In this election, there is much debate about the cost of education. What is not debated by either candidate is the importance of getting an education. Both see education as a gateway to the American dream.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the more education you have, the higher your pay and the less likely you are to find yourself unemployed.

Does Education Pay Graphic2015

My own experience mirrors these statistics. I went to work right after high school graduation. And, I mean right after as in the Monday after I graduated! On the bus heading into downtown Chicago to start my new job, I happened to sit across from the wife of my former sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Baker. She asked me what college I was attending and I was confused. It was actually the first time anyone had asked me that “college” question. I explained that I was working, not attending college, and she was astonished.

My parents never brought college up as they themselves had not gone to college. Mrs. Baker told me in no uncertain terms that I had to go. I explained that I could not. I suspected there was no money for such an education in my household. She then gave me the name of a program that allowed people to attend college, full-time, on the weekends. I called the program and talked my way in.

My parents took some time to get their heads around the idea. They were not too keen on college and saw no real benefit to me to attend. In fact, I remember my mother saying that you only go to college for “drugs, sex and booze.” So, I guess there was a fear there about the unknown. Eventually, after a whole lot of conversation, my mom and dad talked and gave me permission to attend. As I suspected, there was no money set aside for school. But they said I could live at home, eat their food and attend – as long as I kept my full-time job.

And so, I did. And yes, college paid off in spades.

The highest paying job I had since I’d graduated from high school came as a result of my college education. Education also opened scores of job opportunities to me that were not available to me as a high school graduate. It was a whole new world once I had that degree. New and fascinating.

My life story plus the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics makes it hard to ignore the facts – that education propels you to higher income levels and it is more likely to keep you employed. Two things that will help your child to save, spend wisely, donate when needed and invest for their future.

A well-paying job coupled with job security allows you to feel secure enough to accumulate wealth and thus, experience the miracle of compounding. Exactly what your child will need to do more than just survive – but also thrive in adult life.

Easy – right?

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Written by Susan Beacham
Susan Beacham founded Money Savvy Generation in 1999 after almost two decades in private banking and investment management complemented by considerable time teaching at the elementary level.

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