Investing in Self: Education

Investing in Self: Education

As we move on in our “Investing in Self” series, we come to the idea of investing in your education. We here at MomVesting believe that education is the cornerstone to self-improvement. Whether you’re contemplating your first financial investment or looking to jump into a new career, setting yourself up for success only takes a little education and motivation. So how do you get started? Let’s take a look.

Decide Your Final Goal

You could be going back to school for your third Master’s or a course about latte coffee art (you know, the art of making those pretty flowers and hearts a barista magically applies in latte foam). Whatever your course of study, you must know what your final goal may be.

Is that third Master’s degree or the coffee art class going to give you an edge in your career, help you change career paths or bring you joy? Will the money you spend on your coursework be worth the final product? Only you can decide this.

Spending $60,000 for a Master’s degree may be worth the return in knowledge to one person, but another person’s final goal may be to advance their career. For that reason, knowing what you wish to accomplish will help you decide your best course of study.

Find Your School

Now that you know what you want to do with all of the knowledge that will soon flow forth, you can decide where to school yourself. Fortunately, you can surf for a school or for information from the comfort of your own home.

A simple Google search for “barista training,” for example, can set you on the path to numerous classes. The same is true for any coursework you are interested in: beekeeping, Psychology, fish wrangling, you name it.

Once you have a few schools narrowed down, the choice is yours. Online coursework is getting better and better, so there are many options there. Also, many skills you wish to master can be researched online before you commit to a full ten-day seminar on the intricacies of basket weaving.

Is this School Really My School?

The important part here is making sure the school fits your goals. Personally, I did not take this step when I was thinking of switching careers in my early banking days. I wanted to pursue my childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian, at almost any cost.

The thing is, I am not a natural scientist, and I knew the DVM (Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine) coursework would be rough on me. So I enrolled in a vet assistant program to get my feet wet.

I spent a few thousand dollars on the program only to decide I really couldn’t be a vet (I fainted at the smell of blood…). In any case, spending a week intimately observing the ins and outs of veterinary work would have taught me the same thing. And spared me thousands of dollars.

So make sure the school is right for you. Do your homework to decide if the courses and school will truly meet your goals in a cost-effective and emotionally-satisfying way. You may also wish to shadow someone in your chosen job field to ensure you're ready to commit to the new path.

As you move forward toward investing in your education, I wish you the best of luck! Investing in yourself can be the most satisfying experience, allowing you to meet lifelong goals with pride and joy.

Let us know your thoughts on education and self-investment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Ravi Gupta's picture

Ravi Gupta wrote:

Fri, 07/08/2011 - 12:32 Comment #: 1

Great post! They say that investing in yourself is the best investment a person can make. I think your first point of knowing exactly what you want out of it and your goal is the most important aspect of education.

-Ravi Gupta

jeff @ Sustainable life blog's picture

jeff @ Sustainable life blog wrote:

Fri, 07/08/2011 - 15:54 Comment #: 2

I'd have to say that investing in yourself like this pays great returns, and your knowledge is something that a creditor can't repossess in the event of a default :)
It's just important that you have an end game with your education - trade school, college, masters, phD or whatever.

Alex | Perfecting Dad's picture

Alex | Perfecting Dad wrote:

Sat, 07/09/2011 - 20:03 Comment #: 3

Love the point that you need to have the goal in mind. Public universities especially, because they are so cheap, are full of people "finding" themselves. Find yourselves before you go to a school costing you and the taxpayer thousands of dollars!.

femmefrugality's picture

femmefrugality wrote:

Sun, 07/10/2011 - 01:39 Comment #: 4

I was always so upset that I financially fell through the collegiate cracks as I watched my peers graduate. Then I watched them graduate and work at a coffee shop. (Business degrees aren't what they used to be in the recent economic climate.) I'm kind of glad that I've had time to assess what I want to do with my life before spending all that money that I didn't have in the first place. Happily going back to school! Remember to apply for the FAFSA and check out for scholarships!

Andrea @ Single & Saving's picture

Andrea @ Single & Saving wrote:

Sun, 07/10/2011 - 18:14 Comment #: 5

This is great advice! I quit law school after a year because I knew that I wasn't cut out to be a lawyer. I'm glad that I chose to spend that year at one of the cheapest law schools in the country, so I'm not burdened with an astronomical amount of student loan debt for a degree I don't have. I then worked and went to grad school at night and consider that a much better investment in myself. I have no grad school debt and have a job I enjoy (while a lot of my law school classmates are still struggling to find work in the legal field).

MoneyCone's picture

MoneyCone wrote:

Mon, 07/11/2011 - 00:24 Comment #: 6

Absolutely agree about investing in self. But also be aware the cost of education has grown at a rate faster than health care costs.

Do you research, make sure you have an idea as to what your ROI on your education will be.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Fri, 07/15/2011 - 17:26 Comment #: 7

Ravi, thanks! I agree investing in yourself should be a top priority!

Jeff, good point about your knowledge being something you can keep forever -- and that which a creditor can't repossess!

Alex, it's so hard to find yourself at 18, isn't it? College can be a great place to find a good base of interest, but I think it's much cheaper to find your interests in other ways, like through volunteering!

Femmefrugality, welcome! Congrats on figuring out your schooling late! I was confused about what I wanted to do for years -- attending university right out of high school was the thing to do at the time, but I wish in hindsight I would have waited until I knew what I wanted to do. In any case, it all worked out in the end. Thanks for all the tips about FAFSA and Fastweb!

Andrea, congratulations on figuring out your path! Grad school at night is an awesome option!

MoneyCone, great point about the cost of education being so high! Making sure your return on investment is good is one of the most important things to think about.