Author Topic: Does practicing Mustacheionism mean we don't have to be afraid to take on debt?  (Read 3103 times)

KittenJoe

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Though I walk through the valley of the forest of debt, I fear no bankruptcy for thou art with me.

Lol Anyway, I am 25 years old and I am thinking about going to college. The reason I haven't is because I am terrified of going into debt. And I know that I would probably fail at least 1 or 2 classes so that means paying for them twice. I also have no desire to continue living in my parent's basement for the next 4 years so I would also be paying for room and board.

I want to know how afraid I should be of taking on a lot of debt, I'll get all the scholarships and assistance I need but I'm still expecting to be thousands in the hole.

Thank you in advance!

JLee

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...why are you expecting to fail classes?

trollwithamustache

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what do you want to go to college to study/do after?

sensible debt on appreciating assets can be a very good idea. debt on depreciating assets is a terrible idea.

Its often very hard to have a rational discussion about this... clearly a Harvard MBA  is worth taking out loans for if you are OK working for mega-corp. Here in California, a general studies degree from Cal-State bumblefield, not so much.

Sibley

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You should not go to college if you intend to fail your classes. That's a waste of money. If you've had academic problems in the past, you need a plan for how you'll handle them.

You need to smartly determine your potential degree.
1. Ability to actually do it
2. Ability to have a career/make money with it.
3. Something you'll enjoy or be neutral on.

Also, there's a whole class of jobs out there that don't need a traditional 4 year college degree. They're called the trades. And we're short on those people. If those may be a good fit for you, being a plumber/electrician/carpenter/whatever can be very lucrative. You just need to listen to everyone complaining about "how hard it is to find X who will do a good job and not cheat you" to know that. Worth a thought.

Cranky

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What have you been doing since you graduated? How much $ have you saved (given that youíre living with your parents?) Why do you want to go to college? Why do you think youíll fail some classes?

Take *a* class at the community college, and see how that goes. Keep working.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Don't go back to school if you are planning to fail.  That can mess up your future.

My husband went to community college straight from high school.  He failed a bunch of classes and ended up getting a technical certificate so he could get a job.  Fast forward 15 years later.  Husband wants to get a degree and move to white collar work.  Husband had a host of issues getting into a college because his GPA was so low.

He took a year's worth of classes at the local community college, where he had a 4.0, including taking classes he'd previously failed, and still had to get all kinds of personal recommendations from professors to get into the lower-tier university in our area.  He was on probation for a year...and he managed a 4.0

If you aren't serious about doing what it takes to pass your classes, then you don't want to screw over future you right now.

KittenJoe

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...why are you expecting to fail classes?

I'm not planning to fail, I'm just trying to make sure that I know what I can handle it if I do.

NextTime

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Don't go back to school if you are planning to fail.  That can mess up your future.

My husband went to community college straight from high school.  He failed a bunch of classes and ended up getting a technical certificate so he could get a job.  Fast forward 15 years later.  Husband wants to get a degree and move to white collar work.  Husband had a host of issues getting into a college because his GPA was so low.

He took a year's worth of classes at the local community college, where he had a 4.0, including taking classes he'd previously failed, and still had to get all kinds of personal recommendations from professors to get into the lower-tier university in our area.  He was on probation for a year...and he managed a 4.0

If you aren't serious about doing what it takes to pass your classes, then you don't want to screw over future you right now.


Your husband should have started from scratch, rather than transferring his horrible gpa for a handful of credits.

KittenJoe

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what do you want to go to college to study/do after?

sensible debt on appreciating assets can be a very good idea. debt on depreciating assets is a terrible idea.

Its often very hard to have a rational discussion about this... clearly a Harvard MBA  is worth taking out loans for if you are OK working for mega-corp. Here in California, a general studies degree from Cal-State bumblefield, not so much.

Well first I'd do community college, then I'd go on to a university but it's going to be Colorado University probably, definitely not harvard. I want to go into science, geology probably. I planned to figure out what I want to do while I"m there because I've been trying to figure out what I want to do in college for almost a decade so I figure that eh, maybe it's not great that I don't know exactly what I want to do but sitting around wondering all these years hasn't gotten me anywhere.

KittenJoe

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You should not go to college if you intend to fail your classes. That's a waste of money. If you've had academic problems in the past, you need a plan for how you'll handle them.

You need to smartly determine your potential degree.
1. Ability to actually do it
2. Ability to have a career/make money with it.
3. Something you'll enjoy or be neutral on.

Also, there's a whole class of jobs out there that don't need a traditional 4 year college degree. They're called the trades. And we're short on those people. If those may be a good fit for you, being a plumber/electrician/carpenter/whatever can be very lucrative. You just need to listen to everyone complaining about "how hard it is to find X who will do a good job and not cheat you" to know that. Worth a thought.

I do not intend to fail classes, I want to make sure that if something goes wrong that I have a plan for it (exactly what you suggested). I graduated from job corps with a degree in facilities maintenance, but I'm a 105 pound girl and I get sick a lot, I'm not really suited for that type of work also I hated it.

Lady SA

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I planned to figure out what I want to do while I"m there because I've been trying to figure out what I want to do in college for almost a decade so I figure that eh, maybe it's not great that I don't know exactly what I want to do but sitting around wondering all these years hasn't gotten me anywhere.

NOOOOOOOOO

Why do you think spending $$$$ attending university will make "not knowing what you want to do with your life" better? Here's a clue-by-four: university isn't a magic solution where all your questions will be answered. Likely, you'll be stuck in the same place but now in debt up to your eyeballs, still aimless, and without the ability to pay off the debt. At least now, you don't have debt. Don't shoot future you in the foot, PLEASE.

But yes, you have a problem: you've been sitting in your parent's basement for 5 years waiting for life to figure itself out for you. Sorry, it won't. So here's an idea: take a few aptitude tests. Stop focusing on trying to figure out what you WANT to do, figure out what you would be GOOD AT, and you believe would be an acceptable career long-term, AND it is in high demand. You need ALL THREE criteria.

Then make a plan to get there. Figure out what current professionals in that field did to get there, and then figure out how to get those credentials frugally.

Don't go to college willy-nilly and without a plan. University is not the place to make a plan. University works best for those who already have a solid plan and a solid exit plan into a solid-paying, in-demand career, so you aren't wasting time or money. This whole thread is a giant waving red flag that you SHOULD NOT be thinking about going to college, not yet.

ChickenStash

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I'd suggest having at least a vague idea of what you want for a career when you get out and tailor your major to that goal. You mentioned " science, geology probably" but that is very, very broad. What do you want to do with this knowledge of geology? Academic research, work for the USGS, oil/gas exploration, mining, etc? Once you are in, you'll need to choose electives that will get you hired in those fields.

Just having "a degree" might help you land something but it would be better if you picked a major that deals with what you actually want to do. Once you have experience in a particular field and have some experience in a technical field then moving around to other things as your interests change is much easier.

ketchup

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I planned to figure out what I want to do while I"m there because I've been trying to figure out what I want to do in college for almost a decade so I figure that eh, maybe it's not great that I don't know exactly what I want to do but sitting around wondering all these years hasn't gotten me anywhere.

NOOOOOOOOO

Why do you think spending $$$$ attending university will make "not knowing what you want to do with your life" better? Here's a clue-by-four: university isn't a magic solution where all your questions will be answered. Likely, you'll be stuck in the same place but now in debt up to your eyeballs, still aimless, and without the ability to pay off the debt. At least now, you don't have debt. Don't shoot future you in the foot, PLEASE.

But yes, you have a problem: you've been sitting in your parent's basement for 5 years waiting for life to figure itself out for you. Sorry, it won't. So here's an idea: take a few aptitude tests. Stop focusing on trying to figure out what you WANT to do, figure out what you would be GOOD AT, and you believe would be an acceptable career long-term, AND it is in high demand. You need ALL THREE criteria.

Then make a plan to get there. Figure out what current professionals in that field did to get there, and then figure out how to get those credentials frugally.

Don't go to college willy-nilly and without a plan. University is not the place to make a plan. University works best for those who already have a solid plan and a solid exit plan into a solid-paying, in-demand career, so you aren't wasting time or money. This whole thread is a giant waving red flag that you SHOULD NOT be thinking about going to college, not yet.
This, this, this!  Anyone even considering college (whether 17, 27, or 57) should read and process this post.  College can be great and debt can be an acceptable cost of it, if you have your shit together and make a solid plan with a clear goal and endgame that's actually worth it!

I know plenty of people that went to college, got a solid degree to set them up for a career they love, and are making good money head and shoulders above the debt they took on to get there.  I also know plenty of people that meandered through college, got good grades, and wound up with debt and a degree that was either not very useful or in something they didn't actually like that much.

I'll also second the aptitude tests.  My parents had me take one at 17, and I didn't think much going in, but it was illuminating.  I'm sure they're expensive, but not anywhere close to more expensive than even one semester at community college aimlessly floundering around.

Lmoot

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If you just want a 4 year degree, get something cheap, easy, and generic like an English degree with a minor in something you're interested. It will open more doors to you and give you options. You can always go back later to for a masters once you are in the work field for a while and have a clearer idea of what you want to do.

But get the cheapest 4-year degree you can. That means living at home, working part time, and doing as many online classes as possible. Even though you don't want to waste money and time going to school for something you don't know you'll use, the fact is having a 4-year degree in ANYTHING gives you a step-up. You can be the best employee ever, but when you go for a promotion, you might find that not having a 4-year degree is a blockade. Therefore I will say it's fine to go to school without knowing what you want to do...as long as you at least have a plan, even if that plan is just to get a degree so that you can have more options.

But do not go to college if you are looking for answers, or you just want to live the college life.

To answer the question in the subject line, I consider debt a frenemy of mine. Or more accurately a business partner. I use debt strategically, and in a way that I benefit 100% of the time. It's not bad, or evil. But it can certainly be misused.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 07:56:47 AM by Lmoot »

marty998

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You should not go to college if you intend to fail your classes. That's a waste of money. If you've had academic problems in the past, you need a plan for how you'll handle them.

You need to smartly determine your potential degree.
1. Ability to actually do it
2. Ability to have a career/make money with it.
3. Something you'll enjoy or be neutral on.

Also, there's a whole class of jobs out there that don't need a traditional 4 year college degree. They're called the trades. And we're short on those people. If those may be a good fit for you, being a plumber/electrician/carpenter/whatever can be very lucrative. You just need to listen to everyone complaining about "how hard it is to find X who will do a good job and not cheat you" to know that. Worth a thought.

I do not intend to fail classes, I want to make sure that if something goes wrong that I have a plan for it (exactly what you suggested). I graduated from job corps with a degree in facilities maintenance, but I'm a 105 pound girl and I get sick a lot, I'm not really suited for that type of work also I hated it.

Oh Kitten Joe! You do not know how much of a princess you come across saying this!

It's fine to hate it, but to say you are not suited to it because you are dainty and delicate... it does a disservice to the sisterhood.

FWIW, you're going to have to learn to shovel a lot of dirt to become a geologist. There's no airconditioned office out under the sun drilling for rock cores.

calimom

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You should not go to college if you intend to fail your classes. That's a waste of money. If you've had academic problems in the past, you need a plan for how you'll handle them.

You need to smartly determine your potential degree.
1. Ability to actually do it
2. Ability to have a career/make money with it.
3. Something you'll enjoy or be neutral on.

Also, there's a whole class of jobs out there that don't need a traditional 4 year college degree. They're called the trades. And we're short on those people. If those may be a good fit for you, being a plumber/electrician/carpenter/whatever can be very lucrative. You just need to listen to everyone complaining about "how hard it is to find X who will do a good job and not cheat you" to know that. Worth a thought.

I do not intend to fail classes, I want to make sure that if something goes wrong that I have a plan for it (exactly what you suggested). I graduated from job corps with a degree in facilities maintenance, but I'm a 105 pound girl and I get sick a lot, I'm not really suited for that type of work also I hated it.

Oh Kitten Joe! You do not know how much of a princess you come across saying this!

It's fine to hate it, but to say you are not suited to it because you are dainty and delicate... it does a disservice to the sisterhood.

FWIW, you're going to have to learn to shovel a lot of dirt to become a geologist. There's no airconditioned office out under the sun drilling for rock cores.

I have to agree with Marty998 on this one.

As a fellow lil slip of a thang  (just over 5' and 110 lbs), I own a horticulture business where I routinely schlep 100 pound plants, bags of soil, ceramic pots all over the place. Sure, there is art, design and business management involved in my work, but a large portion of it is simply hard labor.

It sounds like you're casting about for a new perspective and more education. But committing 4 years and tons of debt for a vague goal at age 25 doesn't seem like a sound plan.

Since you have a degree in facilities maintenance, have you considered qualification in facilities management? This is more of a white collar career and jobs in Colorado would likely start in the mid 5 figures and climb from there.

There are tons of threads and posts here from people with major student loan debt and low incomes.Read  them. It doesn't seem worth it to dig yourself in such a hole.

nick_mmm

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I would request to speak with or learn more information about the career services office at whichever institution you are considering.

Some things to ask:
1) What can I do with a degree in __________
2) Do you help locate internships, or is it up to the student to find their own?
3) What type of career placement have you seen with a degree in ________
4) What services do you offer for students after graduation?

Gainful employment requirements from the U.S. Dept of Education require colleges to keep track of and report statistics on various programs and career placement, so they should be able to provide some of this.

Internships can be key. Some colleges and some programs will require it, others will not. Some will help you locate them, others will not.

That being said, I have bachelors and masters degrees in humanities, but I am working as an engineer. Just getting a degree is not a bad thing in itself, but to make the most of it and increase your chances of success, work with a career services department, especially if you are not sure what you want to do.

Laura33

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IIRC, you have been working in a medical marijuana dispensary, yes?  My recollection is that you were sort of sitting and spinning and trying to figure out what to do.

I applaud you for taking the step forward to looking seriously at a college degree.  But others here have raised very valid points about the potential downsides of going into debt without a clear plan.  So I am going to suggest something in-between:  go to community college and get your Associateís degree.  The good news is CC is much more affordable, so if you continue to live at home and work part-time, you can keep the debt minimal (or even nonexistent).

Hereís the key:  you use that period to figure out what you want to do - because the cost is low, the risk is lower too.  Work with the career office, investigate different career options that sound interesting, talk to professors, and take classes in a variety of areas that sound potentially interesting.  Note also that this isnít limited to standard college courses; most CCs offer technical/trade skills as well.  Once you start to zero in on a particular area, then you can start investigating options for a cheap Bachelorís degree - or if you even need a Bachelorís in your chosen field (which you may not, depending on what you choose).

Like everyone else, I would not suggest jumping right to planning on a B.S./B.A. without any sense of what you want to do with it - that is a good way to get into trouble.  But I do think you need to break through the inertia of living in a comfortable living situation with a comfortable-if-low-paying job, and so I do think it is worth the risk of making the leap to CC to at least start to figure out what you may be interested in and good at.  Because life isnít going to come to you - you are doing the right thing in taking the risk to go after it.

rudged

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I planned to figure out what I want to do while I"m there because I've been trying to figure out what I want to do in college for almost a decade so I figure that eh, maybe it's not great that I don't know exactly what I want to do but sitting around wondering all these years hasn't gotten me anywhere.

NOOOOOOOOO

Why do you think spending $$$$ attending university will make "not knowing what you want to do with your life" better? Here's a clue-by-four: university isn't a magic solution where all your questions will be answered. Likely, you'll be stuck in the same place but now in debt up to your eyeballs, still aimless, and without the ability to pay off the debt. At least now, you don't have debt. Don't shoot future you in the foot, PLEASE.

But yes, you have a problem: you've been sitting in your parent's basement for 5 years waiting for life to figure itself out for you. Sorry, it won't. So here's an idea: take a few aptitude tests. Stop focusing on trying to figure out what you WANT to do, figure out what you would be GOOD AT, and you believe would be an acceptable career long-term, AND it is in high demand. You need ALL THREE criteria.

Then make a plan to get there. Figure out what current professionals in that field did to get there, and then figure out how to get those credentials frugally.

Don't go to college willy-nilly and without a plan. University is not the place to make a plan. University works best for those who already have a solid plan and a solid exit plan into a solid-paying, in-demand career, so you aren't wasting time or money. This whole thread is a giant waving red flag that you SHOULD NOT be thinking about going to college, not yet.
This, this, this!  Anyone even considering college (whether 17, 27, or 57) should read and process this post.  College can be great and debt can be an acceptable cost of it, if you have your shit together and make a solid plan with a clear goal and endgame that's actually worth it!

I know plenty of people that went to college, got a solid degree to set them up for a career they love, and are making good money head and shoulders above the debt they took on to get there.  I also know plenty of people that meandered through college, got good grades, and wound up with debt and a degree that was either not very useful or in something they didn't actually like that much.

I'll also second the aptitude tests.  My parents had me take one at 17, and I didn't think much going in, but it was illuminating.  I'm sure they're expensive, but not anywhere close to more expensive than even one semester at community college aimlessly floundering around.

The presumption behind the question was whether a practicing Mustachian should do this. So I agree college might be a great investment if you pursue it for the right reasons and intend to pursue a life long career that requires the degree in order to make the good money that would justify the initial expense. 

MMM has demonstrated how, even if you plan to stay in a career that requires a college degree for a short time, the investment might be worth it. A high starting salary as an engineer certainly helped him. But if you don't share his aptitude for engineering or some other profession that requires a college education that has a high starting salary, I think the question remains.

My experience has been that it was. I attended both college and graduate school and was able to secure a tenure track position as an academic. I plan to pursue my career as long as possible because a job is more than a paycheck and I found my experience in college and graduate school to be far more than simply a way to earn a credential that would lead to a job. So I would hope that when one considers this question of whether the debt of going to college is worth it, one would at least consider the many other benefits associated with going to college beyond the financial rewards.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 09:07:41 AM by rudged »