Does America Need a Student Loan Debt Revolution?

 

Takeaway

  • Millennials have lower levels of personal wealth than the previous two generations 
  • Student debt affects Millennials’ ability to reach life milestones like getting married and buying a home
  • Scroll down for a video about how you can gain financial independence

Everyone deserves the right to financial independence, but why does that seem far out of reach for many Millennials? Part of the American Dream is to get a college education; however, student loans reached the trillion-dollar mark in 2011. According to Pew Research, young adults between ages 18 and 33 are “the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles.”   

As young adults are consumed with student debt, they are putting retirement savings on the back burner. Discussing a survey conducted by Financial Finesse and Forbes, certified financial planner Erik Carter said Millennials “are the generation that are the least likely to be on track for retirement. They’re the generation that will have the most changes with retirement programs changing, pensions going away, taxes going up, and they’re ignored.”   

Can we ignore these issues? Can we accept debt as a way of life? You can say that money isn’t important, but there is a growing trend of young adults delaying important life steps because of money. Milestones like getting married, starting a family, or buying a home are happening later and later in life due to shortfalls in finances. 

Rohit Chopra from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said, “First-time home-buyers are a substantial part of the housing market. … Instead of saving for a down payment, these borrowers are sending big {student loan} payments every month.”

What is our generation doing about student loan debt, the decline of pension plans, and delay of standard adult milestones? It seems like no one is protesting except for the Occupy Wall Street people who proclaim themselves “The 99%” and insinuate that big banks are evil. The irony is that Occupy Wall Street followers continue to use products from these “evil” big banks, such as credit cards and loans. Historically speaking, when protests occur, people stop using the product they are protesting — it’s all about buying power. 

With student loans hitting the trillion-dollar mark and the national debt climbing over $17 trillion, it is time for a financial revolution. 

Instead of fighting to gain financial independence, most people continue borrowing money and taking on more debt with car loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Change starts with the individual, and you can make a difference with how you personally spend money. 

Not happy with your credit card debt? Stop using your credit card. Are you sick of your student loans? Get a part-time job and pay them off early. There is an undeniable purchasing power within us all.

 

 

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About the Author

Carly DeFelice

Founder, Cash Money Revolution

Carly is the founder of Cash Money Revolution, she graduated with a degree in Finance from the McCombs School of Business. She went from owing...