A BMW is a better investment perhaps as an antique, but a bachelor’s degree is an investment which doesn’t pay off much initially, but can be priceless over time. A BMW may get you some chicks and the respect of your peers; if it is something new after 2000 or at least late 90s, but no one is going to notice that much if you’re driving around in an older BMW.
An old out of production BMW Z3 is only worth $7,000; by contrast a newer ’08 Z4 is worth a good $42,000. An X5, a sweet hybrid SUV BMW makes is worth $45,000 new, yet a 2000 model can go for as low as $17,000. Clearly the BMW is only priceless if it is an older, vintage model pre-eighties. This despite its great name and reputation; material goods are only worth something as long as they’re chic, and unless your investment is back in style again and people are collecting it (say like, seventies Dior or sixties Louis Vuitton, or Kelly bags from any point in time or an old Bentley) it will continue to depreciate until it is worth little more than the materials it is built from.
A bachelor’s degree is only expensive if you aren’t that smart about pursuing one. For example a great scholar can either get a free ride or something close to it, actually earning a bachelor’s degree for less than he will earn initially. Plus a bachelor’s degree is worth different amounts depending on the profession; in computers you can luck up on entry level programming job making $35,000 to $40,000; not the $70,000 you could have gotten back in the eighties, but still not bad. By contrast, computing professionals who do not have a degree, and who typically get their start in tech support and had to work their way into IT or that have certifications, may start off on the low end between $27,000 and $32,000 a year.
On the other hand, a communications major with a bachelor’s degree or a teacher is going to earn money based on their location in addition to their experience. While an IT person may earn a lot in a small town in an undesirable area (comparable to what others there earn), chances are someone in radio or television isn’t. The degree is also worth more if opportunities are scarce or the pool of individuals entering into the profession is scarce; both still apply to IT even though far more people go into the profession than there were perhaps 20 years ago.
Sure a bachelor’s degree may cost $200,000, and you’ll only make $35,000 but that’s starting out. If you play your cards right you can earn $200,000 a year in computing working for the right companies and taking the right opportunities. Consultants can make that much with a MIS degree in which students take as many business classes as they do computing classes. If you’re smart and use your experience to go into business, the potential to earn is only limited to the amount of time and energy and resources you are willing to put into the business; some are earning less than salaried professionals do, but a few are earning far, far more and have created true wealth.
Get into the right company that offers unparalleled potential for growth; not just companies that pay a lot at first but may not be around at the end of the day. Invest in the companies stock when it’s cheap, as well as taking advantage of their IRA and find a company that will match your investments. Cash out the IRA at retirement age and sell the stock when the moment is right, you can get yourself a cool million and sit back for a while. I think that’s a far better investment than a BMW that will improve your social life for the moment.