GOING UP

November 23, 2014


GOING UP

I attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from 1961 to 1965.  My grandkids call this the dark ages and maybe they are correct.  After graduation, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force and took a break from the “formalized” version of education.  There were seminars and short courses paid for by the Air Force and the company I worked for upon being discharged. Until my wife and I had children, I never really thought about the cost of higher education even though I contributed to my on for tuition, books, room and board, etc.  One son in Mercer, one in Tulane and one at the University of Georgia.  All on scholarship-but not a full ride.  The two oldest boys in at the same time.  It was a definite struggle. Two parents—two jobs and with me working a part-time job in the evenings for a consulting engineering firm.  Well you may as well as hold on to your hat.

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition for a private school is $30,094-tuition only.  The average cost of tuition for public out of state schools is $22,203.  The average cost for public school tuition, in state is $8,893.  To me, this is astounding.  Higher education has far exceeded any cost of living numbers and generally increases between five and fifteen percent per year.

CBS conducted a study of the twenty most expensive schools in our country.  I was blown away.  The figures below are for tuition and room and board.  Take a look.

  • Sarah Lawrence                –$61,236
  • New York University–$59,837
  • Harvey Mudd–$58,913
  • Columbia University–$58,747
  • Wesleyan University–$58,202
  • Claremont McKenna–$58,065
  • Dartmouth College–$57,996
  • Drexel University–$57,975
  • University of Chicago–$57,711
  • Bard College–$57,580
  • Trinity College–$57,530
  • Eugene Lang College–$57,340
  • Johns Hopkins–$57,320
  • Barnard College–$57,312
  • Pitzer College–$57,266
  • Bates College–$57,235
  • Fordham University–$57,188
  • Northwestern University–$57,108
  • Fordham College at Rosehill–$57,106
  • Carnegie Mellon—$57,104

I’ll let you do the math relative to the cost for a four year education. Oh, by the way, most students do NOT graduate in four years.  The College Board considers graduating on time to be at or under six years.  In my opinion, one reason for the high cost of education is not the “book learning” itself; it’s the amenities that students require prior to making a decision.  If the dorm is merely Holiday Inn instead of the Waldorf Astoria, I’m not going.  How about the student center?  It better have an Olympic size swimming pool, a spa, a lounge, pool tables in the rec room, tanning beds, etc.  You get the picture. Going to class to some is definitely an afterthought.

One thing you do get from the extremely high priced colleges and universities are the all-important contacts; networking.  You establish associations that will help you up the ladder when and if needed.  It’s the ‘ol-boy network in place early in life.  That’s basically true for all colleges and universities if done well but definitely at a higher level for an exclusive private university.  I’ll let you decide if it’s worth it or not.

As always, I welcome your comments.

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES

November 23, 2014


The graphics for this post are from Feris Alsulmi and the Entrepreneur Magazine.

The title of this post is not really a challenge but merely a question.  Do you really have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?  Most individuals at some time in their lives feel they can do it better.  I’ll let you define “IT” but everyone working for a living have dreamed of going it alone—even if that thought is fleeting and momentary.  Someone once said that if your dreams don’t scare you, you are not dreaming big enough.   I would hazard a guess we see the light at the end of that long tunnel as being riches untold and not really considering the journey that got us there.  I have started two or three businesses and can relate from personal experience there are those dark days.  Waking up at 2:00 A.M. Wednesday morning wondering how you will make payroll on Friday.  If you are challenged by the prospects, you may appreciate the following graphics and comments.  Let’s take a quick look.

WHAT ARE THE OBVIOUS OBSTACLES

GREATEST OBSTICLES

No one wants to fail. No one wants to spend time and money working from dawn to dusk with the result being deep in debt and possible bankruptcy.    Even with this being the case, fully 98% of the replies from polls taken indicate the greatest obstacle is the willingness or the ability to take the necessary risks.  Age may be a factor.  Family circumstances may be a factor. Possible lack of knowledge may be a factor. Fear may be a factor.  Clearly, the ability to attract necessary capital IS a factor.  Ted Turner once said “never use your own money when starting a venture”.  Easy for Turner to say.  In today’s world, finding an “angel” or investment capital is a huge problem.   Thanks to a do-nothing Congress and Executive Branch, we have tax codes that work against an individual launching a business.  This will not change with the next administration or the 114th Congress.  It won’t change.

RISK OF RUIN

In looking at the graphic above, you can see 2009 numbers and they are not pretty.  Sixty-one thousand bankruptcies and six hundred and sixty-one thousand company closures.  Most of these are retail establishments relative to manufacturing companies but even so—that hurts.  Now, 2009 was the year after the housing bubble popped.  Did you see that coming? I did not. Not on my radar at all and yet, the bubble affected all of us. Everyone.  You will not be taking your family for Sunday dinner or a movie on Saturday if you have a sudden drop in sales.  People with their homes in foreclosure don’t spend for items somewhat frivolous in nature.

IS AGE A FACTOR

It’s a given fact, the older you are the more experience you have.  There are few successful business owners under the age of thirty and most of them are whiz-kids involved in computer science and programming.  Good for them, but most of us are not.

TOO LATE TO START

Again, from the graphic, you see that seventy percent of new business owners are married and sixty percent have at least one child.  These facts weigh very heavily on one’s mind with contemplating ownership of a company.

Now the big question:

WHAT DO I NEED TO GET STARTED

There are mavericks that launch their businesses without benefit of those items given above but probably few, if any, who do not at least consider the questions posed above.  It takes:

AMBITION

COURAGE

INNOVATION

PERSEVERANCE

UNDERSTANDING

Consider the questions and problems above.  Are you willing to jump?  Is now the time? Are the conditions proper for the company I contemplate starting?  Is my family situation right for a new professional direction?  Am I really dedicated to a fifty, sixty or even seventy hour work week?  If you cannot give answers in a positive fashion to these questions you may really need to continue working for “the man”.  Just a thought.

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