My largest financial management train wreck was my unwillingness to accept that my major wasn’t cut out for me in college. I “worked” for three and a half years at Georgia Tech, trying to be a Computer Scientist. As such my GPA suffered, and I was eventually kicked out of school.
Had I accepted that I wasn’t a good computer programmer I could have saved thousands of dollars in tuition, and I could have avoided enrolling at a community college, trying to regain an acceptable GPA to get back into a four-year university.
Even past that though, when I got kicked out of college, I lost all support from those who were contributing to my tuition and living funds. I had a job at the time, but I was living slightly above my means. I then committed to a trip with roommates, which cost me nearly $3000 on my AmEx card — a balance I’m still working on paying off over 15 months later.
On top of that, my job at the time was an independent contractor; and while I had saved some money for Uncle Sam when tax time came, I had to spend that money just to pay bills before I moved home. When tax time came, I got hit with owing taxes equal to roughly what I make in a month at my current job. I’m on a payment plan with them, but it’s still a hefty chunk of my already-tight income.
My life didn’t end up in the toilet from this, but I’m struggling to make ends meet. I’m living free of rent with my family but I’m working a job which — although it doesn’t pay me much financially — I really enjoy. Sadly enough, though, I’m going to leave this job soon, because I need to make more money.
Currently I’m on schedule to have the balance on my credit card paid off in a year at most.
Mint’s Take Away:
Choosing the right major or career choice is certainly not an easy task. Before you decide on a program and school to study, you may want to consider how interested you are in the specific major.
Consider this fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education, the average cost of studying at a 2-year institution is about $6,200, while the cost of studying at a 4-year institution is about $14,500.
If you’re unsure of what you may be passionate about, it may be a practical financial choice to pursuit your academic studies at a two year institution first (such as a community college), and then transfer to a four year institution when you have a better idea of what you want to study.
Train Wreck Tuesdays are a weekly post of horrible financial mistakes. They are posted anonymously. Submit your story; if you’re selected, you get a free personal finance book. The best comment gets the same prize! Check out past Train Wreck stories here.