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Old 08-24-2016, 10:35 AM   #21
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If I had to guess, it would have been Dale Carnegie.
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Old 08-24-2016, 10:48 AM   #22
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You don't need to get into debt to get educated and by all means get a degree in something marketable.
So very true. Some people, though, including many college eligible teens and their parents, need some help to find that path.
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:15 AM   #23
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With all the folks on this forum trying to stay not-rich in order to get financial aid for college and ACA credits and later keep their medicare costs low, I am not surprised that average family wealth is going down.
I don't believe for a second that very many people here are trying not to be rich. They're trying to keep the income down. Big difference.
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:51 AM   #24
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2) The more education you can muster, the better off you tend to be.
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Yes, agree. Every study confirms the importance of education. Generally the more education the better. Especially if it is relevant to our economy. It's important to adjust this data for other factors though, like your parents education, wealth, etc. If you do this the results are generally the same, but not as "dramatic".

It is my firmly held belief that education is by far the most effective tool a person can use to improve over his parents socio-economic position. Certainly was in my case.
And it certainly seems like the hard data in Exhibit 11 of the report backs up these sentiments. Stands in stark contrast to that whole "drop out of college and start a tech company" advice that some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were offering a few years back. Seems like for the vast majority of people, getting a bachelor's degree (and a graduate degree, if possible) will pay off far better in the long run.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:17 PM   #25
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And it certainly seems like the hard data in Exhibit 11 of the report backs up these sentiments. Stands in stark contrast to that whole "drop out of college and start a tech company" advice that some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were offering a few years back. Seems like for the vast majority of people, getting a bachelor's degree (and a graduate degree, if possible) will pay off far better in the long run.
The problem is that the degrees are a filtering/signalling mechanism that enables companies to not worry about running afoul of Griggs v. Duke Power. It is hard to disentangle what value is actually added by [most] degrees apart from the signalling.

So, the more people that get college degrees, the less they signal and the less valuable they become (hence, grad degrees, choice of major, highly selective schools, or plain old GPA to the extent it still means anything at a given school become more important). Exhibit 11 is consistent with that.

I doubt that the vast majority of people would benefit from a bachelors in the long run--see the latest stats on college readiness from the ACT testing people. This past cycle, about 2/3 of high school seniors took the test, and of that cohort, only 38% did well enough to be deemed "college ready" in any 3 of the 4 testing areas.

Tough, tough questions in this area.

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P.S.--full disclosure, notwithstanding the foregoing, we expected from prior to conception that our kids would at least get a BA or BS--and the one that lacks a post-grad credential (so far) did engineering at a door-opening school.
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:04 PM   #26
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And it certainly seems like the hard data in Exhibit 11 of the report backs up these sentiments. Stands in stark contrast to that whole "drop out of college and start a tech company" advice that some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were offering a few years back. Seems like for the vast majority of people, getting a bachelor's degree (and a graduate degree, if possible) will pay off far better in the long run.


I have a graduate degree and I can tell you that my income has far exceeded my wildest imagination in last decade. I am so thankful for getting a graduate degree. And no, I am not a doctor or lawyer. Just a lowly engineer who happened to be at the right place at the right time.


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Old 08-24-2016, 06:09 PM   #27
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Regarding the service academies, here's a blurb from Wikipedia:

"All these schools have an extremely competitive application process and are ranked annually by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes.com as some of the most selective colleges and universities in America. The average acceptance rate is between 8-17% for each of the schools."

So, I doubt these institutions will solve the pervasive cost of education problem.

Full disclosure: I'm a product of USNA.
NB: A service academy education is not actually "free" (there's lots of strings attached), but can be economically advantageous. It worked out well for me, but I don't recommend it for every 18 year old.

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Old 08-24-2016, 07:00 PM   #28
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I went to a state school. Paid for the first three years on my own. Big parts of the last year were covered by academic scholarships because of my good grades. I left school without any debt. At least in my case I think I leveraged a "good" education into a great lifetime of income. I have seen lots and lots of others do it as well. You don't need to get into debt to get educated and by all means get a degree in something marketable.
Congratulations on your achievement. It is much less common these days. What year did you graduate? Cost of college education has dramatically outpaced inflation over the past 20 years. The combination of much higher costs and fewer high paying summer jobs has made it much tougher. Much like you, I graduated with very little in the way of debt after two degrees with no aid from family. Mainly, due to low tuition costs and a union manufacturing job in most of my summers. Not seeing that often today.
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Old 08-25-2016, 07:58 AM   #29
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I have a graduate degree and I can tell you that my income has far exceeded my wildest imagination in last decade. I am so thankful for getting a graduate degree. And no, I am not a doctor or lawyer. Just a lowly engineer who happened to be at the right place at the right time.


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Yes. Getting a Masters in Mechanical Engineering was the key to my career success. It got me promoted from technician (with a Physics BA) to engineer in my organization. This gave me a big boost in my salary in the first years of w*rk. That plus 30 years of good performance appraisals. It was like compounding interest. Start with a good salary and then all to 2-5% raises and I made a decent living. My COLA'd pension is the reward.

Who stays anywhere 30 years now?
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Decline in Average Family Wealth
Old 08-27-2016, 10:26 PM   #30
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Decline in Average Family Wealth

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Originally Posted by FIREd_2015 View Post
Basically the rich are getting richer and the rest aren't doing so well. Wonder if this helps explain some of the political turmoil we're going through?

]

I'm sure it does but so do lots and lots of other factors. A very partial list of why there's been economic dislocation since 1989 must include the Great Recession, easy credit card, pay day loan and sub prime mortgage availability, manufacturing and agricultural jobs evaporating due to mechanization, the spread of English coupled with internet technology and mobile devices connecting the world and spreading jobs around the globe, great efficiencies in containerized shipping that make goods and supplies available at rock bottom prices, cheap airfares that let people migrate for work, high tuition and crushing student loan debt, crushing medical debts, a glut of capital searching not just the U.S. but the whole planet for places to invest.

And there are benefits to all this creative destruction, like cheaper goods than ever before (the Walmart Effect), cheap energy, low interest rates, easy credit, availability of information, jobs for tech workers.

Note that most of these trends have very little to do with policy, even though plenty of politicians on the left and right will try to say otherwise and will propose government-based solutions, whether walls and mass deportations, cut or raised corporate taxes and regulations, no or better trade deals. And voters and the media will believe that politicians have a clue and can actually control things in such a topsy-turvy world.

Regardless, it is truly not 1989 anymore and it's fruitless to compare today to that very different time in search of some standard for what wealth distribution "ought to be." Robotics in manufacturing is really still in its infancy, 3-D printing will also change everything and, who knows what else awaits Somehow I don't think politicians will be of much help in navigating it, though they will say they can and voters and the media will demand that they do.


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Old 08-28-2016, 10:52 AM   #31
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Somehow I don't think politicians will be of much help in navigating it, though they will say they can and voters and the media will demand that they do.
You've made some valid points but I think the average American expects the government to do more. There was an article a couple of days ago in the WSJ about the current disillusionment in government institutions like the Fed for not avoiding or properly navigating the bubbles and catering to the rich after the bubble. I think if the Glass-Steagall Act was not repealed and the banks were not allowed infinite leverage the housing bubble would not have occurred. That's not to say those who went out and bought houses they couldn't afford shouldn't share some of the blame.

I believe the risks for social instability increases when wealth gets too concentrated in the upper few percentage points and the wealth gap widens between the haves and have nots.

On the other hand, I benefited from the bubble mostly because I didn't buy stuff I couldn't afford, didn't panic and made some lucky trades so it's a catch-22. It would be interesting to see a poll of this group to see the percentage of people who benefited from the housing bubble, had no impact financially, and are worse off because of the housing bubble.
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