Would You Use Social Security to Pay Off Debt?
Today’s slap is the product of the financial collapse of 2008 and 2009. Back then, I would look for the stupidest, most outrageous explanations a banker or broker offered for the roles they played in the huge drop in stocks and housing. It turned into the “Slap in the Face” Award.
And we’ve had some real beauties. But for the past few years, things have quieted down.
Now the stupid parade seems to have found its way back into the center ring. A few weeks ago, I talked about the nonbank lenders who want to lower the standards used for credit checks for mortgages to free up $17 trillion in new mortgages.
More money brilliance… because it worked so well last time.
This week, one of our elected geniuses wants to allow people with student debt to use their future Social Security benefits to pay for some of what they owe.
Is it me or is this college debt thing out of control? Here’s how I see it…
The average student debt today, depending on whose numbers you use, is between $25,000 and $35,000.
To put this in perspective, let’s run inflation-adjusted numbers for my student debt load.
Back in 1977 when I finished my graduate work, I owed $6,900 in student loans. A sum that, at the time, seemed impossible to repay.
Today, that $6,900 equals around $30,000. Bingo! Right in the middle of today’s average student debt load.
You know where this is going, don’t you?
I paid $149 per month to pay off my $6,900 in five years. I had 10 years to pay it, but I wanted out from under it. I justified the amount in my head by comparing it to a new car payment at the time, about $150 per month.
My thinking was that I got an education for the cost of a new car and that would serve me a lot better and a lot longer than any car would.
That $149, adjusted for inflation, would be around $497 per month. Just about the monthly cost of a new car payment today.
But an education never breaks down. It never stops running, it doesn’t rust out, and it will never end up on a tow truck’s hook on the way to the junkyard.
Now, with all of the twists and turns life will throw at today’s students, do we really want them to use the only retirement safety net this country has for the price of a new car? Really?
Oh please! Would someone with some common sense please run for office? And before you write in and tell me I’m a chronic cynic and that if I have all the answers, I should run… I won’t. I’m too old.
So if this idea manages to get through Congress (and it seems like the kind of crazy vote-buying legislation that will), please don’t let your kids do this. The long-term risk is too great.
Wow! Give up your safety net for a car? Nuts!