Blog | Personal Finance

The Myth of College for Success

Remember that success starts with financial (not a college) education

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  • College isn’t the only key to success

  • Be sure to supplement your higher education with a financial education for true success

  • With the student loans debt impact, understanding your finances is essential before heading to college

Back in 2015, Vice published an important article that every young woman should be aware of. The article, “Student Loan Debt Is Leaving Women Broke and Vulnerable,” started out telling the story of Erika Stallings, a 30-year old woman who attended Georgetown University Law School and graduated with $115,000 in student debt.

“I'm probably as well-off as someone aged 30 can be,” says Stallings in the article. “But even I feel the panic of knowing if I lost my job today, because I've been trying to pay off as much debt as possible, I don't have the Suze Orman emergency fund. If I were unemployed for a while, trying to keep up with these $1,000-a-month payments would be terrifying.”

Erika’s story serves as a visceral example of the plight of millions of people - not only women - who leave universities saddled with mountains of debt in search of a high-paying, white-collar job.

Some sobering statistics about the student loan debt:

  • Currently, the federal loan balance is over $1.6 trillion, and accounts for almost 93% of student loan debt.

  • On average, the average public university student borrows just under $33,000 to attain a bachelor’s degree.

  • 43.2 million borrowers have federal student loan debt

College education myth

All of this is indicative of a bigger problem: The blind faith in the myth of “go to a good school” and “get a good job” as the path to success.

As Erika’s story powerfully illustrates, school creates the bondage of debt, and that debt makes you a slave to that good job. As she shares later in the article:

“I don't have a familial safety net….If I didn't have this student loan debt, I could start building my own safety net. There would be more money for me to send home. I could switch careers. Last year I had major surgery—adding those bills onto the student loan debt is scary.”

Now, we’re not saying that college is always a bad idea — in fact, there is nothing wrong with going to college. There are many benefits that one can gain, such as social skills, study skills, and the beginnings of a powerful social network. Additionally, people tend to discover themselves and their strengths in college.

So, what is?

13 ways you can take control of your financial education

At Rich Dad, we believe with every fiber of our being that it’s financial education, not higher education that leads to success. The following are 13 ways to get the financial education you need to secure your financial future:

  1. Read books. There are hundreds of books about money and investing for those of you who are just getting started and for those who are seasoned investors. Don’t know where to start? Begin with one of our books.

  2. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Your drive time is a great time to learn. Load up your smartphone with great audio books and subscribe to podcasts about finance, investing, management, personal development, and more. The Rich Dad Radio Show is a great first step.

  3. Invest in educational seminars, workshops, and conferences. These may be free programs in your area or classes you pay to attend. Various community colleges, businesses, community clubs and organizations, and local investment groups often offer such programs.

  4. Read financial newspapers and magazines. The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, and Barron’s are three newspapers heaped with investment information. Reading those daily will dramatically increase your financial knowledge. And to get a beat on what is happening in your area, subscribe to your local business journal newspaper.

  5. Talk with the right real estate, stock, and business brokers. Ask them questions. They can give you a ton of information. Just be aware they also are there to sell you something. So keep your eyes open. Oftentimes, the most successful brokers are the ones very willing to share information and education with others.

  6. Talk with other investors. Seek out people who are investing in what you are interested in and talk with them. Again, you’ll probably find that the more successful investors are happy to share what they know with you.

  7. Join an investment club. Seek clubs that are focused on investment education, not those that pool money to invest. To find these types of clubs, look online through Google and places like

  8. Join a CASHFLOW Club in your area. There are almost 2,000 CASHFLOW Clubs throughout the world. You can find a local one near you by searching “CASHFLOW Club” on Google. Most clubs play the CASHFLOW game on a regular basis, support one another with their investment goals, bring in guest speakers, and learn together how to make the most of their financial futures. Can’t make a club meeting? Play CASHFLOW online for free.

  9. Surf the web. Go online and seek out all sorts of information about the investments of your choice. The Web is an incredible source of quick reference materials, meetings and conferences, contacts, blogs, chat rooms, and discussion forums.

  10. Drive around town. Get a feel for what is happening with real estate and business in your own backyard. You don’t need to find the “right” city or market to invest in. You simply need to find what’s “right” about your city and market.

  11. Watch financial news programs on TV. There are a number of cable programs that are focused on business and investing news. Turn them on when you get ready in the morning. Watch them while you work out. Always find a way to stay informed.

  12. Subscribe to financial newsletters. Newsletters can give you a quick summary of what is happening in the various investment markets, economic trends both regionally and globally, and insights into what to watch for in the future.

  13. Ask questions. Remember, since most people aren’t exposed to financial investment education in the school system, you don’t have to pretend to know all the answers.The more questions you ask, the smarter you become. Plus, you may find a new mentor in the process.

Invest in practical financial knowledge

If you’re ready to start college, be sure to supplement your higher education with financial education.

If you’re a parent, relative, or friend of a young person ready to begin college, please share this article. Better yet, sit down, have a coffee, and walk them through it.

Changing our default future starts with changing our mindset today! Don’t rely on college for success. Remember, education never stops. As long as you want to keep growing your investments and expanding your portfolio, there are always new levels of learning. Take your future into your own hands and see how far you can soar.

Original publish date: August 20, 2015

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