My husband and I are both health insurance agents, and I also work at the library part time. My library gig pays about $20,000/year, so it most certainly would not keep us afloat on its own. For quite a while now, we’ve been discussing what we’ll do if and when the US gets a national health care system. Ironically, we’re both very far left of center, and both of us believe that the country would be better off with a single-payer national health care system. It would equalize the system that currently provides better care for people with money. But the bummer for us would be that we’d be out of a job.
We know that government projects like this don’t tend to happen overnight, so it’s likely that we’ll have plenty of warning if things are going to change. But health care is no longer an issue that elected officials can continue to ignore, so we assume that something will change, probably within the next five years. And alas, we probably won’t be ready to retire by then.
I’m feeling a bit un-marketable at the moment. I have the ubiquitous undergraduate degree in psychology, combined with minors in math and economics. I spent two years in the Peace Corps, two years at Enterprise Rent A Car (one year of which I was managing my own store), and the last four years working with my husband, running our own health insurance agency. What am I qualified to do, other than what I do now? I’m not sure. When I look at job openings online, it seems that everyone wants a masters degree these days. I checked out some MBA programs last night, and the price tags are scary. I found in-class programs that ranged from $50,000 to $120,000. Ouch. But my alma mater offers a distance learning MBA for under $20,000 total. That doesn’t seem so bad….
The other issue I’m struggling with is that we want to have a baby sometime soon, and I’m not sure what I’m going to want to do as far as being a stay-at-home mother versus working outside the home. If we can continue to have our home-based business, I could do both. But health insurance reform is the unknown factor there. I don’t want to spend $20K right now to get an MBA, and then find out that I only want to stay home with my baby, and don’t start using the degree for another five years. Maybe I could work on an MBA while being a stay-at-home mother? My husband is much more marketable than I am, as he has extensive knowledge of search engine optimization (our website is number one on yahoo and number three on google in the organic search results – we don’t pay for our rankings) and could probably get a job pretty easily. So he could provide for us for a couple years while I take care of a baby and get some additional education.
One thing that I’m certain of is that I don’t ever want to get into a big debt situation again. If I were able to pay the $20K for the MBA over the course of the two years that the program runs, I think we could swing it without going into debt. We might have to cut back on our retirement plan contributions during that time, but I don’t think we’d need loans. I hated having debt when we were starting our business, and I”m determined to pay as we go from now on. So I’m adding education to my list of things that we’re saving for (the other stuff: having a baby, lasik for my husband, and new cars when ours eventually wear out). I figure if I start thinking about this well in advance, we’ll be able to make it happen without too much of a strain on our finances. Good thing I’m not much of a shopper!