Over the past few months I’ve been detailing my path to financial stability, with the eventual goal of reaching financial independence. I’ve been cutting expenses, stretching my dollars, and working towards making more money.
Part of my plan has involved working towards my Masters in Accounting (MSA). I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, and work in an entry-level accounting position. My thoughts were that I would obtain my Masters Degree, which would enable me to obtain a higher level, higher paying career.
I first started looking into the MSA program in 2009, as I was just turning 30. I had decided that Accounting was a career path that I wanted to pursue. But with little experience, and no accounting degree, I was stuck. I started looking into adding a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, and found the MSA program. For approximately the same cost, and the same amount of time, I could get a Masters instead. Similar to the MBA program, this degree would be a huge boost to my marketability in the workforce. And it would only take 18-24 months!
Well, 18-24 months for the actual program. But there were 10 prerequisite classes, none of which I had taken in my previous coursework. So, in the Spring of 2010, I started taking classes.
And, I hated it. Not the subject. I find accounting fascinating. Even taxation, which I thought would be confusing and scary. No, I hated the homework, and tests, and quizzes. The projects, especially group projects. Basically, I hated the time suck of going back to school. And the stress.
I took courses during the Spring and Summer of 2010. Then, in the Fall of 2010, my job moved me to Arizona, and I had to put my education on hold. I moved to Arizona, moved back home, left that job, worked a few odd jobs, and then eventually made my way to my current position. In the Spring of 2012, I was back on track and taking courses again. And back to hating every second of it. I procrastinated every semester to sign up for classes, sometimes waiting until days before the classes started. “What if something happened and I couldn’t take courses that semester?” I hoped. But I diligently pressed on, finally finishing the last of my prerequisite classes this past semester.
So, 1 week ago I officially started into the MSA program. Schoolwork comes fairly easily to me, but I realized that if I wanted to maintain a good GPA, I was going to have to put a lot more effort into the graduate level classes. With classes meeting 2 nights a week, and working full-time, I’d need to spend my weekends studying and doing homework. Every weekend. Summer, Spring and Fall. For the next 2 years. Ugh!
My mother always taught us you could endure anything taking it one step at a time. Don’t get lost in the big picture, or how far you have left to go. Just think about the next step, and after enough “next steps”, eventually you’ll be done. And, in the scheme of things, “enduring” school isn’t the worst I’ve had to do. So, I was set to keep taking steps, keep working towards my original goal.
But this past weekend, I really sat down and thought about what it was I working towards. My end goal is financial independence. I’ll be honest, I don’t like working. It’s not that I’m lazy, or unmotivated. I’m actually a very driven, hard-working person. I just hate being locked into something as rigid as a “9-5” (I hate working evenings and weekends more, but that’s a different story). I want financial independence so I can have the freedom to live the life I want to live. So, the education? It wasn’t the high-powered career that I wanted. It was the money from the high-powered career. Making more money could get me to financial independence so much sooner.
I’m in a relationship right now that is slowly becoming more serious. We’ve been talking more and more about how we see our future together. If things work out, I’d really like to have a family. It’s not that I’ve been putting it off because of my career, as so many people assume. I hadn’t met the right person, someone I was willing to commit to long-term. And I didn’t feel stable enough to have a child on my own. Now I’m starting to look at everything as a whole. If I continued on with my education, it would be approximately 2 more years before I finished. I’d be 36, almost 37. And then I’d be starting on a career track that would demand a lot of my time. That doesn’t really fit in well with having a baby. Especially since I’d prefer being a very hands-on mother, if possible being able to stay at home.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was on conflicting paths. Why put so much time, and every extra penny I have, for the next 2 years into an education that I may not even be able to use? Especially if the only reason I’m getting the education is to make more money? Why not save that money, and look at potential ways of making more money? As the (terrible, terrible) saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. And so, as of this week, I’ve officially dropped out of the MSA program.
I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe things won’t work out, and I won’t end up having a child. Will I regret not getting the education? Honestly, I don’t think so. I’ll still be saving as much money as possible. With the BF being so much older, maybe we’ll decide to retire together, become snow birds. The extra money won’t hurt. And, if in a couple of years I change my mind, I can always pick right back up where I left off.
I’ve learned over the years that it pays to be flexible. The world is constantly changing. And sometimes, you change your mind.
Have you changed your mind about big things in your life? Did you ever start into something and realize it wasn’t for you?
– Ms. W