What steps should you take if you know you are getting a degree in a field that doesn’t pay well?

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Posted by Sydney Allen (MONEY FORUMS: 4, Answers: 1)
Asked on April 21, 2016 3:05 pm
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As a former teacher and musician, I knew that staying out of debt was the best thing I could do for myself given that my prospects of making a ton wasn’t that high. Even now that I am out of both fields, I am still focusing on keeping myself as debt-free as possible. That means getting rid of student loan debt as fast as possible and paying down credit cards every single month (or not using them at all!).

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Posted by Michelle Diamond (MONEY FORUMS: 0, Answers: 26)
Answered: April 24, 2016 2:21 pm
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Hi! I love Catherine’s answer and agree with her ideas. I wanted to add that having a second job or a side consulting job is a great way to add to your income. My husband and I, who are 57 and 54, have each had at least two jobs throughout most of our entire career lives. My husband is in environmental cleanup but did Navy Reserves for 20 years. In addition to my full-time job, I taught as an adjunct at our local college and have picked up writing or editing work. If your main job doesn’t pay that well, you can probably use the skills and knowledge you have to consult in your field. If that doesn’t work, you can work at a part-time job not in your area such as child care or being a waiter. You can also pick up seasonal work in summers or at the Christmas holiday. That extra money can really make the difference between comfort and hardship.

I applaud you for following your passion and choosing to pursue your interests and dreams. I think that’s awesome! I find, too, that money really doesn’t buy happiness. It is important to have enough money to be safe, comfortable, and in control of your life, but excess wealth is definitely no guarantee of a joyful life. Best wishes to you, and please write back if you would like more info! Kathy

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Posted by Kathryn Hauer (MONEY FORUMS: 0, Answers: 18)
Answered: April 24, 2016 1:57 pm
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Great question. I actually earned two degrees in a field that does not pay well (history) but I was doing it because I loved the subject matter. These days, I switched to being an entrepreneur and make a good income compared to my friends who stayed with history. So, I would say to first make sure that you know how to budget and manage spending. When you don’t make a lot of money, you need to know where it goes. Secondly, I would say to have goals to increase your income over time. For example, perhaps you start out as a teacher but set goals so that you can grow to make 100k a year as a principal someday. Within each “low paying” career, there are different levels where you can grow to earn an income. Make sure you take advantage of every opportunity, invest as much as possible in employer sponsored retirement plans, and continue to strive to improve your situation. Don’t assume that just because you’re in a low paying field that you HAVE to be paid less. There are always ways around it.

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Posted by Catherine Alford (MONEY FORUMS: 0, Answers: 23)
Answered: April 21, 2016 10:39 pm
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