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A College Degree Is No Guarantee of a Good Life

Blackadder1916

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ballz said:
I can't say how much I agree. A gap year is viewed in a negative light in Canada, as though it's just a year of "wasting time." Maybe it is, but it's a cheaper waste of time than wasting a year in university doing stuff your not interested in. Or, you go backpacking for a year which I think is probably the biggest regret  of my life that I didn't do that... because once you really go after adulthood, it's rare to get that opportunity until you are retirement age.

When I was backpacking in SE Asia, I met tons of Germans who are notoriously known for being "everywhere" by backpackers... because it seems almost everyone in Germany takes a gap year and many many many use it to travel.

But the big difference between Europeans and North Americans (particularly of my generation) was that university tuition (and a stipend for living expenses) was mostly provided gratis to those Germans et al once they came back from a year of "expanding their minds" (with or without use of substances) while the funds Norteamericanos expended during their year of doing nothing was often at the expense of their education budget.

That being said, there is (depending on the individual and their circumstances) sometimes a benefit to taking time off to experience an adventure before life takes over.  I spent time between high school graduation and starting a military career, though it wasn't strictly planned as a gap, but I consider it as being worthwhile learning experience - educational "credentialing" came later. 

The Aussies even use a Gap Year programme as a recruiting tool.

https://www.defencejobs.gov.au/students-and-education/gap-year?page=1&perPage=21&query=
DISCOVER YOUR PATH IN AN ADF GAP YEAR
Spend an exciting 12-months in the Navy, Army or Air Force, where you'll get paid for meaningful work while travelling around Australia, gaining skills for life, and making lifelong friends.
 

stoker dave

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Without drifting too far off topic, young kids today have reasonable chance of living to be 100 years old.  There is no rush to push them through their schooling by the time they are 22.  Time for learning and travel should be expected. 
 

Brash

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stoker dave said:
Without drifting too far off topic, young kids today have reasonable chance of living to be 100 years old.  There is no rush to push them through their schooling by the time they are 22.  Time for learning and travel should be expected.
Yes, they should be learning and traveling.
Kill those two birds by traveling to another school and learning there, or more likely, achieve an online education while you are traveling.

If you are saying travel for experiential-sake, I would counter that it shouldn't be done at the expense of preparation and/or saving for the most expensive years of one's life (the twilight years).
Somewhat recent polling https://www.ipsos.com/en-ca/only-one-half-48-canadians-are-saving-their-retirement reveals that only about half of all Canadians are saving for retirement.

"Earlier" money is intrinsically the most valuable in the current Canadian economic trends, due to both the time-value effects of inflation and compound interest; and 78 years is a lot of time.
 

mariomike

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Brashendeavours said:
If you are saying travel for experiential-sake, I would counter that it shouldn't be done at the expense of preparation and/or saving for the most expensive years of one's life (the twilight years).

I think they call it "life experience". That's fine. But, when they enter a seniority driven organization they will be at a disadvantage compared to others their age, and younger. Including pension. And possible layoffs.

Also, it seemed to me, the theory years ago was young people were more moldable than older individuals to the subculture of the organization.



 

daftandbarmy

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mariomike said:
I think they call it "life experience". That's fine. But, when they enter a seniority driven organization they will be at a disadvantage compared to others their age, and younger. Including pension. And possible layoffs.

Also, it seemed to me, the theory years ago was young people were more moldable than older individuals to the subculture of the organization.

Tangent: not that the job options aren't good ones, but there is an ongoing decline in union membership, or interest in entering unionized employment, these days anyways. That may account for any lack of interest in getting into union jobs early amongst younger people ...


Labor unions once had a stronger presence in the United States, as many frustrated employees demanded improvements in the quality of their work, and pay.  But times have changed, and union membership has plummeted.  The workforce is aging, and fewer young people are joining unions.  Millennials are unionizing less often  —  and this seems to stem from the lack of information about the benefits of unions, and what to expect in the workplace.

Numbers support this.  Union membership has dropped from 20.1 percent of the workforce in 1983 to 11.3 percent in 2013. Just 4.5 percent of employed people aged 16 and 24 are members of a union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Nearly 10 percent of employees who are aged 25 to 35 today end up joining a union.  Despite the increase in numbers in this age group, though, there are still fewer millennials – a term applied to those born roughly between 1982 and 2004 — joining unions than ever before.

https://kairosmagazine.rutgers.edu/disorganized-labor-why-millennials-dont-unionize/#:~:text=The%20workforce%20is%20aging%2C%20and,to%20expect%20in%20the%20workplace.
 

mariomike

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daftandbarmy said:
Tangent: not that the job options aren't good ones, but there is an ongoing decline in union membership, or interest in entering unionized employment, these days anyways.

If one has an interest in entering employment in the emergency services - in Toronto, at least - you will be a member of the union.

Been that way since 1918. 
 

ballz

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Brashendeavours said:
If you are saying travel for experiential-sake, I would counter that it shouldn't be done at the expense of preparation and/or saving for the most expensive years of one's life (the twilight years).
Somewhat recent polling https://www.ipsos.com/en-ca/only-one-half-48-canadians-are-saving-their-retirement reveals that only about half of all Canadians are saving for retirement.

"Earlier" money is intrinsically the most valuable in the current Canadian economic trends, due to both the time-value effects of inflation and compound interest; and 78 years is a lot of time.

I disagree. Quantitatively you may* be right, but there is more to life than saving pennies. My parents are about as financially "save now, spend later" as anyone and have done well, both retiring early with more money than they can spend, and my Dad regrets not travelling at a young age when he could have enjoyed it more and in different ways.... and to my surprise even regrets not encouraging me to take a year off after high school to travel (at the time, he'd have probably slapped me silly).

Personally there are some things worth more than money and I'd rather it if the last cheque I write bounces.

*may - One of the benefits of travelling young and broke is that you can't waste much money. In fact you probably learn a lot of valuable lessons about money doing so that will pay off in future years. Travelling for the first time at 29-30 years old making a Captain's salary, I'm positive I spent twice as much as I would have at 18.

Furthermore, if that gap year means you make better choices instead of wasting your early years on university tuition/expenses for a program you would have realized you weren't interested in...
 

Navy_Pete

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ballz said:
The bigger issue isn't the utility of a degree or trades or other useful / alternative forms of education that are seldom thought of (martial arts... anyone know how much a legit BJJ blackbelt can make in a weekend seminar?).

What has caused an issue for my generation was the idea that a university degree was what everyone should strive for, and everything else such as a trade was a consolation prize for those who just weren't cut out for university.

This poster was actually hanging in Mike Rowe's guidance counselor's office in 1977. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NwEFVUb-u0

So many people I went to high school with went straight into university without any real thought, and came out saddled with debt and no degree because they realized that wasn't what they wanted half-way through. Or they spent additional years as a professional student before finally finding a program, and so it took 6-7 years to get their degree. I'd have likely been caught in the same trap, I hated my BBA but I finished it because the CAF had me by the ballz.

I can't say how much I agree. A gap year is viewed in a negative light in Canada, as though it's just a year of "wasting time." Maybe it is, but it's a cheaper waste of time than wasting a year in university doing stuff your not interested in. Or, you go backpacking for a year which I think is probably the biggest regret  of my life that I didn't do that... because once you really go after adulthood, it's rare to get that opportunity until you are retirement age.

When I was backpacking in SE Asia, I met tons of Germans who are notoriously known for being "everywhere" by backpackers... because it seems almost everyone in Germany takes a gap year and many many many use it to travel.

I think it makes sense to wait until you know what you want to do to go to college/uni, and wish I had traveled a bit more when I did  a gap. Going around the world really opened my eyes to how different most people live outside Canada but also that most people really just want the same things for them and their kids, regardless of where they live.

If I hadn't taken some time off beforehand, I probably would have self destructed in first year. Plus, working some truly awful manual labour jobs got me over the hump when I was struggling to get through some of the boring material later on. But I knew what I wanted to do and had seen the downside of the alternative, so was pretty motivating. Lots of days still wish I had taken a trade and did some hands on stuff, but hobbies and home repair fill that void okay.
 

Navy_Pete

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daftandbarmy said:
Tangent: not that the job options aren't good ones, but there is an ongoing decline in union membership, or interest in entering unionized employment, these days anyways. That may account for any lack of interest in getting into union jobs early amongst younger people ...


Labor unions once had a stronger presence in the United States, as many frustrated employees demanded improvements in the quality of their work, and pay.  But times have changed, and union membership has plummeted.  The workforce is aging, and fewer young people are joining unions.  Millennials are unionizing less often  —  and this seems to stem from the lack of information about the benefits of unions, and what to expect in the workplace.

Numbers support this.  Union membership has dropped from 20.1 percent of the workforce in 1983 to 11.3 percent in 2013. Just 4.5 percent of employed people aged 16 and 24 are members of a union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Nearly 10 percent of employees who are aged 25 to 35 today end up joining a union.  Despite the increase in numbers in this age group, though, there are still fewer millennials – a term applied to those born roughly between 1982 and 2004 — joining unions than ever before.

https://kairosmagazine.rutgers.edu/disorganized-labor-why-millennials-dont-unionize/#:~:text=The%20workforce%20is%20aging%2C%20and,to%20expect%20in%20the%20workplace.

I grew up in Hamilton; the number of union members dropped because the number of union jobs disappeared as manufacturing shut down/went offshore/automated. Same thing is happening with the car plants/supporting manufacturers as they shut down lines. Aside from the teachers and government workers, most unions have lost a lot of their members. That's compounded by the gig economy and other piece work type stuff, and big corporations being strongly anti union (Walmart, Amazon etc) when they try and move into new areas. Interest in joining a union doesn't really matter when the job market has changed dramatically.

Wrt retirement, I think that a lot of people are treating it like being able to buy a house; was a given for the boomers, but is rapidly becoming an unachievable dream for a lot of people. May as well enjoy life now while you have your youth, and not put it off until later hoping that between climate change and basic human stupidity we don't end ourselves before you hit 65.
 

daftandbarmy

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Navy_Pete said:
I think it makes sense to wait until you know what you want to do to go to college/uni

Agreed. But maybe don't wait 8 or 9 years, like me :)
 

daftandbarmy

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Money now buys more happiness than it used to, huge new analysis finds

Many factors determine happiness, but one has stirred considerable controversy over the years: money.

While the old adage says that money can’t buy happiness, several studies have determined that the more your income increases, the happier you are, up until US$75,000 a year. After hitting that threshold, more income doesn’t make a difference.

But in a new analysis of more than 40,000 U.S. adults aged 30 and over, my colleague and I found an even deeper relationship between money and happiness.

Happiness levels decline for whites without a college degree

For whites aged 30 and over, the percent of respondents without a college degree who said they were "very happy" has fallen to 29%.

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/world/money-now-buys-more-happiness-than-it-used-to-huge-new-analysis-finds/wcm/dc00975a-cd3d-4f99-8f0c-e313af95c55e/

 

shawn5o

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CBH99 said:
Trades is always a way to go.  And despite the 'gritty, blue collar' image I think a lot of people have of folks who work in the trades, I know quite a few friends who own small businesses who dress in collared shirts & slacks, who make an absolute killing financially. 


My dad was a career biologist, and a 'science' guy.  I remember he told me once "Just remember, half the folks with degrees graduated in the bottom half of their class."  I chuckle as I remember that now. 

A degree doesn't guarantee success.

That is well said. And a trade of some kind would be absolutely necessary if one is a "prepper"

And unversity is a priority for those who require it. Me, I am a qualified gunsmith with no tools. LOL
 

tomahawk6

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There is always the railroad. Great pay and benefits - at least in the US, and goes for Canada as well I expect.
 

mariomike

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tomahawk6 said:
There is always the railroad. Great pay and benefits - at least in the US, and goes for Canada as well I expect.

My father, and my father's father, were CNR / VIA Rail locomotive engineers.

Dad worked the VIA Toronto - Montreal passenger run.

They were lifetime members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. America's earliest labour union. HQ was in Cleveland, Ohio.


 

tomahawk6

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I was talking to a chap with Norfolk and Southern who told me about their benefits. One being a retirement check for the wife as reward for putting up with the railroad life, which I thought was interesting.
 

Furniture

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daftandbarmy said:
Money now buys more happiness than it used to, huge new analysis finds

Many factors determine happiness, but one has stirred considerable controversy over the years: money.

While the old adage says that money can’t buy happiness, several studies have determined that the more your income increases, the happier you are, up until US$75,000 a year. After hitting that threshold, more income doesn’t make a difference.

But in a new analysis of more than 40,000 U.S. adults aged 30 and over, my colleague and I found an even deeper relationship between money and happiness.

Happiness levels decline for whites without a college degree

For whites aged 30 and over, the percent of respondents without a college degree who said they were "very happy" has fallen to 29%.

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/world/money-now-buys-more-happiness-than-it-used-to-huge-new-analysis-finds/wcm/dc00975a-cd3d-4f99-8f0c-e313af95c55e/

As a person making mid $70K a year CAD, I think there is something to this. I've marveled a few times after buying groceries, beer, etc. that I couldn't recall how much I'd spent, and I didn't care. I make enough money that paying for the daily expense never even crosses my mind. I then realized just how amazing that was, and how much I enjoyed it. I'm not sure making more would make any difference to me either. I'm a simple guy, so having my bills paid without though, and a few extra dollars at the end of the month is essentially happiness. 
 

daftandbarmy

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Furniture said:
As a person making mid $70K a year CAD, I think there is something to this. I've marveled a few times after buying groceries, beer, etc. that I couldn't recall how much I'd spent, and I didn't care. I make enough money that paying for the daily expense never even crosses my mind. I then realized just how amazing that was, and how much I enjoyed it. I'm not sure making more would make any difference to me either. I'm a simple guy, so having my bills paid without though, and a few extra dollars at the end of the month is essentially happiness.

You're in a good place.

Contrast that with multi-millionaires I know who have been moving around rented houses for years until they can finally design and build their 'dream house'.

Problem is, they're never satisfied so the 'dream' is a constantly moving target, and they continue to live like frustrated gypsies.
 

Furniture

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daftandbarmy said:
You're in a good place.

Contrast that with multi-millionaires I know who have been moving around rented houses for years until they can finally design and build their 'dream house'.

Problem is, they're never satisfied so the 'dream' is a constantly moving target, and they continue to live like frustrated gypsies.

I suppose money is like many things, there can be too much of a good thing.

 

shawn5o

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tomahawk6 said:
I was talking to a chap with Norfolk and Southern who told me about their benefits. One being a retirement check for the wife as reward for putting up with the railroad life, which I thought was interesting.

That is good pr for the RR as well.

My uncle worked for Canadian Pacific after the war, and when he retired he got his pension as a pass to ride around the country. I'm not sure if it was a free pass to travel cross the country or if he had to pay a minimum for the perk.

 

mariomike

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tomahawk6 said:
I was talking to a chap with Norfolk and Southern who told me about their benefits. One being a retirement check for the wife as reward for putting up with the railroad life, which I thought was interesting.

There was no hardship for our family. We never had to change houses or schools or tolerate any inconvenience.

Dad spent a lot of nights at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Took me with him sometimes. The hotel is located directly above the VIA station with its own entrance.

Mom is still alive and well. He took us on a lot of rail trips when he had time off. One particularly memorable trip was to New Orleans. First time I had been in the Southland.






 
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