I graduated with my doctoral degree in the spring of 1997. That was a long time ago, yet somehow I am still paying off my student loans (my final payment will be made September of 2015). My wife and I graduated on the same day from Washington State University: she received a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, and I received an Individual Interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy. So as you can imagine, between the two of us, we had to borrow a lot of money to pay for all that education--I think the sum total, with interest, came out to be a quarter of a million dollars.

Is that crazy? Maybe. But it did enable us to pursue our defined careers. More importantly, it framed the way we see the world--how we interpret reality. So, from my perspective, the value in the education is more metaphysical than it is physical, more conceptual than tangible.

What is tangible is the debt that resulted from all that education (10 years for her and 13 for me). In about a year and a half, we'll be done with all that debt, just in time to help my son and daughter pay for their college educations.

Ironic? Sure. Worthwhile? No doubt. I can think of no greater investment--other than my wife's wedding ring--than education.

Note: here's a photo of my wife's wedding ring.