The $100,000+ Question

Carrie:  Mom, I’d like to go to ABC College, I think.
Mom:   Honey, how much does it cost?
Carrie:  Well, their website says it is $25,000 per year plus incidentals. 
Mom:   Incidentals?  Let’s assume that’s $5,000 for transportation, clothing and miscellaneous.
Carrie:  Ok, that’s $30,000 per year.
Mom:   {pauses}
Mom:   Honey, is it worth $120,000 to do this?

The above conversation is happening everywhere.  

But generally, what conversation is NOT happening? 

One week later the smart mom asks . . .  

Mom:  honey, after applying scholarships, loans and the like, we are still looking at $25,000/yr which puts us at $100,000+ for four years.
Carrie: Mom, does that work for us?
Mom:  We will try to swing it with your help, of course. 
Mom:  {pause}
Mom:  Honey, have you thought about whether college is right for what you want to do?

 So what do people fail to consider?

Their career - the  “what do you want to be when you grow up” infamous question. 
It's the question they’ve been asked since the age of 3 when they would reply fireman or ballerina.

But now as high school days draw to a close what do they say? 

What if your amazing high school child knows (or has a general idea) of what they want to pursue as a career?  They need to do their career research.

Does it really require a college degree?  What about a 2-yr degree instead?  What about a non-traditional learning approach?  

But “everyone does it”

Many kids march to college in mental lock-step because “everyone does it.”  To be sure, college offers many learning milestones beyond the obvious. 

But for costs that can easily add up to the tens of thousands, if money is the sole consideration, then knowing and understanding the ultimate “financial payoff” is MORE than just whether you can “afford” college.

Study Their Potential Career Path

We’ve had students that knew exactly what they wanted to be, right down to “I want to be a hand surgeon and concentrate on the thumb” (yes, we had a student who knew what they wanted to be right down to that level) to “I have no idea” (we’ve had those kids, too).

Do they know what they might want to do?  YES?

Encourage them to ask the right questions of themselves:
  • What would their potential salary be upon graduation?
  • What salary would they command if they skipped college entirely and relied on their HS diploma?
  • Does what they want to do require an advanced degree?
  • What are the long-term prospects of their top 5 career path?

Send them to their computer.  

Yes, we know, you thought you’d never say that as a parent, right?  With so much information at their fingertips, it makes easy sense to do a bit of homework.  Two places to begin?

Both of those websites offer insights into career paths. But they are not alone.  There is so much to be learned from a general search.  


Do the career answers found infer that spending $100K+ makes sense?  If their chosen career has a bleak future and pays $20,000 per year, does a 5+ year payback with just straight math make sense?  But if their career implies a degree is required and pays $50K per year, then a 2 year payback sounds pretty good. 

 Do they know what they might want to do?  NO?

Understood.  Then at least you can look at what the average salaries look like.

2017, The average high school diploma pay scale:  $30,000  Hat Tip:
2017, The average college diploma pay scale:  $50,000     Hat Tip:

By electing the college diploma route, your student leaves $30,000/yr on the table.  However, they pick up $20,000 per year more upon graduation. 

Research Leads to Wise Decisions

When we buy a new car, we research costs, models, resale value, color, and even how many cup holder spots there are.  But when it comes to college research?  We tend to just research the college itself and the respective costs. 

Let’s research the OUTPUT college is touted to give us - a superior career path.  Whether your child knows “what they want to be when the grow up” or not, learning what career information is available for FREE to help make those big career/college decisions is SMART.   

We leave you with our favorite Einstein quote:

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” 
― Albert Einstein

Have a great “back-to-school” week!  And as we always say. . .

You CAN Have Success in the Middle of it ALL

Pam and Holly

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Who Is JellyGeneration?

Pam Hardison, MBA, BBA in Finance and Business Education, has created and co-owned a national mail order catalog which at one point was the 21st fastest growing customerbase in the nation.  As a mom of two college-post college daughters, considers it a privilege and to meet other students and parents along the same road.   After teaching high school and college students for years, her commitment to helping them with topics most schools can't cover is the light that drives her.  

Holly Powers, Attorney-At-Law (Jameson & Powers, P.C.) has been actively practicing law since 1985 and is a shareholder with the law firm of Jameson & Powers, P.C.  The firm specializes in transactional law, health care law, and general business law.  Holly has taught students precepts concerning the legal world for over 10 years.  With 4 children, she understands what teens need to know and has a passion to help others faced with teens and aging parents.  

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