Jul 282016
 

University Grads Make More Money Over Time

According to a recent study from the University of Ottawa, the cost of higher education is still worth it. University degrees are linked to higher salaries almost regardless of the subject. 🙂

The study published this week looked at income data for 620,000 graduates of 14 different universities and colleges between 2005 and 2013, spanning an 8 year period to gauge progress over time.

On average, graduates from universities in 2005 made $45,200 in inflation-adjusted income in their first year after school. This number increased every year after that, growing by a total of 66% to $74,900 in 2013, which covers an 8 year period. But college graduates started off somewhat lower. The average income for a new college grad was $33,900 in 2005. After 8 years it has grown by 59% to reach $54,000. These numbers only represent the average. Individual results of a college or university education can be very different from one person to another.

16-07-staying-in-school-versus-dropout-higher-education

A closer look at the study’s findings reveal a big difference by gender. Both men and women start off making about the same after graduating university. But 8 years later, those averages diverge. The typical male university graduate who started working in 2005 was making 91% more money by 2013. His female counterpart who graduated with him saw her income only increase by 42% from 2005 to 2013.

I think there are a couple of main reasons for the gender discrepancy in income growth.

  1. Men and women tend to choose different majors. STEM fields, particularly technology and engineering, are pursued more by men than women. These fields also consistently offer lucrative career paths.
  2. Many women tend to take time out of the workforce to raise children. This is due to a fact of nature. Nearly every research has shown breastfeeding increases a baby’s intelligence. Men can’t give birth or breastfeed.

Higher Education in Universities

As with any report we have to consider any hidden agendas. A university study that concludes going to university is a good decision is like a real estate agent advocating for home ownership. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but we should be aware of the bias. 😉 We can also keep in mind that university graduates have been pre-screened to have certain qualities like being smart or ambitious enough to attain high grades in high school. These personality traits often lead to higher earnings regardless of attending university; correlation ≠ causation.

Higher education isn’t for everyone. Some folks excel at formal education, while others do better with a trade or entrepreneurship. The important thing to remember is that learning is a lifelong process and we can pursue it in many different ways. 🙂

_________________________________
Random Useless Fact:

16-07-say-www-abreviated

 

Sep 222014
 

Have you ever wondered which university degrees provide the best opportunities for financial success? Well a study by the wealth consultancy WealthInsight may have the answer. A ranking was produced by gathering together the academic histories of millionaires around the world. The top field of study is Engineering.

  • 1. Engineering
  • 2. MBA
  • 3. Economics
  • 4. Law
  • 5. (Bachelor’s) Business Administration (BBA)
  • 6. Commerce
  • 7. Accounting
  • 8. Computer Science
  • 9. Finance
  • 10. Politics

Note: This list contains both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

I happen to work with some engineers and I can say most of them are in fact doing quite well financially. Petroleum engineers can easily make six-figures a year straight out of university if they’re willing to work in the oil fields. Software, materials, and industrial engineers, all make above average incomes too.

14-08-engineermodels

The personal finance blogging community also shows categorical evidence that engineers are indeed a financially savvy bunch 😉 Tim from Canadian Dream is in his 30s and reveals he makes six-figures a year working as an engineer for a crown corporation. 34 year old Frugal Trader from Million Dollar Journey recently reached a household net worth of a million dollars. Both him and his wife are full time engineers. And Phil, one of the most knowledgeable commentators who read my blog, met his wife in their engineering class at university. He retired in his 40s after reaching millionaire status and is now doing lots of volunteering work.

Of course at the end of the day it takes more than just a degree to become a millionaire. Having certain soft skills and personality traits are important as well. This means we should be efficient, personable, seize opportunities when they arise, and know when to take risks (both professionally and financially.) The point of a degree, above anything else, is about showing an ability and willingness to learn.

Here are what random denizens of the internet had to say about the wealth study.

“Most millionaires I know drive around in old Ford trucks and have jeans with holes in them; not sitting in a park wearing a tux with a top hat.”

“The only real way to become truly wealthy is to engage in something with substantial risk, though often you can substitute some of that risk by exploiting people. And even so, your chances are pretty good that you will lose your pants instead.”

“One of my best friends growing up got kicked out of high school during his junior year. He worked as a plumber’s helper and now owns three plumbing companies and retired eight years ago at age 45.”

Although there are many ways to become a millionaire and retire early, earning a degree in engineering, MBA, or economics seems to be a popular way to do it! However I have tried to go down that path and failed miserably, so it’s not the right strategy for everyone.

 

   ————————————————————————
Random Useless Fact:

Dilemma is a difficult choice between just 2 options. Trilemma, quadrilemma, and so forth exist for more options.

Jul 172014
 

I was kicked out of university after my first year 😕 I had it coming though since I was probably the worst student on campus. But overall I’m glad I still enrolled, even if the experience was short lived. Going to university made me realize what really matters in my life.

It all started back in 2005 in my final year of high school. My application for the 4-year Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) was rejected because my “B” average grades weren’t high enough for their fancy business school 😡 But I managed to get into the Applied Science undergrad program instead, which is basically engineering 😀

I wanted to do cool things in my first year at UBC like blow things up, or learn to build rockets or design robots. But nope. All they had me do was write reports, read text books, and solve equations. It all just felt dry and boring 😐

14-07-engineering-expectation-reality

I quickly lost interest in all my courses. Instead of attending my own classes I started to sit in on lectures about astronomy and business technology, which were not part of my curriculum but they were more interesting 😀 I also spent a lot of time playing video games, reading fiction, and watching the serial drama LOST 🙂 I had pretty much stopped going to all of my classes entirely.

Time flies when I procrastinate and before long it was mid terms season. Unlike high school, tests and exams in university make up the bulk of a student’s final grade. So I thought as long as I still show up for my exams and do well, then I can still pass the year 😀 I also figured I can just cram the night before an exam.

But I might have slightly overestimated my academic abilities. The science exams were brutally difficult. I only knew the answers for two blanks on the physics test – my name, and the date. And I wasn’t even sure about the date 😕 I spent more time making doodles on the pages than solving actual problems (-_-;) I was completely out of my element for the chemistry test as well. I was so frustrated I wanted to just take all the questions on the test and Barium 😀 *badum tss*

14-07-patrick-no-idea-confused

The English exam was even more challenging. My brain went completely blank.

14-07-ron-test

For one part of the test I had to write a paragraph to either argue for, or argue against an idea in this book that we were suppose to have read. But I hate arguing. Why can’t we all just get along? Plus, I didn’t read the book, which was a bit of an inconvenience since that was the main focus of the exam 😐 So for my answer I diplomatically wrote “Let’s all just agree to disagree.”

The math exam was the worst. I’m not very skilled at math to begin with. The equation 2n+2n is just 4n to me 😀 And most of the questions on the test weren’t even practical. I suppose decimals have a point. But how often is differential calculus used by average people in real life? Needless to say I only completed about half the questions 🙁

14-07-math-cry

I thought I could ace my mid terms with minimal studying. I had never been so wrong in my life. When the marks came back it turned out I answered none of the questions right on the math test. But I did receive 2 marks for showing my work, which is nice 🙂 So overall I got 2 out of 80 possible marks on my math mid term, or 2.5%. I was a bit disappointed. But hey, things could have been worse 😉

Continue reading »