Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

Can young 'dream-seekers' avoid being strapped by debt?

We are writing to say how much the Jan. 11 article, "Young dream- seekers strapped by debt," resonated with us. Upon obtaining our doctorates in physical oceanography and mechanical engineering several years ago, we have found that our job prospects are not as attractive as we had hoped.

While frugality and sacrifices allowed us to emerge from undergraduate and graduate school without either consumer debt or student loans, we find that we are still unable to attain the American dream of homeownership, job security, and career advancement.

Healthcare and housing prices have inflated while wages and benefits have deflated because of outsourcing and immigration. The result is that our salaries are actually lower than they would have been had we not pursued advanced degrees. In terms of lifetime earnings, we would have been far better off as an autoworker and a plumber than as a scientist and an engineer.Jason and Janelle FlemingMorehead City, N.C.

Debt is precisely the problem, and the Jan. 11 article makes it sound unavoidable. It's not! It still doesn't cost too much to go to college. Expenses for four years will result in a large bill - larger if one never learns how to be frugal. Going to a state school while living at home will leave debt on the order of a car note. Part-time work could pare that to zero. Choices must be made, and their consequences, good or bad, lived with. In the end blame for debt belongs to us, whether we're young or old.

Moms and dads need to teach their kids to deal with money, debt, and consequences, but we're doing a poor job. The savings rate hovers in and out of negative numbers, while we borrow against our home equity to purchase more stuff. No wonder kids don't get it. The consumerism we all complained about as hippies was a pale shadow of what we see today, but a good life can certainly be led without crippling debt. Bruce SmithFolsom, Calif.

Books can become a lifelong passion

The Jan. …

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