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Anyone have a success story about someone graduating college later in life?


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I am at a crossroads about whether or not to finish the last 2 years of my bachelor's degree in business administration. I would be 52 y/o upon graduation. I am also debt free at the moment with an AS in business (transfer degree), and would have about $25,000 in student loans upon completion of the BS.


To add to my dilemma is the fact that I have blue collar skills that earn me $40,000 per year and think maybe I should just live out my years on this wage. I have no 401K, but do have a house that is paid for.


Anyone know of someone who has graduated at this age and done well with it? Or any opinions? Thank you

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I don't know anyone your age (mine too) that has gone back and finished --- but I would say that at this point in your life, it might not be worth it. Only because with the economy the way it is, having no experience in Business Admin --- you would be up against youngsters with the same degree. So, you'd be adding to debt ---


I don't know what your blue collar skills are, but have you given any thought to joining a union --- that way you have steady work and they have retirement benefits???

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Don't go into debt now. The news is that 1 in 6 American's is living in poverty. If you aren't, be happy. The thing to do is to take school part time, pay for your one class at night every semester. That's doable if you have a job. About 1200 per class depending on the credits. I know, it's expensive. But I have a great piece of paper and that's all it is. It doesn't even fit into any standard frames!


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The real success stories I've come accross about people graduating at 50+ is where it was something creative, something they'd wanted to do all their lives but had been constrained from doing so because of mortgage, family commitments etc. Then in later life when all that was taken care of, and they had some kind of independent income - they could really get their teeth into something challenging and rewarding. But this wasn't a way of earning a living so much as enriching the living they already had.


If you are already earning a decent income, keep it that way. If it's the lack of intellectual challenge which is bothering you in your current job, there are many opportunities to develop your mind which wouldn't involve massive amounts of debt.


I don't know how prevalent ageism is in the US; all the older graduates I know in mainstream occupations have had real problems getting jobs at all, despite all that wisdom and life experience.

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Yeah, pretty much the conclusons I have been coming to (post #2). One of my best friend's is a long time CPA and a controller for a large company. She said she wouldn't hire someone in my situation, but added that pursuit in management of my blue collar field (trucking) would be my best bet, since I have many years of experience "in the trenches". Thanks for your input!

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That would definitely work --- many firms like people in management who have actually done the job of the people they are managing. I would look to smaller companies, or if you are changing companies at some point in the future, mention this thought in the interview process. Good luck!

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I did know someone who was in my class who was over 50. Working on an associates degree though. Doing 1 or 2 classes a semester, probably not going to finish till she is near 60. I felt bad on that end because she just seemed too old for that line of work. It just seemed when all was said and done she wouldn't get hired and it was a waste of her time.


My point is being older and starting at the bottom in a new career has a lot more against you, then if you were in your 20s or even 30s just starting out, you'd have a better shot.

I would think an employer isn't going to discriminate but they can very well think how you probably plan to retire in about 10 years, and is that worth it to them when you have no experience in the field?

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I just completed my degree at age 37 that I wanted to complete my entire life. Now the problem I have is they want experience plus the degree, which college told me is supposed to count for 4 years experience, that is not how the world views it. I'm now 26K in debt, which I wasn't before and still haven't got a job. I've tried in my field for positions that don't even require a degree and I'm still not getting anything. I feel at peace having a degree, though it's from a completion of a goal, however I'm greatly frustrated at the same time that I haven't been given a chance.

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I think the key is to recognize its never too late BUT you need to see what it will cost you... by that you must calculate not only the money you borrowed to go to school but the interest you would also pay in the future until the debt was cleared. If you are going to not be working at all while you go to school you must put in the money you've acquired in lost wages as part of the cost of that education. Don't forget you'll need living expenses so are you borrowing money or at least working part time? Additionally you need to look at your degree to see what the starting pay is - remember as a new grad you get to start at the bottom of the pay scale... With your expected income how long will it take you to pay off your debt and still having money for basic living?


I'm going to guess that borrowing 25k for a degree isn't going to pay for itself quickly enough if at all and you will find yourself in a bigger rut financially than if you had just kept your current job.


My recommendation is start some type of retirement savings... its not too late to put something back. Granted with zero to start with you'll need to place in more money each month to help get yourself caught up to some type of additional retirement funds. Its great you own your house but keep in mind upkeep on a house is expensive... at what point will that house need a new roof?


Start cutting back on living expenses now to get an idea of how much you'll need to cut back once you do retire... put that money away in savings. You might want to look at the average social security monthly check is about $1000. If you have no additional retirement funds how can you make that money last to cover your needed food and shelter and medical care... could you even make that work?


I would look into the skills I already have and how I could apply that to new positions to increase my income. Sometimes that takes some creativity so a career counselor may be helpful as well as a financial adviser. It may even come down to keeping your job and finding some additional part time/ as needed employment to cover some of your current savings needs now. Could you find a way to go to school and pay as you go so you were not saddled with 25k debt at completion?


I wouldn't want to be in a position where I had no long term savings and then took on an additional 25K debt at that age. What happens if at 52 you become ill and can't work with this new degree?

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I don't know if you're an employed or independent trucker. But if you have a good rapport with your boss, or a manager in the company that you do a lot of business with, I would talk to them and tell them what you're contemplating. That would be a first step and should give you an idea of your options. I would also talk to colleagues to see if anyone knows of someone who's taken the same path. Industries and companies vary, and some like to hire sharp people from "the trenches," and some view management/administration as a completely separate animal. Likewise, you'd have a better shot (and maybe even help with education costs) with a larger company like UPS or Coca-Cola, than a small company that usually retains management positions for their new son in law.

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I went to night school and got my degree at 31. I had had to intern my last semester, and the one place I wanted to work - NASA - just happened to have an internship opening for my line of work, and I took it. Once I graduated, they didn't have a job for me, so I worked at another aerospace company until it was bought out and I was laid off. And it just so happened that there was then an opening at NASA!


If I were you, and you don't have any savings (yikes!) at your age, I would start seeking jobs with your AS and continue your courses, while you keep your job. Try to pay for the school as you go rather than get loans; maybe take 4 more years, rather than 2, so you can afford to pay for it. Once you get that degree, though, you should more than make up for the loans in a higher-paying job.


No matter what, don't give up your dream. You'll still be working another 20 years - make it something you love to do.

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To just graduate in business administration is a bit vague. There is no guarantee you will get a job at the end of it all and you just sunk yourself in a lot of debt. Due to the nature of my job, I see a lot of professions and exactly what they earn. To be honest the trades like plumbing, drywalling, taping-- any kind of construction jobs are in high demand. Plumbers who are in unions make close to $100k a year. Everyone needs a plumber! Learning a useful trade is invaluable IMO.


I work at a bank and I see many people with MBA's from foreign countries working for $25k a year as bank tellers. People with MBA's from Canada and the USA are lucky to get $65k to $80k a year and I hate to say it , but they are usually non-white and female-- like the bank has to fill a quota.


Outside of bank employment, I see a lot of people in their 50's losing their jobs and having to rely on unemployment and government assisted re-training into a field like health-another booming field. Also, employers know there is a recession right now and have the upper hand when it comes to working overtime, making complaints. It's like "Keep your mouth shut, or you will be out the door" attitude.


Honestly, IMO, the best way to get a better job, and that means either one you prefer, or make more income, or both, you need a personal referral. One thing that isn't dead is nepotism. I doubt you would learn anything in school in two year that you couldn't learn on the job as an apprentice. Could you possibly train under someone for a better job? Or know someone who is hiring.


Good luck!!

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