Author Topic: Spouse wants to get Masters...  (Read 1592 times)

Broadway2019

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Spouse wants to get Masters...
« on: August 14, 2017, 08:53:23 AM »
I just finished paying off my student loans and credit card debt. Recently, my fiance brought up wanting to go back to school to get a Master in Public Policy. I was kinda taken back by this because I just finished paying off $80k in student loans and do not want to go back into debt. Has anyone else went back to get their masters and how did you pay for it? Her company does not have tuition reimbursement. At first, I suggested she look for a company that offers tuition reimbursement, however, she has been at her job for 10 years so I do not think she would switch jobs.

Because we just paid off all our debt we do not have any savings besides an emergency fund of $10k and our 401ks.

lizzzi

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Re: Spouse wants to get Masters...
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 09:52:05 AM »
When I was a public health nurse, I went back to school and got a Masters in Public Administration. I simply paid for it out of pocket, so no loans, debts, or any of that. It was fascinating and life-enhancing, although it didn't really translate into helping me advance in my career. I have mixed feelings about it--probably shouldn't have spent the money ( it was around $25,000)--but it sharpened my writing skills and my ability to network on the computer--doing team projects and so forth with people I never met in person was a good learning experience for me. And I realized that I wrote better than most of the people I interfaced with...so did a lot more writing after graduation. (Did not profit from it financially though.) I got the Masters on line, but the college was five minutes from my office, so I could run over to school to go to the bookstore, talk to a professor in person--things like that--very easily. My husband didn't mind about the money--he was a big supporter of education...and we had plenty of savings and investments at the time. I think you need to weigh up what the degree costs, how the time and energy it will take will impact your home life, and whether it will translate into a better job or more money. My own personal opinion based on what the OP has said is that in their situation, I would not go into debt to get the Masters. I'm wondering if it is a job requirement for the fiancee--or just why she wants to get the Masters at this time. On the surface of it, it appears wiser to work and save the money. But the OP and the fiancee are not married, which puts their financial picture in a different light. I'm wondering if marriage is in the near future? If not, the fiancee can do as she wishes, but if the two are getting married, obviously they will have to sort out this issue beforehand.

GizmoTX

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Re: Spouse wants to get Masters...
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2017, 09:58:10 AM »
Congratulations on becoming debt free!

How much will this degree cost & would it be done full time or part time?
How much more money will the degree bring in? In other words, how quick is the payoff?
Will you be getting married soon?

Laura33

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Re: Spouse wants to get Masters...
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2017, 10:06:06 AM »
Why does she want the degree?  The usual answer here is "to get a better job."  But if she's happy where she is (to the point that she doesn't even want to look for a company who will fund her degree), then it's probably fair to assume she would also be unwilling to look for a company that will pay her a higher salary once she gets that degree.  (I also recall that you previously mentioned she is not particularly financially-oriented, and so "I want a degree but haven't developed a career plan for what I will do with it" would seem like par for that particular course). 

From the relationship standpoint, I think you need to listen first -- what does she hope the degree will provide?  What is missing now, what hole in her life/job will the degree fill?  What is her dream job coming out of that degree?  [And the key is really listening and hearing what she says, not sort of biting your tongue because her answers are stupid and pie in the sky. ;-)]  The key is to get her thinking about where she is now (A), where she wants to be (B), and whether this degree is the best path to get her from A to B.  Once she has explained why she wants it and where she thinks it will get her, then you can ask about who hires in this area, what the future salary will be, does she have anyone she can talk to before she commits to make sure she will be happy with that end goal, whether her company is going to increase her pay/put her on a better track for promotion if she has the degree, etc.   I.e., help lead her to the "right" answer by asking questions and letting her think it through herself. 

FWIW, I have no issues at all with debt for a degree that is going to (a) pay for itself over time, or (b) make your remaining work life tolerable by allowing you to work in a job that floats your boat.  But I see no sense in dedicating the time and money because it "seemed like a good idea at the time." 

Broadway2019

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Re: Spouse wants to get Masters...
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2017, 10:07:52 AM »
Yes we plan on getting married - we also own a home together.


How much will this degree cost & would it be done full time or part time? So this is undecided. I guess I am not sure how it would work. She has talked about going full time however not sure I want to pick up all the bills. I know I should not feel this way, however, I almost feel it is unfair for her to go full-time. I worked through mine and paid mine off myself. I don't really want to pay hers. I realize this sounds like we are not a team, but I feel it is a bad deal for me.

How much more money will the degree bring in? In other words, how quick is the payoff? The degree she said will open up other jobs but not necessarily bring in more money.

Will you be getting married soon? yes in the next 8 months...probably at the courthouse. neither of us wants a wedding.

Broadway2019

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Re: Spouse wants to get Masters...
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2017, 10:09:14 AM »
This is spot on. I will try to get her to open more about it. For 2 years, she says she wants to go back to school but then nothing happens. No schools explored, no GRE done, no applying, and no other conversation or actions about actually doing it. I very much an action oriented person. If I say I am going to do something, I make it happen. It seems for her, she is more pie in the sky.

Why does she want the degree?  The usual answer here is "to get a better job."  But if she's happy where she is (to the point that she doesn't even want to look for a company who will fund her degree), then it's probably fair to assume she would also be unwilling to look for a company that will pay her a higher salary once she gets that degree.  (I also recall that you previously mentioned she is not particularly financially-oriented, and so "I want a degree but haven't developed a career plan for what I will do with it" would seem like par for that particular course). 
 
From the relationship standpoint, I think you need to listen first -- what does she hope the degree will provide?  What is missing now, what hole in her life/job will the degree fill?  What is her dream job coming out of that degree?  [And the key is really listening and hearing what she says, not sort of biting your tongue because her answers are stupid and pie in the sky. ;-)]  The key is to get her thinking about where she is now (A), where she wants to be (B), and whether this degree is the best path to get her from A to B.  Once she has explained why she wants it and where she thinks it will get her, then you can ask about who hires in this area, what the future salary will be, does she have anyone she can talk to before she commits to make sure she will be happy with that end goal, whether her company is going to increase her pay/put her on a better track for promotion if she has the degree, etc.   I.e., help lead her to the "right" answer by asking questions and letting her think it through herself. 

FWIW, I have no issues at all with debt for a degree that is going to (a) pay for itself over time, or (b) make your remaining work life tolerable by allowing you to work in a job that floats your boat.  But I see no sense in dedicating the time and money because it "seemed like a good idea at the time."

lizzzi

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Re: Spouse wants to get Masters...
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 10:14:47 AM »
If you own a home together it sounds like you need more put aside in savings and investments than what you have now. For unexpected repairs and maintenance and just all those "things" that come up when you own a house.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: Spouse wants to get Masters...
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2017, 10:36:43 AM »
I went back to school for an MPP and have no regrets, but I also have no student loan debt (scholarships + working multiple jobs while enrolled) and a high-paying job I could not have landed without the degree, since I used it to switch career fields.

That said, probably a quarter of my cohort is not using their MPP degree. They decided they actually wanted a PhD (or an MBA, or a JD) and are pursuing further schooling, or are employed in jobs that did not strictly require an MPP to obtain. For those people, the program was a VERY expensive 2-year gambit. The MPP should be used as a professional degree program (to help you get a job you could not obtain without it), and not as career enrichment or a stepping stone to future study.

Fire2025

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Re: Spouse wants to get Masters...
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2017, 10:40:52 AM »
This is spot on. I will try to get her to open more about it. For 2 years, she says she wants to go back to school but then nothing happens. No schools explored, no GRE done, no applying, and no other conversation or actions about actually doing it. I very much an action oriented person. If I say I am going to do something, I make it happen. It seems for her, she is more pie in the sky.

You may have answered your own question.  Until she takes action this is not real, it's just an idea. 

Talk about it with her.  Ask her questions and let her day dream.  If the day dream ever moves into action,  like filling out an application, then dive deep. 

I definitely would not get into a quagmire conversation about the "fairness" of helping her pay for a degree that she has not even filled out an application to go to school for.  Just my .02