Posts Tagged ‘ student loans ’

EVERY United States Citizen Can Agree On This.

Realizing that everyone and anyone can see the posts on this blog for all of eternity, I’m generally pretty careful about posting irrelevant or caustic opinions (generally–ha!).

I just came across this video of Rand Paul confirming what no one would be surprised to know: Congress still doesn’t read the bills it votes on.

If this doesn’t piss you off, you are too preoccupied to care, or just don’t have the motivation to do anything about it.

How can we break the “fever” in this country? Year after year, we vote the same people into office who, in the real world, would have long ago been fired for their actions. How can we get people to stop seeing RedState/BlueState and work together to find candidates who will actually DO HIS JOB in Congress?

The (Supposed) Coming College Bubble…

I have a dilemma here.

I’m at the point in my life where I finally have the motivation, drive, and work ethic to go after–and actually complete–a Bachelor’s degree (I’ll be majoring in International Business/Finance…not sure which, yet).  You may remember that I tried this roughly twelve years ago, and failed miserably at it for various reasons.  Well, that was then, and this is now.  

Today, I have been accepted to two universities so far, and one is pretty well-known the country over as a premier DC school.  Of course, it is also a private school, and runs nearly $40K per year.  To the average American, someone even thinking of taking out roughly $120-150K in student loans is absolutely nuts to do so in this economy.  To those in high and powerful places, that amount of money was well worth the investment.  I have not yet heard a decision from Georgetown, but if it was good enough for the likes of John Foster Dulles, Robert Gates, and Bill Clinton, it’s plenty good enough for me.

Many who actually know something about the way economics and business work have been saying for the last five years or so that college tuition is a bubble.  It probably is–tuition keeps rising so dramatically because student loans are easy to get, and the school isn’t held accountable for what happens in the marketplace.  That is–the government is subsidizing all of these student loans, so there is no real competition amongst the schools–they just get an almost infinite supply of students who have access to the money they are asking for.  If there was competition between institutions, Economics 101 would show that tuition prices would drop like a stone.  I’ve been watching a lot of Shark Tank lately–great show, if you’ve never seen it–and Mark Cuban seems to be someone who I identify with as far as methods and approach to problem-solving.  He’s a hard-nose, and he can be ruthless (I need to work on that part, I guess), but he knows what he’s doing.

He posted recently on his blog about the coming bursting of the college tuition bubble, and it has me at a crossroads.

Will this bubble finally burst in three years?  Five years?  Ten years?  When will this situation happen?  What will be the catalyst?

Herein lies the dilemma.

I don’t have five or ten years to wait around for this thing to happen.  I have right now.  As it is right now, I’ll be overpaying for my education by many times, I’m sure, but my choices seem to be either do it, or wait.  And I’m not putting my entire life on hold so I can be pursuing my first degree in my late thirties, while I have kids running around and a career to tend to.  I don’t want to make foolish decisions here–I’m very well aware of the implications of taking on this debt–but I don’t have the time to sit around and wait for things to blow up, and then settle again.  Plus, if you look at things pragmatically, after the housing bubble burst, no one had access to any loans.  What the heck good could come of that for me?  Sure, tuition came way down, but still not enough to attend school without a loan…which no one will be able to get for five years afterward, while the market resets itself…

I guess I am torn about it because I still feel like a college degree hasn’t reached the point of having a negative ROI–for those focused on my major, in particular–but at the same time, the inflated prices of tuition (and don’t forget books, too), are enough to make me, the average American, cringe.

Tell me your stories, Blogosphere.  How has your education made or broken your job prospects?  Has it changed the way you make decisions?  Think about money?  Think about your career?

Heck, is anyone else out there in my shoes?

Confessions Of A (Quasi) Boomerang Kid

I have to admit that this kind of makes me laugh.   Boomers are sitting around wondering why it’s taking so long for their kids to fly the coop.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22Adulthood-t.html?_r=1 Now that I’m an adult, I can see both sides of the coin, but the kid in me has no problem figuring out why “boomerang kids” return home after school. The reason is pretty simple:  It’s literally because they have to.

They’ve just dropped thirty, fifty, a hundred grand on student loans, can barely afford the eight- or ten-year-old piece of crap they’re still making the smallest payments they can on each month, and they are having a harder time than nearly any other generation finding a good job.  Actually, it isn’t only trying to find a good job that’s difficult; for many students who got into a prestigious school but didn’t get enough financial aide to finish, or students who changed majors, or students who just partied too much, the credit cards are quickly doing them in.  Many students have come out into the real world into a place that was different than when they went in.  Now, if you don’t have decent credit (or if you have a mountain of credit debt from school, as my wife does, thanks to a shortage on her financial aide), your likelihood of getting a liveable-wage job drops dramatically.

And this isn’t to say that good jobs aren’t out there; they are (beginning to be).  The problem is that employers want people with experience, and there are currently plenty of those people–so a brad-new college grad is thrown out of that ring immediately.  What’s left, then?  These new grads are at that point relegated to either trying to get one of the remedial jobs they had to get through school (which they won’t get because those employers know how over-qualified they are and will leave the first chance they get to start their career), or they’re stuck accepting some kind of internship that pays below the poverty line for no other reason than to get their foot in the door of their field.  So, what else can they do? Well, the obvious choice for someone in this position is return home and grind it out until you can launch your career.  If you don’t have that option, you’ll likely suck it up and rent out a house with five or six other people just to cheapen the rent.  A large problem here is that, even in times of despair, a credit card still provides that instant gratification, and now we’re seeing twenty-five-year-olds filing for bankruptcy.  And even if we do have good or great credit, we’ve learned now from the last few years that even if we could pre-qualify for a half-million dollar home, there’s no reason to try and get one because we can’t even afford Christmas presents or wedding gifts for the people we love.

Let’s face it, it’s really hard to get out of Mom and Dad’s place anymore.  Without any real traction (read: contacts) in our career field, many of us simply have nowhere else to turn.  We’re trying, believe us.  We’re no more thrilled about living at home at twenty-five than you are, and we cannot wait to go from this to this !

Do any of you out there have a boomerang kid, or have had to BE one at an age you never thought would happen?  Tell us your tale.  And what if you never had to return home?  Was it by luck, or design?  How did you avoid it, and what tips could you give current college students?  The juniors and seniors in particular will appreciate your wisdom!

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