We are always told that investing is the smart decision to make. Invest in your pension, invest in stocks and shares, invest your money. Investing can be about so much more than just money though; it can be about time and effort. The most important thing you can invest your time, money, effort, and trust into, is yourself.
One of the most effective ways to invest in yourself is your education. Your knowledge and qualifications are what make you a valuable commodity to a workforce, allowing you to open the necessary doors to pursue your passions. Below are some of the best ways to invest in your learning beyond compulsory education.
More students than ever are going to university to study for a Bachelor’s degree, making it almost a requirement for most entry-level jobs. Some though, might be put off by the increased fees and subsequent debt. It is true, the tuition fees alone will set you back around £26,000 for a three-year course, not to mention a combination of maintenance loans and grants, depending on your household income will mean that your time at university could easily cost you in excess of £35,000.
This figure might put many people off when it comes to taking the plunge and heading to university. However, the important factor is that this debt is not like other debt you might accrue during your life. You cannot miss payments and be declared bankrupt, it does not affect your credit rating, and the repayments will not cripple your finances. Payments are deducted automatically from any earnings over £21,000 per year in much the same way as Income Tax and National Insurance. A graduate with a salary of £25,000 will pay just £30 per month in tuition repayments. Statistics show that the average graduate will earn more than £500,000 extra than a non-graduate over their working life. Quite a sizeable return on the initial investment then.
With undergraduate degrees becoming the norm, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd during the application process. The simple solution to this is to be better qualified than your peers. Many students seeking both academic and non-academic career paths have benefited from undertaking postgraduate study, and with the advent of postgraduate loans from student finance in 2016, it’s never been easier to afford the extra qualifications.
You may not be in the fortunate position to decide to be a full-time student. You may be the breadwinner for your family, or you may have to support yourself by working full-time. If that is the case, there is always the option to study for a degree or masters online. This allows you to gain the qualifications in your own time, without relocating, and whilst continuing to earn a living. The range of qualifications available are also much greater than with a traditional university education. You can study the usual big subjects such as Maths and English, or you could opt for something a bit more specialised by studying a Masters of Engineering Management online. The choice is yours, and the only limits are those that you place upon yourself.
There are other ways you can invest in your education, including night classes and skills-based apprenticeships, but the above are the most well-trodden paths and should provide the boost that you need to succeed and reach your potential.