How Much Does a Lack of Education Really Cost?

You might think a lack of education costs you career-wise, but it actually affects a lot more than just your job.Education has gone through an interesting cycle in our culture.

What was once considered a privilege of only the wealthy and elite morphed into a rite of passage that every fresh, high school graduate embarked upon.

Fast-forward to today and you’ll find a generation that views a higher education and the conventional path of life as optional.

Instead of going to college and immediately getting a job in the corporate world, many young adults are opting to travel, see the world, and work in service or hourly-wage positions.

Although there’s no discrediting the merit or value of living a life that steps outside the proverbial box, one has to ask, how much does a lack of education really cost?

Does it hinder your trajectory as much as the world wants you to believe, or is it possible to succeed just as well without it?

Here are some ways a lack of education may cost you.

Earning Potential

In most cases, a higher education equals a higher paycheck. That isn’t to say that there aren’t exceptions to this rule, but I think many have found them to be few and far between.

The majority of statistics and studies conducted on the difference in earnings between high school and college grads have found that college graduates earn over twice as much as high school graduates.

While this might not be apparent if you examine each person’s career from the very start, over time, the gap in earnings becomes larger and larger.

Overall, college graduates tend to have more assets, i.e. cars, homes, and savings.

I won’t argue with the age-old adage that money doesn’t buy you happiness, however, in a world where everything comes at a price, financial security isn’t something many take lightly.

Furthermore, higher earnings mean a better chance of being able to retire someday, but this isn’t to say that every college graduate can retire or that every high school graduate can’t.

It just illuminates the fact that an individual with a degree that has a larger income has a better chance of having a successful retirement in the future.

Your Work Opportunities

The baby boomer generation, and their parents before them, saw a period of time where one could start from the bottom without a degree and still achieve a small fortune with dedication and hard work.

However, those generations were also able to climb the ladder and receive greater work opportunities off experience alone.

Unfortunately, those same circumstances and opportunities don’t typically exist today. The rise of college education after the baby boomer generation led to the expectation of the degree in many hiring managers.

Instead of companies viewing higher-education as a leg up on the competition, it’s now seen as a must have; a listing on your resume for many companies to check off, for without it, most candidates would find that their resume ends up in the discard pile.

All that being said, if you don’t have the degree to begin your career, you’ll quickly realize how difficult it can be to achieve a position higher than entry-level.

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Informs Your Decision Making

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “knowledge is power.” In an era where endless knowledge is now available through the vast number of libraries and the internet, this statement couldn’t be truer.

The sole purpose of education is to impart the knowledge of all the people that have gone before you on you; it’s to help us advance as a society.

This isn’t to say that you can’t find information or knowledge on your own, but to say that education gives you a place to start. It provides you with the necessary tools to move forward and to learn from the past mistakes many have made through history.

Education shows you all your options in various situations in life and work – options and knowledge you’ll reference when making decisions in life. The education you receive throughout college can often impact your choices and path throughout your entire life. In most cases, that tends to be a good thing.

Hones Your Basic Skills

Jobs of every kind and walk of life can teach you an array of skills, however, it’s education that sharpens and develops those skills  and ultimately allows you to do your job to the best of your ability.

No matter what field you choose, there comes a time when experience alone can’t always help you. Education can provide you with information and procedures that will guide you and help you excel.

This is especially the case when it comes to certain industries, such as health. Furthermore, education teaches you task and time management. Through the multitude of daily assignments, projects, and deadlines you receive during your schooling, you become forced to figure out a system.

You learn how to effectively and efficiently complete all the tasks ahead of you. You learn to prioritize and how to take one project at a time until everything is completed, and you are taught how to avoid being overwhelmed when a mountain is in front of you.

Lastly, school helps you hone your interpersonal skills. Although you interact with people in your daily life, school forces you to do that more than you might alone, and oftentimes forces you to work with those people, which can ultimately teach you teamwork and conflict resolution.

For all the reasons above, there is no doubt that education serves to assist you and push you further throughout your life. I’d be wrong to say that there aren’t exceptions to these rules, or that there aren’t people who can succeed and move forward without it.

However, in so many ways, investing in your education can start you out in life that much more ahead of the game. At the end of the day, everyone is different, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not continuing you education is the right step for you.

Do you feel a lack of education comes at a price? Are there any that come to mind that weren’t listed here?