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Chantelle just graduated with a degree in sociology. She has $80,000 in student loan debt and is making $20,000 a year. She's thinking about joining the military to pay for a nursing degree.

QUESTION: Chantelle in New York City is 24 and just graduated with a degree in sociology. She has $80,000 in student loan debt and is making $20,000 a year. She’s thinking about joining the military to pay for a nursing degree. Dave doesn’t see why she shouldn’t go ahead and join the military now.

ANSWER: If you’re making as much in the military as you are now and you’re getting your college done, I think you’re making progress by going ahead and joining now. Wouldn’t it be easier to pay the $80,000 back with your military income that’s higher than your sociologist income? There’s no reason to wait. In other words, you’re asking me, “Should I get a better job or wait to take a better job to pay off my debt?” No, you take the better job to pay off your debt.

Make really sure in this nursing endeavor that you do get a better job than you did with the sociology thing in the sense that you go get a degree that has a marketplace value, because you don’t want to spend $80,000 getting a $20,000-a-year job. You don’t want to do that again. Make sure that the type of nursing and the nursing degree that you’re getting is a broad-based, general nursing degree—an R.N. or whatever it is you’re going to become—so that you can go into the marketplace and actually make money as a result of having gone through all of this. Your first go-round on that, you missed it.

The moral of the story for those of you listening is don’t spend $80,000 getting a degree to make $20,000 a year. You don’t need to go to college to do that. You can make that at Burger King.

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