Author Topic: Why isn't education and earning emphasized as much as lower expenses?  (Read 5416 times)

Giro

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I've read through a great many of the case study posts and I often see budgeting advice.  The answers are usually great things like sell the car, don't use credit cards, shop at the thrift stores, cook at home, etc.  But, I never see go back to school, learn a trade that's in demand, etc. 

To me that makes the most sense.  The only reason I'm FI today is because a few years  after I graduated college with an Accounting degree and got my CPA, I realized that where I lived, I was going to top out at around $100K and that was cream of the crop in my field.  Yes, I live in a very LCOL area of the country.  Yes, I could afford a home and pay it off quickly.  I could move and earn more, but housing was more expensive.  BUT, if I got into Engineering I could be earning $125k in just a few years and that was the average.  So that's what I did.  Homes are dirt cheap around here.  Taxes are based on home values so those are cheap also. 

I get the idea of selling expensive cars that people can't afford.  I get living below your means and saving everything you can.  But doesn't increasing your means to the maximum potential in the area get you there a  hell of a lot faster than saving $300 on your car payment every month. 

And imagine if you do both.

One of the guys I hired about six months ago told me that "It's easy to make money."  And I believe that.  But, you have to look at a job as a way to make money and nothing else.  It certainly puts a new spin on things.  Not out for the satisfaction or to feel productive or to give back or to have fun or to do something you enjoy doing  yada yada. 

Thoughts?




Hurley82

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I completely understand what you're saying. I think attacking poor spending happens is something you can start doing almost immediately. Its pretty easy to shop insurance, switch cell providers, sell a car etc. A new degree can take between 2-4 years which might put people off especially those who already have debt. I'm a teacher even $75k will never be a reality for me, but I love my job and try to spend wisely. I would be unwilling to do a job I didn't enjoy for even 10 years even though I can see how that might get me to FI a bit quicker. If I died tomorrow I'd know I spent my time doing things I cared about.

nereo

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I believe MMM has written a few posts highlighting jobs
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/

He's also commented extensively about how easy it is to make money in the developed world, echoing what one of your new hires said.

also extensive discussion on side hustles
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/who-has-a-side-gigjob-that-brings-in-extra-cash-share-with-us!/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/what-is-your-side-hustle-and-would-you-recommend-it/

As for why there is so much emphasis on cutting expenses; well it's low-hanging fruit.  It something that can be done today (or at least this month) and often requires just a few minutes of our time and some mental adjustments.  If you adhere to the 4% WR philosphy, then cutting $10k from your annual budget shrinks the amount you need in your 'stach by $0.25MM
Finally, while increasing your means to the maximum potential can get you there a hell of a lot faster, it will only do that if you can avoid the materialistic debt traps.  Literally everyone at every income scale can find ways of spending beyond their means.  So a constant focus on maximizing your happiness while minimizing your expenditures is important.
I'd recommend doing both - try to maximize your income while minimizing unnecessary expenses.
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iowajes

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Increased earnings seem to be the key.  Even if you have extremely low expenses, the MMM plan requires having high earnings.

Whether or not education is the way to get there is variable.  Taking out huge loans to get that education, for instance, doesn't seem like a great idea.  Even with a scholarship there is the question of whether the 4 years in your late teens/ early-20s (if you plan to retire at 30) would be better used getting education, which will increase your ability to earn for the rest of your 20s, or working a high paying job that will average to the same rate of pay.

Me personally, I won't retire by 30 (I'm past that)- but I am very glad I spent the time, and the money (no loans) to get an education. I'm proud of my Master's degree, and currently debating a PhD.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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I don't think anybody here would tell somebody who was capable and interested in getting a lucrative degree not to do it coming right out of high school.

nereo

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Increased earnings seem to be the key.  Even if you have extremely low expenses, the MMM plan requires having high earnings.
I emphatically disagree here.  While MMM had a high tech-salary and having a high salary clearly makes it easier to save ridiculous amounts of money quickly, the "MMM plan" does not require it.  We can only dream of a $50k+/year income right now, and many others around here are in a similar boat.  The beauty of 'living mustachian' is that it works regardless of your income.  Cut out the materialistic BS that doesn't add value to your life, double (or triple) down on savings, and very quickly you will increase your financial independence, regardless of your income.

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Whether or not education is the way to get there is variable.  Taking out huge loans to get that education, for instance, doesn't seem like a great idea.  Even with a scholarship there is the question of whether the 4 years in your late teens/ early-20s (if you plan to retire at 30) would be better used getting education, which will increase your ability to earn for the rest of your 20s, or working a high paying job that will average to the same rate of pay.
Here I agree.  It's waaaaaay to easy these days to go and get an advanced degree with student loans and learn when you graduate that you are $50-100k (or more) in debt without any substantial increase in earning power.
BTW, having just gone the PhD route, PM me if you have any questions.
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CorpRaider

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Many are also motivated by using and wasting less and focusing more on the important things in life so the focus on wasteful consuming of goods, services and resources is not just about getting FI for them.  This group would include MMM, in my estimation.

iowajes

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I emphatically disagree here.  While MMM had a high tech-salary and having a high salary clearly makes it easier to save ridiculous amounts of money quickly, the "MMM plan" does not require it.  We can only dream of a $50k+/year income right now, and many others around here are in a similar boat.  The beauty of 'living mustachian' is that it works regardless of your income.  Cut out the materialistic BS that doesn't add value to your life, double (or triple) down on savings, and very quickly you will increase your financial independence, regardless of your income.
I agree with you that living mustachian can benefit someone at any income level, and I would highly recommend it to anyone as a lifestyle change. But I would love to see a case study of someone who has a $30k average salary and retired at 30.  Retiring THAT young requires high income.  But anyone can benefit, and retire earlier than they would have (if at all) living the "typical" consumerist life. 


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BTW, having just gone the PhD route, PM me if you have any questions.
Thanks. Husband has one, so I know what I'm getting into.  Also, this would just be a vanity degree on employer's dime.  It's more of a time issue than anything else. But I also know I wouldn't see any sort of salary increase from it. 


I have to say- I don't have a lot of interest in MMM style FIRE.  I imagine I will work until at least 50, even if I don't have to (we are close to the 'not have to' level).  But I just have no interest in a highly consumerist lifestyle.

amberfocus

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When I try to explain personal finance, I like to characterize it as dieting in reverse -- calories in/calories out is analogous to money in/money out. At the end of the day, the net cash flow needs to be positive for wealth accumulation to occur.

I certainly don't ignore the earnings side of the equation, but I think, at least for the vast majority of folks, the expenses side is the lower-hanging fruit. A new degree/certification, a career change, or a side job can be an extremely involved process requiring a substantial investment of time and other resources. You need motivation and talent to pursue additional education -- and the opportunity cost also cannot be ignored. Changing careers may involve relocation that would uproot family. And in the case of time, there are only 24 hours in a day. Getting a second job might, in an optimistic scenario, double your income, but I would much rather cut expenses in half than work 80 hour weeks.

The best message of Mustachianism, I think, is that FI is accessible to ALL careers, not just the higher-paying ones. Not everyone has the interest, ability, or wherewithal to address the earnings side (folks might even LIKE their lower-paying job), but optimizing the spending side is much easier. There's also the fact that career advancement is much less of a concern if one's ultimate goal is to retire early. I know that I've stopped caring about promotions because why would I want more responsibility and higher stress when I only need to hold on for a few more years? Yesterday I got cold-called by a recruiter, and I almost laughed in their face.

Earning more money is definitely worthwhile if one is working, say, a minimum-wage job, but I think the bar is pretty low for what should be "enough" income. I would certainly encourage anyone who is willing and able to earn more to do so, but at the end of the day, it is not a requirement for FI.

kathrynd

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Until a person/couple can get their spending under control, it doesn't matter how much money they make.

Mindset is the most important asset, IMO.


iowajes

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Until a person/couple can get their spending under control, it doesn't matter how much money they make.


Very true.  It is amazing how much money some people can blow through! 

matchewed

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Your income is more fixed than your spending. You can slide the spending scale more easily in other words. Given this fact and the fact that in order to have a half way decent savings rate you have to accept the concept of spending (much) less than you earn to begin with means that your ability to save money is the first skill to develop. In other words earning more and having shitty spending habits still leaves you with no savings mechanism in your life. You need to learn how to save first, go ahead and pursue whatever you want after that.

sfb

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Don't forget about taxes.  Each additional dollar earned will most likely be taxed while each dollar saved is yours to keep.

hdatontodo

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When I try to explain personal finance, I like to characterize it as dieting in reverse -- calories in/calories out is analogous to money in/money out. At the end of the day, the net cash flow needs to be positive for wealth accumulation to occur....

I was also thinking of the dieting analogy. For me, a better job is like exercising in addition to counting calories.

If your employer will foot the tuition bill, that makes it easier. I had a business degree but years of microcomputer experience when I went to work for a Restaurant Point-of-Sale Manufacturer as the PC guy in R&D in 1991. Everyone else had a Comp. Sci degree, so I busted tail and got one in about a year and a half on their dime. I can't directly link the 2nd degree to a specific promotion as I worked for that company for 10 years and never had to apply or interview for better positions there since I had been tapped on the shoulder for them. It did appear on my resume for the next company, and I've been there since 2001.

nereo

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I agree with you that living mustachian can benefit someone at any income level, and I would highly recommend it to anyone as a lifestyle change. But I would love to see a case study of someone who has a $30k average salary and retired at 30.  Retiring THAT young requires high income.  But anyone can benefit, and retire earlier than they would have (if at all) living the "typical" consumerist life. 
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I agree retiring at age 30 with $30k in income is difficult, but not entirely impossible.  Check out ERE forum for examples.  For me this is too extreme, and I like the more 'balanced' approach here.
However, plenty of people on these boards are in the $30ks and are planning on being completely FI by age 40.  For those of us that choose just to RE our 'working' life can be shorter than our 'retirement' life.  I am in this boat.  I believe thegoblinchief is too.

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I have to say- I don't have a lot of interest in MMM style FIRE.  I imagine I will work until at least 50, even if I don't have to (we are close to the 'not have to' level).  But I just have no interest in a highly consumerist lifestyle.
I guess I don't understand what you mean here.  There's no requirement that oyu quit your job once you become FI, and many here don't.  The fact that you are close to being completely FI suggests to me that you automatically follow a lot of hte practices we all aspire to (saving more than you earn, not falling into materialistic BS and avoiding debt-traps).  Both SO and I will likely to continue to work on a contract basis for quite a while - we just won't work full time, all the time, and plan on taking many sebaticals.
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Jeremy E.

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I emphatically disagree here.  While MMM had a high tech-salary and having a high salary clearly makes it easier to save ridiculous amounts of money quickly, the "MMM plan" does not require it.  We can only dream of a $50k+/year income right now, and many others around here are in a similar boat.  The beauty of 'living mustachian' is that it works regardless of your income.  Cut out the materialistic BS that doesn't add value to your life, double (or triple) down on savings, and very quickly you will increase your financial independence, regardless of your income.
I agree with you that living mustachian can benefit someone at any income level, and I would highly recommend it to anyone as a lifestyle change. But I would love to see a case study of someone who has a $30k average salary and retired at 30.  Retiring THAT young requires high income.  But anyone can benefit, and retire earlier than they would have (if at all) living the "typical" consumerist life. 


Quote
BTW, having just gone the PhD route, PM me if you have any questions.
Thanks. Husband has one, so I know what I'm getting into.  Also, this would just be a vanity degree on employer's dime.  It's more of a time issue than anything else. But I also know I wouldn't see any sort of salary increase from it. 


I have to say- I don't have a lot of interest in MMM style FIRE.  I imagine I will work until at least 50, even if I don't have to (we are close to the 'not have to' level).  But I just have no interest in a highly consumerist lifestyle.

Look up ERE or get the book ERE, find someone who retired in a few short years making around 30k per year, He spends about 6k/year.

rmendpara

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You're correct in many ways. Few people will have the means to retire at 30 apart from entrepreneurs who started their hustle at age 18 (with or without college) and achieved at least moderate financial success while also being very frugal.

Cutting expenses is something that EVERYONE can do IMMEDIATELY. For people with above average paying careers and earning potential, their issue is learning to live on less. For people on the site, which is sort of self-selecting (people who seek out financial independence sites are more likely to want to improve things), many have careers which can meet their financial targets on the top line, but need to learn how to do with less and understand how much certain lifestyle choices are actually costing them.

However, for people on the lower end of the earning spectrum, I fully agree with you. Cutting expenses is indeed important, but it won't really move the needle in the long term without also combining that with a better career. For someone working as even a fast food manager, making $15/hr (~31k gross), cutting a little here and there will surely help, but the 4 yr goal needs to include finding a way to a stronger earning future. Increasing salary to 50k and cutting expenses by 5k will end up almost doubling the amount that can be invested.

Many people are also attached to their jobs and are not willing to change their trade or think creatively on how to improve things.

Truth be told, we're not all equal and have different things we are willing to do. I've read about people living on 20k/yr (far less in some cases), but that wouldn't meet the lifestyle I'd be happy with. For me, that means going into a better earning career path.

Btw, why no love for CPAs? :)
« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 09:07:54 AM by rmendpara »
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Bob W

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I agree that earning has way more leverage than saving.

If I make 400K per year and save it all I can retire in a very short time.     If I make 40K per year and drive a 20 year old car and live in a 75K house and save 10K I can retire in 20 years.

High income is pretty much how MMM did it.  He and his wife made tons of money and saved most of it. 

The tons of money is a pretty essential ingredient that is vastly under discussed here.   Would love to see more posts on how people switched jobs/careers and doubled or tripled their incomes while keeping expenses moderate.

And yes it should be part of every budget discussion.   

Dave Ramsey discusses increasing income a lot and often says people don't have a savings problem,  they have an income problem.  He then encourages them to get higher paying jobs or deliver pizzas or a side gig. 
Better living through math.

iowajes

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I guess I don't understand what you mean here.  There's no requirement that oyu quit your job once you become FI, and many here don't.  The fact that you are close to being completely FI suggests to me that you automatically follow a lot of hte practices we all aspire to (saving more than you earn, not falling into materialistic BS and avoiding debt-traps).  Both SO and I will likely to continue to work on a contract basis for quite a while - we just won't work full time, all the time, and plan on taking many sebaticals.

I'm interested in FI. Not in RE.  You need both to hit FIRE.

Jeremy E.

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MMM believes that decreasing expenses is the quickest way to an early retirement. There are millions of Americans making over $100,000 that still need more money to sustain there ridiculous consumerist sucka lifestyles. The whole reason MMM started this blog was to help people reduce spending and increase saving. Increasing your salary is good, but most people increase there spending while there salary increases and they just start spending more, and once you retire your salary no longer matters. If you reduce your spending it's twice as effective as increasing your salary, because when you reduce your spending, not only are you able to save more, but the total amount that you need to save to reach retirement is reduced. Say you are currently making $50,000 and currently saving $25,000 per year, if you increase your salary by 50%, you now make $75,000 and because of increased taxes maybe your savings rate will go up to $45,000 per year, that's great. So you need about $700,000 to retire. Say instead you reduced your spending by 50%, so you still make $50,000 per year, but you only spend $12,500 now, and you're able to save $37,500 every year. Now you only need about $300,000 to retire, it's much quicker to get to $300,000 saving $37,500 every year, than it is to get to $700,000 saving $45,000 every year. The people that want to retire really early though, will focus on both rather than choose one, and they'll increase there salary while decreasing there spending and they'll retire in a few short years.

skyrefuge

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I don't know how much of a factor this is in the advice given by forum members, but I think it's important to remember that MMM's underlying goal is not "to get everyone retired as quickly as possible", it's "to create a cultural shift that keeps us from stripping our planet of all its resources". He mentions this fairly regularly.

Consuming less means spending less, and then early retirement is simply a nice byproduct that falls out of spending less. Early retirement is just the carrot he uses to inspire people to consume less, rather than using the stick of a save-the-whales guilt-trip.

In contrast, raising your income doesn't necessarily cause you to consume less, and in many cases, it will cause you to consume more.

So to the extent that forum members follow the influence of MMM, it's understandable that there is a bias towards spending less rather than earning more.

catccc

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Also, people are different and some cannot stand to take a job for the sole purpose of that higher paycheck.  They cannot look at a job just as a way to make money like you and I might be able to do.

My husband is one of those people.  I  think if he had a cube job, his soul would shrivel up and die.  Okay, maybe that is dramatic, but really he'd have depression and anxiety over his job that would affect his well being very negatively.  He needs to be moving, or outside.  Farm Manager, beekeeper... these jobs just don't pay well, and people do it because they love to do it.

That said, early retirement is for me, not him.  He's still very frugal, but if you love what you do, you don't have this constant desire to be FI, you are just living your life.

Plus higher incomes often lead to things like higher taxes.  More isn't the answer, much of the time.



nereo

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I'm interested in FI. Not in RE.  You need both to hit FIRE.
Sure - I just don't see this site about being FIRE.  Plenty of people around here are FI but continue to work because they want to.  MMM routinely gets interrogations from the "Internet Retirement Police," and has written how he earns more with his construction 'hobby' than his family needs to live off of, resulting in an "endless firehose of cash" that he has to put to use.  I think there's a lot of focus about what work (yes, WORK) people can do once they've hit FI that will offer them the most satisfaction.
so - you say you don't like materialistic BS and that you are interested in FI; what about this forum isn't for you?  Just curious...
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iowajes

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Quote from: nereo link=topic=37105.msg661199#msg661199  what about this forum isn't for you?  Just curious...
[/quote

Where did I say the forum isn't for me?  I'm not in MMM-style FIRE. What he did relied on high income and low spending.  He wasn't the same as ERE- income was definitely part of his success.

Lots of people on the forum aren't to the letter followers of MMM. 

nereo

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Where did I say the forum isn't for me?  I'm not in MMM-style FIRE. What he did relied on high income and low spending.  He wasn't the same as ERE- income was definitely part of his success.

Lots of people on the forum aren't to the letter followers of MMM.
ok, my mistake then.  I interpreted the "I'm not in MMM-style" to mean you were not into the ideals pushed across this forum and the lifestyle perpetuated here.  I see my mistake now.  Glad to have you here!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 10:50:33 AM by nereo »
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slugline

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Well yes, ideally, you would do both. The primary reason the spending side is given so much emphasis is because the classic consumerist trap is to escalate lifestyle in lockstep with earning. Being able to consider income and spending separately is fundamental.

Also, it's much easier for a forum/blog to discuss spending together because fundamentally, we all have very similar basic spending outlets -- food, clothing, shelter, transportation. In contrast, consider the wide variety of methods we earn income. It's more difficult for MMM or any generalized personal finance blogger to address career concerns in numerous specialized industries. Could he intelligently discuss how an OB/GYN might improve her practice, for example? For the earning side, it's probably best to listen to other voices that are actually working in your field.

AJ

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Income is indeed important, and I recall at one point reading advice form MMM that if your income is under $100k (maybe that was combined with spouse?) that it is worth it to try to increase it.

That being said, leaving a paying career to go back to school puts a huge dent in your ability to save.

Say we have three accountants making $55k a year and spending roughly that. None has any savings, and all decide they want to start saving now for retirement. One does it by decreasing his expenses to $30k and continuing to work as an accountant. The second decides to go back to school to get an engineering degree. The third does both - expenses to $30k and quits to go back to school.

The accountant will see 5% increases a year (COLA, plus a promotion or two), and his income will cap at $100k, as you say. The engineers will start at $65k and see 10% increases a year (since he will be starting back at entry-level, and income tends to increase quickly at that level). Their income will cap at $250k. Everyone's expenses will increase 3% per year, and the students will have an additional $10k a year expenses the 4 years they are in school to pay tuition plus books. I'll assume the student loans are zero interest for simplicity.

The attached excel file show the Accountant retiring in year 17, with the frugal student close behind in year 18. He  never quite made up for those lost years of earnings. The engineer quickly outpaced the accountant income-wise his second year out of school, but still end up way behind for FIRE in year 28.

There will obviously be many variations on this, but if someone is making a reasonable income and savings much or most of it (such that their RE timeframe is shorter than normal), it often doesn't make sense to lose those years of income to achieve a higher one if FIRE is the goal.

Giro

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That being said, leaving a paying career to go back to school puts a huge dent in your ability to save.


Oh....don't quit your job.  It only took me about 14 months to get my master's in Computer Science and my employer paid for it. Remember, a CPA has 5 years education already.  You just need a few more classes to switch and get an Engineering degree.

I wouldn't start over for a new 4 year degree if you have a 5 year degree already. 





AJ

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That being said, leaving a paying career to go back to school puts a huge dent in your ability to save.


Oh....don't quit your job.  It only took me about 14 months to get my master's in Computer Science and my employer paid for it. Remember, a CPA has 5 years education already.  You just need a few more classes to switch and get an Engineering degree.

I wouldn't start over for a new 4 year degree if you have a 5 year degree already.

That depends on what you took when you were studying accounting. Engineering is not a degree you can get online in 14 months. I would guess with preqreqs it is at least 3 years (of day school), depending on how STEM heavy you were with your electives in college.

Giro

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That depends on what you took when you were studying accounting. Engineering is not a degree you can get online in 14 months. I would guess with preqreqs it is at least 3 years (of day school), depending on how STEM heavy you were with your electives in college.

You can't get much of anything useful online.  At least that's what I'm learning from my kids now going to college.  But, I had a flexible enough schedule that I could always manage to take 4-5 classes each semester.  It took me 3 semesters to finish.  And I did a lot of school work at work as well.  I know not everyone has that going for them.

I would still encourage people with low-ish salaries to at least entertain the idea.  It doesn't have to be college, there are a bunch of skilled trade jobs that are in high demand as well.  Just do the research first.  Figure out what is in demand and know the pay scales.


iowajes

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You can't get much of anything useful online. 

I got an M.Ed. online. As soon as I finished I took a job where my salary increase was equal to the total amount I had paid for the degree. Seems useful to me.

There are a number of schools that offer online Masters that are well regarded in their fields.  The trick is going to a school with a strong reputation.  When a M.S. in Statistics comes in on a resume from Texas A&M, for instance, people in our office don't care if it was done in residence or not.  University of Michigan offers an online BBA.  I don't think many people would question that. Michigan has a phenomenal reputation.
A quick google search tells me University of Illinois has online Engineering degrees.



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« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 12:38:24 PM by iowajes »

nereo

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Income is indeed important, and I recall at one point reading advice form MMM that if your income is under $100k (maybe that was combined with spouse?) that it is worth it to try to increase it.

That being said, leaving a paying career to go back to school puts a huge dent in your ability to save.
...
The attached excel file show the Accountant retiring in year 17, with the frugal student close behind in year 18. He  never quite made up for those lost years of earnings. The engineer quickly outpaced the accountant income-wise his second year out of school, but still end up way behind for FIRE in year 28.

There will obviously be many variations on this, but if someone is making a reasonable income and savings much or most of it (such that their RE timeframe is shorter than normal), it often doesn't make sense to lose those years of income to achieve a higher one if FIRE is the goal.
Awesome analysis and scenario AJ!
Of course there are countless variations, but this is a great way of showing the cost of going back to school, even when it might result in a higher salary.  I'd encourage everyone to input their own variables to see if it makes sense for them.
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

AJ

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I would still encourage people with low-ish salaries to at least entertain the idea.  It doesn't have to be college, there are a bunch of skilled trade jobs that are in high demand as well.  Just do the research first.  Figure out what is in demand and know the pay scales.

Yeah, that is really the key. The bigger the difference between someone's current salary and their expected one at graduation (being realistic!) the more the scales favor getting additional education.

nereo

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You can't get much of anything useful online. 
.... well then what are we doing here? :-)

I've taken quite a few courses online to supplement my job, and I'd like to think they have been very useful to my job and to my future hiring prospects.  My most recent has been an OOC (Open online course) in R programming via coursera.  It's added a lot of value to my work.
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

Giro

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I didn't mean that an occasional online class was not useful, I just meant for a complete online degree, it's quite difficult and has a narrow scope.  I've taken lots of online classes but I haven't found too many (of course there are exceptions) programs that can be completely and effectively fulfilled online.

And I know quite a few employers who do not like to see the online schools listed.


nereo

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I didn't mean that an occasional online class was not useful, I just meant for a complete online degree, it's quite difficult and has a narrow scope.  I've taken lots of online classes but I haven't found too many (of course there are exceptions) programs that can be completely and effectively fulfilled online.

And I know quite a few employers who do not like to see the online schools listed.
Well that's a horse of a different color!
If you make broad totalitarian statements like "You can't get much of anything useful online" you are going to get disagreement.  As earlier stated, online courses have been incredibly useful to me, and at least in my field they are being increasingly used and expected by employers to keep abreast of the latest software and programming options.  They might not want to see your diploma come from "forprofit.com school" but they definitely want to see that you have taken a string of continuing learning courses since you graduated.  It doesn't seem to matter whether you did them in person or via remote learning (internet).  Just my personal experience.
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iowajes

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And I know quite a few employers who do not like to see the online schools listed.

You'd think it was obvious, as my University was located in a different state than the job I was working, but my new employer didn't realize I did an online degree until 6 months after I started there.  The school wasn't online only, and the transcript (which they did ask for) doesn't have a big stamp that says "online".

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I would never work at a job I hate just to retire sooner. LIfe is to short for that. I have had jobs I hated before I got a career & it was horrible.

FunkyStickman

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Until a person/couple can get their spending under control, it doesn't matter how much money they make.

Mindset is the most important asset, IMO.

This. Without the right frugal attitude, no amount of income is enough.

I'm going to retire early only making 50K a year... single income. I have no debt and ridiculously low (by today's standards) spending. It doesn't take 100K+
"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means." -Calvin Coolidge

"Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities." - Mark Twain

Kaspian

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Because even a school bus driver can retire a millionaire if they keep their costs under a control.  A high-flyin' lawyer can die deeply in debt.  The low expenses is emphasized because it is a necessary component for most to achieve the goal.  Education and earning mean nothing if you spend more than you make.
"30 bucks?! What are you, crazy? I don't have that kind of money." - Trailer Park Boys
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