Life ROI

How to judge the return on investments you’ve made in your life.

Using the base point of a high school graduate or GED equivalent aged 17-18 years old, what life investments show the greatest ROI (return on investment).  Is it better to start working for another company right away to build experience and move up the corporate ladder or is it better to sit it out four years in college, then start at the bottom working for another company?  Is it better to attend a trade school or 2-year college then enter the workforce as a type of hybrid?  Is working for someone else better than starting out on your own in the beginning, middle, or late in your working life?  How does being married affect your success in life?  Does it matter if your spouse supports you or if you have an unhappy marriage?  How do children affect success?

There are many metrics and many examples of each scenario.  It is hard to know how you want to end up when you are 17-18 years old, but if you could do it all over again – if you could share your experiences with someone just starting out – or just laid off and starting over – what advice would you give them?

My Path

After high school I attended college for 5 years during which time I got married and had children.  I graduated with a bachelors degree and a mountain of debt, going to school and working full time as a bank clerk during and after college.  It wasn’t until I went back to school to get Microsoft certifications that I could get beyond the clerk job.  The 6-month certification training nearly doubled my 5 year investment in college tuition and board.  I watched as peers who didn’t go to college at all were at or above my clerk level and were without the college loan debt.  The only thing that allowed me to move up was going beyond the BS degree.  Because of that experience I tend to recommend going straight into a technical training field or apprenticeship straight out of high shool whether you plan on working for someone else or yourself.  Become an expert in your field and above all, follow your passions, but listen to those around you.  If you keep hearing the same advice from different people, its probably right and should be considered.

Success can be measured many different ways.  While children may take your time and energy, they also give you motivation and fulfil your innate desire to leave a legacy behind.  The joy and agony that comes from raising children is uncomparable to any other duty in life.  Have you ever heard that behind every good man is a great woman?  This is usually true if the man and wife are supportive and loving of each other.  A constant bickering under one roof can only restrain what could otherwise be successful endeavors.  How can we measure success?  How do you measure success?