I was asked recently as to whether I though a formal education was necessary to become wealthy. Here’s what I think.
I think going to college is a really great place to find a lot of this:
It’s not a great place to learn how to make a lot of money though.
College mostly teaches you how to get a mediocre job and not be a “failure” in society.
People with little to no formal education become wealthy all the time. There is a misconception the wealth/income are caused by education. There is a lot of data that shows that income/wealth increases with each additional year of education. There is a caveat to this though, all the stats you see regarding correlations of higher income and higher education, that doesn’t really constitute wealth though. Better education, college and graduate degrees will likely net marginal gains in income. To become wealthy though you need a drastic increase in income. For example getting an MBA might get you a promotion and move you from $75,000-$100,000. If the program cost $100,000, you’ll have your money returned in four years. This is generally considered a good deal. This won’t make you wealthy though. If your goal is to make $1 Million+ per year, you most likely need to start a business. You can start a business doing just about anything. Every year people become millionaires by starting small businesses, many of which don’t sell a very sophisticated product or service. One of the best ways to become a millionaire today is to learn a trade (no college degree) and become self employed.
I’ve also never seen any evidence that higher wages and success is a direct result of a college education. The primary use of a college in the United States is not to teach and improve skills, it’s to filter out the under-performers. Colleges have well defined ranking systems both at the individual (grades) and institutional (college rank) levels. The university system primarily finds the most talented and capable teenagers, tests them in various fields of study, then creates a report that potential employers can reference. Taking a group of people who are already above average in their intelligence, work ethic and performance then graduating them a few years later after teaching them few if any valuable skills doesn’t really accomplish anything. It’s the equivalent of a basketball coach finding 5 All-Star players and putting them on one team. They will win a lot of games but that doesn’t mean it’s becuase there coach made them any better.
If you want to become wealthy, spend time learning valuable skills that will actually help you in your career, don’t worry about getting a diploma with a high GPA.
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