Will Your Kid’s College Major Pay Off? How to Crunch the Numbers
When your kid chooses a major to focus on in college, do you want them basing the decision on their passion or the money?
Many times, those two things don't point the same way.
In a perfect world, young adults would choose whatever educational path they prefer and live a happy life doing what they love. But with college costs rising substantially over the past decade, along with the number of students borrowing to cover the cost of their higher education, maybe the paycheck after graduation should play a role in the decision-making process.
According to Leslie Beck, owner of Compass Wealth Management in Wood-Ridge, it's important not to automatically equate success with money. However, college is an investment, and students want to make sure they're getting something in return.
Choosing a major, though, is a huge decision for a 17 or 18-year old, Beck said. She deals with clients in their 40s and 50s who still don't know what they want to do with their lives.
"It's a really difficult period of time to be making such a very large investment with having so little knowledge about what's really out there," Beck said.
But there are online tools available, in case students and their families are interested in looking at the hard numbers — wages and other employment info, job by job.
- Labor Market for Recent College Graduates - Federal Reserve Bank of NY
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Salary Date & Career Research Center - PayScale
In a new analysis from Credible.com, fields of study are broken down by debt-to-income ratio. The site's interactive shows, according to Credible's math, which majors may be better for students in the long run — and it shows how adding debt beyond student loans, like a mortgage or car payment, can hurt people in certain fields more than others.