Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pursuing an Advanced Degree

There are plenty of times when getting an advanced degree might make sense. You may be freshly out of an undergraduate degree, a few years into a job and planning ahead to your next promotion, or deep into your career and looking for a fresh start. No matter the circumstances, there’s a lot to consider before you go back to school. The following questions will help you carefully weigh your options as you think about your future.

What will this degree enable me to do?

Think about whether having advanced qualifications in your field of choice translates into more doors opening, increased income, and greater job stability over the long term. Depending on your current job, postgraduate education could be required for career advancement, a salary boost, or both. If you are looking to start a new career, check the post-graduation employment statistics and job opportunities for people with the degree you are interested in.

Is it worth the price tag?

Think about your lifestyle and how it might change if you decide to go back to school. Beyond the cost of the degree itself, you will probably need to find ways to cut down on expenses like rent, commuting, groceries, and leisure activities if you plan to enroll full-time. Be clear on your priorities. Speak to family, friends, colleagues, or mentors about their experience. Do your research on the pros and cons of the cost of an advanced degree and decide whether it’s worth it for you.

Will I enjoy the coursework?

Be honest with yourself, especially if you are used to working at a nine-to-five job every day. Are you someone who enjoyed being in school in the past? Did you like learning through books, lectures, assignments, and homework? Or are you someone who prefers to learn through showing up at work every day? How do you feel about the subject itself? There is no wrong answer, but there is a right answer for you.    

What is my timeline?

It’s important to consider how many years an advanced degree will take to complete, especially if you are unable to work full- or part-time while you are in school, and even more so if you are on a tight budget. If you can keep your current job and take classes on a part-time basis, you will be looking at a longer timeline, but you’ll have some income. Think ahead to a few years down the road when you have completed the degree—what do you see yourself doing then?    

How will I finance the degree?

Putting together a preliminary budget is one of the most important steps you can take in deciding whether to go back to school. In building your budget, you’ll want to consider everything from your cost of living to tuition to student loan repayments down the road. Most importantly, be honest and thoughtful about how much debt you feel comfortable taking on if you’ll be without steady income for a few years. Do you have savings? Will you take out loans? Do you have access to alternative sources of funding, such as using the cash value of your whole life insurance or universal life insurance policy? No matter how you choose to finance your degree, make the most of the experience.

The primary purpose of permanent life insurance is to provide a death benefit. Using permanent life insurance accumulated value to supplement retirement income will reduce the death benefit and may affect other aspects of the policy.

Source: iQuanti