Author Topic: just accepted to masters program but MMM makes me want to bail! HELP!  (Read 5933 times)

tag

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I would so appreciate any comments, criticisms, suggestions that people might have on this situation....

We are on track for FI in 3-4 years. I am 30 yo now. I have not worked for about 3 years because I've been home with our kids. Several months ago I decided that I really wanted to go back to school to get a masters degree. I knew that I would eventually want to go back to work but that I didn't want to go back into sales so I chose a program which focuses on technology integration in education - I homeschool our children and am very passionate about this so the degree seemed to fit both my passion and my vocation.  I was accepted and am supposed to start summer quarter in a couple weeks. This will cost us close to $30k over the next 4ish years (part time).

Then I met MMM. Dammit! My husband and I ran numbers over and over and slashed our expenses and thanks to a combination of him earning very decent money and us always living frugally, we actually figured out that we could retire in the next 3-4 years. Cool!

So I'll be all fit and ready and qualified to go get a part time job right when we'll be financially ready to retire. My motivation to go back to work was never because we'd need the money but I thought that working part-time would be a good fit, I could contribute to our bottom line and be fulfilled and still raise our kids etc.

One of my worries is that if I don't get the degree, I will have no skill/qualifications that could ever earn me anything in the future. Like when I think of MMM and his carpentry....I'd love to have something that I love doing and that could pay a bit of money here and there if I wanted it to.

You all know the formula what that 30k could do for us and if I wasn't lazy I could probably figure out exactly how many more months/years we'd have to delay FI just to accommodate the expenditure.

Any advice?




englyn

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Why don't you delay it, for a couple of years at least? See how on track you are for FI, whether you want a bit more outside fulfilment at that stage? It's easier to get a job if you've stayed at home with kids then got the degree then look for work, rather than get degree and don't use it for a few years and then try to look for work...

tag

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Yes, really smart advice - thank you. If I don't do it right now, doesn't mean I can never do it.

My plan was that it would take me 3-4 years to finish the degree and by the time I was done, my kids would be older and more independent etc and I'd be ready to go back to work anyway. So I was never planning on a gap.

englyn

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The gap I was thinking of was if you finished the degree and hit FI at the same time and decided to spend another couple of years with your kids while they're young, before deciding to work for stimulation and luxury money :)

Another Reader

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What jobs does this degree qualify you for?  What net increase in income will be gained by spending the money?  If I could not point to a specific job that paid substantially more money than I could make with my current education and for which there were high demand and numerous openings, I would not invest the time and money.

In your shoes, if I was really interested in this area and I could justify the expense, I would try to find a lower level position for which I was qualified and use tuition reimbursement or other available employer resources to help pay for the degree along with my income.

olivia

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What jobs does this degree qualify you for?  What net increase in income will be gained by spending the money?  If I could not point to a specific job that paid substantially more money than I could make with my current education and for which there were high demand and numerous openings, I would not invest the time and money.

In your shoes, if I was really interested in this area and I could justify the expense, I would try to find a lower level position for which I was qualified and use tuition reimbursement or other available employer resources to help pay for the degree along with my income.

Ditto.  In some industries a masters degree isn't really going to increase your income enough to justify the expense if you're not going to stay in the industry long term.  Does the program offer any certificate programs that would require less credit hours?  That could be a less expensive option.

KingMe

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Maybe I'm missing something, but if you and your spouse are almost ready to be FI at your age, you've got to be saving significant dollars each year. Is $7,500 per year for 4 years really going to derail your plans in any significant way?

Also, you talk about your plans to retire in contrast to your excitement to work in this field. What will be the point of retirement if you don't get to do what you want to do?

I wouldn't look for an employer to pay for your education. Why wold you want a full-time job and the strings attached to get a degree that isn't all the costly and that you can apparently pay for?

I think you should follow your gut instinct. If that means taking the class, you could see how you enjoy the coursework this summer and then decide whether to continue now, later, or discontinue.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 09:26:52 PM by KingMe »

cerberusss

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You all know the formula what that 30k could do for us and if I wasn't lazy I could probably figure out exactly how many more months/years we'd have to delay FI just to accommodate the expenditure.

Any advice?

The main stumbling block in getting a degree is not money, but motivation.

If you are currently motivated, then get the degree right now.

chucklesmcgee

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Have you looked into PhD programs? Most of those are actually free and offer pretty decent stipends to boot ($20k-30k)

rubybeth

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What jobs does this degree qualify you for?  What net increase in income will be gained by spending the money?  If I could not point to a specific job that paid substantially more money than I could make with my current education and for which there were high demand and numerous openings, I would not invest the time and money.

In your shoes, if I was really interested in this area and I could justify the expense, I would try to find a lower level position for which I was qualified and use tuition reimbursement or other available employer resources to help pay for the degree along with my income.

Ditto.  In some industries a masters degree isn't really going to increase your income enough to justify the expense if you're not going to stay in the industry long term.  Does the program offer any certificate programs that would require less credit hours?  That could be a less expensive option.

I agree, grad school is not always worth it. And I say this as someone who has a master's degree with a DH who is going to be starting his master's degree program this fall. It's not just the money, it's also the time spent studying, reading, writing papers, going to class, etc. One grad school class = two undergrad classes, so even doing 2 classes at once is a lot of work. I found this to be true and I had a fairly easy program. Is there really no other way for you to bring in some part-time income, either now or later, with your current degree? Or do you need this qualification in order to do the job you want to do? That's the case for me and my DH; degrees and licenses are required for some things.

We used a few calculators like this one to see if it would be 'worth it' for DH to go back to school: http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/grad-school-calculator/

We decided that, for us, him having his degree is the best choice on many levels. He'll likely pay for the degree within 2 years of getting it (higher salary will more than offset loss of income, tuition, lower 401k matches, etc.). Plus there's all the nice stuff like learning interesting, useful things that will broaden and deepen his knowledge, make him better at his current job while he's still in school, and also grow his network of colleagues and mentors. As a bonus, it will be possible for him to work part-time in the same field after we achieve FI, so he can pick and choose his clients.

tooqk4u22

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Maybe I'm missing something, but if you and your spouse are almost ready to be FI at your age, you've got to be saving significant dollars each year. Is $7,500 per year for 4 years really going to derail your plans in any significant way?

Also, you talk about your plans to retire in contrast to your excitement to work in this field. What will be the point of retirement if you don't get to do what you want to do?

I wouldn't look for an employer to pay for your education. Why wold you want a full-time job and the strings attached to get a degree that isn't all the costly and that you can apparently pay for?

I think you should follow your gut instinct. If that means taking the class, you could see how you enjoy the coursework this summer and then decide whether to continue now, later, or discontinue.

+1.  I would also add that if you are able to FIRE in 4 years then you could always go back full time for one year and use 1st year earnings to pay for it - even in this job market a $30k job can be found.


tag

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Why don't you delay it, for a couple of years at least?

I'm considering at least delaying it until fall quarter and taking the next month or two to really research, reflect and decide.

What jobs does this degree qualify you for? 

I would look at employment both within the education system as well as something on the corporate side. I would be qualified to work in the instructional or educational technology field. Could be consulting on writing curriculum. I don't necessarily have someone I can point to where I can say, "I want that guy's job." But I do know that I'm really passionate about homeschooling and I'm really good at it and I see a gap in the area of technology when it comes to homeschooling. I'd love to work with other homeschooling parents and encourage and teach them how to implement technology into their curriculum and lesson planning.

What net increase in income will be gained by spending the money?

Well, I'm not earning anything right now so I guess I have a lot to gain. When I had my first child, I was making about $75k annually. I wouldn't expect to make a lot more than that in this field, but I would expect to enjoy it a whole lot more. Also, my goal would be to work part time and earn $25-$50 per year.

I would try to find a lower level position for which I was qualified and use tuition reimbursement or other available employer resources to help pay for the degree along with my income.

Yea, but then I'd have to go work for someone. Homeschooling and FI are such high values of ours, partly because we don't want to run our lives by a school calendar or a 9-5 gig. Maybe what I'd really do with this degree is start a little business so I could have total power over how/when/where I work.

Thanks for your time, all. You've definitely got me thinking and I'm really thankful for your time in replying!