As the price of higher education continues to rise through a shaky economic recovery, fewer Americans are considering college a good investment, especially compared to other needs for savings.
In a survey of 3,000 people, 63.5% said a college education is still a good financial investment for young adults given rising costs, compared to 79.1% last year and 80.9% in 2008. The declining sentiment is reflected across all age groups - 63.5% of those aged 18-29 said college is a good investment, compared to 76.7% last year. Just 61.5% of those over 65 years old said it is a good investment - 82.1% said the same in 2009.
A separate study released last month by Payscale, an online salary and compensation information company, ranked 852 institutions across the country by the colleges' returns on investment over 30 years.
The July priorities survey, released Tuesday by financial services group COUNTRY Financial, shows a shift in saving priorities through an uncertain economy.
Most Americans - 42.8% - said this year that saving for their own retirement was more important than saving for their child's college education, indicating an increase from last year's 40.7%. Consequently, the proportion of those who prioritized saving for their child's education decreased - to 40.7% this year from 47% last year. This year, 16.5% said they were not sure, marking the greatest uncertainty over the last four years.
'It's understandable why Americans are questioning how to prioritize college education and retirement funding, particularly with the skyrocketing costs in both areas. But with graduates likely to earn $1 million more in their lifetime than non-grads, college remains an important investment in a family's future despite the rising price tag,' said Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security Planning for COUNTRY Financial. 'The good news, however, is that people are putting their retirement savings first. You can always borrow to pay for college, but you can't borrow for retirement. With the proper planning, Americans can achieve their financial goals for both.'
This year's proportion of those who prioritize retirement savings, however, is in line with the 43% surveyed in 2007. There was least uncertainty in 2008, and 47.1% prioritized saving for their own retirement, the greatest proportion over the last four years.
Whereas those in the lower-income bracket tended to save for their child's education over their own retirement - 53.2% versus 23.8% for people making less than $20,000 - those on the other end who make more than $100,000 a year erred toward prioritizing retirement savings - 38% said saving for their child's education was more important, 52.5% prioritized retirement.
Almost 31% of those surveyed took out loans to pay for college, and 64.3% of those who borrowed have paid them off. Of those who took out loans, about half said their loans had little to no impact on life decisions like getting married, buying a home or saving for retirement.
But younger respondents reflected greater loan burdens. Of the 18-29 year-olds who took out loans, 40% said education loans have significantly impacted their life decisions, 37.7% have been somewhat impacted, and 14.4% have been affected, but not much. Just 7.9% said loans have not affected their decisions at all.
Younger Americans, however, were also most likely to say parents shouldn't have to pay for any college costs for their children. Of those ages 18-29, 15.2% said students should be the ones to pay for their own education. Across all age groups, more than half of the respondents said parents and children should share higher education costs.
A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity analyzed this problem. In brief, a group of 40 – 60 year old women and men were studied for their weight gain during a previous 12 month period via questionnaire。最近，《国际肥胖杂志》研究了工作与肥胖的关系。简单来说，该研究通过问卷调查的方式对一组40-60岁之间的男女在过去的12个月里导致体重增加的原因进行了研究。
The variables included 7 factors: job demands, job control, work fatigue, working overtime, work-related mental strain,social support, and work–home interface。引起体重增加的原因包括以下七个因素：工作要求、工作控制、工作疲劳、加班工作、工作相关的精神紧张、社会支持和工作与家庭的关系。
The results were then adjusted for age, education, marital status, physical strain and body mass index。研究也把年龄、受教育程度、婚姻情况、身体素质和体重指数等因素考虑了进去。
I’m betting you’ve already guessed the results – for who of haven’t faced this challenge of balancing work life, home life, and health priorities?我想你已经猜到结果了吧：体重增加的人是不是极力想平衡工作、生活和健康的那些人呢?
RESULTS: In the previous 12 months, 25% of women and 19% of men reported weight gain. Work fatigue and working overtime were associated with weight gain in both sexes. Women who were dissatisfied with combining paid work and family life were more likely to have gained weight. Men with low job demands were less likely to have gained weight. All of these associations were independent of each other。研究结果：在过去的12个月里，四分之一25%的女性和五分之一19%的男性报告称体重有所增加。无论男女，体重增加都与工作疲劳和加班工作有关。受到工作与家庭牵绊的女性尤其容易发胖。所有的相关性都是根据个体的研究得出的结果。
The study concluded that work fatigue and working overtime are risk factors for weight gain。研究最后得出结论，工作疲劳和加班工作是导致过劳肥的危险因素。