I've been lurking for a bit here, and have most of the answers I need, but wanted to get some input on my specific situation. I see that there are a thousand "where's the magic road to being a rich pilot" posts, and I offer my sincere apologies for starting what, in my estimation, is another. I'll keep the background as brief as possible.... I am 38 years old (I actually had to check). My father had his IFR and some of my first memories were on the little 172 he learned in. He gave it up, probably because I was expensive, and hasn't pursued it since. He's spent the last 36 years in the Insurance industry, which is probably what got me started in sales. I have been in some combination of sales, management, training, and tech for the last... well, I started selling at 14... so... Got my AAS in Telecomm.. mostly useless as I see it now... Fast forward to about 5 years ago...I'm Director of Sales for an engineering company in Des Moines, we had an SR-22 that we used for everything within about 800 miles of here, and my nagging passion for flying was rekindled. The plane was a spoiler. Avidyne glass dash, TKS, the works... But I sell, not fly, right? My most recent gig was as an Outside Account Manager for a distribution company. Nice job, 25% travel, solid pay... and I was let go in June due to a buyout and Reduction in Force... last in, first out, regardless of revenue, it seems. I've had some reality checks since then, which leads me here. The thought of working at every job I interview for in the sales field makes me want to suck-start my pistol. I just can't do it anymore.. I love the sale, the negotiation... but the prospecting.. I just can't anymore. So, fall back on my Tech background? I love travel too much.. the idea of sitting at a desk soldering or scribbling out schematics kills my soul. I've read and agree with what everyone has said about "pay as you go", and the experience of it. However, I have 4 kids to feed, and I don't have the luxury of that much time. If I'm going to do this, I have to go all in. What I've discovered is that the local Community College's 141 program is in DESPERATE need of CFII's. My plan is/was this: Get my IFR and 100hrs here locally in Ankeny, head to ATP in SoCal to knock out everything else up to CFII (multi, ect). CFI here says that could be in as little as 90-100 days if I push (which I will). I have 100% of my time to devote to gaining certifications now, and my hope was to be able to go to work for the college as a CFI in the spring. Here are the catches... I can't entertain a Regional job after my 1500 due to time away from home. My better half's ex was a truck driver and it didn't work out. I'd have to stay CFI until something with less than 50% travel opened up.. Des Moines has a LOT of corporate headquarters... Wells Fargo, Farm Bureau, John Deere, Pella Windows, Dwolla, even FaceBook and Google now.. and they're needing pilots pretty regularly from what I see. That's the good news. Here's the only catch... I'm going to have to finance the school and probably put bills on the credit card until the CFI thing hits. I've seen the finance options through Wells Fargo and Sally Mae for ATP.. I can't seem to get a clear answer on whether or not Federal Aid is available... are there any other options I'm missing? Grants? Employer contracts willing to pay for training? Am I nuts to think this is a good switch at this age with 4 kids? (12, 11, 10, and 8). If I'm not portable, am I nuts to think that Des Moines is a place I can make a paycheck? Is my timeline completely out of whack? Bottom line, I want to fly for the passion, but I also have to pay the bills. This is my dream, but it has to be financially feasible, even if it doesn't make financial good sense.. Any honest feedback requested and welcome.