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Am I digging myself deeper into a hole?
Old 06-28-2016, 04:51 PM   #1
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Am I digging myself deeper into a hole?

Hi, I'm a single male in my early 30s with no family. I graduated college 10 years ago. The degree turned out to be useless, and I've been working for the last decade in low-paying jobs. I want to retire early. I would need a much higher income to achieve this goal, so I'm thinking about going back to school. I've considered various career scenarios, and in each case, going back to school would wipe out most of my limited life savings.

Most early retirement advice recommends against additional education. Under what circumstances would going back to school be advisable?

I'm 10 years behind others my age in savings and investments, so how do I catch up? Outside of improving my career, what other things should I be doing if I want to retire early? What investments should I be thinking about?

I'd like to start a family one day. How do I reconcile this goal with my goal of early retirement?
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:07 PM   #2
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It is true that one of the two keys to early retirement is at least a decent income, the other is of course saving+investing. Sometimes, someone will have a degree that is really not in demand, and have a not good GPA, making it tough to earn income, outside of creating their own business, which is not simple in itself, even getting into landlording has major pitfalls. There is also skilled labor, but those types of jobs are very specialized, limited in quantity, and are generally not desk jobs. Then there are some federal+state+local jobs that may have some somewhat lower requirements, private sector. There is also the armed forces. It depends on which way you want to go.

If it is a desk job you want, and you really are being limited by your previous degree, then choosing one of the well known types of degrees that have decent starting salaries that suit your interest and abilities, at something like a state school where tuition will not be as difficult, and you are prepared to make a big commitment to getting back on the studying grindstone again, then it isn't a bad idea, I've seen some people doing it, those at above the community college level of commitment seemed to be making progress.

If things go at least mostly smoothly, even with restarting, you could early retire in your mid to late 40's.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:13 PM   #3
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What field of schooling? How many years? Can you work part-time while doing it? What cost? Have you investigated going into business for yourself? What skills do you have? If your low paying jobs are in construction, that can give options.

If the schooling is, for example, law school at full pay (other than at a top 5 or 10 school), probably not a good idea.

Best way to catch up is make/save more money. See the ongoing savings/investment thread discussing which is "more" important. Don't focus on juicing your investments up for excessive returns to make up for lack of earnings--that almost always is counterproductive. If you can get a side-gig going or start your own business, you can make a bigger/safer difference than making leveraged-VIX bets in the markets.

As for family, you may be in a position to have to decide which is more important--early retirement or kids. Of course, if you are prudent with spending on kids, you can still do ok. (Even with very high incomes, our kids delayed our retirement--but I quit working for a long time and we spent a ton on education.... You don't have to do that.)

E.T.A. Here is the saving/investing thread: being frugal/saving vs investments
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:25 PM   #4
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What's your degree in? How much credit would apply to a new degree? How about voc-tech? Make sure there is a return on investment.

Don't know enough about you to help much.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:34 PM   #5
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Are you good at sales? How is your communication skill? I've seen people with low paying degrees or no degree become very successful in sales.


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Old 06-28-2016, 06:39 PM   #6
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Like others ask, what was your degree in? Also, what college did you attend? Why can you not find something in this field?


My question would be... why did you make that decision in the first place? IOW, sometimes it is good to go back and look at why we made decisions in order to learn from them and make better ones in the future...

Also, can you do better with another degree? Some people are not college material (not saying anything about you, just pointing this out)... it would be better for these people to find what they are really good at and pursue this as their occupation...


Another thing you can do is try and get a low level job at a mega corp... most megas will pay for college.... I started out as a mail clerk and them moved into an accounting clerk position before I went back to college... I did leave that mega once I was ready to jump in full time to get my degree... but the transition was good for me...
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Old 06-28-2016, 06:57 PM   #7
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You could look at it like an investment in terms of return on capital. If you get a better degree in a high paying field, from a low cost university, then it should be worth it. You will have to do the research on incomes and schools. I guess I rather did this 35 years ago. I got a chemical engineering degree from a state school, and I will FIRE next year. These days, something in the IT/computer area is a likely strong field, but i am sure that there are others.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:13 PM   #8
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Outside of improving my career, what other things should I be doing if I want to retire early?
You have reached the age where the first wave of divorcées with young children is just hitting the market. If you can attract and wed an independently wealthy divorcée with kids, you'll be all set as long as you're willing to be a step-dad and live off your new wife's assets. Happy hunting!
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:16 PM   #9
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I'd like to start a family one day. How do I reconcile this goal with my goal of early retirement?
Marry a well to do but still fertile woman. If this fails, forget about early retirement and if you can't make good money in your present career, go to school and at least learn to code if you think you might be successful at this.

Are you young enough and healthy enough to apprentice to a good trade, or perhaps become a prison guard?

Good article today in the Finance Buff blog. maybe not what an early retiree wannabe would like, but IMO important.

Ha
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:22 PM   #10
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Go into sales and work your butt off. Good sales people make good money. It almost doesn't matter what you sell as long as you are really good at it. The reality is there are very few high wage earners that aren't selling. Yes there are exceptions like doctors who work for an HMO. However, the vast majority of $250k+ earners are selling something.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:38 PM   #11
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What's your degree in? How much credit would apply to a new degree? How about voc-tech? Make sure there is a return on investment.

Don't know enough about you to help much.
+1
Age 25 I worked in a sawmill as with a specific skill that had no future and zero transferable skills. Age 27 I started as an entry level IT, retirement was 29 years later. I wouldn't suggest IT today but there may be other easier transitions. I also wouldn't suggest a path that requires an MBA to be successful.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:39 PM   #12
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I think you folks are being tough on the OP, and maybe even a bit flippant. The OP seems to be genuinely asking for assistance. If the OP would provide some more detail, this group will provide some positive guidance and wisdom based on their experience.

Sales is certainly one possibility, if the OP has the personality for sales. To give any useful advice, more information about the degree and he jobs held so far will be necessary.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:46 PM   #13
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I think you folks are being tough on the OP, and maybe even a bit flippant. The OP seems to be genuinely asking for assistance. If the OP would provide some more detail, this group will provide some positive guidance and wisdom based on their experience.

Sales is certainly one possibility, if the OP has the personality for sales. To give any useful advice, more information about the degree and he jobs held so far will be necessary.

I have seen very successful sales people with a variety of "personalities." If someone is willing to listen to the sales manger and work hard they will be successful. People with negative attitudes, saying they don't have the right "personality" probably should find something else to do.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:54 PM   #14
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I didn't graduate from college (engineer) until I was 28, but married an ambitious woman and we did not have kids. Was FI at age 45 by living below our means and saving and investing.

Good salary for me and DW, no kids and low spending / high saving were key factors.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:56 PM   #15
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You don't need a new degree. Look for a certificate program that teaches skills that are in demand. My degree was not the best, but once I took a six month certificate program at Penn State in database management I easily found new work. They want a degree but want current skill sets even more.


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Old 06-28-2016, 07:56 PM   #16
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I think you folks are being tough on the OP, and maybe even a bit flippant. .
I disagree. lots of win in this thread. sage even.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:10 PM   #17
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I disagree. lots of win in this thread. sage even.
Some good, some flippant. Marrying for money seems to be the latter.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:48 PM   #18
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I also got a useless degree and worked at low paying jobs for 10 years.
Then I finally decided if I didn't want to eat cat food at 65, I better get a good paying job.
So look and figure out what are good paying jobs.
Then look at your degree and figure out how could you bridge to one of those good paying jobs, in my case I went back to the same College I got my first degree, as for a completely different degree they would credit me all the optional courses. So Then I went part-time at night for couple of years and then full-time to finish it off.
Then take one of those jobs anywhere in the country, rent a room and bank $$$$.
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Old 06-29-2016, 05:38 AM   #19
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join the NAVY. all your problems will be solved and 20 years you can be retired! Seriously...this is good advice.
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Old 06-29-2016, 06:11 AM   #20
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Some good, some flippant. Marrying for money seems to be the latter.
I was kidding, and I'm sure that the OP is aware of that. Finding and successfully wooing a sugar mommy seems like a high-risk proposition. That said, it does happen. I won't say that my divorced mother was hunting a sugar daddy back in the 90's, but - remarkably - she found one.
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