As my daughter Sierra was entering college, she and I were discussing the merits of a higher education. I supported her decision, but told her that I felt college was not necessary and that she would be better off getting her education from moi 😄 (yeah, I was trying to push her buttons). Not surprisingly, she was taken aback by my comment and blurted, “Dad, I can’t believe you don’t think I should go to college!?” “Baby girl, one, college is not for everyone, and I happen to believe you fall into this category (yeah, I crack myself up), and two, the cost of going to college often does not outweigh the benefits”. You may think that I was trying to save me and her momma $120k by not sending her to college, but I promise you that I had a very reasoned scenario to substantiate my claim, which I shared with her.
“Okay, Sierra, let’s say one of your high school classmates – let’s call him John – drops out of school before your senior year of high school. He gets a job at a nearby fast food hamburger joint making $20 per hour, (yes, in San Jose, CA, In-N-Out Burger is offering $20 per hour for entry level positions).”
If John, the new “Guy on Fries,” works 40 hours a week with a two-week no pay vacation, he will gross $40k a year. Meanwhile, Sierra, the future college graduate, enters high school to finish her senior year. She accepts her invitation to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and starts her freshman year at a cost of $30k per year. Meanwhile, John is still on fries making $40k a year. This continues on for Sierra’s four-year college duration. To keep the math simple, let’s assume that John never gets a raise, (after all, he’s just another high school dropout right?), Sierra is paying for college by taking out loans, and her tuition never increases. After four years of college, she graduates. While the guy on fries made $200k collectively, Sierra has accumulated $120k in student loan debt.
John, the “Guy on Fries” (+40k a year) → 1 missed senior year at $40k + 4 years while Sierra is in college = $200,000
Sierra, a young college graduate (-$30k a year) → 4 years while in college = $120,000 in debt
The young college graduate is already at a $320k deficit behind the guy on fries!
Let’s assume as a college grad you will make 50% more than a non-college student or in this case $60k a year. For the sake of simple math and keeping it apples to apples, neither of them ever get a raise or promotion.
How many years will it take to finally surpass the earnings of the guy on fries? And how old will the person with the college degree be before she starts making more money than the boy who never finished high school?
If he makes $40k/yr. and she makes $60k/yr. she is making $20k more per year. It will take her 16 years just catch up to the guy on fries and she will be 38 years old!
Needless to say my scenario was a waste of time and fell on deaf ears. 😄
One can argue that the cost of an education today simply does not merit the financial benefits.
As a parent who has a wealthy mindset, I have already done the math. If Sierra chooses to go to school, I must pay for it to avoid watching my daughter financially struggle through at least one-third of her adult life! Simply put, her mother and I agreed that student debt was not an option for our child.
On the real, I’m very happy and proud that she’s a SLO mustang and relieved that she will graduate debt free so she can hit the ground running creating wealth right after graduation. Being debt free will give her a huge advantage over those who accumulate debt in this competitive world we live in.
As I state in my book, “Developing a Wealthy Mindset”: “Most people go to college for higher pay, a better job or status.” If indeed that’s why you are going to college, then there’s a strong chance you may financially struggle for many years! Today’s higher learning just doesn’t make “cents” because it will cost you in too many dollars and lost time. This brings me to the 2nd part of my story of “Guy on Fries”, and It goes a little something like this…
Although the “Guy on Fries” dropped out of high school right after his junior year, he did manage to read one short three-hour book that changed his life…“Developing a Wealthy Mindset” (shut up, it’s my story 😄).
After reading it he truly understood that “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much you keep, or importantly what you do with it”. This indeed was an “Ah ha” moment because he was always told to “save his money so he could buy nice things or maybe own a home.” He was never told to save his money for investment. What he did was change his relationship with money by going from a “middle-class mindset to a wealthy mindset”. Since he really didn’t know much about investing nor have a wealthy role model to bounce ideas off of, he decided to do the following…
But first, let’s revisit the aforementioned…
Remember, John, the 17-year-old “Guy on Fries” lives in San Jose, CA. He makes $20 per hour at 40 hours a week. He grosses $800 per week, $40k per year.
The guy on fries contacts a local financial advisor and tells him that he’d like to open up an account to start investing in long term investments that earn, on average, 10% per year. He then tells his employer to deduct 10% ($80 per week) from his check and automatically deposit it into his investment account.
Folks remember, this kid is no genius. He is, after all, a high school dropout. All he did was take $80 from his check and hand it over to a financial advisor. He took this simple step because of his understanding of wealth. But I will say, he had two things going for him, “time and discipline.” I understand this scenario won’t work for most of us who are no longer 17, but consider what could happen if you are 40 years old. I’d be willing to bet that you aren’t the guy standing next to John flipping the burgers, so it’s much more likely that you can put away more than $80 dollars a week and start playing catch up to building your wealth. It is never too late to invest. If you want to give up on yourself, fine, but do this for your children or grandchildren. It is imperative that you share this wealthy mindset scenario with them.
I’ll simplify this scenario even further and assume nothing changes, meaning he never gets a bonus, a promotion, a raise or puts in any overtime. He just stays the guy on fries. Here’s where you will see the power of investing versus the power of saving.
5 years later, by the time he reaches 22, this is what John would have accomplished. (Note: the difference between saving his money versus investing his money)
|Age at Year 5||Savings||Invested||Differential|
|22 yrs. old||$20,040||$25,775||$5,735|
The savings column shows how much he would have saved by depositing $80 per week from his paycheck into his savings account. The invested column shows the alternative scenario of him immediately putting his money to work by investing for the long-term, which earns him, on average, 10% per year. His investments are now compounding within themselves. In other words, his money is making money. You can do the same, simply by using this same strategy. You will really start to see the difference in year two through 10.
After ten years it looks like this.
|Age at Year 10||Savings||Invested||Differential|
|27 yrs. old||$40,080||$67,287||$27,207|
After 10 years of hard work flipping those little golden browns, and investing instead of saving, John is now $27k wealthier! His money is working for him, rather than him just working for money.
Now let’s stop and compare the “guy on fries” with the college student who went into debt thinking she would catch up to “guy on fries” at the age of 38. We never mentioned that while she was going to school, spending money on an education, he was investing some of his fries money!
The reality is she will most likely never catch up to the guy on fries. At age 37, he’s already worth $250k!
Look at the differential. His money is making money on top of his money. Simply put, he made a half a million dollars because he followed the principles of compound investing and did not have to depend on a raise or a promotion from his job. Too often, we depend on a raise or a bonus to help our financial situation.
At first compound investing seems so slow, because it is, but over time it gets downright crazy. I don’t think you can handle what the “guy on fries” will have when he reaches his retirement age of 65. Remember, we calculated this based on him never receiving a bonus or promotion, or working one minute of overtime. He simply stayed the course. He never even personally tried his hand in investing in real estate, crypto, stocks, commodities, etc. He simply flipped his fries and gave a financial institution $80 a week. I hope you are sitting down… drum roll please.
The guy on fries is a multi-millionaire!
This isn’t a typo! Your “guy on fries” is a multi-millionaire worth 4 million dollars! How much money would he have had having saved instead of invested? . . . only $192,384! This simple strategy helped him make extra 3.8 million!
Now, at 65, he has a dilemma. He is now up to 4 million and his money is still growing at 10% a year. He can retire and live off his 10% growth, which is $400k per year or let it ride. How nice for the “guy on fries” to be able to retire making $400,000 a year and not have to worry about a social security check. And, as long as he can stay in his financial lane of $400k per year, he will never have to touch his 4 million dollars. It will always be there. He now has an inheritance to leave to his heirs giving a head start in their journey in their accumulation of wealth. This is called generational wealth; the money just doesn’t stop, and this is how the wealthy stay wealthy.
It’s really that simple and this shows that literally anyone who can commit to giving up $80 a week can be a multi-millionaire. I can give you a lot of reasons why you don’t see this scenario happening more often. The first being our education system. They don’t care to teach us how to become wealthy. Their primary reason is to teach us how to become a better more productive employee. Most of our parents teach us to save versus teaching us to invest. We just don’t have a wealthy mindset. What happens when you adopt a wealthy mindset? You change your relationship with money because that’s exactly what it is… a relationship. Once you change your relationship into a wealthy re-relationship the financial possibilities are…
Well, I think you now have an idea. 😄