Focusing on the economic payoffs for a PH.D is common as if the only thing that’s important in higher ed is the money one gets, or doesn’t get as a result of going on to higher education opportunities.
Money isn’t a really good reason to get a Ph.D. I suspect Ph.D’s who went “for the money” are going to be the worst people to hire.
There’s another huge reason to go to graduate school (actually there’s a few other reasons), but here….
Why University Education: Your Path to Lifelong Freedom and Choice
You can look at a university education in many ways: a means to get a job, a quest for meaning, an opportunity to explore career paths, but my favorite way is to think of university as a means to secure your future freedom of life choices.