The Education Paradox: Why More Degrees Don't Always Mean More Money

by Drew Carrick

I’ll admit it; I want to be rich, but at our age, who doesn’t?

Being rich isn’t just great for buying neat things, but on a more basic level, it relieves stress. Not having to worry about finding enough money to pay your necessary bills is a great thing.

Knowing you want to be rich is one thing, but actually finding a way to get rich is another.

We live in a society where so many people believe that graduating from college is the way to make the most money. This explains why college enrollment has increased substantially since the 1960s.

There has been an ever-increasing sentiment — specifically from those before us who never went to college — that it is the only way to earn a decent middle class living. From an early age, our parents told us that we needed to do well in school so that we could get into college because college meant having good job.

For many years now, a college degree has been considered a requirement, and most people will agree that having merely a high school diploma will get you nowhere. If you don’t go to college, what will you do? Go into construction as a blue-collar worker?

Anyone raised in at least a middle-class town will preach the need for you to go to college to escape minimum-wage jobs and strenuous physical work for the rest of your life.

Today, one can easily say that there is an increasingly-believed sentiment among undergraduate students that even a college degree is not as strong as it once was.

With the economy just now finding its way back to its feet, and with the relentless competition for the few jobs that are actually available, many students will suggest that a master’s degree is necessary to have an edge in the job market.

Many of our entire lives have been part of a set organized path. Do well in middle school, take as many advanced and AP classes in high school as you can, join many clubs and do community service.

Get good grades in high school and get accepted to a good college. Participate in college organizations, get good grades, choose a major and find an internship.

Don’t have a job? Go to grad school. Don’t want to join the real world? Get a Ph.D. Want to become a lawyer, doctor or other certified professional? Just keep doing more education and school. Congratulations! You made it.

Now you will be in debt for the rest of your life while hoping to find a place that will actually hire your fully-educated and inexperienced self so that you can work for somebody else for the rest of your life, since social security probably won’t exist anymore by the time you're old.

Have we succumbed to being nothing more than mediocre, simply following the system laid out for us? I did for some time. I always talked about being something more, yet I went ahead to graduate school and then got my CPA.

Now I have an extra six letters after my name, but still not six figures in my paycheck. Most people will say, “Well, what do you want at 22? Why don’t you give it some time? You’ll be doing well in a few years.” This is true, I will be doing well, but I don’t want to be doing well.

Heck, I don’t even want to be doing great, I want to be doing amazingly. There’s a lot of mediocre people out there who are doing great, but how many people are actually making an impact on the world? How many people are actually rich and have the money to make things happen?

If you’re reading this, then perhaps you, too, want to strive for more than just the letters after your name. I understand reality and I am not using the letters for the sake of a cool business card, but rather for leverage.

So many of us get more degrees and education because we are “supposed to” and believe it will bring us wealth. I’m here to inform you that just because you have extra letters after name on your business card, it does not mean you will be any more successful than the guy who started working right after high school.

Some of the most successful and wealthiest individuals in the country don’t actually hold any college degrees, but these people were bound to be successful regardless of college.

For the majority of us who don’t start our own million-dollar companies, we need to do everything we can to get the best existing job that offers the most growth.

One of the most significant things that we do is go to college, but it's how you plan to use your degree as a tool that really matters regarding whether you will be rich or not.

Depending on my class status in comparison to you, seeing “Drew Carrick, MBA, CPA” will make you think one of two things: this guy is really smart or this guy is such a fool.

The truth is, we all have the capabilities to do many things with our lives and some of us have the ability to be extremely successful and rich. This ability comes whether we have degrees or not.

For some of us, the letters after our names are important parts of our paths to reaching our master plan goals, and for others of us, they are complete wastes.

When all is said and done though, if you really want to be part of the elite wealthy class of citizens, you need to be an entrepreneur, and you can do that with or without a degree.

So, go ahead and get some more letters, but remember that while the letters might add to your name, they don’t change what's behind it.