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Old 12-24-2007, 05:34 PM
 
Location: East TN
1,025 posts, read 2,518,134 times
Reputation: 631

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OK,

Here's the thing. I hate making life altering decisions and this is one.

I retired from the military last year, I have NO DEBT of any kind. No credit card debt, no vehicle debt. I have approx $225k in cash, I have a pension of $1700 a month and if I go to school, I'll get $1650 a month tax free for expenses and tuition. The only catch on the college money is that there is a 10 year time limit, either you use it or lose it, and I've been retired one year now.

My question is, should I go to school or keep working at my current job. Part of me says, "go to school". But what's the point of quitting a decent paying job to get an education, if the point of the education is to a decent paying job!

I'm currently 3 classes shy of a BA in History. I'd like to finish that and get a masters in another subject or a degree in a recession proof field (nursing, radiology, etc)

Currently I work for a railroad, making $52k annually. My retirement is approx $20k annually. I work approx 55 hours per week with the railroad as an Operations Manager, with the potential to move up to $75k annually within 10 years.

My concern is, if I quit the railroad or get fired for some reason :-( Then might not find another decent paying job. Especially if I don't have a higher degree than my current associates in general studies.

Another negative for the railroad job is that it's a 24/7 salary type job and I can be moved around the eastern US, at the whim of my employer. I can be literally told on a friday to be in another state on monday if I want to collect my check.

Any advice? Go to school, forget school since I have a decent job now. Anyone??

Thanks for sharing your advice.

Tony
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Old 12-24-2007, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Assisi, Italy
1,851 posts, read 2,946,564 times
Reputation: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony1790 View Post
But what's the point of quitting a decent paying job to get an education, if the point of the education is to a decent paying job!
You might want to rethink that "if". The point of education is to become educated. While you are at it, you might want to rethink "decent paying job".

The question is are you going to be satisfied for the rest of your life doing what you do or do you want more? Family? Knowledge? Social choice?

By the way, thanks for your military service. It sounds like you have had a good start in life. I hope you keep going.

Last edited by Bob The Builder; 12-24-2007 at 06:40 PM..
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Old 12-24-2007, 07:36 PM
 
19,416 posts, read 22,482,385 times
Reputation: 26839
You've got 10 years. Why the rush to decide?

Figure out how many years are required to attain your goals for education and 1 year before then, if you are still doing what you like and making decent money, make the decision. If your job situation goes to cr*p before then, reconsider.

I don't see the need to make a decision right this minute.

Thank you. We appreciate everything you've done for us and our country.
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
2,918 posts, read 7,265,240 times
Reputation: 2506
I have a couple of questions.

How many years do you have to work for the railroad before you vest a pension, and how much would it be? Don't they have a seperate deal from social security?

Do you like what you're doing now? I ask because you're not proposing an MBA in Operations Mgmt (which may be in demand too) that would follow what you're job is you're talking about nursing which is entirely different thing altogether.

It seems to me that you should find a program now while you're working that lets you take classes on the computer or something without using the education money so that you can finish the degree you've already started being that you're so close. It sure looks better than having an associates. You can use the money after for an MA or RN.

You also have to consider the starting pay and working conditions that would result in another degree in a different subject area. It's a lifestyle decision as much as a money one. What do you want your life to look like?
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Old 12-24-2007, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Missouri
5,920 posts, read 14,834,985 times
Reputation: 4545
Being that your dream is to do something other than your railroad job, I would choose to go back to school. Why wait? You may find more satisfaction out of doing something else.
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Old 12-24-2007, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Indy
631 posts, read 1,882,935 times
Reputation: 338
Hell, you paid for that 'free' money for college. Hard to remember back then but when I joined in 91, you had to pay $100 a month for 12 months. Not much, but there it is.

In addition, consider the rest 'sweat equity'

This is money that you earned one way or another. Use it at least going to school part time. Like your job? Study something that has always interested you. Mechanics? Computers? Astro physics, etc. The doors are open for you.

Don't p*** this opportunity away.
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Old 12-24-2007, 11:45 PM
 
Location: East TN
1,025 posts, read 2,518,134 times
Reputation: 631
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
You've got 10 years. Why the rush to decide?

Figure out how many years are required to attain your goals for education and 1 year before then, if you are still doing what you like and making decent money, make the decision. If your job situation goes to cr*p before then, reconsider.

I don't see the need to make a decision right this minute.

Thank you. We appreciate everything you've done for us and our country.

Sorry,

Just a clarification, 10 years total. I've been retired 14 months, so I have 8 yrs 10 months. And that's to finish, I have 3 years of college money, so basically I have 5 yrs, 8 months to get started.

The only problem with waiting is that I turn 41 yo on the 28th of Dec, so you can see, I'm battling the clock. Who's going to hire you when you get into you late 40's. Of course there are laws about age discrimination, but you know how that can work.

Tony
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Old 12-24-2007, 11:50 PM
 
Location: East TN
1,025 posts, read 2,518,134 times
Reputation: 631
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zig'sbird View Post
Hell, you paid for that 'free' money for college. Hard to remember back then but when I joined in 91, you had to pay $100 a month for 12 months. Not much, but there it is.
You are correct, I paid $1200 and then I also paid another $600 for the extra kicker funds.

I get the GI Bill, Army College fund and the extra kicker. I believe the total should be at $1650 total. Last time I went to school full time in 1990 between the Army and Coast Guard the full time school money was only $700.

I don't want to pee away this opportunity, but the pragmatic side of me hates to give up a good paying job.....you know the old bird in the hand, vs 2 in the bush scenario.

One of my biggest problems......not know what I want to do when I grow up.

Tony
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:27 AM
 
Location: Assisi, Italy
1,851 posts, read 2,946,564 times
Reputation: 350
Tony

I am 49 and still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. Currently, I live in Italy raising three very small children. There is a Baz Lehrman song called Always Wear Sunscreen where he is reading a commencement speech and offering advice. In it he says Don't Worry. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds he knows still don't know.

It may or may not work for you, but if you invested your 225k wisely in equities, you could probably do better than the 52k annually in the long run.

Last edited by Bob The Builder; 12-26-2007 at 01:36 AM..
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Obama playing field
716 posts, read 1,392,188 times
Reputation: 362
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony1790 View Post
Sorry,

Just a clarification, 10 years total. I've been retired 14 months, so I have 8 yrs 10 months. And that's to finish, I have 3 years of college money, so basically I have 5 yrs, 8 months to get started.

The only problem with waiting is that I turn 41 yo on the 28th of Dec, so you can see, I'm battling the clock. Who's going to hire you when you get into you late 40's. Of course there are laws about age discrimination, but you know how that can work.

Tony
I dont think your going to have much issues with knuckling down and doing the important work at school. 41 is far from being over the hill, they still hire new grads even if their well into their 50's in the nursing field, my advice would be, should you go down this path, is to specialise soon as you get your basic qualification. Your character is pretty much vouched for and that im sure you know, goes a long way with employers!

You're in a very good position to exploit what you have and how to further yourself, strike while the irons hot.. GL
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