Should I Go To Grad School? Get Rich Or Die Trying!
I’ve decided to dedicate much of the rest of this month focusing on graduate schools, specifically the much loved and vilified graduate degree, the MBA. The deadline for round 1 applications is fast approaching, and I’ve come up with a $1,000 giveaway that any aspiring MBA applicant, PhD applicant, or grad school applicant for that matter may be interested in receiving. Hence, feel free to spread the word and stay tuned! For now, let’s start off with a layup as to why getting your graduate degree is a good idea, if you want to make more money.
Many personal finance publishers use Net Worth IQ as a way to track their financial progress. NW IQ managed to gather a bunch of good data to digest and analyze. A lot of it is just common sense such as the older you are, the greater your net worth tends to be.
This is the chart that stood out most:
|Education||Profile Count||% of Pop.||Median Net Worth|
|Less than high school graduate||21||0.67 %||$26,440|
|High school graduate||79||2.53 %||$40,570|
|High school graduate with some college||322||10.32 %||$25,189|
|Associate degree||117||3.75 %||$46,464|
|Bachelors degree||1460||46.78 %||$73,461|
|Masters, professional, doctoral degree||901||28.87 %||$193,761|
|Total Reporting Users: 2900|
Someone with a graduate degree averages a net worth 160% greater than someone with a bachelors degree and 700% greater than someone with a high school diploma. The data is based on info provided by 2,900 users which is a big enough sample set.
5 Theories Why Those With Graduate Degrees Have Higher Net Worths
1) People are older when they enter or re-enter the work force
2) Graduate degrees command higher salaries
3) People tend to work longer because they invested a greater amount of time and money in their education. Doctors, for example, study until they are 28-30, and can work well into their 70′s.
4) People may have more money already, since graduate school is expensive.
5) People are motivated to succeed because they are sacrificing more, and need to prove to themselves they made the right decision.
There’s been a lot of debate over whether a graduate degree is worth it, and this data tilts the data towards yes. You guys know we don’t like to rely on net worth, as it gives a false sense of security. But, since net worth by definition is net of all liabilities, we can presume the cost of higher education, and student debt specifically, is included.
OTHER OBVIOUS CHART CONCLUSIONS:
The Older You Are, The Wealthier You Tend To Be (Except If You’re Between 60-64!)
|Age||Profile Count||% of Pop.||Median Net Worth|
|Under 25||499||15.99 %||$9,660|
|75 and over||2||0.06 %||$2,734,001|
|Total Reporting Users: 2981|
The Higher Your Income, The Higher Your Net Worth
|Income||Profile Count||% of Pop.||Median Net Worth|
|0 – 9,999||92||2.95 %||$1,830|
|10,000 – 19,999||65||2.08 %||$839|
|20,000 – 29,999||131||4.20 %||$1,808|
|30,000 – 39,999||186||5.96 %||$3,582|
|40,000 – 49,999||268||8.59 %||$22,211|
|50,000 – 59,999||283||9.07 %||$32,461|
|60,000 – 69,999||282||9.04 %||$50,177|
|70,000 – 79,999||260||8.33 %||$96,520|
|80,000 – 89,999||180||5.77 %||$113,100|
|90,000 – 99,999||202||6.47 %||$176,548|
|100,000 – 149,999||542||17.37 %||$267,042|
|150,000 – 199,999||190||6.09 %||$513,000|
|200,000 – 249,999||99||3.17 %||$549,446|
|250,000 +||129||4.13 %||$1,035,000|
|Total Reporting Users: 2909|
The last two charts aren’t a surprise at all. The net worth differential among various levels of education is. Now obviously there are plenty of wealthy people who don’t have graduate or even bachelor degrees (Bill Gates). However, if you’re someone who’s trying to decide between attending or not, perhaps this data may help you in your decision making.
I’ll be the first to tell you that getting a graduate degree was a royal pain in my a$$, especially going part-time. Can you imagine working 60-70 hours a week, and then going to class from 9am-6pm every Saturday for 3 years?! What’s worse was the last minute studying on Friday night when the only thing I wanted to do was pass out on the couch watching my favorite movies. The good thing about a difficult experience is that it’s over, and what’s left of you is a stronger individual who can better endure future hardship. Every weekend now feels like a vacation and I’m glad I got my degree.
To quantify the MBA is somewhat difficult, but I’d like to think it’s helped me avoid the chopping block during these past two downturns, and get me promoted once during school, and once right after I graduated. The degree gives me the credibility to manage a business out west, and I’d be happy to do it all over again.
Readers, feel free to share your thoughts on why getting a graduate degree is a waste of time, or priceless for long term wealth creation. Do you disagree with the statistics above? If you feel comfortable, feel free to highlight whether you went to graduate school, mention how long you’ve been working, and how much you are making.
For career coaching and finding the best school for you, I recommend CollegeSurfing.com. CollegeSurfing.com connects students with schools that best suit your needs and interests. School is expensive, and it’s important you take the time to leverage the internet to make sure the next several years are worth it! Or, you can use CollegeSurfing.com to get started on a new career today!
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