I am twenty four years old. I am supposed to be investing in the stock market, or so they say on Fox Business News. I am unpatriotic and irresponsible for not doing so. I am not supposed to be living with family. I am supposed to buy a house. I am supposed to get a four year degree at least and then supplement that degree with a graduate degree because bachelors degrees have become so ubiquitous. I am supposed to buy a car, life insurance, cable television, and a smart phone. Not only am I supposed to buy these things, but I am also expected to get married and have multiple children. Yes, these things are actually being said. I am going to add up the cost of these “responsibilities”.
House: Differs depending on Market. DFW area 3 bed 2 bath: $110,000
Four Year Degree at Non-Ivy League College: Approximately $30,000
Masters Degree at Non-Ivy League College: $20,000 (a steal as of 2014)
Car: 2014 Toyota Prius: MSRP 25,010 so maybe down to $23000
Smart Phone: Not Counted
Health Insurance (required by law): approximately $3600 per year
First year of having a baby (not including cost of birth) $6,282 – babycenter.com baby cost calculator
Life Insurance: (May need to tweak for age) $300 per year
The Total: $193,182 DEBT for one year of this “responsible grownup” life. That is before home upkeep, car upkeep, groceries, utilities, etc. Make no mistake, this is all debt. Every time I hear a news story about college I cringe when I hear about how “Mom and Dad” must feel about it. I cringe because “Mom and Dad” are not paying for college. The vast majority of students pay for college using student loans. The scholarships just aren’t there and “Mom and Dad” are not usually millionaires. If you apply for a grant, even if your parents give you ZERO support, even if you don’t even have a relationship with your parents, you have to use their tax returns when applying. If your parents make more than $20,000 per year (adjusted gross income) you don’t qualify. There are no grants for graduate students.
I also cringe when I hear that anyone who wants a job can get one, or is just being too picky.
Point number one: That’s easy for you to say. It is very easy for a forty year old with a long resume to say there are plenty of jobs. It just isn’t so. I hear “just take any job”. Sure. Then I’m not going to bother with paying $50,000 for degrees to work at a gas station.
Point Number two: Those mythical jobs are just not there. They are not. You can’t get a job digging ditches in this country. I have literally tried. It is so unreasonable and ridiculous to keep trying applications, I have started my own business to employ myself. That’s right, I’m not some welfare recipiant pretending I can’t find a job. I was a professional job applicant for years. The dirty little secret about those “Now Hiring” signs is that it is a flat out lie. Those signs help boost the reputation of those businesses. “Now Hiring” means “We are successful”. It also means “You can safely invest in our company”. There are whole neighborhoods of businesses in your city, any city, that have had these dishonest signs for years while they are in fact downsizing. Keep in mind, I’m not whining. (not that that is a legitimate criticism) I’ve started my own business. These are just the facts. Those who go inside to apply are turned away and told that they can apply online and it will go “on file”. Many times you can go on the company website and it will actually show you that your location isn’t hiring. I have filled out hundreds, possibly thousands of those applications.
My point is this: It is not responsible, reasonable, or even do-able to go down that list and follow those directions. Live your own life and make your own decisions. It is irresponsible to have children before you can afford to feed them. College is a decision that will affect the rest of your life. So is getting married, having children, and taking on the kind of debt we are talking about here. You can take your parents advice, but you don’t have to follow it. Remember they are probably not taking the reality of 2014 into account. Some things haven’t changed since 1978 but there is no such thing as “working your way through college”. That was when their student loan debt was eleven hundred dollars. Total. Remember that you will be drudging along in your career long after they are dead. Don’t listen to anyone tell you you can’t do something, and just as important, don’t listen when they tell you that you HAVE to do something.
Most of the garbage our generation catches is actually a symptom of a lack of responsibility on the part of the “baby boom” generation. All of them. The politicians, the parents, the teachers, all of them. That won’t be a popular opinion but I don’t care. When I grow up and go out into the world and there are no jobs, no money, no values, no morals, no standards, and no dignity, it is delusional to blame the generation that just turned 18.
6 Ways Companies Are Secretly Screwing Over Job Applicants
Project Student Debt
“The College Conspiracy”
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