Scooby Werkstatt

How to get rich – invest in yourself!

How to get rich - invest in yourself!

So in the first video in ths "how to get rich" series we talked about avoiding all debt and saving money, if you havent watched that video, please do it now. This second video is about college and investing in yourself.

This advice of "investing in yourself" has been repeated over and over until it has become a trite, meaningless and dangerously wrong. The trouble is that most people mis-intrep it and do exactly the wrong thing. They ring up tens of thousands in debt and end up with a meaningless piece of paper than means nothing in todays job market nor does it bring them any closer to their dreams. Back when I graduaded from high school in the 70's, the advice of going to college was sound because back then you could graduate with virtually any BS degree and get a good paying job, not so anymore. College still makes sense, but only in a very few situations. In the other cases, investing in yourself takes on a completely different form. Lets first talk about cases where going to college probably makes sense and then we will talk about how to figure out if it makes sense.

1) You are in the top 10% academically and want to be a doctor, lawyer, or other high paid profession.
2) You are good in math and science and want to go into engineering or other traditional, well paying professions.
3) You are a true academic, are in the top 1%, and want to be a professor at a university.

If you are not in one of those three groups, it does NOT makes sense to go into debt for a degree! I dont care WHAT the fly-by-night industrial-park university promises as far as job placement. If you dont know what you want to do with your life, do NOT go into debt to figure it out! You can't afford the price tag of college as an endless party. If you want to take classes and find yourself, live with your parents and take classes at your local junior college. Dont take the easy classes and dont follow any degree program either. What I recommend is to choose half your classes based on which you think would be interesting. The other half, I would recommend that you take on the basis of which professors are the most highly rated, regardless of whether you find the subject interesting or not. I will be willing to bet you that you will end up making one of those subject your lifelong passion because an inspiring teacher can awaken a whole new world for students.

So lets talk big picture here. It would be nice if you could follow your lifes passion from the start but in most cases, its not possible. Every year there are about 1 million asipring high school drummers who want to start bands and only one or two of them will make it every year, not good odds. This first career is to build up your savings so you can follow your passion full time. It doesnt have to be your #1 passion but it should at least be something you have some natural talent for. If in high school you sucked at math and science but love repairing your 1952 ford pickup then dont waste your time going to enginnering school, get a job as an auto mechanic.

So, the first skill that EVERYONE needs to become rich is the ability to do a spreadsheet. You need to be able to answer "what if" questions accurately and make decisions and the spreadsheet is the best tool to make those decisions. This video has homework, if you dont know how to use a spreadsheet you need to learn. Dont take a class, thats a waste of time, teach yourself. If you get stuck, google it. Here are two real world problems I want you to solve:

1) Car purchase decision. Which will cost you the least over 5 years?
a) buying a 3 year old honda fit
b) buying a new Ford Mustang
c) buy no car, take public transit, uber and use a bike for local errands
I want you to make reasonable assumptions for all the data you need, if you are not sure, google it! Make sure to include ALL costs. Maintenance, insurance, gas, etc. Check out craigslist to get car prices and local banks for car loan rates.

2) What will allow you to have the most money saved 10 years after you graduate from high school:

a) go to college for 4 years, cost $25,000/year borrowed with student loans, get engineering degree, get job for $60,000/year.
b) apprentice as a plumber for 2 years earning minimum wage, then become a unionized plumber.
c) start work right after high school and get minimum wage for 10 years.
Again google to make reasonable assumptions. This is real life. You have to take the best data you can and make decisions based on it.

If you cannot answer questions like this, you are going to have a very, very hard time becoming rich. You NEED to be able to use a spreadsheet.

OK, so at the beginning I said that investing in yourself isnt just limited to go to college, lets look at that more in depth. Most people today over-estimate the value of traditional schools and under-estimate the value of self-learning. You dont need a framed piece of paper with a fancy stamp, what you need is a SKILL! Employers hire skills, not framed paper. Take any area and develop a SKILL and teach yourself, dont take a class!

Interested in art? Buy a copy of photoshop and take a year to become an expert at using it! You now have a ticket to well paying job you will love.

Want to become a writer? Buy a copy of Microsoft Publisher and spend a year learning it inside and out so you are an black-belt expert. You cant follow your dream and write novels at this point BUT you can get your foot in the door as an editor.

Do you love airplanes? Dont spend $80,000 getting your A&P liscense at an aviation university (Airframe and Powerplant) Get plans and BUILD an airplane! Not only is it cheaper but you will learn so much more building your own plane from scratch. No, you wont have an A&P liscense but your experience will lead to any number of job offers. For example, in the plane I have built, I have to say that my favorite thing was the fabric covering and rib lacing. These are dying arts with a high demand for skilled craftsmen. If I wanted a job, I could get one tomorrow doing rib lacing.

So anyway, "investing in yourself" needs to be though of in much broader terms than simple degree programs.

While we are on the subject of getting rich, I have two more homework assignments for you. Please read the following books:
--- How to win friends and influence people, dale caranagie
--- 7 habits of highly effective people, steven covey

Thats it for today, remember that 99% of the benefit of this video will come from doing your homework, so please, get out that spreadsheet, figure out how to use it, and solve those two problems as well as read the above books.


In your forties and fifties you are still in your physical prime, it just takes a little different approach than the teenagers use to get into shape.  If you are over 40, please start by reading my 10 tips for those over 40.  For those who are basically healthy, you could consider doing my health boot camp extended version, its a little slowed down from the version I did for teenagers.  Focusing on health does not mean that you have to give up on looking good, on the contrary, you will find that form follows function.  If you are healthy, you will look great!