Return to ROI

Something, some thought, some idea, in the back/top/middle of my head is itching.

I look at old stats such as this:

I wonder about the average cost of postsecondary education for a college student in the U.S.:

Figure 40-1: Total cost of attending an undergraduate institution for first-time, full-time students receiving aid, by level and control of institution and living arrangement: Academic year 2010-11

Figure 40-1: Total cost of attending an undergraduate institution for first-time, full-time students receiving aid, by level and control of institution and living arrangement: Academic year 2010-11

I examine tables such as this one:

Figure 29-1: Percentage of youth ages 16-24 who were neither enrolled in school nor working, by sex: Selected years, 1990-2011

Figure 29-1: Percentage of youth ages 16-24 who were neither enrolled in school nor working, by sex: Selected years, 1990-2011

Finally, I ask myself, what, based on the salaries of youth who reached adulthood, was my ROI (return on investment) of these kids?:

Figure 49-2: Median annual earnings of full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25-34, by educational attainment and sex: 2010

Figure 49-2: Median annual earnings of full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25-34, by educational attainment and sex: 2010

And that’s just the U.S. domestic market.

I’m thinking about this one…~$227k to raise a middle-class kid.  Looking at salary figures above, the kid has to work for quite a few number of years to pay back the investment in his upbringing.

Where is the line where ROI is achieved?

Meanwhile, those shrinking middle-class kids are having kids and using public resources, contributing some small amount toward supporting public employee pension funds, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc., that they hope to receive themselves one day, even if they don’t believe the benefits will be available when they reach their senior citizen years.

In other words, our investment in the average citizen continues throughout that citizen’s life, well after ROI on childhood is achieved.

But there’s something else here in and out of this data set that still itches, has itched and continues to itch every time the subject passes through my thought set.

More than social responsibility.

More than cultural expectations.

More than formative years brainwashing.

More than standard/quality of living.

I see the costs, I see the benefits of straightline ROI, but the je ne sais quoi…???

What about the noneconomic value of a person?  Where are we accounting for the individual person’s thoughts, dreams, wants, needs, etc.?

One thousand years from now, we hold a history class and talk about the concept of worship through the rise and fall of civilisations.

During the first few thousand years of our species’ history, we slowly replaced the worship of unseen deities with the worship of money, as simply demonstrated through the construction and sole function of edifices found during archaeological digs.

It took a hard turn from deity-to-money history for us to change what we worship 1000 years later.

But we’ll save that lesson for another blog entry.

Thanks to Meagan at Tenders; Joe and Jennifer at KCDC.