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Thread: I know, we "don't do it for money," but....

  1. #1
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    I know, we "don't do it for money," but....

    when I see something like this, it really makes me question the rationality of ANOTHER 2 years of school – at over $30K ivy league – when I could be out there working.............

    Numbers like this even make me question an investment in a low-budget public school like Hunter.

    Anyone that's actually put down this much money, for a career that pays so little, please, tell me how you were able to convince yourself that this was the right choice. "Because it's what I love" doesn't count, either. Apparently planners in NYC can barely manage just the base cost of living....

  2. #2
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by aesculanus

    Anyone that's actually put down this much money, for a career that pays so little, please, tell me how you were able to convince yourself that this was the right choice. "Because it's what I love" doesn't count, either. Apparently planners in NYC can barely manage just the base cost of living....
    Perhaps you need to ask yourself what is more important....money or doing something you love.

    If it's money then go to law school, if it's something you love then pursue it with all your effort and know that money does not equal happiness in a career.

    I think it is interesting that you pick on NYC for high cost of living. Last time I was in Honolulu I was blown away by how much it cost there as well. Realize that $40K-$50K is not equal in different places, you barely live in some places and you live well in others. It's all relative.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  3. #3
    Cyburbian fructa's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by aesculanus
    Apparently planners in NYC can barely manage just the base cost of living....
    I don't buy this for a second. I make around $14k a year, and *I* can manage the cost of living in NYC. JUST the base cost, mind you, but on $40K a year? No problem. You choose the base cost of your living. I live in (on the fringe of) the most beautiful neighborhood I have honestly ever seen, with more amenities, conveniences, necessities and luxuries within a 10 block radius of my home than I can list, including what I would say is the most beautiful park in New York -- and I can still eat and occasionally afford to do things like go to the dentist or go out to dinner. How? I live with roommates, I don't live in the $2 million brownstones, but in a 100+ year old brick apartment building on the shoddy side of a six-lane road, I don't have kids or pets, a car or premium cable, and we made damn sure the heat was included in our rent before signing the lease. There are cheaper places to live than where we are. There are incredibly expensive places to live. But affording the "base" cost of living? Yeah. That's what you decide it will be. Live cheap, near good stuff -- location is more important (in NY) than laundry in the building, or having a spare room for guests. Do what you love. Be happy. It's not so hard.

    (The flipside of this, of course, is that no matter who you talk to in New York, they feel like they can just barely afford the base cost of living, because we adjust our interpretation of the "base" cost according to our incomes. Millionaires will tell you the same thing as those of us getting by on under $20k a year. I think this is the case in other places, as well. It's really no different here.)

  4. #4

    Stomach the loans?

    I'd like to also hear from someone who decided it was worth it to take the loans to go to a big name school? I know you are out there. At least 25 of you much exist (I'm looking at you the 25 Harvard MUP students per year). Surely you thought it was worth the debt. How?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally posted by plannerer
    I'd like to also hear from someone who decided it was worth it to take the loans to go to a big name school? I know you are out there. At least 25 of you much exist (I'm looking at you the 25 Harvard MUP students per year). Surely you thought it was worth the debt. How?
    I'd like to hear about this too

  6. #6
    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
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    The salaries here are dated the website says. However, NYCEDC, for example, is having fellowships for graduating seniors at $42,000 annual salary - so if you hold a masters (which most ppl there do) and work for their city planning or RED or whatever you're definitely making more straight out. Working for the HPD straight out of grad school will pay you in the 50s. In addition, government agencies - while they don't pay insane amounts - also offer better benefits packages than private firms.

    It's all a matter of where you work and what you do - some planners go into non-profit work which drives down the median salary; others just do part-time consulting. I had one professor who was a planner and dabbled a bit in RED and spent most of his career earning 6-figure salaries. Honestly, so long as I can afford to live okay, I don't really care if I can build a stock portfolio or live in a luxury doorman apartment (or whatever the new American dream is) because I'd much rather do what I am really interested in than kill myself as an investment banker.

  7. #7

    !

    Quote Originally posted by fructa
    You choose the base cost of your living.
    Great points in that post. Reminds me of people I know from back home who can't pay their bills/child support/retirement savings but have mega- cell phone plans and 123,343,456,454 cable channels for their flat screen.

  8. #8
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    Why do you have to go to an Ivy League school to get a planning education?

    Quote Originally posted by aesculanus
    when I see something like this, it really makes me question the rationality of ANOTHER 2 years of school at over $30K ivy league when I could be out there working.............

    Numbers like this even make me question an investment in a low-budget public school like Hunter.

    Anyone that's actually put down this much money, for a career that pays so little, please, tell me how you were able to convince yourself that this was the right choice. "Because it's what I love" doesn't count, either. Apparently planners in NYC can barely manage just the base cost of living....
    By the way, I'm a planner in NYC and I think I'm managing the "base cost of living" (whatever that means) just fine. I may not have a classic 6 overlooking Central Park or a 2,500 sq ft loft in the meatpacking district, but I also don't live in a postage-stamp-sized basement apartment in the South Bronx. As with many big cities, there are affordable housing options if you're willing to live a little further out, brave neighborhoods outside of the cocoon of Manhattan, and maybe live with a roommate or two for a couple of years. It's not that bad.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 03 Apr 2006 at 12:27 PM.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian shishi's avatar
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    you can do it

    If you decide to come to NYC for school you can lower your costs if you are willing and able. as Fructa said, many things can be cut from a budget. I have no car, wired phone line, cable, internet, and so forth. Honestly, you don't really need any of these things if you can live without them or use alternatives. Get a bike, cell phone plan that is affordable, library/free wi/fi, and cheap rent relativily speaking.

    If you move here do get a roomate and you can be spending as little as $200-$300 a month.

    As for getting out of school and decent pay, avoid working for a non-profit. I have be doing housing work for various non-profits for the last 7 years. The pay is not that great but it has given me skills and exp. I would not have been able to get without having a masters. At this point I just took a new job with the city with a good pay increase and will still go to Hunter on ft/pt basis depending on how many night classes will fit into my schedule.

    Now, is this the ideal FT study for 2 year, no. I am going to pay out of pocket so when I am all done I'll have the dergree, no debt from it, and the option to move up the ladder with my new credentials.

    I won't lie, living in NYC at times is hard, and the income gaps among its residents do get to people.

    Feel free to PM me with any questions.

  10. #10

    In my day....

    And I thought I had it bad! It's nice to work in the Pacific Northwest, make 40K+ straight out of school and still graduate from one of the top Planning Programs on the West Coast......course it's not NYC, but like someone pointed out, it's all relative.

    I think anyone will tell you this one thing....internships, internships, internships. Paid or not, they pay dividends in experience.....
    Forechecking is overrated.

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