.

If you're education was working towards something that would benefit you, then there would be something to analyse. As your schooling seems to be for the sake of going to school with no tangible benefit to be gained right now, I don't see a good reason to use debt to finance it.

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« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:45:07 AM by jlcnuke »
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JanetJackson

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Re: Continue going to school at 34...?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 09:24:48 AM »
Thanks for your input.
 I guess a degree just seems like it would open doors to better pay for me. 
I know I can learn other skills sans degree, to make better pay, but I've been trying to force an interest in tech/coding/etc. and just don't have it.  I've signed up for an lost interest in a zillion online coding camps and resources.  I keep forcing it because I want to chase the money- get a solid skill or at least a degree to increase my income. 
I know I don't want to be in hands-on service forever, and I wouldn't take on loans to continue with school, but it WOULD cost me potential money that could have been otherwise invested, you know?

The purpose of education is to acquire the knowledge needed for a career/job. Without a goal of some sort for the education to contribute towards, there's no reason to go in my opinion.

If you're education was working towards something that would benefit you, then there would be something to analyse. As your schooling seems to be for the sake of going to school with no tangible benefit to be gained right now, I don't see a good reason to use debt to finance it.

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"Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future" -John F. Kennedy

mxt0133

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Re: Continue going to school at 34...?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2018, 10:08:01 AM »
Speaking as someone working in software development with the traditional 9-5 M-F schedule, I am pretty much ready to try work that is more physical and less cerebral in nature.  The money is good but I long to be outdoors or do something that uses more than just my brain, fingers, and mouth.

I would highly recommend that you do not get into any field that you feel like you have to force yourself to get competent on.  If it is that hard to try and learn something new, imagine what you will have to go through if you have to do it day in and day out once it becomes easy.  Especially in tech/coding where you can't just really learn one thing and think that is all you have to learn to have a successful career.  I have been doing this for almost 20 years and I have to continually update my skills and learn new technology to stay  employable with marketable skills.  Luckily I have a genuine interest in what I am learning, however I couldn't imagine doing that year in and year out for something I have to force myself to do.

Based on your post I wouldn't continue with school, you have marketable skills and a side business that will support you.  You are young and with a 50% savings rate, should be FI in 16 years assuming you have no assets and zero debt.  That puts you at 50 to be FI.  If you really do have to turn down clients, why don't you hire someone to be able handle more clients?  Learning to run a business that is profitable is worth 10 degrees in my opinion.


frugaliknowit

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Re: Continue going to school at 34...?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2018, 10:11:48 AM »
Without a specific strategy including projected new job title and salary:  NO!


acroy

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Re: Continue going to school at 34...?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2018, 10:23:35 AM »

I don't have anything specific I'm working toward, no direct passion for a degree,

I currently work in a nonprofit as an assets manager

I love the dog walking and will probably eventually either leave my day job to scale it up, or hire someone for the business so that I don't have to turn clients away.

- School: NO
- Nonprofits generally pay crap. brush up the resume, take the skills you already have and go get paid more somewhere else
- build the dogwalking business. $2k/mo side gig?? That is pure awesome side-biz mustachian badassity right there, nciely done!!

good luck!!
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JanetJackson

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Re: Continue going to school at 34...?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2018, 01:00:54 PM »
Thanks everyone!
I really do lean toward the side hustle, as I actually SMILE while I'm doing the work, which I haven't ever really felt at a "job".  Regardless of the occasional poopsplosion, etc. that comes along with working with animals, it's pretty dang great. 
I am fearful of building my career around such a physical job... I'm in good shape, but what if I break my foot and can't walk dogs?   You know?
I'm slowly slowly looking into how to hire someone (I just fully became an LLC last year, prior to that I was working through Rover).  I'll take a peek on the entrepreneur boards and see if I can get some suggestions/ideas. 
I am really winging it, as I'm not from a line of business owners or anything, but it's been really good.  It's variable, as some months are slow as heck and I might make $900, but then others (helloooo holidays) I'm having to squeeze every single second of my day in... putting appointments at 3am before the day job, etc. etc. and pulling 3k+ those months.  I suppose it would level out a bit if I hired someone.

And perhaps I could eventually phase SOME of the physically dependent parts down by learning to do formal dog training in addition to walks, etc (I don't just service dogs now, sometimes I get chinchillas, kitties, or even sheep and pigs).  Obedience training is a little less physical (not much, but still)...

Anyways, I'm just brainstorming publicly now, but thanks for all of the help everyone! I'll probably hold off on pursuing the degree for the sake of a degree.  I think I just got tangled up in the... "but I only have a few more classes...." mindset. :/

You're probably right about the nonprofit work, but the job is pretty automated and pays $24/hr, which is pretty good (or I thought so) for someone with no degree.  Growing up we never got past the 30k earning mark, and we grew up in an economically depressed area (family still lives there, but it's gotten better), so perhaps my metrics for what I'd be able to make/am worth it skewed?  When I told my dad I made $24/hr he almost fainted, lol.

"Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future" -John F. Kennedy

vawt

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Re: Continue going to school at 34...?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 05:43:20 PM »
$24/hr for no degree is very good.  I'm in California and that would be above most of our ranges for non-degreed positions.

I agree school doesn't appear to make sense for you and would also echo the see if you can build the side business by adding some help (you organize but make it a side gig for a few other people after you vet them).

You have made it work so far with a 50% savings rate, that is impressive.  You are clearly more motivated and a much harder worker than me.
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