Author Topic: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?  (Read 48589 times)

oldtoyota

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Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« on: May 21, 2014, 07:57:46 AM »
An acquaintance is frustrated with life. He graduated from an expensive prestigious school and took out loans to attend it. The course of study was not one that anyone would think would lead to a high pay check.

This person finds himself living in a small apartment, working in a space he doesn't like, and generally feeling trapped by how little money he makes.

He thinks he's making a political statement by complaining because, basically, "Americans need to know that people like me are not having good lives."

One complaint is that so much is taken from his paycheck that he has little left over to spend and has to live with a relative.

All I could see in this situation were the responses you all would give:

Bike to work. Don't drive.
Change jobs. Keep looking until you find something else.
Reduce expenses.

This guy seems to think it's the fault of other people (I am not sure who? The government?) that he took out loans to attend a fancy school and now those loan payments take up most of his paycheck.

What are your thoughts?

The only thing I can think of is that 18 year olds--or even 20 year olds--should not be allowed to get loans for education without some excellent education as to how those loans will affect their future.




Carrie

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2014, 08:04:21 AM »
Wah, wah, wah.
Having just raised a teenager through high school graduation, I have very little sympathy with the plight of the 20-somethings who aren't happy. (Due to their entitlement issues and lack of clear planning.)
The teenager we've raised has a full ride to a decent-enough state university (where she plans to study business with a focus on hospitality), has savings in the bank for incidentals, and is opening her very first roth IRA this week.  She's 19, has worked since she turned 16, and currently makes between $13-$30/hr as a server at a high end restaurant.  She also has side jobs where she's using her hobby/talent to generate a couple thousand extra per year.  She drives a paid for 13 year old car.  She'll have a roommate to save on expenses.  She has a budget, an emergency fund and I can tell -- will be wealthy one day because of her ability to WORK HARD and save even harder.

CarDude

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 08:05:17 AM »
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

dcheesi

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 08:10:45 AM »
Wah, wah, wah.
Having just raised a teenager through high school graduation, I have very little sympathy with the plight of the 20-somethings who aren't happy. (Due to their entitlement issues and lack of clear planning.)
The teenager we've raised has a full ride to a decent-enough state university (where she plans to study business with a focus on hospitality), has savings in the bank for incidentals, and is opening her very first roth IRA this week.  She's 19, has worked since she turned 16, and currently makes between $13-$30/hr as a server at a high end restaurant.  She also has side jobs where she's using her hobby/talent to generate a couple thousand extra per year.  She drives a paid for 13 year old car.  She'll have a roommate to save on expenses.  She has a budget, an emergency fund and I can tell -- will be wealthy one day because of her ability to WORK HARD and save even harder.
Obviously if you're raised mustachian, you'll be ahead of the game. But 18yo kids who haven't ever lived on their own are highly influenced by their parents, and not all parents are as enlightened as you or I.

Plus there's clear evidence that 18-21 year-olds are still undergoing brain development, particularly in the areas controlling risk assessment and good judgement.

There's a real argument to be made here that young adults need additional help or even protections against predatory lending, etc.

Ottawa

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 08:14:50 AM »
oooh...interesting!  And difficult because:

What is poor?  This, for me, is along the lines of this discussion.  Are people poor because they have "Bad Luck" (assuming you don't want to be poor) having iterated towards a 'negative' direction by making poor* decisions.  Or, can you create your own "Good Luck" by making (on balance) decisions that iterate you towards a 'positive' or 'rich' direction? 

As for the acquaintance, I would argue that they are not poor.  They may have made sub-optimal choices.  For this I generally believe the 'blame' lies squarely on the individual's shoulders.  You have to own up to all decisions you make and use the lessons learned going forward.  This is how one iterates in the 'positive' or desired direction. 


* Pun intended, but not to be taken lightly.

FIence!

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 08:19:19 AM »
The teenager we've raised has a full ride to a decent-enough state university (where she plans to study business with a focus on hospitality), has savings in the bank for incidentals, and is opening her very first roth IRA this week. 

I've added emphasis to show that the key here is that you've raised your child to do the things she's doing. I'm going to assume that she didn't wake up one morning and realize that that IRA she'll be contributing to existed without any information being presented to her? And that she had an optimal environment in which to get good enough grades to get that scholarship?

How about kids whose parents don't even have an IRA themselves, and do the best they can to escape a similar life by taking out loans to go to a school that no one has prepared them for? Do you say "Wah, wah, wah" to them too?

Ottawa

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 08:19:41 AM »

Plus there's clear evidence that 18-21 year-olds are still undergoing brain development, particularly in the areas controlling risk assessment and good judgement.

There's a real argument to be made here that young adults need additional help or even protections against predatory lending, etc.

I really agree with this.  I would lower the first age by about 5 years though. 

If more emphasis was put on what CarSafetyGuy advocates:
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

we would have more people capable of making appropriate decisions by critically thinking. 

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2014, 08:20:40 AM »
Wah, wah, wah.
Having just raised a teenager through high school graduation, I have very little sympathy with the plight of the 20-somethings who aren't happy. (Due to their entitlement issues and lack of clear planning.)
The teenager we've raised has a full ride to a decent-enough state university (where she plans to study business with a focus on hospitality), has savings in the bank for incidentals, and is opening her very first roth IRA this week.  She's 19, has worked since she turned 16, and currently makes between $13-$30/hr as a server at a high end restaurant.  She also has side jobs where she's using her hobby/talent to generate a couple thousand extra per year.  She drives a paid for 13 year old car.  She'll have a roommate to save on expenses.  She has a budget, an emergency fund and I can tell -- will be wealthy one day because of her ability to WORK HARD and save even harder.
Obviously if you're raised mustachian, you'll be ahead of the game. But 18yo kids who haven't ever lived on their own are highly influenced by their parents, and not all parents are as enlightened as you or I.

Plus there's clear evidence that 18-21 year-olds are still undergoing brain development, particularly in the areas controlling risk assessment and good judgement.

There's a real argument to be made here that young adults need additional help or even protections against predatory lending, etc.

yeah. in a way, sure, it's no one's fault but his own. but I also agree with oldtoyota's statement:

The only thing I can think of is that 18 year olds--or even 20 year olds--should not be allowed to get loans for education without some excellent education as to how those loans will affect their future.

I had no fucking idea what I was doing when I took out >$70k in student loans. I was 17 when I started and my parents are wonderful people but haven't always made the most responsible financial decisions. it's basically total luck that I wound up in a field I enjoy that also pays really well, so I don't feel trapped by my loans. initially I wanted to be a high school English teacher... ha ha, wouldn't that be a riot right now.

Carrie, your daughter had YOU to provide an excellent example and a solid grounding in personal finance. many (most?) high schoolers aren't that lucky!

taekvideo

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 08:39:36 AM »
If they're federal loans tell him to get on an income-based repayment plan (IBR)...
If they're private then he's SOL =\

Cpa Cat

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2014, 08:41:41 AM »
Of course it's his fault (shared with his parents).

Let's assume that he had no financial knowledge and nor did his parents. He was totally financially illiterate and just made the best choices he could with the information he had at the time.

Things he did wrong:
1. He failed to educate himself. 15 minutes with Google would have given him enough information to think twice.
2. He picked an expensive course of study without adequate ROI. He could have probably figured this one out just by posting his plan on Facebook. A Magic 8 ball had at least a 50% chance of steering him away from this course of action.
3. He failed to own his mistake, which makes it hard to learn from it.


Since we're little kids, we're supposed to learn from our mistakes. When I was little, I accidentally disturbed a beehive that I didn't see. The bees came out and stung me. Do I blame the bees? No. I learned to watch out for beehives. I may not have known better, but it was still my mistake.

Should there be consumer protections in place to prevent predatory lending to teenaged nitwits? Sure. I don't think it'll stop teenaged nitwits from getting expensive, useless degrees, but at least we could stop encouraging it. If it was hard to get a loan for a Medieval English degree, maybe it would make the idealistic youths of the world take a moment to ask themselves if it's a good idea.

Should there be education in the public school system that actively discourages expensive degrees with a low ROI? Absolutely! Again, it might not stop them, but maybe it would make them pause and think. It would certainly stop them from blaming everyone but themselves.

Carrie

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2014, 08:43:35 AM »
I'm being harsh, I know. 

There is a lot of entitlement going on here though.  Why shouldn't a 20 year old live in a tiny apartment?  What's wrong with being poor when you're first starting out?  Is happiness a guaranteed rite of passage, or something that you work towards and define as you mature?

I do think counseling in what taking out loans actually means should be a pre req to being handed loans.  When I was a student, I did not take out loans because it felt wrong --- couldn't have articulated why, exactly, but it just didn't sit right, so I lived very frugally and worked my butt off during summers to pay cash as I went.  Meanwhile, classmates were racking up as much debt as they were allowed.  Never researched to find out that our field started in the high 20's, low 30's and how long it would take to pay off $40k in student loans.....

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2014, 08:47:48 AM »
Hrm... didn't we hash this topic out before with a seven page discussion?

The fault (if that's really what is important) is complex and can't be laid down on any one person or thing. I do know what is under this person's control. Making the right decisions going forward which will increase their odds of not being poor.

Gin1984

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2014, 08:48:12 AM »
Wah, wah, wah.
Having just raised a teenager through high school graduation, I have very little sympathy with the plight of the 20-somethings who aren't happy. (Due to their entitlement issues and lack of clear planning.)
The teenager we've raised has a full ride to a decent-enough state university (where she plans to study business with a focus on hospitality), has savings in the bank for incidentals, and is opening her very first roth IRA this week.  She's 19, has worked since she turned 16, and currently makes between $13-$30/hr as a server at a high end restaurant.  She also has side jobs where she's using her hobby/talent to generate a couple thousand extra per year.  She drives a paid for 13 year old car.  She'll have a roommate to save on expenses.  She has a budget, an emergency fund and I can tell -- will be wealthy one day because of her ability to WORK HARD and save even harder.
At 17, and a high school grad, I did not know enough (and this was back in the dark ages without a good internet, it was just starting) to know that when my mom said I could not legally leave at 17 (and she would call the cops if I did).  I did have some savings but knew nothing about a Roth (I truly wish I had).  I got a full academic ride but would have had to pay for living expenses.  Because my mom was raised poor and never had gone to college, she was a big proponent of community college (never mind that our state, if you look at the units requires more than 2 years to be able to transfer, if you also get the major lower division requirements done, the average community college student has to do about 20 "extra" units to transfer as a junior), therefore unless I went to community college, she would not fill out my FAFSA (and the school would not allow me to get the full ride without filling it out, which is very common).  Kids learn from their parents, I learn a lot of what NOT to do but I wish I had been able to learn what to do.

FIence!

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2014, 08:56:08 AM »
At 17, and a high school grad, I did not know enough (and this was back in the dark ages without a good internet, it was just starting) to know that when my mom said I could not legally leave at 17 (and she would call the cops if I did).  I did have some savings but knew nothing about a Roth (I truly wish I had).  I got a full academic ride but would have had to pay for living expenses.  Because my mom was raised poor and never had gone to college, she was a big proponent of community college (never mind that our state, if you look at the units requires more than 2 years to be able to transfer, if you also get the major lower division requirements done, the average community college student has to do about 20 "extra" units to transfer as a junior), therefore unless I went to community college, she would not fill out my FAFSA (and the school would not allow me to get the full ride without filling it out, which is very common).  Kids learn from their parents, I learn a lot of what NOT to do but I wish I had been able to learn what to do.

Yup, everything here. And this is probably a better story, since the mom at least encouraged/"allowed" community college. There seems to be some fantasy happening on a grand scale on these boards that every 18 year old has ideal parents who know enough and care enough to guide them. If a kid's parents suck, it's somehow the kid's fault according to a lot of what I see here.

Dezrah

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2014, 09:06:16 AM »
Disclaimer:  This is just my suspicion and I have not read any articles or conducted any studies to confirm this theory one way or another.  Don’t take what I say too seriously since I’m just rebounding for ideas.

I can’t help but feel that the whole “everyone must go to college” trend is a holdover from the late Enlightenment period when the only people who attended universities were nobles and/or wealthy.  A large number (I would say most if I knew the actual number) of early scientists, writers, and philosophers were noblemen: Newton, Copernicus, Descartes, Darwin, etc.  Who else had the time and money to waste thinking about this kind of stuff and setting up careful experiments and observations?  The peasant and working classes were probably no less intelligent and clever but they would have put their efforts toward improving their tools and daily lives instead of more esoteric pursuits. 

As evidence, a traditional “liberal arts education” is designed to touch on broad intellectual pursuits including history, science, math, language, art, literature, and so on, the whole of which is meant to create a noble, well informed mind.  The pursuing all these realms is the reward itself.  In a similar vein, we still mandate that college sports must be amateur and unpaid.  This is a holdover from a time when it was believed the purest expression of athleticism was sport for the sake of sport.

For a very long time through the 19th century there was no such thing as scholarships.  I remember reading that various professors recognized that Edgar A. Poe was a brilliant writer but when his family fell on hard times and the money ran out, he was forced to drop out despite the pleas of his teachers that he stay.

So, for centuries we’ve had college and university systems where only the nobles and wealthy could attend.  It should not be surprising then that this education produced people who succeeded in life; it’s much easier to succeed when you’re already connected and rich.  I suspect this trend actually continued well into the 20th century at which point the newly wealthy middle class figured this was the secret to getting into the upper class.

Today, it is constantly drilled into young people (I’m talking about preteens) that you go to college and then succeed even though that formula itself is based in largely archaic, classist roots that actually run counter to much of the ideals of modern society.  “Well what do I study in college?”  “Anything you want, there are lots of subjects which will all give you a noble mind.  Just sign these forms here and you can pay us back later for it.”

So is it your friend’s fault that he took on so many loans that he’s now poor?  Yes and no.  He did sign the loan documents and of course he could have tried to find the value of the education on his own, but he’s also fighting hugely resourced loan and education systems that stand to gain a lot by getting him and others like him to go and a lot to lose if they don’t.  I actually agree with your friend that he should be announcing to the world what a terrible deal he got, not so much so he can get out of his loans (which is what some in the Occupy Wall Street movement want) but so that he can warn others like him against making the same mistake.

Ottawa

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2014, 09:12:54 AM »
Being poor is certainly open to interpretation.  And if Tirado is a 'spokesperson' for the 'poor' then I don't know what to say. 

Now, what do you think about this:

Quote
that people who live in poverty tend to make poor long term financial decisions because their economic situation makes it difficult to focus on anything but the near term.
(http://phys.org/news/2012-11-poverty-people-focus-short-term.html)


I'd like to see what people have to say about the following research..which indicates the above quote to be true:
http://theslab.uchicago.edu/anuj/wp-content/uploads/sci.pdf
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/academic/mani/mani_science_976.full.pdf


thepokercab

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2014, 09:18:12 AM »
Sweet! That last poor people thread was getting a bit stale.  Nice to have a fresh new thread where people can lay out all their anecdotal evidence in order to make sweeping generalizations and judgments about complex issues. 

Quote
I have very little sympathy with the plight of the 20-somethings who aren't happy. (Due to their entitlement issues and lack of clear planning.)

All while getting in a few jabs at young people!  What's not to love.   

oldtoyota

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2014, 09:21:13 AM »
I'm being harsh, I know. 

There is a lot of entitlement going on here though.  Why shouldn't a 20 year old live in a tiny apartment?  What's wrong with being poor when you're first starting out?  Is happiness a guaranteed rite of passage, or something that you work towards and define as you mature?


The person is not in their 20s…so the entitlement-of-20-year-olds argument is not quite applicable here. I think this person is around 35 or so.

Ottawa

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2014, 09:22:23 AM »
Sweet! That last poor people thread was getting a bit stale.  Nice to have a fresh new thread where people can lay out all their anecdotal evidence in order to make sweeping generalizations and judgments about complex issues. 

Yeah, but one can try to steer people away from anecdotes...and discuss actual research!  You should prolly toss the link up from the previous 'poor people' thread...to possibly attempt to steer the discussion to new areas...

going2ER

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2014, 09:24:22 AM »
He doesn't sound poor, he sounds like an early 20 something. Most of us starting off had student loans to pay and did not live in what we considered our "ideal" location. Many of us had roommates and had to scrape by, welcome to life.

I also don't agree with this everyone has to go to university. I am currently having this talk with my 16 year old. Her favorite quote is that "everyone says you have to go to university". I keep telling her that no, not everyone has to or even should go to university. She has no idea what she wants to do in life, which is not unusual at that age, and I feel and have expressed to her that before she goes out and spends all of this money that she should know what she wants to do and then figure out what education she will need to get there.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2014, 09:24:51 AM »
There is a lot of entitlement going on here though.  Why shouldn't a 20 year old live in a tiny apartment?  What's wrong with being poor when you're first starting out?  Is happiness a guaranteed rite of passage, or something that you work towards and define as you mature?

+1

I suspect some younger folks see their parents' lifestyle and expect the same when they become adults. Cell phones were still a rarity when I went to college, but if your Mom always got you the latest iPhone and took you on nice vacations it might be a let-down to live without those things.

Perhaps it was easier for us because we didn't have much of that stuff to begin with.

Gin1984

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2014, 09:26:59 AM »
At 17, and a high school grad, I did not know enough (and this was back in the dark ages without a good internet, it was just starting) to know that when my mom said I could not legally leave at 17 (and she would call the cops if I did).  I did have some savings but knew nothing about a Roth (I truly wish I had).  I got a full academic ride but would have had to pay for living expenses.  Because my mom was raised poor and never had gone to college, she was a big proponent of community college (never mind that our state, if you look at the units requires more than 2 years to be able to transfer, if you also get the major lower division requirements done, the average community college student has to do about 20 "extra" units to transfer as a junior), therefore unless I went to community college, she would not fill out my FAFSA (and the school would not allow me to get the full ride without filling it out, which is very common).  Kids learn from their parents, I learn a lot of what NOT to do but I wish I had been able to learn what to do.

Yup, everything here. And this is probably a better story, since the mom at least encouraged/"allowed" community college.
There seems to be some fantasy happening on a grand scale on these boards that every 18 year old has ideal parents who know enough and care enough to guide them. If a kid's parents suck, it's somehow the kid's fault according to a lot of what I see here.
Part of that, I bet, is that my mom was RAISED poor but because of the kindness of Catholic schools was able to go to private schools as a child and is not poor now.  By the time she retired she was making six figures.  But she still has the holdovers from being raised poor and the attitudes toward the well off and learning about money are still there.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2014, 09:36:13 AM »
I am told all the time I am not a very compassionate person.  Oh like so many have had the rough childhood, divorce, neglect blah blah blah. Cops at the house all the time you get the picture. Made it through High School and at 17 kn. knew i wasn't ready for college so went into the military. Did well but wanted to get out as soon as I could because couldnt see myself spending the rest of my life asking for permission to do ?? Anyhow long and short of it , by 19 knocked up a girl and paid child support for 19 years plus health insurance. Tried the marriage thing last 2 years because we weren't in "Love".  By the time i was 21 i was so far in debt and my parents were useless when it came to guidance. Instead of blaming them and sitting around I worked every hour possible till i figured it out.  So instead of blaming whomever your friend should just get off his ass instead of waiting around for whatever he is entitled to.  There is always someone to blame but at the end of the day rise up from it.

randymarsh

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2014, 09:43:42 AM »
I'm sure some people are poor because of their own bad choices, not sure if it's the majority or minority though.

Regarding kids and school, I think it's fair for them to slightly blame others for part of their situation. The ones who are really struggling at least. We've been telling kids for a long time now "Do what you love, life's too short to be miserable." and "just go to college, everything will be fine as long as you have a bachelor's!".

Yes, they're adults but 18 year olds are still heavily controlled/manipulated/advised by their parents, teachers, friends, etc.

I also suspect that due to the number of income based repayment options available now and the decline of private loans, that many students' monthly financial situation isn't as dire as some of them contend. Sure, there's that person who owes $200,000 for drama school, but that's an extremely small minority. These income based plans are a band aid solution IMO, designed mainly to just prevent default.

Carrie

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2014, 09:56:09 AM »
I started out poor, married young, worked through college, had little money knowledge, but still managed.  Lived in small/cheap apartments, worked my tail off at less-than-dream jobs, and pulled through.  Big difference -- I expected to start at the bottom and work up.  No luxuries, no travel, etc. AND THAT WAS FINE.  Still better than living with abusive parents.
Why should a youngster start out with their own place (no roommates)? Why should they start out being able to afford vacations or have their ideal job right off the bat? Life isn't always fun or ideal, but with the availability of knowledge (the whole freaking internet) there's little excuse for not improving one's situation.
(back in my day if you wanted to learn about a mortgage you had to go to the library and check out a book on it....)  ha, I'm not quite that old, but seriously --- the information is out there, seems like few actually want to educate themselves on anything other than what celebrities are doing and how many people liked their most recent selfie on facebook.

oldtoyota

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2014, 11:18:30 AM »
I did not ask this question originally, but here we go. What can I do to help the person see there's another way? Some of you are pretty harsh. You not necessarily incorrect, but that tone would not go over well with someone who is already angry and already full of a defeatist attitude.

So far, I suggested biking to work because there was a lot of talk about the car breaking down and expenses related to getting it fixed.

Part of me, though, is wondering WHY would someone go to such an expensive school for a degree that won't help to bring in a paycheck. That seems like a big part of this situation based on what I know.

The other puzzling part is why does this person think he's being "political" by sharing his not-so-great life choices? The government did not make him take out the loans.

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2014, 11:28:58 AM »
I did not ask this question originally, but here we go. What can I do to help the person see there's another way? Some of you are pretty harsh. You not necessarily incorrect, but that tone would not go over well with someone who is already angry and already full of a defeatist attitude.

So far, I suggested biking to work because there was a lot of talk about the car breaking down and expenses related to getting it fixed.

Part of me, though, is wondering WHY would someone go to such an expensive school for a degree that won't help to bring in a paycheck. That seems like a big part of this situation based on what I know.

The other puzzling part is why does this person think he's being "political" by sharing his not-so-great life choices? The government did not make him take out the loans.

What's past is past. There will be all sorts of rationalization for what decisions your friend has made. The focus should be on going forward. How exactly? I don't know. You can't make people change their behaviors, you can only demonstrate that there are other options.

As for the politicization of his issue... well an external locus of control can be a nice warm blanket to wrap around your bad decisions. But until he realizes that you won't be able to cajole, arm twist, or push the change. It will only be up to him. It sucks to see someone ignore good advice. But our monkey brains have a way of tricking us quite easily.

CNM

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2014, 11:38:47 AM »
Sweet! That last poor people thread was getting a bit stale.  Nice to have a fresh new thread where people can lay out all their anecdotal evidence in order to make sweeping generalizations and judgments about complex issues. 

Quote
I have very little sympathy with the plight of the 20-somethings who aren't happy. (Due to their entitlement issues and lack of clear planning.)

All while getting in a few jabs at young people!  What's not to love.   
This pretty much sums it up.

cochranjd

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2014, 12:07:08 PM »
I started out poor, married young, worked through college, had little money knowledge, but still managed.  Lived in small/cheap apartments, worked my tail off at less-than-dream jobs, and pulled through.  Big difference -- I expected to start at the bottom and work up.  No luxuries, no travel, etc. AND THAT WAS FINE.  Still better than living with abusive parents.
Why should a youngster start out with their own place (no roommates)? Why should they start out being able to afford vacations or have their ideal job right off the bat? Life isn't always fun or ideal, but with the availability of knowledge (the whole freaking internet) there's little excuse for not improving one's situation.
(back in my day if you wanted to learn about a mortgage you had to go to the library and check out a book on it....)  ha, I'm not quite that old, but seriously --- the information is out there, seems like few actually want to educate themselves on anything other than what celebrities are doing and how many people liked their most recent selfie on facebook.

Do you think the kid in the original post would behave differently if he were your child, raised like your own (who definitely seems to have a great handle on things)?

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2014, 12:20:17 PM »
I'm being harsh, I know. 

There is a lot of entitlement going on here though.  Why shouldn't a 20 year old live in a tiny apartment?  What's wrong with being poor when you're first starting out?  Is happiness a guaranteed rite of passage, or something that you work towards and define as you mature?

I do think counseling in what taking out loans actually means should be a pre req to being handed loans.  When I was a student, I did not take out loans because it felt wrong --- couldn't have articulated why, exactly, but it just didn't sit right, so I lived very frugally and worked my butt off during summers to pay cash as I went.  Meanwhile, classmates were racking up as much debt as they were allowed.  Never researched to find out that our field started in the high 20's, low 30's and how long it would take to pay off $40k in student loans.....

There was another thread this morning about how hard your little green soldiers are working for you, and it led me to do the math. At 6%, every 25k in student loans means you have to repay that debt with a little over a $1/hr pay cut. Not a big deal if your degree earns well. But a lot of people (myself included) did not get degrees that earn well. I knew some people in college that took as much loan as they could, and now make $10-$15 per hour with over 50k in debts. I would wager if they had know how much earning power they were losing by taking on that debt over the long term, I would wager a lot of them would have made better choices.

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2014, 12:35:49 PM »
I don't really blame this guy for feeling trapped, because I don't think that there are many 18 year olds who are really wise enough to understand the implications down the road of taking out a huge loan for college. He is probably wishing that he knew then what he knows now.
I was pretty clueless at 18, my friends were pretty clueless at 18, and I'm betting that all of you were pretty clueless too.   

daymare

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2014, 12:36:39 PM »
You know, I do think that there's a benefit to shedding light on your personal situation if that can help inform others - ie, if this friend went into heavy debt for a not-so-lucrative degree, it's reasonable for him to share his experience so others are better informed and don't follow in the same path. So, if (none of the following is true about me) I went into 100K debt on a psychology degree, and now I rue the situation because I have a low-paying job and wish I could go back in time and make different choices (pick a different major/school, not take out tons of loans), it's good if I'm clear with friends and family about what this debt load means for my life, and why I wouldn't advise someone else to take the same path.

I have a lot of compassion for people who didn't have the education, thoughtful and dedicated parents, and physical and mental abilities that I did/do.  The way I see it, there are two (mostly) orthogonal components to our success: (1) personal circumstances, ability, and effort & (2) systemic & macro factors.  Some people focus heavily on one or the other, but it doesn't feel right not to acknowledge both components.  So I think think that's it's possible to simultaneously critique what this 'friend' is doing about housing & expenses, and to acknowledge the larger problem of the system where teens are legally able to take on tons of debt without understanding the impact on the rest of their lives, and where federal loans are propping up the rising cost of college.

I will say that I see myself & my peers having a hard time delaying gratification and being able to view the bigger picture.  It's pretty true that among my mostly middle/upper middle class friends, it's standard to go out lots for dinner and drinks, to have nice phones, etc.  I and many of my friends are immigrants, so I remember reeeeally well that my parents (& I) had a really different lifestyle when we first moved to the US, that the very comfortable life my parents now have is not a life they could've afforded at my age.  But I think it's easy to forget that, and to feel as though your life standard should be at where your parents/you growing up, are at. 

So I guess I don't have a lot of sympathy for someone who doesn't see that sacrifices are necessary & that your lifestyle should be determined by what you can afford firstly, and what you want secondarily.  For example: don't start your housing search saying you want a one bedroom with X.  See what you can reasonably afford, then see what your options are, whether you need to find roommates, etc.  Complaining for the sake of complaining isn't doing much to advance your life in the direction you want - better to harness your experiences and learnings to change your behavior in the future, rather than get stuck lamenting the past.

oldtoyota

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2014, 12:52:47 PM »
I'm being harsh, I know. 

There is a lot of entitlement going on here though.  Why shouldn't a 20 year old live in a tiny apartment?  What's wrong with being poor when you're first starting out?  Is happiness a guaranteed rite of passage, or something that you work towards and define as you mature?

I do think counseling in what taking out loans actually means should be a pre req to being handed loans.  When I was a student, I did not take out loans because it felt wrong --- couldn't have articulated why, exactly, but it just didn't sit right, so I lived very frugally and worked my butt off during summers to pay cash as I went.  Meanwhile, classmates were racking up as much debt as they were allowed.  Never researched to find out that our field started in the high 20's, low 30's and how long it would take to pay off $40k in student loans.....

There was another thread this morning about how hard your little green soldiers are working for you, and it led me to do the math. At 6%, every 25k in student loans means you have to repay that debt with a little over a $1/hr pay cut. Not a big deal if your degree earns well. But a lot of people (myself included) did not get degrees that earn well. I knew some people in college that took as much loan as they could, and now make $10-$15 per hour with over 50k in debts. I would wager if they had know how much earning power they were losing by taking on that debt over the long term, I would wager a lot of them would have made better choices.

It is this kind of math that I think any 18-21 year old wanting/needing to get a loan should be told clearly before they are allowed to get a loan.

I almost took out loans for both years of grad school. My friend, thankfully, stopped me from doing it the second year and showed me how I could get around having loans. In the end, I had some loans yet I paid them off quickly and they were not that much anyway.


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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2014, 01:05:00 PM »
Why do people do liberal arts school even when there is no increase in value? It's discussed quite frequently here as a recognized pattern, not just among the poor but in our entire society.

I remember reading a forum post in the 'antimustachian wall of shame' section that talked about a husband that even though he was making more than his 'liberal arts' educated wife, people were still wondering when he was going to get a real job. This is also discussed in 'Millionaire Next Door' where the wealthy want their children to have well respected jobs. Granted a lot of times they overlap with well paying jobs, but people by far want to have a job that is respected over a job that makes good money.

And why is that? I would suggest it is people want to show off their career. Even if they don't make the money, they want the 'Dr.' in front of their name because it gives them prestige. And really that gets to the heart of Western culture. It doesn't matter if you're in debt, as long as you look good doing it.

oldtoyota

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2014, 01:05:16 PM »
You know, I do think that there's a benefit to shedding light on your personal situation if that can help inform others - ie, if this friend went into heavy debt for a not-so-lucrative degree, it's reasonable for him to share his experience so others are better informed and don't follow in the same path. So, if (none of the following is true about me) I went into 100K debt on a psychology degree, and now I rue the situation because I have a low-paying job and wish I could go back in time and make different choices (pick a different major/school, not take out tons of loans), it's good if I'm clear with friends and family about what this debt load means for my life, and why I wouldn't advise someone else to take the same path.

I have a lot of compassion for people who didn't have the education, thoughtful and dedicated parents, and physical and mental abilities that I did/do.  The way I see it, there are two (mostly) orthogonal components to our success: (1) personal circumstances, ability, and effort & (2) systemic & macro factors.  Some people focus heavily on one or the other, but it doesn't feel right not to acknowledge both components.  So I think think that's it's possible to simultaneously critique what this 'friend' is doing about housing & expenses, and to acknowledge the larger problem of the system where teens are legally able to take on tons of debt without understanding the impact on the rest of their lives, and where federal loans are propping up the rising cost of college…

Thoughtful post. Thanks!

Emg03063

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2014, 01:15:28 PM »
It's our fault, for failing to provide educations and opportunities sufficient to keep everyone out of poverty that wants to be.  This guy made some bad decisions out of ignorance.  That's a failure of our education system to teach him how to calculate an ROI (something which I was ignorant of as well when I took out loans to help pay for my education).  I was lucky that my loans were small due to scholarships, and that I earned a degree that happens to be financially rewarded by society.  I'd love to think that was the result of some foresight and planning on my part, but the truth is I was ignorant and lucky.  Not everyone can afford community college, and there are plenty of people unable to earn enough money to support themselves with a high school education.  This is particularly a problem for 18yo kids aging out of foster care, but there are also plenty of kids who's parents simply haven't equipped them with the tools necessary to succeed.  It's a tragic waste of human capital, and we would be well served as a society to close those gaps as much as possible.

genselecus

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2014, 01:24:36 PM »
I'll throw in my two cents:

I tend to believe that a very large percentage of our "life success" comes from the choices that we as individuals make. I absolutely believe there are many people out in the US that are content at not working hard and complaining about their outcome, and I have no compassion for those people. I have no compassion for people that never seem to get it right, but are always doing the same thing (I think that's the definition of insanity). If you are in a bad situation, financial or otherwise, you should think about how to change that situation, not to proceed with the same activities. So yes, I think much of what we do boils down to personal choice.

That said, how can we, as a society, encourage people to make smart choices? I do feel sorry for the college grad that went a private university to study dance and has $150k worth of debt and no job. The gut reaction is, "why the heck did you do that!?!?!" but I have to think about the fact that they were 18 at the time and they just thought that they should go to college (I'm 26 btw). I thought about my earning potential when I picked a college and major, but not everyone had the same upbringing as I had. I think our education system should include the (what I consider) basic training that everyone should get: how do I balance a checkbook, how does debt work, how should I plan out my entry into the workforce, is college actually a smart option? If we aren't teaching this to children in schools, we are relying on parents to do it. In a perfect world, parents would be doing this already, but we aren't so optimistic and delusional for that.  I am a firm believe of equality of opportunity, not equality in outcome. Everyone should have an equal opportunity (of course as much as this is possible, given that some we shouldn't hold people back, and we can't control for individual traits such as intelligence and beauty) once they graduate high school. From there, they've got to start making start decisions (based on the training that they've received) and deal with the consequences themselves.

The risk with bringing in words like "luck" or "fortunate" or "fate" is that is removes our choices from the equation. If we do that, what's the point in our actions or trying? It doesn't hold up with my perception of the world and certainly doesn't hold up with what my gut tells me is possible. I think we as a society should be to get everyone ready for the race of life (which starts once high school ends) and then let each person run the race the way they prefer to run it. In that world everyone person can appreciate the way in which they "run" and understand how that affects their life (cost, length, etc.). Why do I pick high school? I think college adds skills (or may not actually) that are not necessary to be successful in life. Some paths require that additional education, but kids shouldn't be pushed or encouraged to follow individual paths without understanding the repercussions. And I don't believe college should ever be universally free, because if it was, we'd only be encouraging kids to follow paths that they may not value or that society may not value.

Jack

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #37 on: May 21, 2014, 01:27:22 PM »
The way I see it, there are two (mostly) orthogonal components to our success: (1) personal circumstances, ability, and effort & (2) systemic & macro factors.  Some people focus heavily on one or the other, but it doesn't feel right not to acknowledge both components.

Systemic and macro factors should not be underestimated. Several of my friends and I all went to the same highly-ranked state university and studied similar engineering fields, but I double-majored and therefore graduated in 2009 instead of 2007. Double-majoring should have increased my earning potential, but instead I graduated into the recession, spent a long time unemployed, and am way behind compared to my peers.

Now, it also caused me to make different choices (e.g. to buy a house at the bottom of the market instead of the top of it, and to keep my budget lower in general) so I might catch up eventually, but economic studies show that people like me (who graduate into recessions), on average, don't. And that, at least, is legitimate to complain about.

Carrie

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2014, 01:28:41 PM »
I probably wrongly assumed that this guy is from a middle to upper middle class background since he went to a prestigious private school (something that is usually not even on the radar for a child raised in poverty).  That assumption led me to believe that he likely thinks that he is entitled to a bigger apartment, a better paying job - what-have-you.
I certainly don't blame poor people for being poor, and when kids are raised in the hood and with parents who are absent or drugged out or just eeking by on two minimum wage jobs, then I can absolutely get not understanding cause & effect.  I have not meant to bash poor people or to bash young people.

I'm still blown away that kids raised in middle/upper middle income brackets can be so clueless about so many things.  The information is out there, readily accessible by every device (that they likely already own), I'm just not seeing that much interest.  Whether it comes from parents who are also clueless or what, I don't know.  How many of us have been entirely self taught on everything finance, often getting started by a google search?  I'd love to see some real financial education in high school. The banks certainly don't want to teach how interest works to people they're selling loans to.

As far as actual advice to the guy, I'd probably say his blaming others is not a helpful action (unless he's looking to educate other young people about the dangers of an expensive degree & tons of loans; but complaining just to complain will likely lead to attitude problems that may make it harder to climb the ladder).  Looking for a better paying job, reading & educating himself on budgeting/MMM lifestyle would be infinitely more helpful to improve both his mindset and his financial outlook. 

MoneyCat

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2014, 01:38:01 PM »
At 17, and a high school grad, I did not know enough (and this was back in the dark ages without a good internet, it was just starting) to know that when my mom said I could not legally leave at 17 (and she would call the cops if I did).  I did have some savings but knew nothing about a Roth (I truly wish I had).  I got a full academic ride but would have had to pay for living expenses.  Because my mom was raised poor and never had gone to college, she was a big proponent of community college (never mind that our state, if you look at the units requires more than 2 years to be able to transfer, if you also get the major lower division requirements done, the average community college student has to do about 20 "extra" units to transfer as a junior), therefore unless I went to community college, she would not fill out my FAFSA (and the school would not allow me to get the full ride without filling it out, which is very common).  Kids learn from their parents, I learn a lot of what NOT to do but I wish I had been able to learn what to do.

Yup, everything here. And this is probably a better story, since the mom at least encouraged/"allowed" community college. There seems to be some fantasy happening on a grand scale on these boards that every 18 year old has ideal parents who know enough and care enough to guide them. If a kid's parents suck, it's somehow the kid's fault according to a lot of what I see here.

Yeah, guidance is the biggest problem.  When you don't have responsible and educated parents, you have to learn responsibility and gain an education about life through the "School of Hard Knocks".  And some of those "knocks" are really hard.

Part of the problem is also the idiotic platitudes given to kids over the past twenty years.  "Follow your passion and the money will follow" and that kind of dreck.  So you end up with kids thinking "Gee, I like to write.  How about I get a degree in English?" and then they end up becoming a Starbucks barrista with a Master's degree.  I think this is beginning to change now, because all the teenagers I speak to about college are all approaching it as job training, which is what it should be used for.  (Unless you are a trust fund baby, in which case, you can go get that degree in Philosophy).

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2014, 01:39:55 PM »
The only thing I can think of is that 18 year olds--or even 20 year olds--should not be allowed to get loans for education without some excellent education as to how those loans will affect their future.

Are you suggesting that someone applying for education loans go through the same process as someone applying for a mortgage to purchase a home?  Not a terrible idea, actually.

Let's see, no job, no assets, no collateral...

Then people poised to go to college at a typical age would never get an education loan. Sounds like a good way to stop anyone from getting education loans which is a terrible idea.

PeteD01

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #41 on: May 21, 2014, 01:51:49 PM »
... (Unless you are a trust fund baby, in which case, you can go get that degree in Philosophy).

Not a good example.
A degree in philosophy is probably the most valuable non-technical, non-business/law degree one can obtain.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2014, 01:59:46 PM »
Much of your friend's complaints are valid.  Both of you should see:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9REdcxfie3M

You and or your friend can complain about it in your spare time. 

While you complain via the voting booth, put a plan together.  Don't wait for or count on anything changing due to your complaint(s).  Plan is 'A' is a failure.  Work on plan 'B'.

For example, I am working in a job and field that I am convinced is "dead end", partly due to technology (plan A).  I am re-tooling for a more "in-demand" field, meanwhile looking for a better position in a related field (plan B).

ragesinggoddess

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #43 on: May 21, 2014, 02:12:43 PM »
If poverty was entirely dependent on personal choices, then there wouldn't be more poor people in the US than there are in other developed countries. People shouldn't have to live in poverty because of one poor choice that they made, let it be picking a pointless major or having a baby at a young age. Choices aside, people shouldn't have to live in poverty because they grew up in situations which limited their access to information, education, nutrition, and everything else that makes someone a healthy and happy adult. The fact that some people are capable of overcoming those barriers does not mean that anyone should have to.

So yeah, I'm with those who've said that the US has a terrible safety net and that we'd be a stronger country if we stopped blaming people for their crushing poverty.

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2014, 02:24:12 PM »
The only thing I can think of is that 18 year olds--or even 20 year olds--should not be allowed to get loans for education without some excellent education as to how those loans will affect their future.

Are you suggesting that someone applying for education loans go through the same process as someone applying for a mortgage to purchase a home?  Not a terrible idea, actually.


Let's see, no job, no assets, no collateral...

Then people poised to go to college at a typical age would never get an education loan. Sounds like a good way to stop anyone from getting education loans which is a terrible idea.

Almost.  More loan rigor would force people to actually work and earn $ for their education.  Not terrible.

What do you mean by loan rigor? What rigor would you apply to hopeful students?

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2014, 02:41:17 PM »
The only thing I can think of is that 18 year olds--or even 20 year olds--should not be allowed to get loans for education without some excellent education as to how those loans will affect their future.

Are you suggesting that someone applying for education loans go through the same process as someone applying for a mortgage to purchase a home?  Not a terrible idea, actually.


Let's see, no job, no assets, no collateral...

Then people poised to go to college at a typical age would never get an education loan. Sounds like a good way to stop anyone from getting education loans which is a terrible idea.

Almost.  More loan rigor would force people to actually work and earn $ for their education.  Not terrible.

What do you mean by loan rigor? What rigor would you apply to hopeful students?

I don't have that list in front of me, but it would probably be similar criteria you would use if a "hopeful student" asked you for $100,000 because they wanted their masters in underwater basket weaving.

So you want to dictate which professions degrees and/or people will be profitable in the future? Well I'm glad your crystal ball is so clear that you think that anyone taking a liberal arts degree is useless. Look hyperbole is cute and all but it isn't anything if you don't have a leg to stand on.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2014, 02:44:53 PM »
The usual argument against stringent student loan requirements is that rich kids have college funds and get to go to school without loans. Loan requirements create a barrier to entry only for poor students.

In most cases, it would lead to parents cosigning silly loans - seems fair - at least an adult is involved in the process! But of course, parents with bad credit couldn't do this, so it's another barrier to entry for poor students. On the other hand, there are more need-based awards available for poorer students.

My personal opinion is that student lending based on the average salary of the degree would be an adequate measure to encourage responsible choices. It's not perfect - since average salaries would be historical, but it injects a measure of sensibility. But I won't hold my breath on anything like that happening!

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #47 on: May 21, 2014, 03:09:08 PM »
Quote
/snip

So you want to dictate which professions degrees and/or people will be profitable in the future? Well I'm glad your crystal ball is so clear that you think that anyone taking a liberal arts degree is useless. Look hyperbole is cute and all but it isn't anything if you don't have a leg to stand on.

Actually the market dictates that.  One thing is for sure: I'm sending all the "hopeful students" your way for a loan! 

Agree with Cpa Cat.  Injecting some measure of sensibility (parents, historical salaries, etc) would make more fiscal sense for the lender and the student.

The market already dictates pay. Why do you want to put additional artificial pressure on job availability by implementing the policy you're proposing. Those students aren't coming your way for a loan so what the hell is your problem?

Even if we went with an analysis of historical salaries then only rich people would be allowed to go into things like the arts. It isn't actually leveling any of the playing field but tilting it towards rich people having a lower barrier of entry into liberal education.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 03:10:46 PM by matchewed »

ncornilsen

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #48 on: May 21, 2014, 03:16:00 PM »
To the original post, I say, yes and no.

First off, No. Any society of more than 2 people will have a  distribution of incomes/assets. There may be more elements of skewness one way or another, but by and large, there's a earning level that most people make, and there are tails of the curve in both directions on the income scale.  What matters is the purchasing power of the income distribution. I'd aurgue, that the official Poverty level used in the US, still leaves a person equipped well enough to support a standard of living that's more than a few clicks north of caveman.

Secondingly, absolutely.  You own your station in life. It can't be any other way. As soon as an individual says it's someone elses fault they are where they are, they've abdicated control of their life to that party, and are, in fact, powerless to improve it. Accept that you are the reason you are where you are, and suddenly you're empowered. Sure, the government, or 'the man' or the illuminati may make it harder, but it's still on you to find a way around it. Posting hashtags on facebook is not the answer.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 03:25:09 PM by ncornilsen »

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #49 on: May 21, 2014, 03:30:38 PM »
Quote
/snip

So you want to dictate which professions degrees and/or people will be profitable in the future? Well I'm glad your crystal ball is so clear that you think that anyone taking a liberal arts degree is useless. Look hyperbole is cute and all but it isn't anything if you don't have a leg to stand on.

Actually the market dictates that.  One thing is for sure: I'm sending all the "hopeful students" your way for a loan! 

Agree with Cpa Cat.  Injecting some measure of sensibility (parents, historical salaries, etc) would make more fiscal sense for the lender and the student.

The market already dictates pay. Why do you want to put additional artificial pressure on job availability by implementing the policy you're proposing. Those students aren't coming your way for a loan so what the hell is your problem?

Even if we went with an analysis of historical salaries then only rich people would be allowed to go into things like the arts. It isn't actually leveling any of the playing field but tilting it towards rich people having a lower barrier of entry into liberal education.

Sorry, I'm not great with multiple quote snippets, but here goes.....

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Why do you want to put additional artificial pressure on job availability by implementing the policy you're proposing.
This doesn't make any sense.  Please explain further.

So would you agree that job availability and anything related to job pools could easily be described with supply and demand? If so you're putting artificial pressure by changing the pool of people seeking those types of jobs by an arbitrary barrier to entry.
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Those students aren't coming your way for a loan so what the hell is your problem?
If they are getting student aid from Uncle Sam, then technically they are.  Also, do you always get this upset when someone doesn't agree with you?  Try a more "hopeful" approach.

It doesn't matter if it is student aid from Uncle Sam or not. You're not the arbiter of who gets loans and who doesn't. I'd much rather see free education than such huge restrictions with obvious downsides. Sorry just getting frustrated with more hyperbole instead of seeing you actually think out your proposal and the consequences.
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Even if we went with an analysis of historical salaries then only rich people would be allowed to go into things like the arts.
Or more likely the cost of going into the arts would fall considerably due to market forces.

Why would the costs suddenly drop? If only rich people can afford it then it won't likely drop as they'd be the ones willing to spend the money for it and everyone else is pushed out with your proposed restrictions.

Basically I feel (very passionately) that any education anyone wants should be available. The consequences are on the individual, you don't suffer any of the consequences and as a citizen of the United States you get to reap all the benefits of having an educated society of people who pay taxes and student loan balances back to the government.