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My View on College

I decided to address my views on going to college because I seem to get lots of criticism on this issue and I believe it relates to my foreclosure story.

I chose to skip college right after high school because I was offered a $30,000/yr salaried position at a startup company (Sevant.com) with benefits and stock options (year 2000). I was already working for the company part-time as a computer service technician and I was being promoted to a “Super Sevant”, as they called it, a lead tech / trainer / field manager.

I chose not to go to California State University of Sacramento which I have been accepted to. I was 18 at the time and this job at a dot-com startup company was too big of an opportunity to pass up. Plus I crashed my car a few months prior and I didn’t have insurance (forgot to send it the paperwork on time) and I had some bills to pay. So the job was right in time.

Then Sevant.com dot-com when dot-BOMB due to cash flow problems and went the way of other dot-coms during the tech crash around 2001. That was hard for me because I started to get dependent on that job and moved out of my parents house to a nice apartment. So I had bills to pay now.

Instead of going to college I decided to do freelance website design and web development. I have been learning to do web stuff on the side ever since I came to America in 1994. So now I wanted to make a full-time business out of it.

Well the business didn’t take off like I wanted to and I went back to another full-time tech job a few months later. Since then I’ve had jobs on and off while trying to get established in some kind of a business that I could do full time.

I’ve gone through a couple of these cycles now: get a job, then try to do business on the side, business looks like it’s taking off so I quit my day job and do business, business is not as strong as I thought and I’m back to a day job.

What can I say? I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I must keep trying until I succeed. And I’m still trying to build a passive-income generating business, that’s why I got into real estate flipping, which is actually a job too – you must trade time for money. But it’s a highly paid job that would build up some cash for me which I can in turn invest into rental property, apartments, commercial real estate and other passive-income business.

So I never really went back to college, though I did take a 1-unit Linux class at American River College (community college) just for fun back in 2003 or 2004. I wanted to get the college experience and I had friends there. It was a half-semester class. I did pretty good but never cared enough to see what grade I got on the final. I was done with college for now with 1 unit under my belt.

College wasn’t for me because of my circumstances. And in my opinion a traditional college does NOT teach you any wealth building skills or how to be an entrepreneur. It teaches you general education and how to be an employee.

Most people who have read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad with an open mind would agree with this statement. In the book Robert explains how traditional schools are NOT designed to teach you business ownership and investing skills. No wonder the majority of people are stuck in the rat race.

This is where I get mis-understood…

I DO believe in the value of a well rounded education that college provides. The college experience also teach you critical thinking skills, research skills, team work, time management, etc. I have even thought of going to a 4 year college eventually just for the education, not because I need it for a job.

By default, I recommend everybody to go to college, get educated and get a good job. I will not judge you if you don’t but the college experience will definitely give you an advantage (they tell me, I don’t know from experience).

But don’t stop there.

If you want to be financially free someday you need to start learning how to invest, buy assets and build multiple streams of passive income. Do this on the side while working your job.

Once your passive income exceeds your earned income then you can retire early (if you want) with true financial security. You will not be dependent on your employer or the government to take care of you. That is a good thing!

Update: I must not be making myself very clear because everybody seems to focus on the negative. I’ll say again… I have nothing against going to college! It’s just one way to learn and has it’s own pros and cons as compared to other ways to learn – like seminars, on the job / mentors, internet / self study, etc. General education aspect is also a good thing and the social aspect – networking, making connections – is a great thing. Based on my friend’s experiences in college I will even say that I have very much respect for those who are disciplined enough to get a 4-year degree or higher. Many people drop out so the ones that graduate are going to be overall more successful they have learned/demonstrated determination to stay the course. On the other hand I’m not going to judge you if you never went to college but still find a way to reach your goals. In the end, it’s all good!

By he way… check out the video of my talk at a well-known university in California, if you haven’t already. It sort of fits here.

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