A Lifetime of Debt
Writer Magdalene Perez has a great op-ed piece in The Stamford Advocate describing her student loan debt – about $57,000 that she expects to be paying on until she is 50 years old. Things ain’t how they used to be, she claims. Talking about her grandparents:
Having a simple business degree instantly changed their lives. Joe got a job at a tire company in Minnesota, and with just one income he supported his family, which quickly grew to include four kids. In less than six years, the family had enough money to buy a house, which they quickly traded for a larger one.
Magdalene sees a bleaker picture for her own generation:
Last week, the headlines announced college education may soon be unaffordable for most U.S. families. I say it already is. From 1982 to 2007, college tuition and fees rose 439 percent, while family income rose only 147 percent. Colleges drove this inflation by raising tuition in a relentless competition to price themselves into the top tier of the university system.
The question is: Are students getting more bang for their buck? Again, no. When I graduated with a master’s degree, my new employer wanted to pay me $2,000 less than I had been making before earning the degree. The bottom line is, if you are not planning on becoming a doctor or a lawyer, an advanced degree beyond college is not worth it.
With all this debt, how can I ever afford to buy a house? Or have children? What about paying for their education? These are things you don’t think about so much when you’re 18 and signing on the dotted line of the loan disbursement application.
Still, I’m always a little jealous when I hear about these five-figure debts. Right now, my loans payments suck away about 1/3 of my income each month, and I’m still going to be paying longer than Magdalene – until I’m 55. Oh well. See you all in the Retirement Trailer Park.