The new school year is almost here! Are you excited? Well, when I was in high school, I used to love the beginning of the school year – new uniforms, (Yes, we wore uniforms!) new books, and meeting friends both old and new. Sometimes my mother would relax my hair (You’d call it a perm, I think.) and, boy, that first week was super good! Now, I know it’s not like that for everyone. You may be reading this right now and thinking, “Not me! I don’t care about any of the new stuff I’ll get; I don’t feel like doing this. It’s too hard, it’s boring and I wish I didn’t have to go back to school.” I don’t blame you, you know. The process of getting an education can sometimes be challenging, and downright tedious, but continue reading; I have a solution that just might make it easier.
Your educational journey may take several years. While it’s wise to take that journey one day at a time, it’s also clever to consider your future, and ask yourself questions, like: What’s in this for me? What will I ultimately accomplish? Is it worth the risk? While asking yourself these questions be sure to answer them truthfully and consider opportunity cost – the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen
For example, a 16-year-old who has never worked before may have acquired a job as a cashier at McDonald’s during the summer. He begins to feel a sense of independence and freedom because he now has money in his pocket. Prior to this tenuous sense of independence, he was probably burning out and feeling as though he didn’t want to be in school any longer. It’s almost a guarantee that he isn’t asking himself whether the money he is currently making would be sufficient to cover his expenses 10 years from now. All he knows is that he’s working, he has his own income, and it feels good. As far as he’s concerned, if he stopped working to go back to school, he would be broke. So, this young man drops out of school, because working and studying is difficult, and he’s making enough money to satisfy his immediate needs. What he’s not considering is the fact that if he doesn’t complete his education, in 10 years’ time, he may not be earning much more than he did at age 16, but he’ll probably have more responsibilities – like maybe a family – but at 26 he has done nothing to increase his earning power. This will impose financial hardship on the family. The opportunity cost for this student was the immediacy of income (albeit a low income) over the potential for more earning power by continuing his education. That’s the power of opportunity cost!
Don’t get caught in that trap! Keep preparing for this new school year! Think about the future earnings you will be working towards, which will absolutely come in handy when you need it most!