When Felix Salmon left Reuters to join the team at Fusion.net earlier this year, people raised eyebrows. After all, he had a successful blog and a massive following – why would he abandon some of that?

His justification:

“The reason why I am going to Fusion is that they have the ability to help me communicate in the ways that people are going to consume information in the future. Which is not 1,500-word blocks of text.”

Which I think is a really valid point – he said ironically in this block of text.

Anyway, since then, I’ve been checking in at fusion.net every so often to see what he meant. And this weekend, I discovered this interactive illustration of the relationship between student debt, education, and lifetime earnings. Which entertained me for a good 20 minutes.

Some things I learned:

1. Men with standard degrees seem to have more money in their lives than people with Masters Degrees and Phds. But less money than men with MBAs. Eventually.

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2. It’s better to be a college dropout than a community college graduate, or a graduate from a “For-Profit” college (!!).

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3. Sorry ladies.

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4. Sorry ladies with MBAs even.

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5. Men with MBAs have a range of great prospects.

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6. Ladies with MBAs – less so.

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7. We should all have become doctors.

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Here are a few more “featured charts” from the Fusion writers.

But some observations:

  1. The data used here comes from payscale.com.
  2. Which is not a criticism – it’s just based on historic data drawn from survey forms completed by individuals that come to the website to find out whether they’re earning enough in their current jobs.
  3. This could skew the result in favour of those that are underpaid (after all, they’d have the greatest incentive to come and check things).
  4. Even if the data is very up-to-date, from what I can tell, it still implicitly assumes that today’s salaries are static, and therefore the best indicator of future salaries. Which might not quite be the trend.
  5. For example, if doctor’s salaries are so high relative to everything else, you might get more of today’s high school students trying to get into medicine, which could affect the whole equilibrium of supply and demand.
  6. But still, I was entertained.

Check it out.

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha.