Tag Archives: career change

Paying for a Higher Education

Whether you’re preparing to go to college for the first time, or you’re thinking about continuing your education, it’s important to know what resources are available to help you. It’s also important to not “break the bank.” Education may be expensive, but it’s possible to pay for without going into massive amounts of debt. I’ve written a short list of “key terms” when planning to pay for a college education.

Financial Aid

http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/F4CApp/index/index.jsf

Is a great website to estimate how much money you’d receive for financial aid. Remember that it’s just an estimation of how much money you may qualify for financial aid. Keep in mind  that you do have to pay financial aid back, with interest. Financial aid is intended to be used for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. It can also be used for computer and childcare expenses. However, financial aid should not be used for other expenses such as food or to pay phone/cable bills.

Grants

Grants are primarily need-based compared to other merit-based scholarships. Usually there is qualifying criteria and are specific to students, subjects, and degree level. A good resource for grant information is http://www.collegescholarships.org/grants/

Scholarships

Scholarships are beneficial because you do not have to pay them back. It’s important to note that not all scholarships are for tuition; some are specifically for transportation or for books.

There are a lot of websites out there that let you search for scholarships, however, most of the time you have to fill out questionnaires and annoying forms. If you have the time and patience, websites like scholarships.com and fastweb.com offer important information.

But for people who don’t have the patience, it is possible just to Google phrases such as “scholarships for public policy” to find scholarships available to you.

Fellowships

Fellowships are usually available for advanced study or research. Fellowships may require a time-commitment or completion of a training program. However, if requirements are met, fellowships can be a great way to pay for school expenses.

Emergency Plans

Always remember that we can’t control what happens in our lives. It’s important to have some emergency funds saved up in case something happens. May you’ll have to pay to fix your car, or deal with a family emergency.

Credit Cards

Credit card particularly scam students in college. Some students have to put their basic needs such as food or housing on a credit card and since they do not have enough money to pay it off, interest keeps building up. It’s important to use credit cards with caution.

It’s a bad habit to think that you can pay off debt when you graduate. Especially with today’s job market, getting a job after graduation is not a guarantee. Plus, there could be other expenses that you’ll need to provide for, and by that time you could be thousands and thousands of dollars in debt.

Budgeting

It’s essential, as always, to develop a budget, especially before going to college. The budget is vital in helping to create and determine goals and determine what can be afforded to spend monthly.

Budgeting is important to determine how much money will be earned, and spent, while in college.

As always, just giving some food for thought, questions and comments are greatly appreciated.

Choose your career, don’t let the career choose you.

I know you’ve heard it before, “money doesn’t buy happiness.” It’s true, especially when it comes to your career. Yes, there are jobs out there that allow an individual to make a lot of money and to be happy too. But the lesson of this entry is, choose the career, don’t let the career choose you.

A really important indication that you enjoy your job is how you feel when you wake up in the morning. Do you look forward to starting the day or do you dread it? Are you already waiting to come home even at 6:30 AM?

If you can’t wait to come home, it may be time for a career change.

A new career change may require more schooling and acquiring new skills, but over time your salary will recover and may even surpass what you were making before.  Making a career change is a big commitment and it’s important that you think it through. Here are some steps to help you:

Take a break and reflect

First, think about yourself. Think about where you are in your life and your goals. Also think about how this career change will affect others in your life. Make sure that you choose a career that offers fulfillment not only for yourself, but for your family and friends as well.

Consider your values, personality, abilities and skills. It’s important that you take time to write down what is important to you. Take some time to figure out what you value. For example, you may write down, “It’s important that I’m home most nights to eat dinner with my children and spouse.” Realize that all jobs will not meet your values.

What do you do best? Do you work better independently or with groups? Do you enjoy interacting with people daily or do you prefer to stay to yourself? These are all aspects of your personality that are important, and maybe you’re in a job now that doesn’t

What are your abilities and skills? Maybe you enjoy painting, or working on cars. Spend some time to think about what you’re skilled at doing.

Do your research

Find out what it’s going to take to make this change. Ask yourself, what is the salary like? Do I need to go back to school? Are job opportunities for this career available where I live, or will I have to move? It’s important to consider all aspects of this new change.

The career change may require you to get a new college degree. How much will the tuition be? How will you pay for it?

Start tracking your expenses (if you haven’t already done so)

Now is as good as a time as any to start tracking your expenses. Include small purchases even gum. Some people like carrying a small notepad with them to document all their purchases for the month. They keep all of their receipts in a folder at home and sit down to go over every purchase. It’s important to know how much your spending to build your budget. Education costs money, and may also mean that you’ll have to quit your current job. Consider the financial risks.

Determine your expenses to complete the career change

Again, think about what is required to make this career change. Do you have to go back to school? Do you need to do volunteer work? How about transportation? If you have to go to school, is the school nearby? Are you going to need to buy textbooks?

Create a new budget

With the new information on how to change your career, create a new budget. Try to budget your new career expenses. You may have to cut back in other areas, but remind yourself that it’s worth it. If you can’t stick to the budget, maybe it’s a sign that you weren’t ready for the change.

Build in a cash cushion

Even if you have an emergency fund, it’ll be important to have a lot of money saved up. You never know what’s going to happen, and if you aren’t working at all or not so much, something as simple as a flat tire can break the bank. In addition to your emergency fund, try creating a fund specifically for while you’re in school.

Monitor your savings and spending

With any budget, it’s important to monitor your savings and spending. Remember to be honest.

Have a backup plan

Some things don’t work out the way we thought they would. A lot of things are out of our control, but it’s important to have a plan in case the career change doesn’t work out. Can you go back to your old job? Or your old field? Is there another field that is similar to your old field that you wouldn’t mind working in?

Career changes are a big deal, and may change your life in the short-term… but may end up being better for your health in the long-term.