Reader Advice: Saving vs Education?

Normally I try to keep this a bit more of a cultural blog, but hey… it’s a personal blog too, right?

Jorge and I have been thinking a ton about finances lately. Now that we’re done paying for the wedding, Christmas, and basic furniture (mostly), we can finally start saving up some serious cash. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a year. We even set up an Excel sheet for our budget! We’re so proud.

One thing I’ve been dying to get involved in for as long as I can remember is real estate. My parents have always loved houses, and I think they passed that love down to me (and my sister). 7 months ago I was almost more excited for apartment hunting than I was for my wedding. For the last 4 months I’ve been obsessive about House Hunters International (showing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). I even find myself looking at houses for sale, even when I don’t have the money to buy one… I just love learning what houses look like in different cities, and what you can get for your money in different areas.

That being said, I have never, ever had even the least attraction toward being a real estate agent. Can’t say why not. What I would love to get into someday is real estate investment… which I know nothing about (except what I’ve learned from House Hunters International, of course).

Where is all this going?

Jorge recently read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, and one of the points that stood out the most to him was that if you ever have the opportunity to take a course in finances or whatever field you want to work in, TAKE IT. And who can say no to this guy…

Interestingly, Jorge and I were just talking about this last night. He said, “If you really want to get involved in real estate investment, you should take a class! You’d save tons of money in the future by doing more things yourself. If we hear about a real estate course, you’re taking it.” I said sure! ( I suspect he’s tired of me obsessing over houses without making some money from it.)

Little did I know last night that I would get an e-mail from my university just this morning, offering… guess what? A 3-month course and diploma in basic real estate. The timing was uncanny. It was a message from God.

Problem? The money we were so excited about saving up in January and February would go straight to paying for this course. Most of the savings would be gone before I could even get my hands on them. So… no big saving until March. *sigh*

Also, I have no short term plans to get involved in real estate! This would be something a few years into my future.

AND, we’re getting our Mexican marriage license next month (February 14! Valentine’s Day!), which involves paying a few hundred dollars to immigration.

Jorge and I have a lot of talking and number-crunching to do tonight. I’d love to take advantage of this opportunity, but I’m not sure if it’s something that should wait.

So… should I take a great opportunity to improve my knowledge in my desired future field now, or slow down and start saving up some money this month so I can actually have money to invest with?

Any advice, warnings, scolding, etc… I’d love to get some comments from you!


17 thoughts on “Reader Advice: Saving vs Education?

  1. ha! I’m not the person to ask because I have spent a ton of money in education…but I figure if the timing is right, then you will feel the need to go ahead with the class. If not, then another opportunity will present itself!

    Good luck & keep us updated!

    And I’m in love with housing stuff too-wanna be partners?! I’ll move to Cancun any day!

  2. Save now and always, I find that its always easier said then done to save money. Something always comes up that you need to spend it on. Can you save some and still take the class? BTW I loved Rich Dad Poor Dad! I read it a few ago…

  3. I always remember my mom saying education is something that nobody have ever take away from you. I say go for it! If you don’t you’ll always look back and wonder.
    Exciting stuff going on over there…have fun whatever you choose

    PS…who seriously has savings! :O

  4. I don’t know how you would feel about this, but I have one of those courses on tape, yes cassette tape, that I would be more than happy to send to you. It was given to me by a girl I work with and the only thing I have done with it is taken it home and put it in a closet. You are more than welcome to it if you like. Send an address to my email and I will get it in the mail to you. No charge.

  5. My opinion? You and Jorge are so young and 3 months of savings is not going to make, or break you!! Take the course if you can…The older you get, the harder it will be. That I can promise. Will you really miss the money in a year? NOPE, as it’s not utterly substantial.

    Hope that helps a bit… πŸ™‚

  6. That’s a toughy.. I find myself back and forth between continuing education classes as well. I’m like all about saving right now, so I’ve sort of put the classes on hold. Why not see if there is anything in your normal household budget that you can cut back on so you can save a little and take the class at the same time πŸ˜‰

  7. I say go for the class. Money spent on education is an investment in your future, so it’s kind of like “saving” anyway. You and Jorge have plenty of time to sock money away in the bank. Now’s the time to get yourself going on where you want to end up.

  8. If you plan to use what you learn from the class for the immediate future then take the class. Otherwise I’d say save the money – I’m sure the opportunity for the class will come up again.

  9. I say take the class as you may find it hard to find time later for it. Saving is important too but you will only be delaying it by 2 months. That’s my two cents worth!

  10. As a commercial real estate agent, I think that the money you spend on an agent is truly worth it. Obviously. There is so much to know that I, at least, wouldn’t want to go through an investment of that magnitude without an agent. And even though I work daily with commercial real estate, when the time comes for me to purchase a house, I will hire a residential realtor to represent me. Just in the different fields, there are loads of differences and I wouldn’t want to be without a professional in that field at my side.

    On the other hand, it never hurts to be more informed as an investor, so the class couldn’t hurt.

  11. I don’t know how it works down there, but up here you just take a test! But I don’t think real estate is the investment it once was with our current market. I hope things will change but I am doubtful it will in my lifetime!

  12. I’m on the frugal bandwagon, so I’d stay true to your goals and wait to take the class. I bet it will come up again after you’ve met your savings goal. Then you might have money to use for what the course teaches. But all that said, you have to do what’s right for you.

  13. I’ve been enjoying your posts! I also love houses (I just purchased my first one last May). Here is a secret for ya – househunters films episodes when the buyers are already in escrow. the house they pick is the one they are purchasing, the other two are for show. homes that they may have considered or just something in their price range. I love to watch the show and guess what house they purchased by looking at their reactions when they see it. I suspect that they talk down a little about the chosen home for the show…..

  14. Just read your other post, so I know your decision. I think you made the right one. You guys just got married, got a new house and stuff and you’re starting your marriage off on a wise plan of building a small nest egg for your future. This is a perfect start and Jorge supporting your interests is also an awesome sign that you guys are on the right track.

    I’m a big fan of education, but with youth on your side, there’s no need to rush. There will always be a school that offers certification training and with research you might find one that’s even cheaper.

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