Monday, April 8, 2013
The Importance of a College Education and Asset Acquisition
I had an epiphany the other day about the importance of a college education the other day after being prodded by a question posted by a gentleman on Linkedin.com through the Higher Education Teaching and Learning group. I listened to Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and in a moment I realized the biggest problem we have in raising the next generation of successful peopl is that wee focus too much on "job" training, "income earning" and not enough on the difference between assets and debt. We train them to go for a job! For a child coming out a home that has literally only the bed that they sleep in, (if they are lucky enough to have their own bed), we are going to miss the mark. For a large number of "have not's" their parents do not have debt, nor do they have assets. Therefore, they cannot comprehend what it is that we are talking about. I, for one, was raised by a hard working father and mother, and they had some debt, but, they mostly had a house and that was their asset. They purchased the home when I was 2 and by the time I was 20 my father was ready to pay off his home and could have with $5,000! What my father still owed on the property, even after re-financing a couple of times could be purchased with 2 month's worth of his wages. He made a sound investment. It did not depreciate, yet, it appreciated substantially. At the age of 52, my failed marriage has left me with nothing but debt, even with a college education, a very advanced college education. The problem, the education put me into extreme debt without enough viable years in the work force to pay off that debt. Imagine paying off your student loans when you are 70! Well, that is my situation. Aside from a miracle, that will be the financial legacy I leave my children. My best friend who barely made it out of high school, stayed home and raised her kids and married a man who had no college is going to be debt free by the time she is 70. Even with possible health issues, etc., she will be fine. Why? Because she married a man who landed a quality income stream right out of high school. He wanted a position that would provide enough income to sustain them, and allow for sound investments in property. They wisely picked up foreclosed properties along the way transforming their neighborhood. Her father showed her how to do it. His father showed him how to do it. She has assets to fall back on. I have the education, the brains, the credentials, but, lack the investment. I made other choices aside from my education that has not availed me much more, (actually less) than those living on welfare. Those on welfare with no college education have more then I do. While I would love to say that education is not something anyone can take away from you, what value does it hold if we cannot do anything with it? If in the end we are indebted to the government? We are held hostage by the paper that hangs on the wall? When we worked hard, paid our dues, followed the rules and we are relegated to merely bringing attention to it through blogging, have we brought value to our situation? We need to reassess what we identify as a must do for people wishing to move professionally through the world.We have led people to believe that the only way to move ahead is to accumulate debt, large sums of debt before they will ever possibly get a job. Imagine selling someone a home valued at 100k without a job prospect. Well, every person in college right now is being sold the equivalent concept, and they like me, have jumped into a pool of very deep water, without a life preserver. We must be very honest and wise when educating our children. Academics is not enough!