Mocking the World since 2003

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Excuse Me While I Kill Myself 

There is an article in The Village Voice this week by Brendan Koerner entitled Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young. Let me give you a little taste:
High levels of debt preclude the young from getting the sweetest mortgage deals, and they often end up in the clutches of sub-prime lenders. On average, people who had to borrow their way to a graduate degree are already behind $45,900; median debt for grad students has increased 72 percent since 1997. (Aspiring doctors have it the worst, with average loans of $103,855.) Add to those obligations an investment in a humble bungalow, and you're on the hook for a quarter million or more - not counting interest.

The cumulative effect is that merely keeping one's head above water, rather than getting ahead, has become the top priority for Americans between the ages of 18 and 34. Pursuing the relatively modest dream of doing better than the generation before requires serious capital - up front in the form of tuition and loans, and hidden in the form of lost opportunities. Call it the ambition tax - the money you've got to pony up if you want a college degree and a shot at middle-class bliss. But it's really more of a gamble, as there's no guarantee those tens of thousands of dollars will get you where you want to go.
That's about as much of this article I can read without wanting to shoot myself. It looks like promising my first and second born to those fancy schools was a little bit risky. But I really didn't need an article to tell me that. I can just look at my checkbook.

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