Education: The Best 401k Available
Across the economic spectrum, people are concerned about saving for their retirement. With financial professionals on the news and in the papers warning that most people do not have enough money put away, many reasonably scramble to find some worthy investments. Statistics show continually, however, that investing in a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree can be the best strategy for having a successful, comfortable life and retirement.
Earnings discrepancies and advanced education
The National Center for Education Statistics tracks the median average salaries of workers between the ages of 25 and 34 and compares the information to the highest degree that the individual has earned. The disparity is immediately evident. Those who only have a high school diploma have a median average annual salary of $29,950. Those who have an associates degree earn over $7,000 more per year at $37,030, and those with a bachelor’s degree have a median annual salary of $44,970, while those with an advanced degree top the chart with a median average of $59,230. Those who went from having just some college to finishing their degree also saw a jump of just over $5,000 for an associates degree and about $13,000 for a full bachelor’s degree.
Is college worth the cost?
One of the biggest and most understandable concerns is the cost of completing a degree. Reports indicate that in just 11 years, from 2000 to 2011, costs associated with college jumped by 37 percent. Financial analysts are concerned about the amount of debt that young people are graduating with and the related social and economic implications. While students will find that different degrees have varying results for a cost-benefit analysis, the median annual salary of those with at least a bachelor’s degree is listed as being more than $14,000 higher than a person with only a high school diploma. When those numbers are multiplied out over the lifetime, it is easy to see why the lifetime earnings potential of a person with a bachelor’s degree—$2.27 million—is so much higher than a person with some college—$1.55 million—or a person with no college—$1.3 million. Although the degree itself may be expensive, in the majority of cases the investment is well worth the risk.
The benefits of a college degree seem clear. While obtaining the degree requires a significant amount of work and often a large financial investment, the increase in potential earnings will greatly enhance a person’s quality of life and make retirement possible and even enjoyable. The degree will make it easier to find a job with better pay and benefits, which can help reduce stress. Those debating about the value of adults returning to college should not wait any longer to start figuring out what their degree will be.
nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=77, www.forbes.com/sites/saranyakapur/2013/04/11/is-your-college-degree-worth-it-find-out/, www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/08/05/how-higher-education-affects-lifetime-salary