College Planning and Financial Planning Are a Good Marriage

by on August 3rd, 2014
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When people think of personal finance they immediately think of their checking and savings accounts, a stock portfolio or setting a budget. While those things are certainly important they don’t cover the full scope of personal finance. An often overlooked area is education. Not as in saving for it but as in what type to get.

I have an MBA with a focus in marketing among my degrees. When I earned this degree it was a fallback plan in the event the real career didn’t work out. This was a common goal back in the 1980’s where we were encouraged to have a backup degree in something practical. This desperately needs to make a comeback in college planning.

My best friend has a daughter that she and her husband spent over $60,000 a year to support through five years of college at exclusive universities. It took the girl five years to earn her degree because she never declared a major. When she finally graduated two years ago it was with a degree in iconography. I was unaware that such a major existed. My thought was that it was a major devoted to the study of the ancient church art form of icons; I was wrong. Iconography is the study of pop culture icons such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. The girl now works as a bartender and has been involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement because she can’t find a job in her field. Her parents are still supporting her.

That is what I mean by educational planning in personal finance. Whether you are a parent or young adult, paying $300,000 for a degree in a field that is going to make it virtually impossible to support yourself is a very poor financial decision.

When planning for college children should be encouraged to earn a degree in a marketable field. Iconography is a hobby. Hobbies are leisure activities. Her parents are still supporting her.

That is what I mean by educational planning in personal finance. Whether you are a parent or young adult, paying $300,000 for a degree in a field that is going to make it virtually impossible to support yourself is a very poor financial decision.

When planning for college children should be encouraged to earn a degree in a marketable field. Iconography is a hobby. Hobbies are leisure activities. I personally encouraged both of my children to look for careers that made them happy and able to support themselves. I have two girls and I wanted them to be able to support themselves and any children they might have no matter what the domestic situation happened to be. One went into radiation therapy and the other into hospital administration. They both prefer to shop, surf and hike. They do those things during their free time. I haven’t had to support either of them since college.

Future financial stability needs to have a place of prominence in career planning. Graduating with a college degree is not a promise of future employment. Good jobs are always going to be harder to find than low paying jobs. Planning in advance will make the process much smoother.


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