Author Topic: Should I get some additional schooling?  (Read 769 times)

Dr.Optimus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Should I get some additional schooling?
« on: May 07, 2018, 09:32:03 AM »
So, a potential opportunity came up and I'd like some opinions.

First, I work in the public school systems, I have a decent job and I make a median income salary.  I contribute to two retirement accounts, the state pension plan, and I max out my 403(b).  These two retirement accounts are all I have access to right now, and they constitute about 40% of my pre-tax savings.

During my last performance evaluation of the year last week, my supervisor asked me if I'd ever considered going into administration, and told me to think about it.  I already have an advanced degree, and the extra work for an administration certification would consist of about 16 more graduate credits, with fees, totaling approximately $4200-4500 through my local university.  This could be done part time over the course of about one year with night classes, so I would not need to take time off of work.  However, to pay for the classes, I would likely need to stop contributing to my 403(b), but then I would lose maybe 8 months to 1 year of retirement contributions (roughly 18k).  I already owe 51k in student loans, so if I decide to get more schooling, I'd prefer to pay cash.  My living expenses are relatively low (much room for improvement), and following in the mustachian tradition, I'm avoiding substantial lifestyle inflation. 

The job prospects for administrators are OK, probably average, but my salary would double from about 50 to 100k per year.  My current per-diem rate is about $285 for a 190 day contract, administrators per diem is around $450-500 for about 210-240 day contracts (no summers off like I get currently). 

Any math-smart people please feel free to chime in, but would the investment in extra schooling and potential salary increase outweigh a loss in about 1 year of retirement savings?  I'm at the beginning of my career, I'm only 29.  I'd like to be FI in 10 years, and retire comfortable maybe a few after that. 

Cwadda

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2182
  • Age: 25
Re: Should I get some additional schooling?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2018, 09:45:53 AM »
To practically double your earnings in return for 1 year's loss of retirement savings seems like a no brainer to me.

You should think of it as investing in yourself. In essence, you will have made a $50000 annual increase for only $18000 plus the cost of schooling (another 5K). So for a $23k investment, you will make $27k, which is over a 100% return. Over 10 years, that same $23k investment will gross $500k, or $477k "profit".
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 09:58:06 AM by Cwadda »

NV Teacher

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 466
Re: Should I get some additional schooling?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2018, 10:10:45 AM »
My question would be this - Do you have the drive and passion to be a great administrator?  I'm finishing up my 29 year as a teacher and working with an administrator that is just there because it pays more is crappy.  I have been approached about moving into administration and after looking at the added responsibilities, added paperwork, added contract time I knew it wasn't for me. 

Dr.Optimus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Re: Should I get some additional schooling?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2018, 10:38:13 AM »
To practically double your earnings in return for 1 year's loss of retirement savings seems like a no brainer to me.

You should think of it as investing in yourself. In essence, you will have made a $50000 annual increase for only $18000 plus the cost of schooling (another 5K). So for a $23k investment, you will make $27k, which is over a 100% return. Over 10 years, that same $23k investment will gross $500k, or $477k "profit".
This is how I was trying to think about it, just wasn't quite sure if my thought process was accurate. 

My question would be this - Do you have the drive and passion to be a great administrator?  I'm finishing up my 29 year as a teacher and working with an administrator that is just there because it pays more is crappy.  I have been approached about moving into administration and after looking at the added responsibilities, added paperwork, added contract time I knew it wasn't for me. 
I would attempt to be a strong administrator.  My goal is to improve educational practices wherever I am, so I wouldn't only be there for the pay bump.  I've been around "here for the money" admins too, doesn't create a successful environment for either teachers or students. 

elliha

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
Re: Should I get some additional schooling?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2018, 11:07:17 AM »
If you like administration I don't see why you shouldn't do it with such an increase in pay. How good deal could you get on a loan? If it is one with reasonable terms I might even consider taking out a loan too.

nurseart

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: Should I get some additional schooling?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2018, 02:25:31 PM »
I agree with the others re: thinking about if you would really like administration. It sounds like you would, that is great! We need more great administrators!

Regarding the price, you mention your living expenses have room for improvement. $4200 / 12 months is $350 a month. Could you tighten the budget a bit so it doesn't all come from retirement savings? Consider this a year of grinding it out. You are in school plus work so slash the eating out, entertainment and travel budget and put your nose to the grind for a year. After that, you could up your budget back up to where it is now which would seem like a luxury and use all of your increased earnings to pay off your student loans and take care of them in just over a year.

In the long term, absolutely you are better off doubling your salary and how you pay for this year over the course of your life probably doesn't matter that much.

westtoeast

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
  • Location: East Coast City
Re: Should I get some additional schooling?
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2018, 02:34:56 PM »
I’m going to follow along— I was literally thinking about this question for myself when I opened the forum. Thanks!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Dr.Optimus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Re: Should I get some additional schooling?
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2018, 08:52:57 AM »
Now, Ideally I want to pay cash, loan rates are at a little over 6% right now, and I already owe 51k in a federal consolidated loan, so I'm not keen on borrowing more money.  But, after listening to some podcasts the last few days (choose FI is awesome! also a big fan of the new Bigger Pockets Money show) I've learned about some hacks I could employ:

My work gives me $1200 offered in two year cycles of reimbursement for "professional development" which includes courses taken through university.  This coming year will be the start of a new cycle, so a new $1200, which would decrease that overall payment quite a bit.  I'd still need the cash up front, since I have to pass the courses before they give me money back. 
Also, I've never done any travel hacking, but I'm thinking this might be an excellent way to get some travel rewards, pay for tuition and books, which would easily cover many cards' intro bonus, and get that reward.  Here's my math, let me know if I'm wrong:

Tuition & Fees: 4500, up front cash needed
Travel rewards: estimating about a 30% return in travel rewards, so about 1350
Work PD Money: 1200
Total cash back: 2550

So my "actual" out of pocket expense could be only 1950 if I'm doing everything correctly.

Does this sound correct?