This is a hot time in the presidential campaign season. The abbreviated Republican National Convention in Tampa wrapped up last week. The Democratic National Convention is currently in full swing. In my spare time, I’m a political junkie. However; I purposefully do not engage in political topics on this blog because it would be a distraction from what is universally important – personal finances. So while I watched and have a lot to say about both conventions, one thing that the first lady, Michelle Obama, recently said caught my Debt Free Divas attention.
“We were so young, so in love, and so in DEBT!” She referenced an earlier time in their marriage when the couple’s combined student loan debt was higher then their mortgage. Yikes! Grant it, they have a couple of Ivy League degrees in their pockets. The average student loan debt is $25,000 for graduating seniors. Some will be significantly higher. While these young graduates may not yet be “in love”, those big bills can dramatically limit your future life plans. With the suitable employment rate for recent graduates at 50%, (i.e. only half of the graduates emerge with jobs they can brag on) 100% of students with student loans will be expected to start repaying them at some point regardless of your income and employment status. High student loan debts can impact the options available to pursue your passion. Instead you have to pursue employment that can pay living expenses + loans.
While the first lady’s comment was light-hearted and sparked laughter from the audience (me included), dealing with student loan debt and limited employment options is no laughing matter. So enjoy your youth. Fall in love. Just please avoid the debt! We don’t all have presidential aspirations or million dollar book deals (how the Obamas ultimately retired their student loans) in our future.