Once the holiday shopping madness subsides and your insatiable need to purchase the latest gadgets, trinkets and Christmas sweaters for your loved ones has passed, you may find yourself taking that inevitable look at your personal finances and analyzing your short- and long-term investing plans.
What are your financial goals? Perhaps you are saving for a new house, paying off debt, or reaching a higher income level. Do you have children? What are their needs going to be over the next 10 years?
The typical budget worksheet consists of income from wages and investments in stock and bonds, but do you consider education to be one of your investments?
Then you have expenses that range from fixed outputs, such as home mortgage/rent, utilities, insurance, automobile and taxes, to variable expenditures like groceries, clothing, medical and other miscellaneous or entertainment funds. A simple line item may be included for savings, but a major item missing from this equation is education. Whether noted as an investment in reaching your potential or an ongoing expense, your personal budget plan should include education, and not just the initial investment of college.
Over the last several years, not only has the importance of education come into light as more and more careers require a higher level of education, but the cost and lack of funds dedicated to cover these expenses has become a clear shortcoming. A report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce projects that by 2018, 63 percent of all jobs in the United States will require some sort of postsecondary education. Idaho is expected to be just below the national average at 61 percent. That means more than 500,000 jobs throughout the state will require higher education or training.
This fact combined with the rise in tuition, reported between 30 to 43 percent for a four-year public institution, and student loans, estimated at an all-time high averaging around $72,000 make for an unpleasant recipe of bitter realities.
And the cost of college is not the only area of increase: Some professions require ongoing certification renewals that can cost thousands of dollars.
Whether youre a parent preparing to help support your childs education or continuing your own educational goals, its never too early to budget for education. With the trending rise in educational expenses across the country, it is more important than ever to plan ahead.
The government has realized the importance of education among Americans, and several programs are available to help offset the costs of education, such as savings plans for youth, tax credits for investing in lifetime learning and supporting others through charitable donations. For more information on how to invest in your education, visit the IRS website, the Idaho Department of Education or your employer, with whom you can speak about programs that may be available to employees.
Education should be considered an investment that you plan for, because a simple analysis of the marketplace illustrates the expense is inevitable if you want to be successful. This trend wont just affect your children. There is a changing dynamic in the workplace that has raised the expectation of continued development of skills throughout a career. Do you know where you want to be professionally in 10 years?
Theres a good chance you will need to hone more than one part of your arsenal to get there. But while some employers may help foot the bill to further your education, you should be prepared to allocate a portion of your budget. This percentage should directly relate to your career goals and income potential.
Options are available, and planning is always a vital step in any successful endeavor.
Scott Fenwick, executive director, CWI Business Partnerships/Workforce Development. email@example.com