CWR Building Wealth – Your Major Is Major
By Gil Michel, MBA
Remember when you were a child? You were probably asked by your parents or your aunts or your uncles or maybe even from church members- “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a matter of fact that question could be the reason why you are in college right now. For college students that are reading this article, the major that you’ve chosen while matriculated at your current school could determine your earning potential for the rest of your life. For example the terms, “starving artist” and “struggling musician” came about because the likelihood for people to make a lot of money with those professions are very small. So, I would like to give you a few points to consider.
First of all, before we even start with money, you have to determine whether the profession you choose will provide you a high sense of intrinsic value. In other words would you still choose this profession no matter what the income level? This generation is different in that many more people are listing happiness in the profession as a priority over what financial reward they can derive. And you indeed have to ask yourself the same question. It is the contention of many life coaches that profit usually follows passion. So make sure you do something you love or that gives you a certain level of fulfillment.
Secondly it would be a very good idea for you to do a job income outlook in the profession for which you’re interested. A great place to start is with the Bureau of Labor Statistics which is located at http://www.BLS.gov. While there you can get a good idea of what to expect to earn based on occupation and what region of the United States you’ll be living. Several years ago there was a shortage of registered nurses. As a result many people entered the nursing profession with hopes of guaranteed job security. Recently a report was release that nurses are now having a hard time finding jobs in certain parts of the country. So it would behoove you to do your homework (no pun intended).
Third, in light of the profession/ major that you’re interested in, it would be a good idea to correlate that up with the cost of education you’re receiving. For example if you are planning to go into a profession that will earn you $40,000 per year, do you really need to attend an Ivy League school with tuition of $60,000 per year? You may very well get an adequate education at a State College or technical school. My point is that you approach your education as an investment. Investing $250,000 into your education and not seeing a return on that investment in 10 years would appear to many as a bad investment. If you couple that with high interest costs and possible seasons of unemployment it could very challenging.
All too often I see well intentioned parents and eager students choosing the best institutions of higher learning to attend. While any parent would want the best education for their children, you cannot become so blinded by poor financial choices that you actually jeopardize that student’s financial future. So take some time, if you haven’t already, and with financial lenses, look at how profitable it is for you to go into the field or a major that you’re interested in. The results may make you pause, it may further your cause, or it may make you tweak your plans a little tighter. Ultimately, you want to make sure that you walk into this with eyes wide open because no one wants to graduate college to starve or struggle.
About Gil Michel: Gil Michel is a CPA and financial planning expert, and is the CEO and President of The Caleb Group, Inc., a small business solutions firm. Gil’s experience has evolved from working in top ten CPA firms to working one-on-one with small business owners in developing realistic budgets to create wealth for their families. Gil’s Caleb Group is the parent company of BlackMoneyMatters.com, an interactive website that seeks to educate, inform, and enlighten the Black community in areas of financial health. Currently Gil is featured on Sheridan Gospel Network’s The Light, which is syndicated in 56 radio stations/48 cities across the United States. In addition, Gil is also featured on The Good Life Radio broadcast financial segment every week in a feature called “Stacking Paper.” Gil’s passion to see urban cities turned around in the next 10 years inspired him to form TACTT, Inc. (www.tactt.org) in 2003 (Teens Achieving Community Through Training). TACTT is a financial literacy program that empowers teens in the five areas of entrepreneurship, real estate, banking/personal finance, investing, and positive life skills.