I liked Dave Ramsey’s Facebook page awhile back. I still like Dave Ramsey. I tend to agree with him, if what he says can be done by everyone. I admit, I don’t care to watch Internet videos (I don’t have the patience–I’d much rather scan an article), but he posted a clip of him telling one of his callers that student loans/college debt is stupid. This is the video, in case you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_OPSYwZveM
I agree, if your degree is in philosophy or gender studies or art history. I agree even if your degree is in something that will give you the skills needed to make real money, unless you’re going to medical school (which costs a fortune) and you don’t have time to work (med. school is very demanding); I want anyone who is wanting to become a doctor to go to school, but still have time to study and sleep. Not everyone can work their way through school, but if you can, you should.
Scholarships are always mentioned, but most of them are so specific, they only apply to a select few. You’re better off waiting tables (if you have the time). If you qualify for a pell grant, go for it. The quicker you can start making a living wage, the better, and Uncle Sam will get all that money he (i.e. the American taxpayers) put up for your education back in the taxes you will pay.
Had I chosen to go into debt for college (which I consider an investment in oneself), I would be making a lot more money. My friends, who went into debt to go to school, are in much better shape financially (and well into their careers) than I am (granted, they’re in their mid-thirties and still paying off their student loans, though I attribute that to not having that “gazelle intensity” Dave talks about). I just know they’re in a better position than me. I’ve never been good at selling myself (I was taught one should never have to beat their drum, if they were good), but at least my friends have something to sell.
Though I only have a couple grand in student loan debt (from when I thought I wanted to be a chef), I’d trade that small debt for a sizable one with a career to pay it off. Listening to Dave’s show, I’ve been convinced that one is better off in deep debt, but with a big shovel to dig themselves out, than with no debt, but barely scraping by. Our little shovel (more like a teaspoon) is just enough to pay the bills and enjoy some of the niceties of life (a meal out, a new book, etc.).
My parents didn’t encourage higher education, as they believed all you had to do to get ahead was to work hard. Years ago, when people worked for the same company for forty-two years (as my grandfather did with Union Pacific Railroad), that was true, but not anymore. You have to have that piece of paper now to even be given a chance at the not so low hanging fruit. I’ve seen total bozos get jobs that weren’t related to their degree in any way, but because they had that piece of paper, they were given opportunities beyond entry level–they did not have to work their way up.
Going back to my comments about medical school…if one had to pay out of pocket for that, they’d be working minimum wage (practically) for years to save up that kind of money. Dave’s advice is best for most people, but isn’t practical for everyone.