Why do you start your career with a debt?
Debt means less chance of trying new things, exploring the world, taking risks, or pivoting to a new career. What if you started school with a student loan and you do not like it? Don’t you think it is too risky?
How much is freedom worth to you?
Getting a student loan is more dangerous than starting a business. You have no time freedom or a chance to achieve financial freedom all because you have a student loan to pay off. Old traditional paradigm says to go to a school, get good grades, obtain a secure job, and live a happy life. Yes, I thought the same way when I first decided to apply for graduate nursing schools. I diligently studied and finally graduated from one of the top universities in the nation. My school ranked #1 in top national graduate nursing schools in 2017 per the U.S. News. I thought the success comes from better school, better education, and most importantly reputation of the school. I admit that I had a fantasy about going to Ivy league or high name value schools.
After graduation, I realized that my school’s name value is just on paper (diploma) with a fancy school name. I paid $90,000 in tuition alone to get my one Master’s degree. Did I get a better job offer? No. You fight for the same jobs out there with other graduates from less name value schools. There are limited jobs, and your school name value does not guarantee the job offer (unless you have connections with the key personnel in the company you are applying for).
Let’s say that you are lucky to get the job you wanted. Congratulations to you, but is it what you want in your life? Are you happy working for someone most of your waking hours? I have some friends who are resistant towards the idea of starting a business or trying new things, but they complain about their work and life all the time. They say that they cannot spend enough time with their kids on the weekends because they have a commitment to work. They also say that they cannot travel as much because they have only three weeks of leave days per year. If they complain so much, why do they live like this? It is because they are bound to paying off their student loans. Perhaps, they are just comfortable working under a fancy job title, on a comfy chair in their cubicle where they display diploma in a luxury wood frame to show off their academic achievement.
Call to action to this student debt madness
What’s your plan to pay off your student loan debt if you no longer have a job? Technologies changed how we live our daily lives. Many jobs are now automated, and there is no guarantee that you will be in your position ten or twenty years from now. Don’t even think about getting a student loan for your education in the first place. Instead, find other ways to expand your knowledge, experience, and studies:
1. Read books of your interests
2. Follow people who have achieved what you want
3. Network with who are in your career industry
4. Join military if you need money to pay for your college (i.e. G.I. Bill)
P.S. Personally, I do not have any student loans, but many of my colleagues and friends do. I am frustrated about the fact that they did not get a financial education before they started school or someone telling them not to get a student loan because there are better ways to start their career.