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Old 04-09-2013, 10:00 AM   #141
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I think it depends on what you want to do with it. If you are getting a "terminal" bachelor's degree (i.e. no intention for graduate studies or professional school), I think a "cheap" degree from a state school can be as good as a more expensive one. Yeah, a few snobbish employers go for the prestige of the name, but in reality, at the "top" schools the undergrads are often taught by adjunct faculty and grad students. The "top" faculty is either teaching graduate students or busy with research.

Now if you have aspirations to the top of the academic ladder, or you are looking to enter certain professional schools (law, medicine, et cetera), then again the "snob appeal" of the more prestigious schools can help in the admissions process. But it's not really because it's a better education at the undergraduate level, IMO.
If you're on the tech side, a "cheap" degree can do you wonders. While I was out of state for my VERY specific engineering degree, my buddy was instate and paid close to $2500-$3000/semester for tuition/fees. While I don't fully understand what the hell he is doing, he is working on a PhD with MIT and Harvard's medical school, of course his tuition and what not is taken care of.

I've been working for 8 years now, and I make close to $200k/yr. It's not because I am super smart. I attribute it mainly to luck. But, I also stuck with something I knew I would enjoy when everyone else thought my industry was tanking. So, for 4 years I listened to people tell me I wouldn't have a job 10 years after graduation - perhaps they are correct and in 2 years we will know. But, the oil industry has grown more than I, and probably anyone else, could have ever imagined.

And I'm always looking for my contingency plan for when my gravy train goes away. Working for cash as a handy man scrounging up work at home depot is on the radar screen, and so is the patent bar.

At the end of the day, people in gen y need to realize that they won't get paid "six figs" for an english degree. It's more of the entitlements that drives my generation to be spoiled brats. They need to realize it takes time to acquire nice things. And everyone makes tradeoffs for the things they have today. In essence, you can't have it all.

And I am unicorn.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:22 AM   #142
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I beg to differ.. I didn't invent a must have product, I don't play the lottery, I didn't graduate from college - the past few years my pay has been in the six figures. We save 25%+ a year

Not only will ER happen for us, but it will be a fairly nice ER.
How old are you, if you don't mind me asking? If you were raised in the 1950s and 60s, yeah, you could have saved for retirement and still take advantage of the ubiquitous pensions that were still out there with a high school diploma for example. Anyone born in the 1980s and 1990s and are in their 20s and 30s now won't ever get to retire early or as easy as those born before 1960 without a college degree. Try getting a job (I.e. non-plumbing) today that pays $50k plus without a degree. The cost of living, stagnant wages, pending inflation, and lack of jobs will doom these Millennials and Internet gen without a degree. Not everyone wants to be a plumber making 200k. Besides, that would be a bubble if everyone wanted to be a plumber. Look at nursing, the minimum is pretty much a 4 year degree and those graduates are having a hard time getting a job.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:51 AM   #143
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I beg to differ.. I didn't invent a must have product, I don't play the lottery, I didn't graduate from college - the past few years my pay has been in the six figures. We save 25%+ a year

Not only will ER happen for us, but it will be a fairly nice ER.
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I agree, I didn't go to college until very late, just finished my 4 year degree at 40, and DH has an AA he got at 35. We didn't invent anything but work hard and save and live modestly. The middle class is still alive and well, thanks.
I think the problem is that you are already established.... not someone just starting out today...

Last night they had a clip on the news where a McDonalds was looking for regular workers... and it said they wanted people with a college degree!!! Not for mgmt. positions, but regular workers...

I know kids in high school who cannot find a job in a store or fast food place because the jobs are taken by older folks... at the Fuddruckers that is across the street from where I work, they have a good number of seniors working.... we are talking late 60s...

So I think that how you got to where you are might not be available to the kids today...

BTW, I do have a BIL who makes a LOT more than I do (in the 170s) and does not have a college degree... he is in the oil field with some specialty... he is in his mid 30s now... but he got help along the way from a relative.... but once he got his skill, he was on his way...
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:54 AM   #144
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If the average college kid can get an apartment for $650/mo and live on $900/month, then they can pay all those bills by working 20 hours/week for $15/hr ($1200/mo before taxes). Now, they're only racking up $7500 in debt for the next 3 years. Add that to their $15k and that's a much lower $37.5k for 4 years.

However, as a guy who graduated 4 years ago, there's 2 problems with this:
1) Many of my peers were unwilling to work during college (blew my mind)
2) Many of my peers took >4 years to graduate because they a) Had no clue what they wanted to do, or b) screwed around and lost a few semesters

Many folks in the world seem to think #1 and 2 are OK, which blows my mind. Why should you not work? And why would one spend thousands of dollars while you took gen-eds and figured out what you wanted to do?

This doesn't even get into the fact that a large number of my peers seemingly thought that the piece of paper they got at the end was their ticket to the workplace, and didn't put in the effort during their university years to work on relevant jobs, internships, or projects.

My 3 brothers and 1 brother-in-law are all examples of what I've written about above. Ages 20, 22, 24, and 24, they're all playing the victim in various ways instead of owning up to the fact they are in control of their future and planning appropriately for it.
I have a couple of problems with what you said. First, a college kid isn't likely to get a part time job paying $15/hr. More like $8-10/hr- if they can find a job. I've been looking for a job for 18 months in the $10-12/hr range or higher with no luck and I have over a decade of work experience. So the college kid would have to work pretty much fulltime to make the money your saying is needed. Some of the really smart people might be able to pull off fulltime work and a full college course schedule at the same time but many can't. I worked very hard to get a C+ average in highschool and barely made it into college. I didn't work in college and I still had to drop out due to poor grades. If I tried working 30+ hours/wk I would've actually failed many/most classes. Not everyone is able to do what you're suggesting.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:06 AM   #145
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I agree, I didn't go to college until very late, just finished my 4 year degree at 40, and DH has an AA he got at 35. We didn't invent anything but work hard and save and live modestly. The middle class is still alive and well, thanks.
I'm in the same boat as you guys as a fellow Xer, but your saying somebody today doesn't need a college degree to makes a decent wage and still save for retirement? Wow...Maybe I should work @ Starbucks instead in California(Bay Area) and still retire in my mid 60s?

As an Xer, I'm going to pull my skeptical card from my sleeve. I have a degree , technical diplomas and make okay money (Bay Area standards) , but I'm only thinking about retiring early because of my mega corp pension(s). Otherwise, I'm thinking retirement in my late 70s.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:31 AM   #146
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Not everyone wants to be a plumber making 200k. Besides, that would be a bubble if everyone wanted to be a plumber.
Most plumbers make nowhere near 200k.

It's good money, but you only reach that stratosphere if you own your own business and are very successful, or work max OT in a union position with frequent double-time hours. Hard to do either.

Also depends on the area of the country. In the south, non-unionized, it will be less. You will probably also want to get a 2 yr degree from community college. In union areas, you'll have an apprenticeship which takes a good degree of time.

Look for yourself from a Chicago area union. If you do the math, the journeyman (after apprenticeship) is somewhere in the $80ks, IF they get full hours. No vacation. At least the contractors pay pension and medical. But you have to work to at least 60 to get a decent pension.
Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union: 2012 Chicago Wage Pkg.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:41 AM   #147
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I know kids in high school who cannot find a job in a store or fast food place because the jobs are taken by older folks... at the Fuddruckers that is across the street from where I work, they have a good number of seniors working.... we are talking late 60s...
My guess is that MDs and Fuddruckers aren't hiring older people because they want old people. They are hiring these particular workers because they come to work on time, they do their jobs, they are polite to the customers, they don't get on the cell phone and talk with their friends out back, they don't call in sick when they aren't really sick, when their "regular" tasks are done they grab a broom or stock the shelves. In short, they are good workers. Many employers have found that older folks are, in general, more likely to be "good workers" than younger folks. That means a young person who is a "good worker" has to go the extra mile to get hired. On the flip side, when he does get a job he's well positioned to do well and get ahead: he's able to do tougher work than a 65 YO, and he/she stands out so far from his peers that he'll probably get a shot at greater responsibility.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:46 AM   #148
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They also hire 'older workers' because they are available during school hours and date nights...
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:59 AM   #149
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I'm in the same boat as you guys as a fellow Xer, but your saying somebody today doesn't need a college degree to makes a decent wage and still save for retirement? Wow...Maybe I should work @ Starbucks instead in California(Bay Area) and still retire in my mid 60s?

As an Xer, I'm going to pull my skeptical card from my sleeve. I have a degree , technical diplomas and make okay money (Bay Area standards) , but I'm only thinking about retiring early because of my mega corp pension(s). Otherwise, I'm thinking retirement in my late 70s.
Um, pssst...low cost of living around these parts might just play a role?

And those mysterious things you mentioned earlier? Pensions? Never heard of them and I don't personally know anyone, my parents included, who qualified for one large enough to get to choose the crunchy kind of cat food. You must be pretty special to be getting that pension, for sure. I'm going to retire by my wits and luck, thanks, and not from a pension or diploma.

You live in a different world, man.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:06 PM   #150
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Um, pssst...low cost of living around these parts might just play a role?

And those mysterious things you mentioned earlier? Pensions? Never heard of them and I don't personally know anyone, my parents included, who qualified for one large enough to get to choose the crunchy kind of cat food. You must be pretty special to be getting that pension, for sure. I'm going to retire by my wits and luck, thanks, and not from a pension or diploma.

You live in a different world, man.
There are Xers that have good pensions. But it is getting rare.

There are a lot of Xers who started with pension promises, but saw the plans reduced, converted or eliminated.

My original megacorp converted, so I fall into the "do my own pension" camp. I only had a few years, so it didn't matter. I'm actually kind of glad about that too.

And speaking of Xers... At age 50, I suffer a generation-identification crisis. Half of the world wants to call me an Xer. Half a boomer. I feel generation-less.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:38 PM   #151
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Ten years ago, geology was the coming profession, and now much less important. Do we have enough IT people? Will lobbyists become the darlings of industry? Will the teachers who were lured to the profession by solid tenure and pension plans continue to be part of the stable middle class?
Actually geology is still a coming profession in the US afterall someone has to decide where to drill all the wells. Geology crashed in the later 1980s as the price of oil crashed and oil companies engaged in massive layoff waves. It started back about 10 years ago as major oil companies looked at the ages of their earth science work force and discovered that because a lot were hired during the 1970s boom, they were approaching retirement. For a fairly long time opportunities for geologists were better for folks from places like Angola, Kazahstan, or other oil producing countries than the US. However with the current boom in places like Texas and North Dakota, there is high demand. Of course it is yet better to go into petroleum engineering where the average starting salary is in the 100k+ range.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:41 PM   #152
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And speaking of Xers... At age 50, I suffer a generation-identification crisis. Half of the world wants to call me an Xer. Half a boomer. I feel generation-less.
I'll let you hang with us, Joe. My DH is 50 this year, and he's definitely no boomer geezer. You can def be in the cool club with us Xers. But fair warning, we do like to party!
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:48 PM   #153
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Most plumbers make nowhere near 200k.

It's good money, but you only reach that stratosphere if you own your own business and are very successful, or work max OT in a union position with frequent double-time hours. Hard to do either.

Also depends on the area of the country. In the south, non-unionized, it will be less. You will probably also want to get a 2 yr degree from community college. In union areas, you'll have an apprenticeship which takes a good degree of time.

Look for yourself from a Chicago area union. If you do the math, the journeyman (after apprenticeship) is somewhere in the $80ks, IF they get full hours. No vacation. At least the contractors pay pension and medical. But you have to work to at least 60 to get a decent pension.
Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union: 2012 Chicago Wage Pkg.
I believe you. I read somewhere in this thread that a plumber made 200k....Wow. And I like fixing stuff.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:58 PM   #154
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There are Xers that have good pensions. But it is getting rare.

There are a lot of Xers who started with pension promises, but saw the plans reduced, converted or eliminated.

My original megacorp converted, so I fall into the "do my own pension" camp. I only had a few years, so it didn't matter. I'm actually kind of glad about that too.

And speaking of Xers... At age 50, I suffer a generation-identification crisi. Half of the world wants to call me an Xer. Half a boomer. I feel generation-less.
Gen X is considered 1961-1981 or 1965 to 1981. Do you want to be an Xer with a mullet or an ex-break dancer ? Lol.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:03 PM   #155
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I'll let you hang with us, Joe. My DH is 50 this year, and he's definitely no boomer geezer. You can def be in the cool club with us Xers. But fair warning, we do like to party!
If he wants in , he's gotta pass our music test though.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:08 PM   #156
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If he wants in , he's gotta pass our music test though.
Uhhhhhhh, uhhhh, I have been known to cut a rug every now and then. Fond memories of attempting to break dance one time in college.

Mullet? Mullet?? NO! Please read the thread on bald guys...

Edit: what does it mean if I know who Kurt Cobain was? Does that tip me to Xer? Seems like most geeboomers don't know him.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:09 PM   #157
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Gen X is considered 1961-1981 or 1965 to 1981. Do you want to be an Xer with a mullet or an ex-break dancer ? Lol.
I have not been a real student of generational terminology. Being born in 1964, however, I knew I was at the very butt end of the "baby boomers". I never felt that was applicable to me especially since my father wasn't even a teenager yet at wars end. So I think I will change and become Gen X now that you have given me the 1961-81 window.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:11 PM   #158
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Join us, one and all, you bridge from boomers to X-ers.
But you have to watch every one of John Hughes' movies as well as passing the music test from Acorn.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hughes_(filmmaker)
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:13 PM   #159
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Join us, one and all, you bridge from boomers to X-ers.
But you have to watch every one of John Hughes' movies as well as passing the music test from Acorn.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hughes_(filmmaker)
John Hughes? I pass that test. But I'm a cheater. Growing up in Chicago it is hard to not have seen every John Hughes movie.

P.S. Shame that both Hughes and John Candy R.I.P. Such a shame.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:15 PM   #160
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Um, pssst...low cost of living around these parts might just play a role?

And those mysterious things you mentioned earlier? Pensions? Never heard of them and I don't personally know anyone, my parents included, who qualified for one large enough to get to choose the crunchy kind of cat food. You must be pretty special to be getting that pension, for sure. I'm going to retire by my wits and luck, thanks, and not from a pension or diploma.

You live in a different world, man.

Yes, I live in la-la land called California where the cost of living is krazy . People making less than 100k here pay $1.5-3k a month just to live in an apartment. Groceries can cost hundreds a month. Gas is $4.20+ per gallon. A land line phone is $40 per month AT&T? Pensions still exist . There's still people getting those. Government + mega corp.
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