Do You Really Need a Degree to Become Rich?

Committing to a university degree can be a lengthy, time-consuming, expensive yet rewarding process. Many cite university experiences and connections made while studying as invaluable to the fabric of their life and success. However, others see the three to four year commitment as a roadblock to their growing success. After all, if you already have a business idea and are excited to start, would a degree assist in this, or would it deter your potential and provide a distraction? Which degrees are worth the paper they are printed on and which will make you the most amount of money? Essentially, do you need a degree to become rich in the 21st century?

How Much Does a Degree Pay?

33% of Americans have a bachelor’s degree, and 12% have additional postgraduate qualifications. The average earnings of someone with a few college credits but no formal degree is $738 per week, while a completed degree averages at $860 per week, all according to SmartAsset. A master’s degree can pay upwards of $1,341 per week. Compare this to the $678 per week earned by those who just have their high school diploma. These findings have been provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though, if student loan and the debt at this time is also calculated, this figure could be lower taking the outgoings into account. However, the investment in a degree seems to mean higher average earnings.

Can You Be Rich Without a Degree?

The figures above imply that someone needs to hire you and pay you a salary, though. But, in industrious enterprising America, there are countless other ways to get rich without needing to be hired for your degree level of education. Of the top 100 billionaires in the world, a third didn’t attend university or dropped out, according to an infographic on Betway casino. Still, 23 of the 100 studied engineering and 17 studied economics or business. Plus, four of the top richest 30 people in the world studied at Harvard, including Mark Zuckerberg, who created Facebook there. Investment firm owner Abigail Johnson is an anomaly in that she studied art history before going on to make her billions. So, while there are cases of those becoming rich through hard work, a university degree, especially a prestigious Ivy League one, can pay dividends later.

Case in Point: Vidal Sassoon

Vidal Sassoon is an interesting example here as he didn’t even obtain a high school diploma. Statistically, he should have been on less than $500 a week, but Vidal Sassoon was worth in the range of $100 million by the time of his death in 2012. The entrepreneur built his hair styling industry from the ground and has become a household name. At the same time, for every Sassoon story, there are hundreds of those who have not managed to climb the ladder very high without some formal education.

Therefore, answering the question of whether a degree can make you rich or increase your chances to become rich is very complex. While possessing a degree is no guarantee of anything, the possibilities and opportunities that can spawn from it can help make you rich. Conversely, not possessing a degree doesn’t relegate you to being on the lowest earning rung for life – plenty of people have worked up the ladder showing skills that employers and investors crave, which can’t necessarily be taught at university. However, having no degree in your twenties doesn’t cut you off from education for life – there are plenty of ways to go back to college to gain the degree or even just learn new skills on an e-learning platform.

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