Author Topic: Jump Kick your massive student debt  (Read 7836 times)

thor800

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Jump Kick your massive student debt
« on: May 23, 2012, 07:30:54 AM »
Have been reading http://nomoreharvarddebt.com/

Although his income is way more than mine, my fiancee is graduating PT school with $100K student debt and getting inspired.  So far, I have rented out my 2 bedroom condo which almost covers mortgage and moved in with parents.  It seems like having a big lofty goal like this puts a un-mustachioed face to the debt monster.

Has anyone embarked on a similar journey ?

arebelspy

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 08:43:47 AM »
Have been reading http://nomoreharvarddebt.com/

Although his income is way more than mine, my fiancee is graduating PT school with $100K student debt and getting inspired.  So far, I have rented out my 2 bedroom condo which almost covers mortgage and moved in with parents.  It seems like having a big lofty goal like this puts a un-mustachioed face to the debt monster.

Has anyone embarked on a similar journey ?

I wasn't a huge fan of nmhd (not 100% sure why.. something I read in his first few posts turned me off, plus some of his spam on other blogs I had read, I think), but I have friends that enjoyed his blog.  YMMV.

You may want to read this thread: Starting Off Your Mustachian Journey With Debt


Also, re:
Quote
So far, I have rented out my 2 bedroom condo which almost covers mortgage and moved in with parents. 

..have you considered selling?  If you're not even covering the mortgage when it's rented, that's a huge cash flow negative when you take into consideration other factors (maintenance, possible HOA fees, vacancies, etc.)
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thor800

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2012, 09:47:49 AM »
It definitely was somewhat unrealistic - 20s Harvard MBA grad with high salary, no kids, no spouse.

Seemed pretty inventive with the specifics he came up with though (starting landscaping business, bringing flask to the bar, skipping bach parties, renting extra rooms out, selling crap).

I like how he had a specific goal rather than just a generic pay off debt theme, but to each his own.

grantmeaname

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 09:56:33 AM »
I don't understand why people keep calling it unrealistic. It really happened. It's not just realistic, it's literally real. There was a ton of this last week after his story got picked up by the main circuit of PF blogs, and the "unrealistic" criticism popped up over and over again.

Yes, he makes a lot of money, but he paid off the debt by getting two side jobs and three roommates, doing free things for entertainment, keeping his mind focused on his goals, and selling many of his unneeded possessions on Craigslist. Other than his income being high, all of his other steps apply to anyone looking to pay down debt or start a 'stache quickly.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 10:02:41 AM »
Pay off your student loans and you too will miss out on the massive government write down that will come just like it did for homeowners....people who do the "smart" thing will get passed over again.  But it is still better to be free from debt than to wait for someone else to take care of it.

shedinator

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 10:22:19 AM »
It definitely was somewhat unrealistic - 20s Harvard MBA grad with high salary, no kids, no spouse.

Seemed pretty inventive with the specifics he came up with though (starting landscaping business, bringing flask to the bar, skipping bach parties, renting extra rooms out, selling crap).

I like how he had a specific goal rather than just a generic pay off debt theme, but to each his own.

I suppose. I found the backhanded complainypantsing to be a little annoying. For instance, on his most recent post:
"To those who say that anybody making six figures can easily pay down their five-figure student loan within seven months, think again. The gentleman who sent the note above is a consultant for one of the top three (Bain/BCG/McK)Ėhe didnít exactly go non-profit, and is likely pulling down more than $150k/year. These are the folks to whom I was trying to tell my story."

In other words "Hey guys, this was really hard, and I am therefore awesome for doing it."

In the same post, he also addresses people with relatively low incomes (in the 35k range) and high debt.
"To be honest, Iím afraid I donít have any ideas. This person obviously took the right step to move back in with her parents rather than rent an apartment, and I have to assume she looked for a better job, but couldnít find one. As far as next steps go, I really donít have any ideas.  Iím deeply sympathetic to her plight, and if I knew what to say I would say it, but I just donít. Iím sorry."

This more or less summarizes my problem with his blog. Even while erasing his own student debt, the guy perpetuates the idea that if you make a "low income" like $35k, you're screwed, and the solution to higher expenses is to raise your income, or be screwed. Paying off his debt so quickly was a great decision, but the way he perceives income, money, and frugality is not on par with a full-on Mustachian outlook.

Next, from the same post:
"What I do know is that students have a duty to fulfill throughout all of this. They owe it to themselves and the rest of this country to pursue majors that have consistently proven to be high-ROI and to practice personal accountability and live below their means (e.g., no Starbucks and new cars) until their debt is paid off."

No, I have no such duty. Personal accountability? Yes. A major with a proven high ROI? I don't think so. Sorry, but this country needs great literature, even if English isn't generally a viable major. This country (In my opinion) needs men and women who are going to be the pastors, Rabbis, priests, and shamans that guide the faith journeys of the next generation. This country needs the people who are going to forego lucrative careers in order to pass their knowledge on. This country does not need to become a society in which the primary governing principle for choosing a career is whether it will pay well.

Finally, from a while back,
 
"In the past seven months, I havenít bought a single article of clothing or a single 'must-have' gadget or gizmo. Iíve completely eschewed consumerism, and it actually felt pretty good."

Ok, fine, I suppose this part is a good thing, but really... seven months? My guess is that most people would have very little difficulty going 7 months without buying new clothes or tech. I could be wrong in that assumption, but in my personal experience, it's not something that's particularly difficult or laudable.

The whole blog just seems like an unfortunate cross between "Look at the awesome things I've done" and "Having a 6-figure income does not make life easy."

Jamesqf

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 11:57:07 AM »
Sorry, but this country needs great literature, even if English isn't generally a viable major.

OK, but just off the top of my head I can't come up with a single instance of an English major having written great literature, or even a moderately-entertaining murder mystery or SF adventure.

trammatic

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2012, 01:24:41 PM »
I think you're right, in that he's not truly mustaschian-badass, but he makes a compelling first splash for younger high-earners out there.  Those are the people that early retirement can come quickly for, provided they make good choices.  While I personally enjoy the MMM style more, simply putting the idea out there that saving 50% should be easy on 100k/year while single would turn tons of those people off of the message right off the bat.

AJ

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2012, 03:46:45 PM »
Sorry, but this country needs great literature, even if English isn't generally a viable major.

OK, but just off the top of my head I can't come up with a single instance of an English major having written great literature, or even a moderately-entertaining murder mystery or SF adventure.

This...but I think English may just be a bad example. Social work pays notoriously low for the required education, but is very valuable to society (IMO). I would say teaching too, but I think that may have more to do with oversupply.

arebelspy

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 07:45:26 PM »
Well I suppose one could quibble over what "great literature" is, but there's more than a handful of authors on here whose work I enjoy:
http://ualr.edu/english/index.php/home/resources/job-info/famous/

Dave Barry, Dr. Seuss, John Updike, etc.

And since you included this:
Quote
even a moderately-entertaining murder mystery or SF adventure.

I'd say Douglas Adams falls in the latter category, sort of.

Still, you wouldn't be wrong to say 99.9% of them don't write great literature (or even at all). Still, how many famous engineers can you name?  Just because there's not a great number of high quality ones, doesn't mean it's not a "viable" major.
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James

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 08:26:28 PM »
Sometimes it seems like people think every blog or post needs to be written specifically with them in mind.  It's ok to have a niche blog and write for a specific target audience.  Or even better, just write your story and whoever wants to read it and find inspiration can.


There are plenty of people out there who are single and getting great jobs with salaries over $100k and big loans that can benefit from this guy's story.  For them it's perfectly realistic.  And then there are tons more who are not perfectly similar, but are close enough to be inspired and try to one-up him by doing the same with a spouse and kid or some other circumstance.  And best of all, stories like this get people thinking that there is an alternative to the "normal" and they might start looking around the web and find people further along with an even better track record and goal for life - enter MMM.


In reading a bit of his blog, I find I'm not at all interested in reading more.  He sounds like a really nice guy, but I'm not in a similar circumstance and don't really need more reading material.  He doesn't have any special advice or insight for me, and he doesn't claim to have it either.  I find that refreshing, he knows enough to say "I don't know", which if often half the battle.

shedinator

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 09:19:16 PM »
Sorry, but this country needs great literature, even if English isn't generally a viable major.

OK, but just off the top of my head I can't come up with a single instance of an English major having written great literature, or even a moderately-entertaining murder mystery or SF adventure.

This...but I think English may just be a bad example. Social work pays notoriously low for the required education, but is very valuable to society (IMO). I would say teaching too, but I think that may have more to do with oversupply.
I don't think it's a bad example at all. Some of the greatest books out there were written by people who majored in subjects that fall under the broad heading of "English." JRR Tolkien studied English Language and Literature, CS Lewis was a professor of Rennaissance English at Cambridge, George RR Martin majored in Journalism... Tolkien and Martin are, IMO, two of the greatest fantasy authors in history.

But the overall point is that not all degrees are "viable" or have a good "ROI," and I take exception with people who claim that should be the primary guiding principle for selecting your major.

FI@2022Jem

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2012, 10:01:12 PM »

Sorry, but this country needs great literature, even if English isn't generally a viable major.

OK, but just off the top of my head I can't come up with a single instance of an English major having written great literature, or even a moderately-entertaining murder mystery or SF adventure.

This...but I think English may just be a bad example. Social work pays notoriously low for the required education, but is very valuable to society (IMO). I would say teaching too, but I think that may have more to do with oversupply.

Thank you AJ! 
I am a social worker and can confirm the pay is not the greatest although it is definitely rewarding (not ALL the time, of course).
I do have student loans from my education (BA and MSW with no zero family financial support- although great emotional support) but they are more reasonable due to academic scholarships for a good portion of the BA and attending school for my MSW while continuing to work part time.  Also both were state schools.
I am on track to pay back my loans in full in just under 4 years (as compared to the standard 10) while simultaneously maxing out my Roth.  So it is possible... just not as super fast as NMHD, engineers and other higher earners.

shedinator

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2012, 12:24:43 AM »

Sorry, but this country needs great literature, even if English isn't generally a viable major.

OK, but just off the top of my head I can't come up with a single instance of an English major having written great literature, or even a moderately-entertaining murder mystery or SF adventure.

This...but I think English may just be a bad example. Social work pays notoriously low for the required education, but is very valuable to society (IMO). I would say teaching too, but I think that may have more to do with oversupply.

Thank you AJ! 
I am a social worker and can confirm the pay is not the greatest although it is definitely rewarding (not ALL the time, of course).
I do have student loans from my education (BA and MSW with no zero family financial support- although great emotional support) but they are more reasonable due to academic scholarships for a good portion of the BA and attending school for my MSW while continuing to work part time.  Also both were state schools.
I am on track to pay back my loans in full in just under 4 years (as compared to the standard 10) while simultaneously maxing out my Roth.  So it is possible... just not as super fast as NMHD, engineers and other higher earners.

Yup. Same goes for teachers, ministers, low-level civil servants, and on it goes.

skyrefuge

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2012, 09:08:02 AM »
This country does not need to become a society in which the primary governing principle for choosing a career is whether it will pay well.

Agreed, but his point seems to be that you shouldn't take on a mountain of debt (particularly publicly-backed debt) unless that leverage is used to obtain a career with a good chance of paying off that debt.  He's not saying "don't become a minister", he's saying "don't take out $100k in loans to become a minister, leaving you unable to repay them".   As suggested by others, many of the low-paying-but-beneficial-to-society jobs shouldn't really require an expensive education, except that an expensive education is often used/required as a (very inefficient) marker to distinguish yourself in an overcrowded field.

Sometimes it seems like people think every blog or post needs to be written specifically with them in mind.  It's ok to have a niche blog and write for a specific target audience.  Or even better, just write your story and whoever wants to read it and find inspiration can.

Right on.  I have a non-Mustachian acquaintance with a ridiculous income who is still "barely making ends meet", and he's taken some interest in my hugely-contrasting lifestyle, but he generally sees me as an "extreme" weirdo.  But this guy's blog caught his interest, particularly because he's also a graduate of Harvard Business School, which surely makes the message seem less foreign to him.

shedinator

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2012, 09:26:01 PM »
This country does not need to become a society in which the primary governing principle for choosing a career is whether it will pay well.

Agreed, but his point seems to be that you shouldn't take on a mountain of debt (particularly publicly-backed debt) unless that leverage is used to obtain a career with a good chance of paying off that debt.  He's not saying "don't become a minister", he's saying "don't take out $100k in loans to become a minister, leaving you unable to repay them".   As suggested by others, many of the low-paying-but-beneficial-to-society jobs shouldn't really require an expensive education, except that an expensive education is often used/required as a (very inefficient) marker to distinguish yourself in an overcrowded field.

(emphasis added)

Can't say whether or not I agree with that. If you're saying school shouldn't be as expensive as it is, then I agree. If you're saying the low-paying-but-beneficial-to-society jobs shouldn't require the amount of education that they do, then I disagree. If we take the example of the Social Worker given, I know enough people with MSWs, or who are LICSWs, to know that the education is invaluable to the position, and that social workers are absolutely necessary. If anything, the government should be footing the bill for these people, rather than making them take out the loans. The fact that they actually have a chance at loan forgiveness is, IMO, a step in the right direction. In general, I think it's ideal to go the most affordable route you possibly can while still obtaining the requisite quality of education, but unfortunately education costs are in a bubble at the moment, and I don't think social workers skimping on education is the solution (sorry if that's not what you were saying, but it provided a good jumping-off point for my rant :)

grantmeaname

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2012, 07:41:41 AM »
Social workers do not hold the only low-paying jobs, though. What about administrative assistants at Habitat for Humanity? That's a tough job to get without a degree in urban development or city and regional planning, I imagine. What about entry-level clerical museum work? Should that really require an MA in museum studies or public history? Do all librarians really need a bachelors and an MLIS?

shedinator

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2012, 08:19:18 AM »
Social workers do not hold the only low-paying jobs, though. What about administrative assistants at Habitat for Humanity? That's a tough job to get without a degree in urban development or city and regional planning, I imagine. What about entry-level clerical museum work? Should that really require an MA in museum studies or public history? Do all librarians really need a bachelors and an MLIS?

Obviously, how much education an individual position should have depends on that position. That's why I went with the social worker thing, because I think we can all agree that an MSW is a logical requirement for a social worker. Whether an administrative assistant atn HoH needs the education required, I can't say, as I've never dealt with them. But if there's even ONE job out there that necessitates a lot of education and doesn't pay well, then NMHD's whole spiel about the "duty" we have to society is entirely unfounded, there is at least one (and I would argue far more than one) job that fits that description.

grantmeaname

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2012, 08:33:27 AM »
You can get your social work credentials for a whole lot less than the $115,000 dollars that his reader mailed him about, I promise. Here in Ohio it takes a bachelor's and a test to qualify. Now, a bachelor's degree leaves the average graduate with about $15,000 in debt, and the test costs $10-30, AFAICT.

I think he's perfectly in the right to say that people shouldn't take on six figures of debt, especially not 12 times the national average amount, in order to make $30,000 a year (which is lower than what typical social workers make, anyways). If you manage to piss away 12 times as much money as a typical college student and you still only earn at the 15th percentile for your field, I don't have much respect for your financial savvy.

skyrefuge

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2012, 09:09:23 AM »
Can't say whether or not I agree with that. If you're saying school shouldn't be as expensive as it is, then I agree. If you're saying the low-paying-but-beneficial-to-society jobs shouldn't require the amount of education that they do, then I disagree.

A bit of both.  I mostly had in mind the professions you listed in your original post (author, minister, memoirist(?)) when thinking that those tasks could easily be covered for society by people without expensive educations (or perhaps even any formal education at all).  I agree that "social worker" may be in a different class.  I don't know too much about the field, but I defer to grant's numbers and posit that NMHD would have no beef with a social worker graduating with $15k in debt, so the two of you might not actually disagree.  It seems like you just read his blog/post from a very defensive position and interpreted things more harshly than he meant them.

shedinator

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2012, 09:44:10 AM »
Can't say whether or not I agree with that. If you're saying school shouldn't be as expensive as it is, then I agree. If you're saying the low-paying-but-beneficial-to-society jobs shouldn't require the amount of education that they do, then I disagree.

A bit of both.  I mostly had in mind the professions you listed in your original post (author, minister, memoirist(?)) when thinking that those tasks could easily be covered for society by people without expensive educations (or perhaps even any formal education at all).  I agree that "social worker" may be in a different class.  I don't know too much about the field, but I defer to grant's numbers and posit that NMHD would have no beef with a social worker graduating with $15k in debt, so the two of you might not actually disagree.  It seems like you just read his blog/post from a very defensive position and interpreted things more harshly than he meant them.

I didn't start reading it defensively at all. The idea of "I want to smash 90k in debt in less than a year" was something that I thought was pretty awesome (I'm an MMM reader and forum participant, after all!). But as I read his stuff, I got the impression that the blog was more of a complainypants' approach to frugality, and reminded me of nothing more than getting dietary tips from my 3-year-old. He knows what he should eat in order to be healthy, but the faces he makes while eating a balanced diet make it clear to the world that he is not enjoying this, and would much rather be living on a diet of 100% carbs. That's more or less the face that came to mind any time NMHD wrote about his savings. It was like "I'm doing this, because I know it's good for me, but I REALLY want to be getting back to my $1300/month entertainment budget ASAP."

As for whether the jobs I mentioned could be done with little to no education... well, I will defer to people in the fields that aren't mine, but I can attest to the fact that an uneducated minister is not a very good idea. Trusting someone to read a translation of a text written in a different culture 2-3 millenia ago, and correctly understand it without having had any training in understanding that culture makes very little sense, as does hiring someone to give a weekly public presentation if s/he has never been trained as a public speaker. Being a minister also tends to include some basic counseling, budget management, etc. etc. There are affordable ways to do this with a lot of religious groups, but to eschew education entirely has historically had some horrible consequences.

And I didn't see anything in NMHD's rant about ROI that indicated to me that it was directed only towards those who wold need to go into debt in order to obtain their degrees...

I really didn't expect my statement to be nearly this controversial. Would've thought that most members of this community would have no problem agreeing with the idea that not everybody has to choose a major with a high ROI (or, alternately, that the ROI on a degree is not always monetary).

grantmeaname

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2012, 09:59:01 AM »
not everybody has to choose a major with a high ROI (or, alternately, that the ROI on a degree is not always monetary).

I completely agree with this statement, and I would hazard a guess that almost everyone else does too. However, my concern is that people are getting lost in a specific niche case and missing the big picture, which is that college doesn't have to be done in a financially irresponsible way, and neither does debt repayment. Look at me, or Bankrupt$y, or Jennie, who fits our exact case. She's a social worker who took out loans to go to school and is paying them off within four years, while saving for retirement!

The big idea that I hear a lot coming from news outlets is that college is ungodly expensive and jobs do not exist for recent graduates, but the actual data says that loans are minimal for those who try to minimize them, and high-paying jobs are available for those who want them enough to not major in film studies or anthropology. I think an anthropology degree can be valuable in non-financial terms (as I should, since I'm getting one), but that doesn't mean that I should take out $115k in loans to get one.

shedinator

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2012, 10:16:53 AM »
not everybody has to choose a major with a high ROI (or, alternately, that the ROI on a degree is not always monetary).

I completely agree with this statement, and I would hazard a guess that almost everyone else does too. However, my concern is that people are getting lost in a specific niche case and missing the big picture, which is that college doesn't have to be done in a financially irresponsible way, and neither does debt repayment. Look at me, or Bankrupt$y, or Jennie, who fits our exact case. She's a social worker who took out loans to go to school and is paying them off within four years, while saving for retirement!

The big idea that I hear a lot coming from news outlets is that college is ungodly expensive and jobs do not exist for recent graduates, but the actual data says that loans are minimal for those who try to minimize them, and high-paying jobs are available for those who want them enough to not major in film studies or anthropology. I think an anthropology degree can be valuable in non-financial terms (as I should, since I'm getting one), but that doesn't mean that I should take out $115k in loans to get one.

Far as I can tell, we're in full agreement here. My undergraduate loans amount to a measly $20k. Slightly higher than average, but easily paid off with a minimum wage job and a sense of frugality. I borrowed sparingly for my first Masters, intend to pay out of pocket for my 2nd, and am hoping to get into a fully funded PhD program. All told, I'm probably looking at 80k in debt, which can be paid off on time with the relatively low paying jobs I'm likely to get, so long as I'm disciplined with my money (which, for the most part, I am). If someone asked me where they should get their undergraduate degree in theology, I would say "whichever place makes it most affordable for you, while fulfilling the requirements of your faith." Same goes for the Masters, if that's required (for some faith groups, it is).
What I took exception to was NMHD's conclusion that students have a duty to pursue a high ROI major. Seriously, that was my only disagreement with his statement about college. Here's the exact quote, and I don't think it's out of context at all:

Quote
What I do know is that students have a duty to fulfill throughout all of this. They owe it to themselves and the rest of this country to pursue majors that have consistently proven to be high-ROI and to practice personal accountability and live below their means (e.g., no Starbucks and new cars) until their debt is paid off.

I firmly agree with everything I've bolded here. I could not disagree more with the part I did not bold.

And for those who perhaps think that I just read everything NMHD writes through a jaundiced eye, let me point out that I followed him long enough to get to this post: http://nomoreharvarddebt.com/2011/12/27/mr-money-mustache/. Oddly enough, it was through reading NMHD that I found MMM, and through reading MMM that I began to see just how complainypants MMM was. Once I got immersed in MMM's blog, it completely changed my opinion about NMHD.

skyrefuge

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2012, 10:36:13 AM »
And I didn't see anything in NMHD's rant about ROI that indicated to me that it was directed only towards those who wold need to go into debt in order to obtain their degrees...

Perhaps this is why I feel you've mis-read him.....because, you mis-read him.  :-)  Make sure you read to the part I bolded at the end of the sentence!

Quote from: NMHD
What I do know is that students have a duty to fulfill throughout all of this. They owe it to themselves and the rest of this country to pursue majors that have consistently proven to be high-ROI and to practice personal accountability and live below their means (e.g., no Starbucks and new cars) until their debt is paid off.

His whole blog is about debt, it has debt in the title, that post mentions "debt" six other times; he's responding to people with debt, and speaking to those who plan to take on debt.  That's why I don't see his statement as controversial, because he's basically just saying "be responsible when taking on debt". 

Maybe you're also interpreting "high-ROI" wrong.  It's not a synonym for "6-figure income".  If your investment is small, then your return can similarly be small while still achieving "high-ROI".  A social worker with $15k in debt making $40k/year probably has at least as high of a ROI as an HBS grad making with $90k in debt making $100k/year, so that's why I say he'd be totally cool with such a social worker.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 10:39:23 AM by skyrefuge »

grantmeaname

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2012, 10:36:58 AM »
Fair enough. I don't think that that specific quote is defensible, but it doesn't seem to be in line with his character in general either. It strikes me as someone unused to the public spotlight tripping over himself after reading emails from people with $115k in debt and $35k in income. Maybe I'm seeing it in a too-forgiving light, but I just can't see it as sinister and not him mis-articulating what he believes.

thor800

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2012, 10:51:16 AM »
From NMHD about MMM - "When I first started reading MMMís blog, I thought he was a complete nutjob, but after some reflection, my initial disdain for him has evolved into great respect"

Thought this was hysterical.  After all, MMM is a complete nut-job, but in a completely badass way.

From my earlier comments, I think knocking out $100K in debt is much easier for a Harvard grad than social worker / admin assistant / etc thats why I mentioned the unrealistic claim.  I guess challenging yourself to crush it on the repayments is realistic for anyone, but the time periods may vary slightly.  If anything he has some mustachian traits, but overall I just found his direction impressive and has motivated me to start a few new side businesses to complement my income.

As far as ROI on your major, no one is obligated to come out of school making big $.  Thats up to the individual, but I know lots of music / art majors that have picked up computer programming and software development to pay the bills :)

shedinator

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Re: Jump Kick your massive student debt
« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2012, 08:52:08 AM »
And I didn't see anything in NMHD's rant about ROI that indicated to me that it was directed only towards those who wold need to go into debt in order to obtain their degrees...

Perhaps this is why I feel you've mis-read him.....because, you mis-read him.  :-)  Make sure you read to the part I bolded at the end of the sentence!

Quote from: NMHD
What I do know is that students have a duty to fulfill throughout all of this. They owe it to themselves and the rest of this country to pursue majors that have consistently proven to be high-ROI and to practice personal accountability and live below their means (e.g., no Starbucks and new cars) until their debt is paid off.

His whole blog is about debt, it has debt in the title, that post mentions "debt" six other times; he's responding to people with debt, and speaking to those who plan to take on debt.  That's why I don't see his statement as controversial, because he's basically just saying "be responsible when taking on debt". 
I don't think I can see eye-to-eye with you on this one. The part about "until you pay off your debt" is clearly about living below your means, not about what major you choose. Every convention of grammar indicates this to be the case. Choosing a major is a permanent thing. You can't pay off your debt and then decide that you actually majored in something else in college. It was two distinct things- 1) choose a high ROI major AND 2) live below your means if you have debt. It wasn't "choose a high ROI major if and only if you will have debt." To say that the one is a conditional which is dependent upon the other is not a straightforward reading of that paragraph.

Quote
Maybe you're also interpreting "high-ROI" wrong.  It's not a synonym for "6-figure income".  If your investment is small, then your return can similarly be small while still achieving "high-ROI".  A social worker with $15k in debt making $40k/year probably has at least as high of a ROI as an HBS grad making with $90k in debt making $100k/year, so that's why I say he'd be totally cool with such a social worker.

You can't just look at your student loan debt to determine what your investment was. If you go to college, you're committing 4 years, thousands of hours of class and study time, and most likely some of your own money. For Social work, there's another 2 years of the same on top of that. To base ROI exclusively on student loan debt makes very little sense. I don't see anything indicating that's what NMHD intended by ROI, but if it is, he's wrong too. You have to count the money and time you put in and, it would seem, subtract whatever amount you could reasonably have earned without the degree. I'm guessing most people could rise to the $30-40k range without a college degree within 6 years of working. So The 6 years, thousands of dollars, and $15k in SL debt is likely putting a Social Worker in a position where s/he has close to a 0% ROI- Lower, if you consider all the money s/he didn't earn while committing those 6 years to education.