Smart Planning for an Uncertain Future

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Education planning

The social landscapes in the United States created by recent developments are unstable, exacerbated by conflicting political conflicts and clashes over the appropriate priorities for a nation looking forward into the future. Many express concerns over how conditions over the next decade will impact individual liberties, civil rights for marginalized groups and economic prospects for most citizens in this country. Indeed, the news out of Washington continues to be both comical and disturbing by turns. Therefore, it’s vital to have a sound plan in place for surviving and thriving through what are certain to be tumultuous times.

Getting the Most for Your Education Dollars

If you’re like many Millennials, you bristle at the bad press about your supposed spending habits, like the jokes about “avocado toast” and killing the diamond industry. Independent news organization Mother Jones revealed in May 2017 that while you’re likely to have more disposable income that your predecessors, you’re also facing higher costs for basic necessities. In fact, you’re paying an average of $700 more for education on an annual basis. This typically translates to higher student loan debt or greater efforts to procure scholarship and grant money you don’t have to repay.

With these factors in mind, staying aware of President Trump’s education policies is vital to your strategies. The last several months have seen reports of rapid, sweeping changes and even reversals of previous announcements concerning critical infrastructure and public policies. His stated support of vocational education and technical schools is of particular interest, but it also pays to investigate future job prospects and the potential dollar value of the certificates and degrees you pursue.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook continues to be a valuable research tool for your career planning. Healthcare, business, technology and legal professionals are the most likely to see ongoing employment growth. For instance, the BLS predicts that jobs for information security analysts are expected to increase by 18 percent until the year 2024. Job openings for accountants are anticipated to grow by 11 percent during the same time period.

Schooling a Viable Option for Self-Employed Professionals

Even without the effects of recent political changes on the country’s economic, conditions from the last few decades have actively shaped today’s financial landscape. The growth of self-employment is one testament to this fact, with Forbes Online predicting back in 2014 that independent contractors will comprise around half of the American workforce by 2020. Changes in traditional job markets, as well as improved technology and shifting social conditions, are possible contributing factors to this trend.

Self-employment may be a boon for many different demographics, as uncertainties loom in financial, sociological and legal aspects of public existence. For instance, the ongoing battles that transgender and disabled individuals face over access to public facilities may make telecommuting or independent contracting an increasing attractive path. Moreover, several studies have disclosed remaining implicit racial biases in hiring managers to the point where job candidates of color have resorted to “resume whitening.” For this reason, business owners of color might find a greater chance at carving out financial security for themselves than in a traditional workplace.

Including advanced education in your toolkit as an entrepreneur can be a smart, calculated move that improves your chances of success. Again, you’ll need to do your homework to discover what programs, curricula and credentials will best serve you as a self-employed professional. While you shouldn’t ignore how your choices could impact your resume, it’s also important to take a pragmatic approach regarding how the knowledge you gain will aid you in growing your business. The markets you target and the services you provide are just a couple of aspects that might guide you to the best choices for you, your enterprise and your career.

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Asynchronous Learning Offers Flexibility and Access

Besides the monetary investment, you’ll need to consider the “time cost” of additional education. Whether you’re a working professional or an entrepreneur, online education provides several advantages. Studying on your own time, rather than juggling live class attendance with a hectic schedule, is just one convenience. It’s also location independent, which is great for employees or independent contractors who frequently travel. You’ll also pay less for your schooling due no room and board costs plus digital access to some course materials. With these benefits and savvy planning, you can maximize the rewards in exchange for your time and financial investment.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.