From loans to life plans, students need help considering the financial impact of their career choices

How do teens make career decisions?

Perhaps they’ve been exposed to career opportunities while still in high school – from internships, career planning, and counseling or presentations by visiting professionals. Sometimes they plan to follow the path of a family member. Or maybe they want to emulate a favorite movie or TV star.

But without question, however they choose, most teens lack critical financial information about their decisions – from the cost of education or training to their potential future earnings. Conversely, the lack of that knowledge may also cause some to just give up, thinking the cost of or time necessary for further education or training is an impossible hill to climb.

Either way, making a career choice – or giving up on a career dream – without significant financial information can prevent teens from achieving a financially secure future.

It’s not all about college

Let’s temporarily take college education off the table for this discussion. With today’s demand for workers in skilled trades, there are more options to explore than ever for students as they think about their future. Jobs in many skilled trades pay as well or even better than some jobs requiring college degrees and may be better suited to their actual interests. Whether they don’t see themselves working in an office environment, want something that allows them to exercise their creativity, or are drawn to a service profession, there are many options “besides college” careers that teens can explore.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fast growth is predicted for skilled trade positions in fields such as electrical, construction, medical and service.  In fact, the Bureau forecasts high demand for more than four-million skilled laborers to replace the nearly eight million lost from the labor force during the pandemic.

The BLS estimates the job outlook for various positions and predicts that demand for these skilled trade positions will range from four percent to 30 percent over the next decade:

  • Custodian
  • Refuse collector
  • Legal assistant
  • Bus driver
  • Welder
  • Brick mason
  • Construction equipment operator
  • Tractor-trailer driver
  • Crane operator
  • Carpenter
  • Wind turbine technician
  • HVAC technician
  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Diesel technician
  • Home inspector
  • Electrician
  • Boilermaker
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Landscape designer
  • Construction manager

Although misperceptions persist about skilled trade occupations, the fact is that choosing a skilled trade career can mean less education debt, job stability, lucrative pay and a good quality of life. According to job search website Indeed, as an outcome of the demand for workers the majority of these careers are paying more than ever before.

Clearly, a college-degree isn’t the only route to financial success or future happiness.

Knowing the financial cost and impact of career choice matters

Whatever direction they decide to take, there’s a significant information gap that can impact the choices teens make. Checking out college tuitions, talking to mentors and exploring apprenticeships are just not enough to make a well-informed decision. These are only pieces of a much bigger career-choice puzzle.

There’s been no shortage of news today on the high cost of a college education. And on the unrelenting burden college debt can place on students’ ability to achieve goals and have confidence in their financial future.

As they face the complex questions of adult life, teens need a high-impact tool that can help them explore and assess careers of interest – from the cost of an advanced education or training to projected earnings. Because every single one of their career choices can impact their future financial stability and success.

Today’s solution to this knowledge gap is Money Path, a tool that helps teens make decisions from a place of knowledge and empowerment. Money Path is a comprehensive and unparalleled web-based software tool, specifically for high school students, that uniquely links academic and career planning with financial planning.

With Money Path students can:

  • Explore different paths after graduation: college, an apprenticeship, military service, or direct entry into the workforce
  • Investigate the cost of higher education and plan how to manage student debt
  • Customize a monthly budget based on their career starting salary
  • Learn creative ways to save for important financial goals like an emergency fund, a home, or retirement
  • Compare different personalized paths side-by-side
  • Make decisions for their future with confidence

It takes a community to help teens move from high school to real life

It’s important for administrators, counselors, teachers, and families to be working together as a team when it comes to helping students plan for life after high school. Money Path also serves as a catalyst for healthy conversations between students and their families, particularly in households where discussion of finances can be a source of anxiety or stress.

While beneficial for all teens, Money Path is particularly valuable for under-resourced teens who may lack a financial safety net or have limited guidance for their transition to adulthood. By walking students through “what-if” planning, Money Path helps prevent the financial missteps that are often costlier for students facing barriers caused by racial, economic, and educational inequities. Its first-of-its-kind algorithms provide them with a clear picture of both the benefits and the financial impact of the various paths they are considering.

Money Path is the first tool that helps students confidently transition from high school to real-life, letting them see that they have options and that – with research and careful planning – their goals are achievable. And, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, Money Path is currently free for Wisconsin students.

Ready to check out Money Path for the students you’re assisting with their career decisions?  Learn more here OR give us a call at 414-310-5929 for your personal Money Path demonstration.