You don’t need scientific research to tell you the obvious. The sky is blue. Pain hurts. Student loans are a mess.
If you didn’t already know it, many others do: There’s more student loan debt in this country ($1.2 trillion) than credit card debt ($854.2 billion). So it’s no surprise that a new study graphically explains the ripple effects of this debt. Here’s what tthe American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) learned…
That’s horrible news for not only the debtors but everyone else, too. If many grads delay these big life decisions, other suffer — from landlords to home builders to maternity nurses.
It gets worse.
According to AICPA, among current students with loans…
a majority (79 percent) didn’t know exactly how much they will have taken out in loans in total, upon graduation. More than one-in-three (36 percent) either had no idea or a vague idea of the total amount of their loans upon graduation. More than two-in-five (43 percent) had a general idea of the amount of their loans, while only one-in-five (22 percent) knew the exact amount of their loans in total, upon graduation.
Is this ignorance a result of laziness? I’m going to take the optimistic view and assume it’s simply that these students are focused on their studies. I have this single paragraph to bolster my spirits…
There is a silver-lining to the survey: while college students may feel like their loans will impact their life choices post-graduation, they are eager to learn how to develop their financial skills, with 84 percent saying that they are extremely or very interested in learning how to make better financial decisions.
Essentially, AICPA is saying student loans will be to this generation what the Great Depression was to the WWII generation — a traumatic event that instilled frugality in millions of Americans for the rest of their lives.
If they’re serious about “learning how to make better financial decisions,” then they can start with Debt.com’s Student Loan help section. They can also call 800-810-0989 for a free analysis of their loan payoff options, and perhaps even loan forgiveness depending on the profession they plan to enter.
Hopefully, this generation will grow up with savings savvy, simply because they faced the worst debt in the nation at a very young age.
Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of Debt.com, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.