Attention: Money 101 will no longer be available after May 31, 2021. After that time the Enrich financial literacy tool will be available at moving forward.

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Income - Head Matters


4. Career, Education, and Skills

b. Long term financial planning - how education and training can lead to more money 

Whatever career path a person chooses, it usually pays to be educated.  These figures from the U.S. Census Bureau compare yearly earnings according to education.



  • A high school graduate, on average, earns nearly 50% more than a person who doesn’t have a high school diploma.
  • A vocational or technical school graduate earns roughly 90% more than a high school dropout does.
  • A graduate from a four-year college earns more than 80% more than a high school graduate and almost three times what a high school dropout earns.
  • A person with a master’s degree earns more than twice what a high school graduate does and more than three times what a dropout earns.
  • A person with a professional degree, such as a lawyer or doctor, earns about four times the income of a high school graduate and almost six times the income of a high school dropout.

Continuous training and education are your best defenses against unemployment and decreased earnings.  Why?  Well, if you have the skills that few people have and those skills are in high demand, you will likely be paid more, receive more employer-paid benefits, and enjoy a more expanded choice of jobs.  But, remember, what is hot today may be cold tomorrow.  When people learn of a high-demand or high-pay job, they get the training which lowers the labor market demand.  So the need to upgrade your training and education never stops.

To appreciate the liquid nature of the labor market supply and demand – which jobs are currently hot, which are not, and the projected salaries of each – check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook either in your library or on the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website: Also, check out the many career planning tools available at

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