Congratulations to the USA Women for winning their 4th World Cup! As in all sports we have to remember that athletic careers are usually short. Recently, I read Tim Howard’s biography, The Keeper, as I’m partial to goalies after playing the position in wheelchair hockey. In the book, Howard explained how his career was “front-loaded,” like any other athlete. I don’t mean to debate sports salaries here, but I want to use the career length to make my point.
Today, athletes rarely play their particular game for 20 years as in the past. Let’s say a typical career is now 10 years. After a 3-year rookie contract, most athletes have basically one shot at the 7-year “mega-deal” we always hear about on ESPN. With that in mind, I can see why athletes and their agents try to get the highest salary as fast as possible. Of course, I hope they understand how to manage their money, so it will last the rest of their life.
For the rest of us, we have to think of our careers in the long term. We work to better ourselves via education and experience hoping that our annual income increases over our career of approximately 30 years. It’s easy to get frustrated making $35,000 a year in a state job, but what if we change our perspective? Perhaps we can find some peace of mind knowing that we would make over $1.6 million, adjusted for inflation, over our career. That doesn’t even include any bonuses, raises, or promotions! If we look at our job as an investment, we can see it’s definitely worth our time to go to work.
Education should also be viewed as an investment. Student loans are a huge political issue right now. I don’t have a solution there, but I do think our perspective can change. If someone said they could take a $50,000 investment and turn it into $1.6 million divided into annual payments over 30 years, I’m almost certain everyone would take that deal. Student loans can be viewed with that perspective…it almost has to be or you’ll drive yourself insane paying them off. It doesn’t make life any easier, but sometimes changing perspective can help our feelings about life.
Ben Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Not only is it true, but it also tells me politicians haven’t fixed the issue in over 200 years, so waiting on current ones to fix it may not be the best idea. We can’t let life pass us by waiting for them to solve our problems. What we can do is treat education as an investment. Then we can work toward the goal of paying down the debt or funding our children’s education. If by some miracle politicians solve the education funding crisis, then that would be wonderful, but you can’t afford to wait for them. I would be happy to help you get the most out of your investment in education with a financial plan.