Give Me Back My Five Bucks

It’s time to go back to school

It was my birthday earlier this week, and have spent a lot of time reflecting on what I’ve done so far in life. When I was younger, I always thought I’d be married with kids, and have a beautiful house as well as a flourishing career by the time I was 30. Well, I don’t have any of these things, but life isn’t so bad. :)

I don’t have a house, but I do have a townhouse. Buying my own home was a goal I’ve had for many years, and paying for it myself makes it extra special. It took me 6 years to save for that down payment, but when I finally had those house keys in my hand… it was definitely worth it. As for owning a house? That’s a dream I’m going to have to let go for a long time if I want to stay in the Vancouver area. I’m not willing to live any further out in the suburbs than I already am, and in fact my next move (whenever that is) will likely be closer into the heart of Vancouver.

I’m thankful that I still look young enough to get ID’d buying lottery tickets and alcohol. And while my field hockey skills are definitely fading, every year (when I’m not injured), I’m able to run faster and longer distances. I’m also healthier than I’ve been in years, and have successfully transitioned to a vegetarian diet, which I’m happy about.

I’ve had some pretty great relationships even though I’m not married. Some ended poorly, yes, that’s true. But some ended well, and I got to explore the world, learn about myself, and figure out exactly what I want. Which leads me to today, where I’ve been dating a great guy and we just celebrated one year together. :)

As for my career, that’s a funny one. I used to think I was doing really well for myself. I was confident in my full-time job, and I was working hard at my side projects. But then, life happened. I started focusing on buildng stronger relationships with my friends and loved ones. And then all of a sudden, I didn’t have time to work 80 hours a week anymore. Or rather, I didn’t want to.

And now, I feel like my career has stalled a bit. Sure, I still believe I’m employable. I have well-rounded skills, and even in a tough job market, I’m always able to find work with good companies. But I’m not growing, and I’m beginning to realize that in order to be happy in my career, I need to continue to learn and develop my skills. I’m not satisfied where I am, and education will help me take the next step in my career.

One of my goals for 2014 was to start looking into management programs, and I think I’ve narrowed my choices down to two programs at two different universities. Both are part-time (one is completely online, and one is evenings and weekends), and both will give me a business management certificate.

To be honest, the major reason why I haven’t aggressively pursued further education until now is the cost. I’m not willing to take out student loans, and I’ve had so many other life goals I wanted to achieve before I put my money into myself. But now’s the time, and thankfully it looks like my employer is willing to entertain the idea of helping me with some of the cost.

I’ve signed up to attend information sessions for both of these programs, and have emailed briefly with the coordinators. There are significant differences to these programs – the major one being the length of time required. One is 6 courses, and the other is 14. I’m leaning towards the longer one, but can’t say for sure until I learn more about them at the info sessions.
My goal is to be taking classes as early as January (more realistically, the spring/summer), and by this time next year, I’ll be well on my way to bettering myself and my future.31 was a fun year, but I think 32 is going to be pretty great as well. :)

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. So the 80 hour work week was the secret eh? I used to wonder how you got so much done! Having a family with 2 kids, I just can’t justify that many hours! Glad you’ve slowed down since though as there is more to life than work for sure!

    Good luck in your new management course. I hope you find the personal growth you are looking for.

  2. dojo says:

    Happy birthday :)

    I think it’s a good idea to do some schooling, if you feel it will help you further. We should never stop learning. Keep us posted and best of luck.

  3. I would consider a townhouse a house and say you can cross that one off the list.

    There is definitely more to like than 80 hour work weeks. Good luck with the management courses!

  4. tawcan says:

    Happy birthday. Going back to school is great especially if your employer can pay for part of it.

    I’ll go crazy if I were to work 80 hours a week.

  5. L says:

    Happy birthday and good luck with school! I would say you seem to be rocking it at 32

  6. Congrats on your decision to pursue higher learning. Similar to you I don’t plan to work 80 hours a week forever. While I’m happy with my career as a pension analyst, I believe I can do better. Perhaps I will consider going back to school – after I write a book on personal finance that is.

  7. Maria says:

    Happy birthday and best of luck in finalizing your decision regarding your education/ career advancement!

  8. Happy birthday! A good time to reflect on life. You’ve accomplished so much! You are in a “good place” to resume your studies.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal, and good for you for making the decision to go back to school. I did it myself and I’m glad I did. One thing that might be worth looking into for either of these management courses is to see if they offer equivalent credit for work/life experience. It might reduce the number courses you may have to take and could save you some time. Good luck!

  10. Matt says:

    Also xrismas is coming i love this season

  11. Happy birthday! Sounds like things are going really well for you :). One thought on school: I actually worked full-time at the university where I got my master’s degree, which meant they paid for my tuition. Not sure if that’s a benefit that the schools you’re looking at offer, but, might be a consideration especially if your current employer isn’t going to cover all of your tuition.

  12. Catherine says:

    Hi Krystal– Just found your blog and read your article on Target prices in the US versus Canada. Have you found that they have changed their pricing strategy at all? Do you still think it is better to cross the border and shop in the US?

    Thanks! Love your blog : )

  13. Karen says:

    Regardless of whether or not your career is heading in the direction you want to, I think that everyone should continue to take courses, schedule permitting. I am in the process of applying for my master’s part-time. I am hoping to get in by next summer, but if not, I will try again in the fall. My work will pay for it one course at a time, so that’s another reason for me to pursue it.

  14. ourbigfatwallet2014 says:

    Happy (belated) birthday and best of luck in your courses. My wife is in grad school right now so I can see first hand how it can be difficult to try to balance it all at once

  15. Gail timmer says:

    It is time to write something on your blog!

  16. Anonymous says:

    You need surgery on both your feet and you consider yourself healthy? 30 years old?

    • jilly says:

      please go away. what joy do you get out of trolling? seriously if you don’t like her content or whatever, why come here? you’re going to push her away from blogging and ruin it for a whole bunch of other people. eff off.

      • Anonymous says:


        No trolling, this young lady has a whole lot of her life ahead of her. She is apparently stressing her feet thru long distance running. What quality of life will she have decades from now? How much more difficult will it be for her to carry a child if she has mobility issues? It’s a shame to see young people hurt themselves.

        Denial is not a river in Egypt.

        • jilly says:

          She’s taking the steps towards remedying her situation… Just because she needs bunion surgery it doesn’t mean she is unhealthy at all. She isn’t in denial at all in my opinion. And this person or persons are trolling by posting stupid and silly comments and lately Krystal doesn’t even post more than once a week. They’re ruining the open atmosphere she cultivated for intelligent and thought provoking conversation over here. If they’re so concerned for her health, they can help her in a lot of other ways.

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