A few of us here at MortgageKeeper live and work from Minneapolis…home of long winters, glorious (but short) summers, and the Mall of America.
Today at the Mall, one of us was people-watching. What we saw was a twenty-something sporting a charcoal colored tee shirt with these words:
“Debt Free is the New Sexy.”
True? False? Is being debt free better these days that being wealthy? Or attractive? What do you think?
We were moved by an article on the Opinion page of The Wall Street Journal late last month. Entitled, “It’s Possible to Graduate Debt-Free. Here’s How” it details one young woman’s persistent effort to finish college without debt. She succeeded, but the work it involved seemed to us nothing less than Herculean. Online classes, going to a different college freshman year because of an attractive scholarship, searching endlessly for additional scholarships, raising and selling cattle, full-time summer employment–all got her to her goal. (She didn’t mention meals of Ramen noodles, but the parent in us is not convinced she finished college without missing a lot of nutritious eats.)
After reading the article, we were left feeling a little hollow inside. While we applaud this woman’s tenacity and resourcefulness, we wondered how we–as a society that seems to value education–got to this point. Why are only 38% of student loan holders making payments? Why is student loan debt estimated to be more than $1 trillion? And how can any student without a trust fund make payments on loans of $40,000 a year? Many smart minds are seeking solutions, and others are joining MortgageKeeper in figuring out ways to help those who hold loans hold their own.
Here’s hoping we all work as persistently to find solutions as this young woman did to buck the borrowing trend.