Let’s look at the facts: the average college student leaves school with $30,000 in debt (according to U.S. News), the unemployment rate increased to 7.2% (up from 4.7%) for 2020 college grads (CBS News), and on average, tuition costs inflate by 8% every year (FinAid).
So I wouldn’t blame you for wondering—whether you’re a parent or a just-graduated high-school student—what investments are better than a college degree.
I am a college dropout (I’m now 28) who’s built a successful freelance writing business that supports my family and allows us to live in Hawaii—no degree required.
A friend of mine, Ryan Dossey (who also dropped out of college and high school), built himself a portfolio of over $8.8 million in real estate assets (with $1.94 million in equity) by the age of 26. He has also founded two businesses with annual revenues in excess of $7 million.
How’d we do it?
Well, I sat down with Ryan Dossey and we discussed this simple question: What investments are better than a college degree? Here’s what we came up with:
1. 3.5% down payment to house hack:
Here’s a hack that millennials love—and rightfully so. Get a mortgage to purchase a duplex (or triplex or quadruplex), and pay the minimum down payment possible. Usually, that’s around 3.5%. Then live in one of the units and rent out the others.
Imagine that you purchase a $250,000 duplex—that means you just pay $8,750 for the down payment (far less than most people spend on college). Your mortgage is around $1,100 per month. And you can rent out the other unit for $1,200 to $1,500 per month.
That means you’re living for free and building equity for free. And now you can save extra money every month to purchase more properties and continue growing your real estate empire.
2. Real-World Skills:
Maybe real estate isn’t your thing. But maybe you’re interested in copywriting, marketing, web design, sales, or computer programming—these are all skills that you don’t need a college degree to master.
I became an experienced copywriter and online marketer by taking courses, reading, working for free, and getting people results. Eventually, I was able to land a paid client. Then another. Then I got a full-time gig as a copywriter. Then I left that job to go full-time as a freelancer.
Now I make well over six figures every year with my freelancing business—and I can work when I want, where I want, and how I want.
So how do you do it?
Start by choosing a skill set that you want to learn. Then look online for reputable and helpful resources. That could be YouTube, podcasts, blog articles, or even social media influencers.
Practice your craft every day (even if it’s on your stuff), invest money to become a master (buy courses!), pitch potential clients, and network with other professionals in your niche. Do those things consistently, and you’re virtually guaranteed to come out on top.
3. Building a Business:
Have a commercial enterprise idea? There’s no better time to try and begin a business than when you’re simply out of high school, and don’t let anyone let you know differently.
You’re at an age where you’ll have more energy than you will in 10 years. You also have much less risk (no spouse, kids, huge debt or bills, etc.). More importantly, you believe that anything is possible.
That’s the best time to grab the bull by the horns—that’s what Ryan and I did, and we wouldn’t alternate it for the world. You can always turn the truck around in your 30s or 40s if things don’t work out, because you’ve been given plenty of time. But now could be the time to take your biggest risks and try to construct the business you dream of building.
Don’t allow everyone to inform you that it’s too early. If it wasn’t too early for us… then it’s now no longer too early for you.