How About an Associate's Degree?

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I understand that what I am about to tell you goes against all the normal career advice you’ve ever been given.  It probably goes against what you are already telling your kids, and what you’ve also been telling yourself.  So entertain me while I show you some analysis and information describing why your child may be better off not going through the 4-Year college route.

My wife and I have two sons, both very intelligent and hard working.  We saved and scrimped to put money aside so they could go to college and get a Bachelor’s degree in order to have a high paying career and become self supporting.  You know, just like we did ourselves.  We were wrong.  As it turns out, our boys had a decidedly different plan in mind…they wanted to work first.  So now one runs test cells in an emissions lab (while going to school at night), and the other works on the production line at a Honda assembly plant (and doesn't want a 4 year degree).  By the way, we now have a bunch of money in College 529 accounts that may go unspent which could further compound our error.  Hopefully not as we still believe they will use it eventually. 

Grad3So now we are looking at alternative career choices with them and figuring out how to leverage their available educational opportunities.  A study of US Labor statistics data by the financial literacy website NerdWallet, looked at jobs requiring only a two-year associate’s degree.  These jobs will have the highest average growth through 2020 – and some of these jobs are really well paying careers too.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the average growth rate of all jobs by the year 2020 is just 14 percent, while high-growth jobs requiring a 2 year associate’s degree will grow by an average of 35 percent. 

So as you are considering career choices for your children (or perhaps yourself), keep in mind the opportunities made possible by getting a 2-Year Associate’s degree.  An associate’s degree takes less time to earn; costs much less to pay off; and in many cases offer careers with similar or even higher salaries.  So if like us, you are faced with a child that either may not be ready for full 4-Year college, or perhaps you cannot afford it, consider the alternatives of an Associate’s degree.  The bottom line is you just want them to be successful in whatever they choose to do.

Here are the summaries from the NerdWallet study………


Degree Rates









Degree Pay








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Make it a New Year's Date

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GlassesToday it seems like 24 hours is just too short for one day - and forget getting your work done in just 8 hours. That does not include traffic; travel; shopping; taking care of the kids; mowing the yard; making meals; and taking out the trash. No matter how busy we get, there’s no excuse for compromising or giving up our role as fathers and husbands. Speaking about taking out the trash, when’s the last time you took your wife for a special New Year's night out?

College Costs HOW Much?! Financial Aid Tips to Prevent You from Losing Your Mind

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Today, two-thirds of college students have to take out loans to pay for their education, and the average borrower graduates with close to $27,000 in debt!  Right now, the standard repayment schedule is 10 years – meaning that your kids will likely have kids of their own before their college tuition is paid for!

Wouldn’t it be nice to help them come up with a payment plan that doesn’t need to be paid back (and, no, I’m not talking about winning the lottery, suddenly agreeing to a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, or going on a bank robbing spree).
Instead, your kids can get scholarships and grants.  Neither has to be paid back.  But to get them, you (and your kids) will have to do some work now, before they head off to school.
To make things easier, try some of these tips!

Are You An Average Dad?

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Dad baby kissI'll bet you think that you're just another average Dad - but believe me you're not.  I was trolling through the US Census databanks looking for demographics for another project and came across some very interesting statistics about us Dads.  I’d recommend you better sit down to read these numbers…whoops – it appears that 67.8% of you already are sitting down. Here are some other facts you did not know…

College Visits: Be There to Show You Care

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Oh, the joys of college visits. Parents drive for hours while their teenager snores in the backseat until they reach the campus. Then they attend an informational meeting led by a peppy college student who is employed by the admissions office, and this person cleverly highlights the college’s bright spots and manages to answer any question thrown his or her way, even if the answer has little to do with what was asked. Parents listen intently, especially when tuition is mentioned, and the potential students yawn and glance at cell phones. After a half hour or so, everyone is whisked away to tour the campus, which, they are assured, is the most picturesque, the most accessible, the safest, the greenest, etc. Tour guides point to buildings and give them apparently meaningful names and present a recently cleaned dorm room to the group’s inspection.

College hunting: The Excel File

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College hunting is serious business. State of the art gyms and dining commons have allure, but do the academic challenges rise above? Use one Excel file to keep yourself in line and organize deal breakers and shiny attractions of the Universities at the top of your list. Then, navigate overwhelming University websites with ease and focus. These tips will leave you calm, cool, and collected in the midst of accumulating brochures and looming decisions.

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