Category Archives: Education

Side Gig: Adjunct Professor

An Adjunct Professor is a Professor who is not on the tenure track.  Most Adjunct Professors are professionals who have an advanced degree (MS, MBA, MA, JD, or Ph.D.) and have full-time careers outside of academia.  Many teach evening, weekend, or online classes.  Adjunct Professors are utilized to teach both undergraduate and graduate classes based on their own current level of education and specialization.

If you have an advanced degree, want to earn some extra money, and like the idea of teaching without becoming a full-time professor, working as an Adjunct Professor might be a good side gig for you. There is currently a big demand for Adjunct Professors.  That is due to the increasing enrollment at colleges and universities.  It is also due to the growing availability of taking online classes.

Students are no longer limited to physical classrooms.  They can now take a class anywhere in the world provided they have a laptop and internet access. That provides more teaching opportunities for Adjunct Professors to teach online.

Qualifications

The primary requirement to work as an Adjunct Professor is to have an advanced degree.  To teach at a community college or junior college, the instructor generally must have 18 credits beyond a Bachelor’s Degree and be enrolled in classes towards a Master’s Degree.  The general rule to teach undergraduate classes at a four-year university is to have completed a Master’s Degree.  To teach graduate level classes, most universities require a Ph.D. or at least be enrolled in a Ph.D. program.

A Broken System

After talking with many different people who teach as Adjunct Professors, they all claim that the Adjunct Professor system is broken.  They all make that statement because the pay is low and almost zero benefits are offered as part of the compensation package.  On average, an adjunct professor earns $2,700 per class.  The average salary for a Tenured Professor is $84,000 plus full benefits and job security.

Not Ideal For Full-Time Employment

If being an Adjunct Professor is your full-time job, I agree that the salary is low based on the level of education required to do the job.  However, when I was in college, most of the Adjunct Professors who I had also had full-time careers outside of the classroom.  They taught classes at night or on the weekend to supplement the salary from their full-time position.  For side money, if someone teaches 5 classes per year, at $2,700 per class, that equals $13,500 per year.  In my opinion, that is decent money for a side gig.

Part-Time Benefits

Being an Adjunct Professor allows a professional to teach without having to stress over all of the requirements that an Assistant Professor faces on their way towards becoming a Tenured Professor.  An Adjunct Professor does not have to conduct research and consistently publish articles in academic journals.  An Adjunct Professor’s main duties are to develop the syllabus, facilitate the class, grade assignments, and meet with students to ensure that they are learning the required materials.

Development

As an Adjunct Professor, not only do you get to share your own professional experience with students, but you get the chance to actively enhance your own professional development.  While Adjuncts don’t have to conduct research, they do get to interact with Tenured Professors who are experts in their area of study. That contact with Tenured Professors allows Adjunct Professors to stay current with all the new cutting-edge information in their discipline.

Networking

There is also the opportunity to interact with other Adjunct Professors.  This opens countless networking situations with local professionals in your field of study or in other departments.  This contact with other instructors can truly be useful in helping you to find ways to improve the students learning experience.

Sacrificing Time

There are also some potential negative points to consider before becoming an Adjunct Professor.  It is time-consuming to prepare lectures, grade assignments, and to meet with students.  However, once you prepare a lecture, you can use the outline for classes you teach in the future.

The Path To Becoming Tenured

Another issue to consider is that teaching as an Adjunct Professor is not the pathway to becoming a Tenured Professor.  Even if you teach a variety of different classes as an Adjunct Professor over the period of a few years at different colleges, a major part is missing.  As mentioned earlier, Assistant Professors must conduct research and be published on their path to becoming a Tenured Professor.  How you teach is as important as where and what you teach on the road to becoming a Tenured Professor.

Side Gig

I feel that working as an Adjunct Professor is a great side gig, but a poor choice for full-time employment. It allows you to put your advanced degree to use in an academic setting.  It is decent part-time money to use for enhancing your savings or to use to pay off a graduate school debt that you might have incurred.  It is a great way to help students by sharing your professional experience to complement the required curriculum of the class.  Lastly, it is a great way to network and stay current with new trends in your area of expertise.

Conclusion

Currently, I am considering becoming an Adjunct Professor.  I have the opportunity to teach evening and weekend classes at a local community college.  It is an opportunity to earn extra money, but I just do not know if I am willing to commit my free time to a second job.

Have you ever worked as an Adjunct Professor? Was it a positive experience?  Do you recommend it as a side gig?

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Financial Planning for New College Graduates

You did it.  You earned your college degree.  Congratulations on this major life accomplishment. Now it is time to learn about financial planning for new college graduates.

Hopefully, you have a job lined-up in your field of study.  If not, don’t get overwhelmed.  Start applying and interviewing.   Before you know it, you will be working, growing your career, and earning a paycheck.

The good times are not over, but it is time to enter the real world.  By starting this next chapter of your life on the right track, you will be able to better ensure a sound financial future.  Right now, time is on your side.

As a new college graduate, I am sure the last thing on your mind is retirement.  Retirement might be many decades away, but the actions you take in the coming years will shape your financial future.  Below are the key steps that will help you to establish a plan that will guild you on your journey toward financial independence.

Step 1 – Save 15% of your salary.  Start this process of saving with your first paycheck.  It might sound like a high percentage, but this is just the first step.

Step 2 – Sign up for your employer’s retirement savings plan.  If you work in the for-profit universe, it is called know as a 401K.  At a not-for-profit organization, it is called a 403B.  If you work for the Federal Government, it is a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).  On your first day of work, go to the Human Resources office and sign up to contribute 15% of your salary to their retirement savings plan.  Increase the amount that you contribute to your retirement plan by 1% every year.

Step 3 – If possible, only Invest using low-cost mutual funds and index funds.  Avoid trying to pick individual stocks or trying to time the market.  Identify an asset allocation that best matches your age and risk tolerance.  Historically stocks have produced higher returns than bonds. Stocks, however, are more volatile.  On the other hand, bonds are less volatile but do not keep up well with inflation.  Establish a plan that uses both stocks for growing your wealth and bonds to retain your wealth during bad economic times.

Step 4 – Establish a plan to pay off your student loan debt.  Don’t fall victim to the mindset of the masses when it comes to student loans.  You attended college and earned a degree.  Hopefully, you paid attention in class and are ready to put your degree to work for you as an employee.  You attended class, possibly lived in a dorm, and most likely ate your meals in the cafeteria.  It is time to pay back what you owe.  Avoid self-pity and feelings of entitlement.  Those ill feelings will just hold you back on many levels.

Step 5 – Get a part-time job.  For those who have the entrepreneurial spirit, start a side business.  You are young and full of energy.  Now is the time for you to be working and building a solid financial foundation.  Getting a part-time job will allow you to earn extra money.  Working a couple of evenings during the week and picking up some hours on the weekend will greatly help to increase your earnings. That extra money can be used to pay off your student loans, establish an emergency fund, or open a Roth IRA.

Step 6 – Put off attending graduate school.  Unless you work in an industry that requires a graduate degree to obtain entry-level employment, put off attending for a couple of years.  Find an employer who offers tuition assistance as part of their compensation package.  That will allow you to work in the day and take graduate classes in the evening or on the weekend.

Step 7 – Write a financial plan.  A financial plan is a map.  It allows you to identify where you are at from a financial standpoint.  A financial plan is also a map that can be used as a guide to where you want to be in the future.  It helps to have a guide than to go it alone.  Financial planning is too important of a topic to not have a plan and just fly by the seat of your pants.  A financial plan is a living document that needs to be reviewed annually.  The great feature of a financial plan is that it can be amended as your plans and goals change.

Step 8 – Establish a budget.  Calculate how much you will earn every month from your job.  Write out your budget based on percentages.  Know how much of your salary will go towards housing, food, entertainment, and every other expense.  Be sure to write a budget that is practical in terms of expenses and prudent in terms of savings. In other words, always try to reduce expenses and to increase savings.

Step 9 – Keep your transportation costs low.  Transportation costs are simply an expense in your budget.  Use your budget as a guide to determine how much you can afford to spend on a car.  Keep your transportation costs at 11% of your budget.  Your budget will determine if you can afford a fancy new car or a used economy model.  Try to keep in mind that a car does not determine your identity.  It is just what enables you to travel from Point A to Point B in a timely manner.

Step 10 – Keep your housing costs as low as possible.  If you are renting, try to find a roommate or two.  Having a few roommates greatly reduces the amount you will have to pay for rent every month.  As you advance in your career and if you have a family, you might consider buying a house.  Use your budget as a guide to determine how much house you can afford.

Step 11 – Be sure that you are properly insured.  If you are under the age of 26, you should be able to remain on your parent’s health insurance.  If not, ask your employer about when you are eligible for coverage under their plan.  You are young and most likely healthy, but one trip to the emergency room could ruin you financially if you do not have proper health insurance.  Also, be sure that you have the proper amount of insurance for your car, home or apartment, and life insurance if you have a spouse or children.

Step 12 – Avoid Debt. Keep your debt to a minimum.  Avoid payday loans and credit card debt at all costs.  Having a high credit score is important because it will allow you to get the most favorable interest rates if you do have to borrow money.  To ensure you do not take on too much debt, monitor your debt with the Debt-To-Income Ratio.  Always try to keep your DTI under 16% and never exceed 36%.  In life, sometimes debt is unavoidable.  Most people will have to take out a mortgage to purchase a house.  Some people will have to take out a car loan in order to have a means of transportation.  When doing so, use both your budget and DTI to determine how much you can safely afford.

Conclusion

There you have it.  You are finished with college and ready to take on the world.  Don’t put off applying these steps.  You can start implementing some of these steps on your first day of employment.  If you start out with a well-established plan, you will be well ahead of your peers.  Use these steps as a guide and you will surely become a financial success story.

Do you agree with these suggestions?  Do you think that anything is missing from this plan?  What would you add or do differently?

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Fire Your Financial Adviser

I have been on the journey toward financial independence for a long time.  I started saving and investing to reach financial independence at age 20.  When I decided that I wanted to become wealthy, I knew that I needed to be educated on how to turn this goal into a reality.

While at college, I studied Business Management.  Even though I tried to take as many finance classes as possible, I did not learn much about personal finance.  Sure, I studied financial analysis and other classes, but the content was mostly geared towards learning how to dissect financial statements.  It was taught more from the standpoint of learning how to become an administrator.  Those classes have helped me during my career, but not so much as an individual investor.

My goal was to learn how to invest to receive optimal returns.  There are many mixed messages when it comes to investing.  My focus was to learn how to become a successful investor.  In order to do that, I had to learn how to sift through the noise and to find the most practical content to help me learn how to manage my finances.

Since 1997, I have read almost 100 investing books.  Over the years, I have subscribed to many different personal finance magazines and journals.  Most of the time that I spend online has been reading investing articles, forums, or blogs.

I have read many great financial journalists, bloggers, and random forum posts that have helped me with my financial planning.  There has been one person, however, who I have always enjoyed reading.  That person is Doctor James Dahle.  Before I knew him by his actual name, I knew him as The White Coat Investor.

The first time that I came across The White Coat Investor was in 2007.  This was a very volatile time for investors.  The Great Recession was on the horizon.  There were many posts on the Bogleheads.org forum from The White Coat Investor that helped me to stay the course, tune out the noise, and to focus on investing for the long-term.  I am thankful for those posts by The White Coast Investor and grateful that I followed his advice.

The White Coat Investor’s target audience is primarily Medical Doctors and other high-income folks.  Most of what The White Coat Investor writes about, however, transcends profession and tax brackets.  His financial advice can be applied to anyone who is working, saving, and investing to reach financial independence.

To help Doctor’s and other high-income professionals reach financial independence, The White Coat Investor has recently launched a new course.  The focus of this online course is to teach high earners how to create a financial plan that is tailored to their unique financial needs.  It is a step-by-step course for creating and implementing a financial plan without having to use a financial advisor.

The course is based on 12 learning modules.  I have reviewed the content.  It is truly a bargain for only $499.

There is a reason why this course is titled Fire Your Financial Advisor.  After you complete this comprehensive course, you will no longer have to pay a financial advisor for their services.  You will be prepared to manage all of your finances by yourself.

This class goes a step beyond what a financial advisor traditionally helps with.  Fire Your Financial Advisor is not just another way to promote passive investing in index funds.  It is tailored to the needs of physicians and other high-income professionals.  After finishing the course, you will be more confident on how to manage your student loans, insurance, taxes, estate planning, legal protection from lawsuits, as well as everything you need to know about managing your investments.

As part of the 12 modules, you are provided with 7 hours of lectures, videos, and screenshots that you can refer to at any time.  As you advance through the material, there are pre-tests, quizzes for each section, and a final exam.  Upon completion, the course is set up to ensure that you have total mastery of the material.

It would take hundreds of hours of independent research to learn what The White Coat Investor provides in Fire Your Financial Advisor.  As a busy professional, do you have the time to read 30 or 40 books on these subjects?  Even if you do, you will not find many where the content has been written by a physician who understands your unique situation.  The White Coat Investor does all the heavy lifting for you.  He provides you with what you only need to know.  There is zero waste in this course.

Another great feature about the Fire Your Financial Advisor course is that there is not any risk.  Buy it and check it out.  If you find that it does not provide you with what you need to optimize your finances, there is a 7 day, risk-free, guarantee to return it.  It would be difficult if not impossible to hire a financial advisor who offers a money back guarantee.

The White Coat Investor is one of the good guys in the world of personal finance.  If you are a doctor and want to take control of your finances, check out Fire Your Financial Advisor.  You truly have nothing to lose other than $10,000 or more in annual fees that your financial advisor will charge you for what you can be doing yourself for free.

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Become a Nurse

If you want a meaningful career that pays well and offers stability, consider becoming a nurse.  No matter if you are a traditional student or an adult learner who is planning on going back to college, becoming a nurse is an excellent career to consider.  Nursing is a growing field.  One great benefit of this field is that it allows you to earn while you learn.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

To become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), most programs are only 18 months long.  These degrees can be obtained at a vocational school or community college.  In most states, after a nursing student finishes the Intro to Nursing or Nursing 101 class, they can sit for their states Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) License.  This allows a nursing student to work as a CNA while they are still in nursing school.  Working as CNA will allow you to earn a wage that is higher than what other unskilled jobs pay.  It also allows you to gain experience and develop your bedside manner as a caregiver.

Once you become an LPN, there are many job opportunities.  Many hospitals don’t hire LPNs anymore. Never the less, there are many job opportunities in home health care, long-term care, school districts, and in primary care offices.  The average wage for an LPN is more than $22 per hour.

REGISTERED NURSE (RN)

While you are working as an LPN, it is a smart career move to become a Registered Nurse.  To become an RN, only an Associate’s Degree is required.  This degree can be earned at most community or Junior Colleges. Becoming an RN will give you the opportunity to work in a hospital.  There are a vast amount of different nursing positions including ICU, Med-Surge, ER, and Pediatrics.  The average wage for an RN is almost $32 per hour.

BACHELORS OF SKILLED NURSING (BSN)

If you are interested in a Bachelors Degree in Nursing (BSN), most hospitals will provide tuition reimbursement or assistance towards the degree.  Earning a BSN allows a nurse to advance into a specialist or management position.  With a BSN, a nurse can work as a Facility Educator, Case Manager, or become an Administrator. The average salary for those positions range from $72K to well over $100K.

MASTERS OF SKILLED NURSING (MSN)

There are also advanced degrees in nursing.  A nurse can go to graduate school for a Masters in Skilled Nursing (MSN) or even a Ph.D. program.  An advanced degree gives a nurse the credentials to teach at a university.  An advanced degree is also required to become a Nurse Anesthetist or a Nurse Practitioner.  Both of those positions have an average annual salary of over $104K.

CAREER OPTIONS

Another benefit of becoming a nurse is the stability and variety of career options that it offers.  Due to the aging Baby Boomer population, the demand for nurses is more than almost any other profession.  The demand is projected to grow by 16% annually up to 2024.  Also, if you are not interested in working in a hospital setting, you can work for a law office auditing files, the government conducting surveys of facilities, in healthcare marketing, or in the insurance industry.

It does, however, take a special person to become a nurse.  A person must have compassion for others. There is little room for error, so one must provide excellent care.  Also, you must be reliable because patients are counting on you.  If you feel that you meet those qualifications, consider becoming a nurse.  It is rewarding on many levels.