Should I Be Going to College?

11 Replies

Hello BP! 

I ask this question because at the moment, it seems like I'm just going to college to please family and friends. Plain and simple. 

I'm enrolled in my second year of college and I was originally going for computer engineering, but down the line, I figured I was more interested in playing around with money and messing with numbers that I switched my major to finance and accounting. 

My dream is to make it big in Real Estate Investing. It's always been a dream of mine to invest, but I never knew how to get started. Until recently, I started doing research in REI and I knew this was what I wanted to do. December 9, 2015, I took my first steps by visiting a local realtor and asking questions. You can read more about that story here (https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/12/topics/255...). I established a "Step 1" for me and I'm determined to see this through to the end.

Currently, I'm sitting on `$10,000 of student debt. Should I keep going to school to please the family? Or should I be working as much as I can to get the funds to invest (explained in the link)? 

Also my family is not very supportive of what I want to do. They think college is a must and the ONLY way to have a decent life. The moment they hear about me even considering quitting school, they'll kick me out of the house. Big problem because I don't have the financial coverage for that. 

In general I'm highly in favor of getting a college education so as not to close off options in the future. Especially if you're getting help to do it.

That said if you don't plan to use your degree in the relevant field going into debt to do so seems like an unnecessary gamble. 

In any case, I think you need to focus on the path you want to follow, and if it includes no college and thus no financial support how you could manage that. There's always a way to do it (or multiple ways) you just need to decide if you can live with that for as long as you'll need to.

Nobody can tell you the best path for yourself. Sounds like you're trying to learn from those who've walked these paths before you so that's a great step. Keep that up, don't be in a hurry, and don't be quick to close doors that can't be reopened without several contingency plans.

Good luck!

If you have the means to invest in real estate as a profitable full time job that pays your bills, keeps you solvent and enables you to enjoy life... then drop out and do that. A college education is not a key factor of success.

However, if your goal is to invest in real estate, but you still need to support yourself and your goals, then a college education makes sense as it is one step towards realizing your goals.

I didn't go to college until I was 35 because I was working hard and making good money out of high school. I only decided to go when I decided to get my appraiser's license and a college education was a requirement. See... it's a stepping stone to what you want to do... but if you have other means, it's not the ONLY stepping stone.

Can you drop out, realize your dreams and not burden anyone aside from yourself in the process? If so. Do what makes you happy. You only get one life. Live it.

Your situation is completely normal and it's a tough decision. Having a background in finance will only help you in your future. You may learn something that could end up saving you thousands in the future which is peanuts compared to what you owe in student loans. 

Did you ever consider possibility doing both? That's the option that I would make but it all comes down to what you think is best and what will make you happy. Good luck with your decision and your future with REI!

-Anthony 

I agree with @Seth Nadreau .  College isn't necessary for success today.  If you have the burning desire to be in investing, find an investor you can be an assistant for.  Do appraiser training or get a real estate license.  Don't  be afraid to start at the bottom for educations sake.  There are many successful people who have started at the bottom and have earned a mentors trust and respect.  You may have to go on your own if your parents don't agree.  You will have to take the pink slip on your life sometime.

OK, here's my take. Full disclosure: I have a doctorate and teach graduate level classes in two different major state universities as a side profession.

College teaches you a lot of skills besides computer programming or accounting. For starters, it teaches you to overcome adversity and see things through to a conclusion. It teaches you individual management skills (time, money). It forces you to adapt to dealing with a lot of different personalities. It teaches you good communication skills. All of these things are incredibly useful in real estate investing.

Plenty of people crap out in REI. Most are woefully undercapitalized, a situation exacerbated if you are trying to find a classic day job without a college degree while beginning your real estate investment career on the side.

One other thing: I've never known anyone who completed a degree to say it was a bad idea or a waste of time. It may not directly lead to a dream job, but if one truly takes stock of the time spent - unless you do a Bluto for your college career (look it up) - you'll find you learned a lot of useful skills outside of the classroom. 

I agree with @JD Martin . I have my degree and it opened many doors for me when I was just getting started 30 + years ago. They can take everything away from you but they can't take your education. My cousin is in her 50's. She doesn't have a college degree but has done well except when she loses her job for one reason or another (right sizing, business bought out, etc.). She then has to start all over again at min wage and build it up again.
I worked for Corporate America for about 10 years before starting my own business. 10 years into that biz and I started REI. I always knew I could fall back on my degree if the biz didn't work out. However the accounting and marketing classes helped me grow my biz profitably. Sacrifice when you are young, put in your time and be successful! Yeah its a pain in the a*# but well worth it.

Originally posted by @Miguel Luna :

Hello BP! 

I ask this question because at the moment, it seems like I'm just going to college to please family and friends. Plain and simple. 

I'm enrolled in my second year of college and I was originally going for computer engineering, but down the line, I figured I was more interested in playing around with money and messing with numbers that I switched my major to finance and accounting. 

My dream is to make it big in Real Estate Investing. It's always been a dream of mine to invest, but I never knew how to get started. Until recently, I started doing research in REI and I knew this was what I wanted to do. December 9, 2015, I took my first steps by visiting a local realtor and asking questions. You can read more about that story here (https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/12/topics/255...). I established a "Step 1" for me and I'm determined to see this through to the end.

Currently, I'm sitting on `$10,000 of student debt. Should I keep going to school to please the family? Or should I be working as much as I can to get the funds to invest (explained in the link)? 

Also my family is not very supportive of what I want to do. They think college is a must and the ONLY way to have a decent life. The moment they hear about me even considering quitting school, they'll kick me out of the house. Big problem because I don't have the financial coverage for that. 

 Hello and welcome!  College is just a need for some people but it rarely has an effect on your success.  It just depends what you want to do.  A friend of mine is a millionaire that never went to college.  It just depends on the person for the most part.  It can make you smarter but that does not always mean money.  I am 59 years old and I found BP about 4 months ago.  I graduated from college and got my broker license in 1980.  Regardless of that degree I felt more comfortable in the construction business. I have been in the construction business since I was 17.  If you think I could help you please contact me at any time.  Good luck!

@Miguel Luna

You have $10,000 student debt after year 1. Can you provide a breakdown of your expenses? I graduated with a bachelor's and masters degree and was only $20k in debt. If you can manage to trim down your expenses, you can put that money to use, while still attending college. You don't have to pick one, you can have both. Work towards your goal, without closing doors. 

Being able to minimize your expenses and maximize your return is a major part of any investment. 

Your parents want the best for you. I agree that most people don't understand the potential of real estate investing. However, like @JD Martin said, college provides a wealth of experience, completely unrelated to the subjects you take. 

I did not invest in real estate when I was your age, only because I was not even aware of it. If I had learned of it while I was 19, I would have continued going to college, while doing real estate as my "second job". I may have shifted degrees. I would have gotten a business degree and an MBA instead of my healthcare degree. 

Continue going to college. Set yourself a goal. If you can reach $xxx,xxx while doing/investing in real estate as your second job, then you've proven you can quit college, and your parents will agree that you don't "need" the degree. There are several investors here on BP that have full time jobs AND invest full time. 

All the best! You're in the right place.

Originally posted by @Arianne L. :

@Miguel Luna

You have $10,000 student debt after year 1. Can you provide a breakdown of your expenses? I graduated with a bachelor's and masters degree and was only $20k in debt. If you can manage to trim down your expenses, you can put that money to use, while still attending college. You don't have to pick one, you can have both. Work towards your goal, without closing doors. 

Being able to minimize your expenses and maximize your return is a major part of any investment. 

Your parents want the best for you. I agree that most people don't understand the potential of real estate investing. However, like @JD Martin said, college provides a wealth of experience, completely unrelated to the subjects you take. 

I did not invest in real estate when I was your age, only because I was not even aware of it. If I had learned of it while I was 19, I would have continued going to college, while doing real estate as my "second job". I may have shifted degrees. I would have gotten a business degree and an MBA instead of my healthcare degree. 

Continue going to college. Set yourself a goal. If you can reach $xxx,xxx while doing/investing in real estate as your second job, then you've proven you can quit college, and your parents will agree that you don't "need" the degree. There are several investors here on BP that have full time jobs AND invest full time. 

All the best! You're in the right place.

 Right out of high school, I got accepted into Texas Tech University. There was a community college I could have gone to and paid half the cost, but I chose Tech because I cared too much about the image instead of my expenses. My first year, I enrolled the 15 hours for full time and it cost me ~$4k. The second year was the same except I lowered my hours costing me ~$3.4k. I'll continue post when I get home. Using work computer. 

Texas Tech is a good school. Work on getting grants (i.e. Pell), work scholarships, and similar to pay for your education, or get a part-time job to pay most of your way. You will never regret having a degree from Texas Tech, I promise you that. 

 Right out of high school, I got accepted into Texas Tech University. There was a community college I could have gone to and paid half the cost, but I chose Tech because I cared too much about the image instead of my expenses. My first year, I enrolled the 12 hours for full time and it cost me ~$4k. The second year was the same except I lowered my hours costing me ~$3.4k. I'll continue post when I get home. Using work computer. 

Oops I meant second semester of Freshman year I used up ~$3.4k. 2nd year first semester same situation ~$3k

I've been putting $250 a month towards the loans. I don't have to pay anything til I graduate though. 

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