Going back to school for more money.

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anonforthis
Posts: 414
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:45 pm

Going back to school for more money.

Post by anonforthis »

I came to US when I was 19 year old. I didn't know about other fields so I picked accounting as a major and got an accounting degree 4 years ago. Im now 33 year old and making 60k a year. I get 6% raise every year. While I love what I do, I want to make more money. Getting the CPA license won't help much since I am not in public accounting. I want to go back to school to become a pharmacist. My sister graduated this year as a pharmacist and got a job making $62 an hour entry level. Although she has 200k student loan. She is working 1 full time and 1 part time job to pay off the loan ASAP. She is bringing home 220k a year gross. My husband income is enough for me to stay home and go to school full time. It will take about 6 years to be a pharmacist for me. I'm not worried about the school courses since I got a very good foundation with math, physics, and chemistry courses. What I am worried are the opportunity cost and the student loan debt. I have to quit my job if I want to go to school full time and I will rack up 120k student loan at my local pharmacy school. I'm 33 so I will be 40 when done. Also, I'm maxing out my 401k at work and I won't be able to do that for 6 years if I decide to go back to school. My husband doesn't think it's a good idea but he is okay with whatever I decide. Please give me some advice. Thank you.
Savvy
Posts: 311
Joined: Sat May 05, 2012 3:09 pm

Re: Going back to school for more money.

Post by Savvy »

I cannot speak to the Pharm option. I do not work for a public accounting firm but a Fortune 500 where it's clear that CPAs have more opportunities (and better paying ones) than accountants without CPAs. Have you considered this?

Good luck!
Savvy
bl2410s
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:18 pm

Re: Going back to school for more money.

Post by bl2410s »

I thought I would way in even though I am not a pharmacist or an accountant. If you're making 60k and would have to take 6 years off and 120k in loans that is a loss of 480k. With your pay increase and loan interest you could be closer to a loss of 600k. If you were to continue your job at the same pay increase (6%) each year you'll be over 80k by age 40. Even if you make the above average pharmacist income when you graduate (since 2010 the avg. has been about 112k) and pull in 130k for full time work, its going to take you ten years till you overcome that deficit. Now I know you said your sister is making really good money, but I have a good friend who just graduated and has had a hard time finding a retail job that pays well. He currently works for an online pharmacy and barely makes 100k. Now yes he could pick up another job and make more but do you really want to work 70+ hours like your sister? If you do then why not look for more work in the accounting field. But your still young enough to make a change and have the time to benefit from it. Just my opinion, best of luck with your decision.

Here is a link for the future pharmacy job market, not as great as everyone thinks. I had another one but can't find it, if I do I'll post it later.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3687123/
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hornet96
Posts: 660
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:45 pm

Re: Going back to school for more money.

Post by hornet96 »

anonforthis wrote:Getting the CPA license won't help much since I am not in public accounting.
Why do you think this? I am an experienced CPA at a big 4 accounting firm, and can tell you without a doubt that the career opportunities outside of the firm presented to our staff are much better if you have a CPA license. If you like what you do in your current role, have you considered joining an accounting firm and working towards this goal? Most of the firms (nowadays) help pay for your study materials, etc. to pass the exam. Thus, requiring very little (if any) opportunity cost.

If making a bunch of money is your goal, and you like accounting, there are many lucrative paths to pursue that would not require such a high opportunity cost. But, most of those lucrative paths would assume you obtain a CPA license.

I would suggest you do a serious NPV calculation, similar to what another poster mentioned. Running some quick numbers on my BAII Plus finance calculator, I get the following NPV's for each scenario (using admittedly crude assumptions):

[*]Quit current job, go to school for 6 years, start new job at $120K/yr for 20 years (until age 60): NPV = $576,915.
[*]Stay in current job for the next 26 years at $60K/yr (until age 60): NPV = $780,190.

Assumptions:
[*]$120K/yr right out of pharmacy school, for the remainder of your career (using a more conservative figure than your sister's $220K).
[*]6% discount rate based on expected annual raises in your current job (e.g., required rate of return).
[*]Opportunity costs of $60K/yr for 6 years, +$20K/yr in student loans, are accounted for in the cash outflows each of the next 6 years.

Now, since this was a quick exercise, I haven't factored in annual increases in salary for the future cash inflows in order to keep it fairly simple (nor interest costs on the loan, tax effects, etc.). However, what this initially would indicate to me is that staying in your current job would likely be more advantageous, financially, in the long run, based on a higher estimated NPV.

With all of that said, there is more to life than money, so it really depends on what you want to do for a career, and how it all fits into your personal situation (family, friends, etc.). If you are truly passionate about medicine/pharmacy, it might be best for you in the long run (emotionally, spiritually, etc.) to make the career switch. I just wouldn't recommend making the switch solely based on a perceived increase in earnings potential.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Going back to school for more money.

Post by cheese_breath »

You said you love what you do. Would you also love what you would do as a pharmacist?

I am / was neither an accountant nor pharmacist, but it seems accounting would have better long term career potential.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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tetractys
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Location: Along the Salish Sea

Re: Going back to school for more money.

Post by tetractys »

Pharmacists are on their feet an awful lot, so it's not easy work. Do you have strong knees that won't ever get sore, and no worries about varicose veins?

IMO you are certainly in a well enough position and young enough to truly search your heart and find your real happiness. Definitely don't get stuck on the money idea.

Best regards, Tet
Dave76
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:05 pm

Re: Going back to school for more money.

Post by Dave76 »

cheese_breath wrote:You said you love what you do. Would you also love what you would do as a pharmacist?

I am / was neither an accountant nor pharmacist, but it seems accounting would have better long term career potential.
Both careers seem dreadful.

How about occupational therapy?
joelly
Posts: 291
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:22 am

Re: Going back to school for more money.

Post by joelly »

Wow! I heard this a lot. Who says you need to be in public accounting to get your license?

At the time when I decided to become a CPA, I was working for private industry and do not need a CPA license to do my job. However, I took this as an oppty to finish the CPA exam. I saw my friends who are working for public acctg firms finding hard time to study after long hours in the office. Plus there are some pressure to finish at a certain period of time. I didn't have such pressure so I took a year to really focus. I didn't quit my job or anything like that, just quit the gym, the movies, friends, boyfriends, etc. I only work and study. The library becomes my second apt. I passed all four subjects in Aug 2007. Next step, apply to public acctg firms.

I found out that it was tough to enter public acctg once you are an accountant working for private industry. BUT I tried so hard without success. Even with friends who would recommend me. But HR always send me rejection letters. So I move into a bigger private company instead. Getting paid $55K at 32 yo. I didn't think much of the pay because I love the work and the company. After two yrs there, my senior who was a PWC alumni advised me to jump ship to public acctg firm to get jump start with my career. Many friends recommended me to big 4 but all I got is rejection letters again. But one public acctg that is in the 20 big sent me an offer letter with a slight increase to the midst $60K/yr plus bonus. I only need one yes so I accepted it. I learnt a great deal there then a year later one of my consulting client pulled me aside and gave me an offer I couldn't refuse. They double my salary and then some. Work-life balance is great as well. BUT I do want to pursue more and the CPA license make me stood out among other candidates.

I have a friend who is a buyer for Ross get paid $90K plus bonus. She is only 25 yo with an AA degree. Another friend of mine, get paid close to midst $100K fresh grad working for one of the silicon valley giants, he is an IT engineer, this is with bachelor degree. The point is if you keep comparing your $$$ with others, there will be no end to it. This will make you unsatisfied ALL the time. So stop doing it. My advise will be to focus on your career right now especially because you love the field. Dig deeper within your heart, get your CPA license and see how your talent grows.
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