Updates and Human Capital

Seems last entry was October 2016…believe it or not, I have an excuse.

Since my entry last Fall, Karen and I have succeeded in taking our “Bologna Holiday” which cost a couple of tanks of gas and sodas. In addition, we survived Christmas financially by staying on a pretty tight budget. We also successfully raised a substantial amount of cash so I could take a mission trip overseas, thanks to good friends who saw the need!  We had to withdraw from our emergency fund to have the air conditioner repaired in Karen’s car. We’ve had a slew of birthdays that have come and gone, and now, here we are almost feeling Fall again.

Our bank account is still growing, although painfully slow. I know of no one who climbs a mountain as slow as we do. We have finally managed to save that $1000 emergency fund, and now, because we know another car is going to be needed in the not too distant future, (another teen will be turning 16) we are finally saving for that. No going into debt for vehicles! Mom and Dad will get the new car, the kids get to buy the hand-me-downs at a discounted price, just in case you are wondering. We are also not having to live from paycheck to paycheck, which is nice.

While all this has been going on, I have been in pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and am scheduled to finish around this time next year. This is taking a ton of time, and consequently, why I haven’t been journaling and sharing all the financial lessons I’ve learned lately. I had a break between the riveting subjects of “Creating an Income Statement” and “Balance Sheet and Statement of Cash Flows,” so I decided to take a break and endeavor to persevere in the area of writing. Liabilities are always more fun to write about when you find the only debts you owe are your mortgage and student loan.

A while back it occurred to me, if I’m ever going to get a little further ahead with our bank account, I was going to have to invest in my education. There was no way I was going to make more money without a formal education of some kind.

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Human Capital, written about in many an economics class, is the “skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual or population, viewed in terms of value or cost to an organization or country,” according to Dictionary.com. Presumably, one’s investment into his Human Capital will pay off in terms of his productivity, which should lead to more net income, assuming that is the purpose for investing in himself. For us..it is.

We have tried not to go into a great deal of debt for this degree. I’m currently attending Western Governor’s University, which is an online college with course material that is no joke. For those interested in possibly pursuing their education further, check out www.wgu.edu. Let me know if you decide to go for it! Last I checked, because of financial aid and pell grants, we were only about 10 grand in debt. Seems like a lot as I write, but I am also looking at what the future might bring. I do not think it unreasonable that this degree could bring an extra 10 grand per year into our pockets once obtained; therefore, I do not think it unreasonable to have it paid off in a short amount of time, a year or a little more, should our standard of living not increase, and then enjoying the benefits of the increased income afterward.

Although increased income is a great benefit, there is also the benefit of knowing that it was done….period! It’s not been an easy ride to be a student and also be a working husband, daddy and friend. Karen sometimes has to put the princess in bed after I’ve studied or taken a 3 hour test. Family and church gatherings have been missed because I’ve had to study. Sons have had to wait for that video game or not have friends over because Dad needed the quiet for a night. It has taken sacrifice and grit to see this through to the end, and it will continue to do so until I’m finished, but we’re almost there. I’m not sure I will ever be able to take seriously those who say the market is flooded with qualified candidates who have bachelor degrees because “bachelor degrees are a dime a dozen”or a “master degree is the new bachelor degree.”  I know what it costs and am determined that it is not undermined, I don’t have to settle. For some companies, working experience and grit will count for something. For me, it will be the pride that I stuck with it through tough courses I sometimes failed, the personal knowledge I will apply to my life because of the material learned, and the fact that when it is finished, it’s finished. Until then…