Law School Tuition: USA Today Article: Investing won’t get you to law school; saving will

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June 21, 2010 USA Today: Investing won’t get you to law school; saving will – USATODAY.com. The author providing the advice is very frank, even if you INVESTED the $2500, there’s no reasonable way that the return on the stock investment will cover the costs of attending law schools. A gamble won’t cover a different gamble! Here’s the piece:

Q: What can I invest in that will turn my $2,500 savings into enough to pay for law school? A: We are often told that the stock market can richly reward patient investors. And that is true. But what you’re asking goes beyond what can be reasonably expected. You mean that the average person starting law school cannot afford to pay for it by investing or saving whatever money they have? Doesn’t that just force them into Sallie Mae’s prickly embrace? Oh, they just can decide NOT to go as an option as well.

Let me explain. You’re probably hoping I’ll rattle off a few amazing stocks that will rocket in value to turn your $2,500 into law school money. The odds of picking a couple of stocks that will do that are tiny.

Let’s first consider how much money you’ll need. The median tuition for one year of law school in 2008 was $16,836, according to the American Bar Association. And tuition has been rising about 9% a year.

That means if you enrolled in 2010, the price of the first year of law school would likely be $20,003. And that’s just the first year three. Your total tab would be somewhere around $65,572.

So, you’re hoping to turn $2,500 into $65,572. Let’s assume you’d want to have this happen in two years. For this incredible increase in wealth to occur, you would need a stock that rises 2,522%, or 412% on average for two straight years.

The reality: Stocks, on average, return about 10% a year. And lately, stocks haven’t even been doing that. Stocks aren’t the only thing not returning an investment.

If there were any stocks that could generate the kind of return you are looking for, they would come with such gut-wrenching risk you could also completely decimate your original $2,500 investment in the process. Like attending law school in the first place.

Don’t just take my word for it. Parallel comment: just read the blogs.

Over the past two years, not a single stock in the Standard & Poor’s 1500 index, which includes stocks of all sizes, rose 2,500% or more, according to Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ. In fact, not a single stock rose more than 2,000%. Over the past ten years law school tuition rose, while law graduates unemployment increased, so the actual product decreased in intrinsic value though it is still being sold based on its tradition and prestige.

To be more precise, the best-performing stock rose less than 400% the past two years. So even if you picked the best stock in the S&P 1500 universe, not an easy feat, your $2,500 would have been worth $12,500, a far cry from what you need to pay for law school.   Parallel comment: Not all law schools are the same, should you even choose to attend the best, what you invest will still not get you to the goal of being employed and paying off those student loans.

What’s the moral of this story? Don’t look to the stock market to pay for your law school, especially when you’re starting with $2,500. You’ll need to invest, yes, but more important, you’ll need to save more, and consider grants, scholarships and other financial aid. [emphasis mine].People are willing to do any thing for a chance to attend law school, instead this financial advisor states that the only way the writer will be able to afford to attend law school is through financial aid=student loans=Sallie Mae; who is not as benevolent as she sounds.

Smart investing can accomplish great things, but what you’re looking for goes beyond what an investor could hope for in his or her wildest dreams. In other words, it’s neither wise to invest in a bad stock market or that other type of investment “law school.”

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8 Comments »

  1. A Law School Victim Said:

    Well, I am not doing this for a popularity contest, are you starting a blog, you seem deeply interested in what’s going on with the law schools/legal industry…?

    • Anonymous Said:

      Nah, just another disgruntled lawyer. No blogging for me. But admire and respect you for fighting the good fight.

      • A Law School Victim Said:

        That qualifies you to blog. Anyway, maybe you can call yours “Guest Commentator on [Whatever]” and post once a month….just a thought.

  2. Anonymous Said:

    I find it interesting how few of the other scambloggers link to your site.

    • A Law School Victim Said:

      Meaning?…

      • Anonymous Said:

        I don’t know what it means. I’ve just noticed that if you click on one site, you almost always get linked to this closed circle of other sites, but for some reason, many in that circle seem to be leaving you out.

  3. Knut Said:

    The guy wants a long non-leveraged equity investment that will turn $2,500 into $100,000? With excessive optimism like that, we can safely say that he was destined to attend law school.

    • ScammedHard Said:

      Absolutely. He’s got law school written all over him! They say law students are there because they were never good at math…this would seem to validate that.

      He can take his $2500 down to the racetrack and choose a healthy-looking long shot. Odds of it turning into a semester’s worth of tuition are a lot better than gambling it in a shitty stock market. Or, for that matter, expecting any kind of exponential return out of his “investment” in law school, for that matter.


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