Student Loans

A good thread from Adam Weinstein on his own experience with Student Loans.

I’m a 43 year-old single father. I make $111,394 annually. Big success story, right?! But my lifetime average annual earnings are $44,288. Because journalism. I owe $131,983 in student debt…I prioritized paying student loans. I started at $145k. I paid the balance down to $115k. In 2016, I got let go. I freelanced and dipped into savings. And the student loan balance swelled back up to $140k…I owe more now than I did 7 years ago. And that makes me feel like a heel for “paying it down” when I had the means…Working for the past 1.5 years at a job I like that pays well has been a godsend for medical bills – I have multiple disabilities – plus keeping my kid fed and starting a modest retirement fund, 20 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars too late

Weinstein is older than I am but I do recognize the storyline. I have not paid back my loans at the same rate I thought I would when I exited college. A recession, pandemic, a couple of curve balls from life have changed my payment rate. I too am fortunate to have a well-paying gig and a decent situation right now but I agree that I dislike getting called “comfortable”. It feels precarious. I happen to have a good job in an industry that is rising but it could all go away just like it has for lots of Americans.

But according to Biden, I’m too comfortable to rate forgiveness. Because nobody told this first-gen college student not to go to the best school I could get into. And because my income, while not good enough to get me out of debt at 43, is still better than most Americans …Yes, for the love of God, prioritize the worst-off! But don’t do it and then pretend our system of educational finance is otherwise working fine for the so-called “upper middle class! Upward mobility? That’s a pipe dream for me, too

I agree that the student loan crisis is not solved after a complete wipe of the debt, but I don’t know that we should wait until we restructure all of the economy before helping correct some wrongs. Forgiving student debt is simply returning some of the money that should have been invested in people already. It opens up the economy for more businesses, healthier workplaces1 and starts to right some wrongs, even if they aren’t the most wrong wrongs.

Photo via Unsplash

  1. If you aren’t trying to make the payments you will be more likely to leave a toxic workplace and we can all put some pressure on businesses to run more human-centric businesses.