Thursday, April 22, 2010

Student Loans (i.e. DEBT)

I decided to work full-time and go to school so that my additional student loan burden would be minimal after I graduate.  With $20,000+ worth of student loans from my undergraduate career, my goal a few years back was to find a company that would pay for my continuing education.  Ha - I definitely picked the wrong time in history AND the wrong industry for that to happen. 

Because I have a background in economics, I think I look at costs a little differently than others.  I'm always examining ROI, opportunity cost and the long-run benefits of everyday purchases.  I've never had a ton of disposal income, so I make sure my wardrobe can double for day and night.  I drive a sedan that is good on gas, and I think I'm generally pretty thrifty.  But the idea of getting saddled with $800 a month worth of student loans for the next fifteen years of my life is seriously daunting; that's more than a mortgage in most states.

They say it's worth it most of the time.  If all goes according to plan, I'll leave Pepperdine with a job that makes twice what I'm pulling in now and I will have fulfilled a lifelong dream.  But at what cost?

But being burdened with over $80,000 worth of student loans before the age of thirty is hefty.  It definitely means I'll have to put off buying a home and even having children.  It will mean fewer vacations and less freedom to eventually be self-employed.  But it also hopefully means more opportunities.  A different way of seeing the world, new relationships and life-changing experiences.

There are plenty of people my age with the same educational background making much more money without the additional student loan burden.  But how did they get there?  It's all a series of choices we make in our life, and the majority of the time I'm fairly certain I made the one that was right for me.  But there are times when I wish I had a crystal ball. I guess we all would, right?! 

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