STUDENT LOAN DEBT KILLING ECONOMY FOR SOME

#StudentLoans #StudentLoanDebt #economy #college
Imagine having your dream job, after a great education, and yet be broke.
That is the case with Melissa Cefalu, a veterinarian, and her husband Andrew, a chiropractor.
You see, Melissa and Andrew are buried under $365,000 in student loan debt.
Paul Davidson highlighted their story in his USA Today article about how student loan debt is hurting the U.S. economy. It was also published in the July 7, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Melissa and Andrew never take vacations. They may grab a long weekend with friends or relatives. Andrew drives a 13-year-old Chevy Tahoe. Instead of buying new clothes, Melissa, 35, wears her sister’s hand-me-downs, according to Davidson’s article.
The $1.34 trillion in student loan debt, a record high, is affecting the overall economy, Davidson writes. It’s causing delays in home purchases, it’s crimping consumer spending and inhibiting formation of new businesses, the article quotes analysts. He quotes others as saying the student loan debt crisis is no more than a lot of hype.
“I love what I do but … I don’t feel my degree was worth the sacrifices we have to make every single day,” the article quotes Melissa Cefalu. The couple, between them, makes $125,000 a year, and lives in affordable Madison, Miss.
Let’s break this down further. We’ve all heard about the excessive student loan debt, and the debate rages on about how to fix the problem. Should we, as a nation bail out these loans, or should we let the people who incurred the debt take their medicine – probably for a lifetime?
At the rate they are going, Melissa and Andrew will probably never be able to save for a house, let alone retirement, for a good long time. Theirs is a lesson for others thinking about whether college will be worth what they will have to do financially to get through.
And the Mississippi couple’s example shows that even if you come out of college with a decent job, doing what you had always wanted, debt can punch you in the gut for many years. Think about the graduate who comes out of college with no job, AND lots of debt.
Statistics repeatedly show that the more education one has, the better his job prospects. Still, the decision whether to go to college should not be automatic, even for the brightest of students.
There are many different ways to approach the problem. Consider these options: if a student is college material, but his family cannot afford to send him, he could work for a few years at a relatively menial job, i.e. a restaurant server, and save his money to go to college later in life. That same student could take that menial job, and take some college courses part time over a few years until he has the money to go to school full time.
Secondly, a student could consider military service for a few years, presuming he is physically able for that. The service may entitle him to college benefits after he serves his tour of duty.
Thirdly, a student may decide to look for a vehicle that will provide him enough income to eventually give him a world of educational options, without incurring a lifetime of debt. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Regardless of how you may feel about student loan debt, and how it may be affecting the economy, consider this: if a student incurs debt that would surpass a mortgage, that student will not be able to do much of anything financially for a good long time. He or she could grow old and broke, with very little help to get out of their situation.
If you don’t want to be among those folks, think long and hard about whether, and when, to go to college. College is not for everybody, and for those who are ripe for college academically, but not financially, it’s still not a decision to be made without lots of thought.
He who properly thinks through the college decision will likely see the most success as a productive adult.
Peter

HOW MUCH HOUSE SHOULD YOU BUY?

#housing #RealEstate #OverHoused
Buying a house is never easy, unless you are, say, an investor paying cash.
Most homebuyers need a mortgage, and getting qualified for one is a process.
Peter Dunn, a financial planner, says many people are “over-housed.” It’s a concept of paying too much money for housing, in relation to one’s income. In some areas, housing prices are over the top, and one cannot help paying too much for a house.
But some over-housing is self-inflicted, Dunn says. He wrote about over-housing in a column in the Jan. 18, 2016, edition of USA Today.
He cites the example of Mark and Jennifer, a Midwestern couple in their mid-40s, who decided 11 years ago to build their “family home.”
Mark and Jennifer knew they were pushing the limit of what they could afford, but the bank approved them for a loan. That gave them reassurance, Dunn writes.
“Things spiraled out of control from there,” Dunn quotes Jennifer.
When housing bubbles burst, it’s the over-housed folks who get slammed first. Are you over-housed? Here are Dunn’s pitfalls: if you’ve dumped everything into a house, and have no emergency fund, you could be in trouble. There are also the realities of increased utility costs, home maintenance, homeowners insurance, property taxes etc. If you didn’t budget for those increases, you could be in trouble.
Mark and Jennifer’s home was 2,000 square feet bigger than their previous home. Their utility costs were much higher and, after two homeowners insurance claims, their premiums went through the roof, Dunn writes. Their tax assessment was based on the value of the land alone. When the structure was added, their tax bill tripled, Dunn writes.
Worse yet, the couple hasn’t saved a dime for the future, Dunn writes. If you’ve given up vacations, new clothes and dining out to live in your new home, you are probably OK, Dunn writes. If you’ve given up your current and future stability, you’re in trouble, he says.
Dunn’s rule of thumb: don’t let the bank tell you how much house you can afford. Being house-rich and cash-poor is not a good situation, especially if housing values plummet, as they did in 2008. Your house is a significant investment, but don’t rely on the equity in it to secure your future. You need to be saving and investing regularly.
The folks who have a comfortable retirement are those who lived BELOW their means, and socked money away. If you buy or build a house, make sure your mortgage payment and other expenses leave a portion of your paycheck left over to save and invest.
Taking vacations and dining out occasionally are nice, too, but saving and investing for retirement are a priority.
Of course, there are ways to earn extra money so you can live in that dream house. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You’ll see stories of people who bought their dream home, but not until they had the money – often the cash – to do it.
Remember, too, that homeownership is not for everyone. Though the American Dream may dictate that one owns his own home, give some thought to the life you want to lead before deciding to buy or build. That house could own you, in more ways than one.
In short, do the math before buying or building a home. Make sure the house doesn’t eat too much of your net worth. If you tap out your emergency fund for that down payment, it could come back to bite you.
Just because you think you CAN swing it, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.
Peter