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What, Me Worry about Debt! – I’ve got self-esteem protecting me – Part 3/3

What looming disaster has the self-esteem movement created?

Rachel Dwyer of Ohio State University says, “By age 28, those students may be realizing that they overestimated how much money they were going to earn in their jobs. When they took out the loans, they may have thought they would pay off their debts easily, and it is turning out that it is not as easy as they had hoped.”

According to The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid, these debts range from $10,000 to more than $100,000.  In fact, a total of more than $1.7 trillion in federal education loans have been made since beginning of the loan programs.


Link to the entire program of Your Life, Your Money

In addition, the estimated total private student loans outstanding as of June 30, 2009 were approximately 157.8 billion.  The overall total education loans outstanding, federal and private, was about $763.4 billion in 2009.

When I wrote this post, the Student Loan Debt Clock said that number now stood at more than $900 billion dollars.

If we go back to the beginning of this series of posts, you will recall that many of these young adults also carry credit cards beyond the student loans and undergraduates are carrying record-high credit card balances. Source: Credit Cards.com

The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, the highest in the years the study has been conducted. Twenty-one percent of undergraduates had balances of between $3,000 and $7,000, also up from the last study.

In addition, close to one-fifth of seniors carried balances greater than $7,000, while the average college graduate has nearly $20,000 in credit card debt. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards,” April 2009)

The results of this study has revealed that the movement to boost vanity among our children for the last five decades has created a debt crises that many young adults may struggle for decades to pay off while sacrificing a better lifestyle than their parents may have experienced.

Even more disturbing is a piece by Lori Gottlieb in the Atlantic, How to Land Your Kid in Therapy, which deals with why the obsession with our children’s (self-esteem) happiness may be dooming them with unhappy adulthoods. I will write summary of this long article in another post (Gottlieb’s Atlantic piece ran 12 pages printed).

Return to What, Me Worry about Debt! – Part 2 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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