Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a psychology theory which states that there are 5 crucial needs that must be met for a fulfilling life, and that each need must be met before one can reach the next. The five needs were physical, security, love, esteem, and self-actualization. There was a sixth one added, self-transcendence, or in other words philanthropy – “helping others.” It was developed by Abraham Maslow and amended by him later on alongside another psychologist. If you want to read more on this, search for it on google.
In my short yet experiential take on my own life, there are also 5 hierarchy of needs in education: Job Skills, Certificates/Licenses, Designations, College or formal education, and finally Invest. In my opinion, most take shortcuts by leveraging debt to move on to the apex of the triangle. In my own experience and beliefs, that is the wrong move. Here is why.
Obviously, this won’t be a wraparound for every industry or job sector because some require formal education before entry into the market. That is what we call a higher barrier of entry in business. That is why my triangle does not require rigid conformity because of how flexible life can actually be. For example, if one wants to be a fireman, they have to get training first before being able to work by earning their license to fight fires within their county.
However, in my opinion, the base of the triangle “Job Skills” should be conformed to in the sense of what your physical requirements are, and which social class you were brought up to in this world. This is because everyone comes into life with different financial circumstances, aptitude, and familial situations. A lot of times people jump ladders by using leverage to gain entry into markets, to later find that it was not what they were seeking, and eventually lost time value to pay that debt off.
In my opinion, Job Skills is for the very bottom rung of the ladder. This is assuming that you come from a poor to lower middle class family that does not have the ability to support you. You have no choice but to work at McDonald’s which doesn’t require any upfront cost or certification. In this regard, I believe that one should have to invest in the skills required to be successful at the current status quo of their job. If they are working at McDonald’s they should invest 80% of their time in getting better at interpersonal skills, knowing the menu inside and out, having more personal control, working on time management, and etc. The skills that require low to no money down, but reaps high rewards later on.
Then, you move to Certificates and Licenses. After you have mastered your current position or job, I believe that you should be moving up to a job or role that suits your new skills. If McDonald’s requires a certificate to enter into a managerial role, invest in that. Or if you feel you have the skills to change directions, and have the financial solvency to enter into a more corporate or regulated environment, you invest in the certificates or licenses to enter in that market. For example, if you wanted to own your own auto shop someday, you need to go to trade school and get a mechanics license for auto work.
After you received the certificate or license for the next move in life, assuming the risk was less than reward; and it would not make a slight dent in your finances should you not enjoy the new role, you move on to designations. For example, in Real Estate, there are designations that distinguishes yourself from the competition. There are “Certified Buyer Representative” designations or “Property Management Designations” that enable one to be classified as experts in their respective niches or fields. In many fields, there are designations that one pays exorbitant amount of money for that distinguishes themselves from their competitors. Sometimes it’s almost extortion-like, but that is why I created this triangle. I wanted to prevent people from being preyed on by false education norms and mores, and come out ahead financially and educationally.
Finally, you have two options to go to at the top. You can either invest in other job markets or investment vehicles by repeating the steps at the bottom, or you can choose to enter the traditional education system to gain more credibility in your respective field. By this time, you should have absolutely no problem being able to afford College, which is expensive, without resorting to leverage (student loans). You have the option to afford investing in other streams of income either through other designations, certificates, licenses, or trades; Or you can earn your traditional college diploma for personal gain or otherwise. If you never grew up with personal finance knowledge, which is common in most families in the US or other countries, you might want to invest in personal financial education or outsource it to a professional at this stage. Chances are money habits are nurtured at an early age, so it’s always best to learn it early on in your career, but that is the status quo and game theory of life. Some people spend money, and others profiteer when you do. It is a wiser use of resources to focus on each stage and be constantly learning and upgrading to make up for weaknesses later on with your strengths.
I believe that the sixth stage is nurturing your own offspring or family members’ kids, to find their path early on, and to steer them in the right direction with these principles so that they do not get wrecked later on in life. The status quo wants you to skip levels or keep you at certain levels because that is the only way they can scale up. In the game theory of life, or John Nash Equilibrium, someone is winning while you are losing. If both parties win, that is socialism which is not the current norm. And that is not realistic knowing that there are greedy parties everywhere. Find your strengths to later negate and triumph over your weaknesses, with zero debt. Learn risk management to where, if you do use debt, you do so with greater reward relative to risk. Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, and wanted to read my deeper thoughts, go ahead and sign up to a membership and pay using Bitcoin to access pages like this.