• Affordable Online Colleges: The 10 Best Value Schools in 2014

    Finding the most affordable online colleges comes down to looking for the best value, not just the lowest cost. You want to get what you pay for and then some, especially given that any degree is a two- or four-year investment. When choosing the top 10 online colleges, price was the focal point, but other …

  • Why You Should Consider Trade School Instead of College

    For a lot of people, going to a four year college seems like an automatic choice when they graduate from high school. The reason is obvious – more income. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, a college degree accounted for $15,000 in additional income per year versus a high school diploma ($30,000 versus …

  • A New College Student’s Guide to Saving Money on Campus

    It wasn’t all that long ago that I was enjoying that special summer between high school and college. I had graduated from high school, of course, but I was also the first person in my family to actually attend college. It was exciting and a bit frightening and almost overwhelming. Looking back now on my …

  • Four Hidden Costs of College

    I still fondly remember my first semester at college. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and I was attending a reasonably prestigious university far enough away from home that it wasn’t feasible to go back with any regularity. I knew no one at all when I moved into my …

  • Your Degree Isn’t a Ticket to a Career

    About once a week, I get an email from a panicked student about to graduate from college (or recently graduated). They’ll tell me about how they entered into a major that they thought led to a great career, only to find upon graduation that they’re working at Starbucks or not working at all, as are …

  • The Fallback Question

    For many people, the interesting career path that they feel most passionate about is one fraught with risk. Entrepreneurship. The creative arts. Professional sports. All of those career tracks – and many more – are ones where success is relatively hard to come by. Let’s say you’re a relatively skilled high school baseball player. You …

  • The Simple Dollar’s Education in Insurance

    Up until now, I’ve only occasionally dealt with a major component of monthly finance: your insurance. If you’ve got a family, like me, you have to know how your insurance works. For that matter, if you’re financially stable or you’ve got valuable property, grasping your coverage is just as necessary. When something unexpected happens, insurance …

  • The Value of College

    Over the last several months, I’ve had conversations with several people about the value they got from college. One person went to college to study chemical engineering and became a high school teacher. Another person went to study agriculture and became a database administrator. Yet another person went to law school and is now an …

  • Choosing a 529 Plan

    A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas. On Facebook, Edita asks a simple question: “Among …

  • Got Unused Vacation Time? Put It to Use with a Personal Sabbatical

    In September 2004, I was about to leave my first post-college job. My boss at that time – who happens to be one of the people I respect the most in this world, even now after my radical career shift – observed that I had a pile of unused vacation time that was basically going …

  • Is Formal Personal Finance Education a Failure? Some Thoughts on Improving It

    When I was in high school, I took a consumer education proficiency test and passed it with flying colors, demonstrating that I had the knowledge needed to manage my own money and be a savvy shopper. Within ten years, I was buried in debt. This isn’t an experience that’s unique to me. On The Simple …

  • Is a College Degree a Piece of Paper … or Something More?

    So often, when I see advice regarding a college education, people speak of a college degree as some sort of magic ticket that will raise your income level. “A college degree is worth $500,000 more income over a person’s lifetime” or something to that effect is constantly touted. This idea often pops up in the …

  • Five Thoughts about Making College Great

    Tomorrow, several people that matter a lot to me are starting their college experience. Here are fifteen things I’d like to suggest to them that they’re probably not hearing from anyone else who has been giving them advice on college over the past three months. You don’t have to know what you want to do …

  • What Is an Education Really Worth?

    Recently, I was browsing through some data from the U.S. Census when I stumbled upon a great table in the 2007 census data. On page 9 of this report, entitled Educational Attainment in the United States, one can find a very interesting table that describes the median earnings for workers aged 25 and over, sorted …

  • What Do You Really Have to Lose?

    This post goes out to all of the readers who are about to graduate from college (and from high school, for that matter) and are wondering what comes next (hopefully, you already know and have a plan for it, but if you do, you’re in the minority). A few days ago, a college student I …

  • Parental Responsibility and Retirement Savings

    As I discussed yesterday in a pair of articles (this one and this one), I dream of a future where my children and I are completely financially independent from one another. I’m not dependent on them, nor are they dependent on me. The real question that both articles strive to answer, though, is where should …

  • The Case for Saving for a Child’s College Education over Saving for Retirement

    One of the most common debates I hear about from people such as myself – twenty- and thirtysomethings with young children at home – is whether it makes more sense to save adequately for retirement or save adequately for their child’s college education. Quite often, young career folks (like myself) don’t have the means to …

  • The Case for Saving for Retirement Over Saving for a Child’s College Education

    One of the most common debates I hear about from people such as myself – twenty- and thirtysomethings with young children at home – is whether it makes more sense to save adequately for retirement or save adequately for their child’s college education. Quite often, young career folks (like myself) don’t have the means to …

  • Retirement or Education?

    Chris writes in: We are friends with another couple that is around our same age, income level, status, and number and age of children. When I was mentioning to them that we were planning to pay off our car this year (leaving us with our mortgage and a small student loan) and the starting to …