I'm currently working as a Senior Engineer (Mechanical) for a large company. However, I am increasingly finding the work to be dull and lacking in challenge. I don't think I can bear to spend the next 20-30 years like this - I feel that I am not making use of my true abilities and I yearn to be doing something more novel and breaking new ground.
I live in the US (Boston area) and I have been looking around at what other opportunities are available; however, it seems that many of the more interesting-looking positions (which are more research-based) require a PhD. I majored in fluid dynamics and have some experience in CFD, so I am looking at positions that lean towards that area.
So, I am considering whether I should do a PhD, which seems to be a logical choice if I want to be doing more intellectually-challenging work. However, right now I am earning a good salary; I have a big mortgage to pay and a 3 year old kid to support. Doing a PhD seems like it would be a very difficult path to take, from a financial standpoint: not only would I have to give up my healthy salary, but I would also most likely have to pay a lot in tuition fees, in which case I would go from earning ++$ to -$, which would be very difficult to manage.
So, my question is: is it possible to do a PhD at my stage in life, whilst also paying the mortgage and supporting my family? What is the best way to balance this?
I should probably also mention that I have a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering from a top UK university (I moved to the US from the UK a few years ago).