Let’s have a conversation about student loan debt that you won’t have in school.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
I’d be doing us all a grave injustice if I didn’t speak on student loans in the Professional Development series here at JMTR. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart, and a topic that doesn’t get enough attention.
Some of my readers are college students, or heading to college very soon. And you’re probably quite excited because after all, college is very exciting. I remember boasting about my attendance when people asked me what “grade” I was in. “I’m actually in college…” I’d always reply. So trust me, I get your excitement.
May I apologize in advance for potentially raining on your parade with this post?
If you’re anything like me, you probably have to take out student loans in order to afford your education. At the moment, you think nothing of it, because it seems to be the thing everyone is doing right? WRONG. Everyone isn’t taking out student loans, darling. But even if everyone was, do you want to be like everyone or do you want to be wealthy like the 1% of this nation?
Let me give you the raw, unfiltered secret behind student loans. It is simply a set up to keep you in a career you’re studying for. Yessssss, you heard correctly. The government (or private banks) pay for your degree so that you are required to stay loyal at a career or job that you were never supposed to work at. Because without the safety net of the salary you’ll get at that career, you cannot pay your student loans back.
So here you are. Graduation and your 6 month grace period has come and gone. And now you’re paying hundreds of dollars each month towards your student loan balance. A balance that totals more than your annual salary. And now you’re barely floating above water because the school you took out loans for never required for you to take a course on financial literacy. So it’s little savings, many lattes from Starbucks, brunch every weekend, Dubai in the summer, happy hour every evening after work and you’re still paying the minimum payment each month towards your student loan balance. But, guess what? The balance isn’t changing (because interest). Now, you hate your job, but you have bills to pay and you’re too entitled to cut back on fruitless spending so you decide to get another job that pays more. Now you’re at a new job; more money more problems. You hate it even more so to balance your disdain for your new gig, you travel and go out more, all while still paying the minimum balance towards your loans. One year later, and your balance still hasn’t move. In fact, you now owe so much more than you did when you first graduated, because interest.
The narrative above probably resonates with so many of us, especially me if I’m honest. And at some point, we have to be honest with ourselves and determine if this is what life is about. Did we really spend four years and thousands of dollars in student loans obtaining a degree for a career we aren’t even destined to have? Yes- but now it’s too late!
Or is it?
If you finging yourself in a similar predicament, then my suggestion is start to educate yourself on financial literacy. Oftentimes, we forget that what we make (ie. salaries) is not what’s really important. Rather, how much we keep is important. The definition of net worth is your assets minus your liabilities. That’s why there are multi- millionaires who make $40,000 yearly and broke-onaires who make $200,000 year. One of my favorite finance people, Dave Ramsey, always says “Live like no one else now, so that you can live like no one else later.” And all that means is, we must learn to live really frugal lives now to destroy our debts and in the future, when we are millionaires, we can live like no one else does.
I won’t make it a habit to spend much time talking about topics I’m not well versed in. So for now, I’ll reference the people who can help you get to where you want to be financially. Whether you’re a recent graduate or just starting college, be sure to educate yourself on how student loans work, and how many works in general. You cannot increase that which you cannot manage. As long as you’re a poor manager of money, you will never have enough. Check out my favorite finance gurus below: