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Back to school?
Old 02-13-2004, 08:18 PM   #1
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Back to school?

Has anybody here gone back to school after retirement, or seriously considered it?

How about swallowed your age-entitled pride and took on an apprenticeship to learn a useful trade?

I've kicked the idea around a bit, but I usually fall back on the theory that at this stage in life, I don't need the structure imposed by a formal education and can just teach myself anything.

Of course, in practice I need both the structure and the resources that a formal education would provide.

So, what do you do with your yearnin' for learnin'?

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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-14-2004, 05:05 AM   #2
 
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Re: Back to school?

Continuous learning is great. However, it does not have to be formal unless one desires certification (i.e., degree, diploma) for a certain purpose (i.e., employment or consulting). Formal education usually costs a lot. There are many less expensive alternatives, e.g., community college courses. If you like academic topics, i.e., business, physics, engineering, computer science, etc, visit the MIT site. They put a lots of their course material (undergraduate and grad) on the web that you can download.

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Re:  Never!
Old 02-14-2004, 07:19 AM   #3
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Re:  Never!

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Of course, in practice I need both the structure and the resources that a formal education would provide.
Geez, my college thesis cured me of all yearning for higher education.

Wab, if you've already taught yourself how to retire early, it sounds like not much more of a stretch to educate yourself without a teacher...

When my kid approached kindergarten age we investigated homeschooling. (Turned out the schools weren't terrorized by our progeny's inquisitiveness after all.) There's a ton of resources out there and they're almost all free, so I'm teaching my kid that education is a personal life-long process. And if this approach doesn't work out for you, you can always pay someone else to tell you how smart you've become!

Lack of education/certification can be a blessing in disguise. If I bothered to get a plumbing or electrician's license, then I might feel obligated to do something with it...
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-14-2004, 09:24 AM   #4
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Re: Back to school?

My father went back to school after retiring from the lumber mill - poly sci/english - went from JC advisory board(2 yr tech grads) to joe student/ school newspaper photographer. Did night school - Portland State?

I flirted with the idea of financial planning/back to school early in ER but fought it off.

Periodically see articles about colleges/ universities doings to 'entice' retirees so there must be something of 'body of potential recruits' - over and above the middle aged 'career changers' - yet another group geting occasional media attention.
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-15-2004, 10:22 AM   #5
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Re: Back to school?

Quote:
I flirted with the idea of financial planning/back to school early in ER but fought it off.
Same here. I figured that since I'll be in the money management business for the next 50 years or so, I might as well get a CFP. I didn't fight the idea off, but was thwarted by one of the requirements: I think it was being employeed in some finance capacity for 5 years.

It still might be worth going through the motions. Same could be said about getting a real estate license, law degree, MD, contractors license, etc. I figure I'll need all of these services down the road, and I've got plenty of time on my hands....
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-15-2004, 11:55 AM   #6
 
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Re: Back to school?

If any one really interested in learning, MIT offer free course materials.

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Global/all-courses.htm

Paul
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-15-2004, 12:23 PM   #7
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Re: Back to school?

I like GDER's idea of 'a PhD program in ER with a travel option instead of a thesis'. * Why not? *That sounds like a GREAT pursuit, and the time you spend learning will be directly beneficial to you. * In lieu of a thesis, why not get an article published somewhere. * Maybe your 'PhD' will amount to something lucrative.

I would imagine your self bestowed itinerary will include such subjects as: * Investing, *Money Management, *Health, Exercise, Recreation, Travel (wheeew... * that's enough courses for the first semester *

If you decide to include some formal classroom training during your 'self designed' curiculum (which I think would be great), I believe you may be eligible for those one-time education credits, Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits. *Maybe another ER has further details on such credits.

*
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-15-2004, 07:36 PM   #8
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Re: Back to school?

I'm not retired, yet. In fact, I'm still in school, but after I retire, I imagine that I'll go back to school to try to learn whatever interests me at that time. I'm one of those people that likes to keep learning, but I don't like what I learn and work on controlled by a boss.
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-16-2004, 01:58 AM   #9
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Re: Back to school?

Wander into any large campus and look for the courses that are taught in auditoriums. Walk right in and sit right down. Take notes. No one will ever know you're a geezer pretending to be a student!

(Maybe early retirees are more appropriately classified as apprentice geezers. Whatever.)

At one place I live long ago (Chapel Hill NC, home of UNC), the college gave courtesy ID cards to town residents for use of the library and a few other resources.

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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-16-2004, 05:32 AM   #10
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Re: Back to school?

I've thought about getting my MBA just because my employer will pay for it. I have no intention of actually obtaining a position that would require it (ie., VP, Director, etc) but thought it would be a nice thing to say that I've done... especially when all I would have to pay for is the parking pass from the University which is roughly $160/year.

Now if I could only muster up the motivation...
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-18-2004, 05:01 AM   #11
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Re: Back to school?

I believe you can audit classes for a low fee; that way you can attend lectures and follow along with the class. I don't think you get your papers graded, but why would you want to?

Dory36's idea sounds cheaper, though.

Many colleges have class lecutres on PBS, cable, videotape, internet and/or CDROM which you can probably view for free or a low fee.

You can always get textbooks, too. And if you don't care about the degree you don't have to pay $50+ for the current edition that the class requires; you can buy a late-model edition for a steep discount.
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-18-2004, 06:10 AM   #12
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Re: Back to school?

Quote:
Periodically see articles about colleges/ universities doings to 'entice' retirees so there must be something of 'body of potential recruits' - over and above the middle aged 'career changers' - yet another group geting occasional media attention.
This discussion brings up an issue that should be of concern to all Americans as we face the prospect of having to make our economy more efficient in the future, to maintain our standard of living with a workforce that will be declining as a fraction of the overall population.

I am willing to take it as a "given" that all young people should have at least a high school education at public expense, and would even be willing to extend this principle to an additional two years of technical training at a community college. What should be questioned from an economic perspective, however, is (1) what sort of "higher" education should be provided, and (2) who should pay for it?

As the above quote illustrates, higher education is a type of "business." It employs a lot of people who provide a service that, most obviously, consists of enabling individuals to accumulate "intellectual capital" that they are then free to "sell" in the market to the highest bidder. (The idea that workers "sell themselves" is a bunch of outmoded Marxist nonsense in modern market-based industrial societies.)

Like workers in every other industry, those in the business of higher education do whatever they can to promote "sales" of their services. They do this through a combination of advocating government and private subsidies, and "marketing" to potential students. The problem is that, as with practically all industries, the amount of higher education that these people advocate is considerably higher than what is economically optimal for the nation as a whole.

To correct this imbalance, I generally favor a policy of making students pay a higher fraction of the total cost of higher education through tuition. Having loans available at somewhat subsidized rates is fine, and also having programs like ROTC that pay a portion of costs in exchange for a set period of public service after graduation. (In fact, I took advantage of the latter myself.)

As this applies to the special issue of adults taking college courses just "out of interest," I have done that too and think that it is great. An important point that I would add, however, is that those of us who do should pay the full cost.
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-18-2004, 04:48 PM   #13
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Re: Back to school?

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. . . As this applies to the special issue of adults taking college courses just "out of interest," I have done that too and think that it is great. *An important point that I would add, however, is that those of us who do should pay the full cost.
As an ex-professor and current tax-payer, I agree with this. I'm more inclined to buy books and learn on my own than take even more classes than I've already taken in my life. But if I were to take classes now, I would pay the bill. I don't pirate software or copy DVDs either.
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-19-2004, 10:11 PM   #14
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Re: Back to school?

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An important point that I would add, however, is that those of us who do should pay the full cost.
Cost or price? Cost is what it costs the college for the additional student. Price is what the student is willing to pay and is related to the perceived value of the course. The value of a course for someone with an expected 30+ year working career is different than the value for someone not planning on working. When the incremental cost is low enough, the vendor may set the price close to the perceived value. That's part of the free market and I have no problem with it.

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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-20-2004, 08:05 AM   #15
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Re: Back to school?

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*Cost is what it costs the college for the additional student. *

Price is what the student is willing to pay and is related to the perceived value of the course. *
Well, there are a couple of ways at looking at "cost." The "cost" that you refer to above is actually the "marginal cost." In the context of a college (where there are typically large fixed costs for facilities) the marginal cost tends to be much lower than the average cost, which is the total cost divided by the total number of students (or class-hours).

"Price" is what the college charges to prospective students. Some are willing to pay this and do, and others choose not to.

It is a question of equity is whether the price for students participating in "continuing education" courses should be set at the "average cost," the "marginal cost," or something in-between. If they are charged only the marginal cost, it can be argued that the "full time" students are being made to bear a disproportionate part of the total costs the college. That hardly seems fair considering that most of the "full time" students are probably more financially stressed than the people taking the continuing education classes.

I suspect that the reason why colleges tend to charge the marginal cost for continuing education courses is purely economic -- that even though the people taking them tend to have more disposable income, they view these courses as "discretionary," and are therefore more sensitive to the price of them. That's the same reason why airlines charge less for flights on weekends -- so that they can charge higher prices to business travelers who are relatively insensitive to price, as compared to leisure travellers who are more sensitive to price and also more willing to travel at non-peak times.
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-20-2004, 09:43 AM   #16
 
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Re: Back to school?

tuition --

Marketing 101 - set price to what the market will bear! It has nothing to do with fairness. If it is, why do graduate students pay a higher tuition when taking the same class as the undergrads?

Paul
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Re: Back to school?
Old 02-20-2004, 01:55 PM   #17
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Re: Back to school?

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tuition --

Marketing 101 - set price to what the market will bear! It has nothing to do with fairness.
Paul
Where publicly funded institutions are concerned, my opinion as a taxpayer and voter is that fairness should be a consideration in setting prices.

I agree that private universities have a right to set their prices any way they want. But if they are simply going to set them in a way that maximizes their profits (excuse me, their "net income," since they don't make "profits") they should quit being so hypocritical about their "affirmative action" programs to assist "disadvantaged" students.
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