Author Topic: Young couple in school, trying to find the fastest way to get through it.  (Read 2427 times)

Skalm

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Good news:
My job has a great benefit where my wife and I pay $5/credit hour for tuition, capped at 9 credits per person per semester.
My job has great health insurance.

Bad news:
Neither my or my wife's jobs pay very well.
My wife's job is grinding on her and she's getting very stressed out.

The goal:
Get my wife out of that job and into school, finish hers as quickly as possible, get her into field she enjoys (and make more money).

Money: $2500 per month ($1200 if just me, $1850ish if she were to drop to part time)

Budget:
Rent - $595
Electric - $60
Phone - $55
Internet - $30
Food - $250
Gas - $60 (would drop if she went to part time)

Other things come up like the occasional urgent care visit, clothes, and some misc stuff.

I believe that our best way to get to Mustachian levels of retirement savings is to increase our incomes, and the way to do that is to get degrees and non-entry level jobs.

There's probably a lot of stuff I'm missing so feel free to ask questions. How can I get her into her two-year program as quickly as possible?

kiwichick

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Re: Young couple in school, trying to find the fastest way to get through it.
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2015, 08:42:20 PM »
I don't know anything about the US education system, so I can't comment there. Your budget looks pretty tight if you have to rely on only one income. Can you put some money aside for emergencies between now and your wife starting college?

What does your wife want to study? Is there a subject she's passionate about, or does she just want to get away from her current job at all costs? If the latter, then perhaps switching jobs without going back to school is an option?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Young couple in school, trying to find the fastest way to get through it.
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2015, 08:48:59 PM »
Are there limitations on which schools? Is there a clear path on what your wife should study to increase her income?

Unless there's a clear path to improving financial prospects, school is often a poor choice (even for basically free), because of the opportunity cost of the years spent there.

Skalm

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Re: Young couple in school, trying to find the fastest way to get through it.
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2015, 09:08:48 PM »
I don't know anything about the US education system, so I can't comment there. Your budget looks pretty tight if you have to rely on only one income. Can you put some money aside for emergencies between now and your wife starting college?

What does your wife want to study? Is there a subject she's passionate about, or does she just want to get away from her current job at all costs? If the latter, then perhaps switching jobs without going back to school is an option?

We have $2k in savings right now. Could probably bump it to $3.5k by spring semester.

She wants to go for the auto tech program, she's in healthcare right now and she doesn't like it. The problem with swapping jobs is that it's still entry-level and low-paying, where a mechanic would make closer to $15k/year more.

Are there limitations on which schools? Is there a clear path on what your wife should study to increase her income?

Unless there's a clear path to improving financial prospects, school is often a poor choice (even for basically free), because of the opportunity cost of the years spent there.

Any school in my state accepts my job's benefits. She's pretty intent on auto tech, which would definitely increase her income.

What jobs don't require a degree that pay as well as ones that do require one?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Young couple in school, trying to find the fastest way to get through it.
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2015, 09:14:40 PM »
I don't know anything about the US education system, so I can't comment there. Your budget looks pretty tight if you have to rely on only one income. Can you put some money aside for emergencies between now and your wife starting college?

What does your wife want to study? Is there a subject she's passionate about, or does she just want to get away from her current job at all costs? If the latter, then perhaps switching jobs without going back to school is an option?

We have $2k in savings right now. Could probably bump it to $3.5k by spring semester.

She wants to go for the auto tech program, she's in healthcare right now and she doesn't like it. The problem with swapping jobs is that it's still entry-level and low-paying, where a mechanic would make closer to $15k/year more.

Are there limitations on which schools? Is there a clear path on what your wife should study to increase her income?

Unless there's a clear path to improving financial prospects, school is often a poor choice (even for basically free), because of the opportunity cost of the years spent there.

Any school in my state accepts my job's benefits. She's pretty intent on auto tech, which would definitely increase her income.

What jobs don't require a degree that pay as well as ones that do require one?

Going for a vocational program is different. A lot of people post on here with plans to get their MBA or an associates in English or something equally useless. It sounds like she has a distinct plan with distinct possibilities for earnings, which is an excellent situation to be in. Next question: does she have auto tech experience so that she knows she would enjoy the work? Any contact in the field?

Skalm

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Re: Young couple in school, trying to find the fastest way to get through it.
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2015, 09:29:51 PM »
Going for a vocational program is different. A lot of people post on here with plans to get their MBA or an associates in English or something equally useless. It sounds like she has a distinct plan with distinct possibilities for earnings, which is an excellent situation to be in. Next question: does she have auto tech experience so that she knows she would enjoy the work? Any contact in the field?

Well that's good. She did small engine repair in high school and two of three of the auto tech classes there and loved it and she's wanted to be a mechanic for years, so she's pretty passionate about it. No contacts in the field though. I'm curious if an auto shop place would be willing to train her on the job, just doing oil changes to start.

I'm also considering quitting this job, getting a graveyard shift job (dropping the benefits), and using the savings to cashflow EMT training, which is $13/hour starting in my city, but that may be shortsighted of me just being sick of having entry-level jobs.
Currently I'm finishing my Associates of Science, with the intent to get a BS in Chemistry, emphasis on Secondary Education.

spokey doke

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Re: Young couple in school, trying to find the fastest way to get through it.
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2015, 10:46:11 PM »
I understand the felt need to change your situation, but it seems that now is a really important time to take a step back, take a deep breath, and think about the long term.

If you decide that you hate your jobs and need to change, that is what is going to occupy your thoughts and drive emotional state.  Can you make peace with the downsides, realize the opportunities your current situation has, and capitalize on it?

9 credits per semester is a constraint, but nothing to sneeze at...and without a lot of means, it seems worth making the most of while you can.

While your current jobs don't pay well, the jobs that do seem to require things you don't currently have.  You might run the numbers on where you can afford to make a break and go all in on school and new careers.  Map it out, take some sense of satisfaction in the plan and a brighter future.

MsPeacock

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Re: Young couple in school, trying to find the fastest way to get through it.
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2015, 07:49:43 AM »
If you can take 9 credit hours per semester, including the accelerated spring/summer shorter semesters -  you can get 36 credits per year. That is basically considered full time and will get you through a college degree in 4 years (assuming you are starting with no college credits). I would be all over "free" college (ok, $5 per credit hour). Not sure what degree programs are open for you, but there are many good bachelor levels degrees (computer, engineering, chemistry, nursing being a few).

The payment of tuition is a significant bonus and should be factored into your calculations about the income you would make at another job. If the tuition is worth several thousand (or more) per year, you may end up significantly behind by leaving and paying for school out of pocket.