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Decide How Education Relates to Your Financial Goals

The following chart depicts the average earnings and lifetime earnings according to level of education in 2001. While the absolute numbers have changed since 2001, the relative importance of education has not changed.

Earnings by Level of Education
Level of Education Annual Earnings Lifetime Earnings
Not a HS graduate $21,314 $852,577
High school graduate $30,560 $1,222,396
Two-year vocational $36,833 $1,473,335
Associate’s $38,118 $1,524,703
Bachelor’s $49,334 $1,973,760
Master’s $57,676 $2,307,025
Doctorate/professional $71,573 $2,862,914

Source: “Give Yourself the Gift of a Degree: Vocational Education Worth Almost $1.5 Million over Working Lifetime,” an EPF News Release from the Employment Policy Foundation: December 19, 2001, Washington, D.C.

Generally, as education increases, the potential for higher lifetime earnings increases as well. But why obtain a college education? President Hinckley said the following:

You young people, the little decisions that you make can so affect your lives. Shall I go to school or not? Shall I continue on with my education? That is a big decision for some of you. Our doctrine suggests, although there may be some circumstances that would affect that decision . . . that the more education you receive, the greater will be your opportunity to serve. That is why this Church encourages its young people to get the schooling that will qualify them to take their places in the society in which they will become a part. Make the right decisions. Take a long look. (Pocatello, Idaho, regional conference, Idaho State University, 4 June 1995)

Generally, the more education you have, the more money you will make over your lifetime, and the more opportunities you will have to serve. Is education a good investment? President Hinckley gave the following counsel on this matter:

Now is the season to train your minds and your hands for the work you wish to do. Education can prove to be the wisest and most profitable investment you will ever make. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Tambuli, Sept. 1989, 49)

While education is important, it is costly. The average costs for schooling are high and are steadily rising. While education is costly, the cost of ignorance is even higher. How can you save funds for your own education or your children’s education?


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