College debt and other dumb mistakes along the way
Money isn't the easiest thing to talk about and talking about debt is even harder; so let's talk about it.
College has significantly increased their cost of attendance over the years. According to College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges, NCES, IPEDS data, the average cost of room, board, tuition, and fees in the United States in between 1971 and 1972 was $1405 a year. Today that average cost has increased to around $20,920 a year. During that same time frame minimum wage has only increased a little over $5.00. So, if you weren't fortunate enough to have your parents help you pay for school and you didn't get any scholarships than you really only had one option: Loans
It setup to be a trap from the beginning. Most colleges neglect to explain the true cost of taking out a loan and the amount of blood, sweat, and tears you'll go through to pay them back. Let's be honest, as an 18 year old kid whose just graduated High School, we're all a little overly optimistic about the world still too. We think, "no problem, I'll have a great job once I get my degree and they'll pay me a great salary, and it won't even be a problem!"
The US National Student debt level is tipping close to 1.5 Trillion Dollars now. Why do you think that is? It's not because Colleges are properly explaining how loans work, or charging a fair rate, or not paying their football coaches and executive administration $500,000 plus a year.
Most of us take out loans with the optimism of being able to pay them back quickly. After a couple of years in the "real world" that optimism has turned into prayers that they'll be forgiven eventually. For millennial, this is debilitating. We work hard to find a job, we work hard to keep that job, often in something less enjoyable than we'd like, and the bulk of our take home goes to loans. No savings, no 401k, no investing; we don't have the ability to with our salaries going towards this debt.
So plain and simple, if you're drowning in student loan debt it's not you're fault. My advice to you is to hunker down, refinance if it's going to benefit you, and pay them off as quick as possible. Click here to see how I've managed to pay down my debt as fast as I have been and how I plan to be debt free before I turn 30.