Most people under 40 don’t regret taking out expensive student loans
About 70% of Americans under 41 who have student debt say they have delayed at least one major financial decision because of it, according to new research from Bankrate.
But nearly 60% say they think the education their student loans bought has improved their career and earning potential.
The most common thing people with student loans put off is saving for emergencies and retirement. Also on the list? Buy a house, get married and have children.
“It makes sense, you know. The average student loan payment is about $400 a month,” said Naomi Zewde, a professor at City University of New York. they would have spent to get to the next financial milestone that they would have taken in. So, you know, that moves a lot of disposable income, especially at the start of your career.
Postponing big financial moves because of student loans is more common for younger people, for people living in the Northeast and West, and for black people — largely because of the racial wealth gap, according to Fenaba Addo, associate professor of public policy at UNC Chapel Hill.
“Black borrowers are much more likely to rack up more debt, graduate with debt, and black borrowers have higher default and delinquency rates, so they have a bit of a hard time repaying,” said she declared.
But even those who put off big things, like saving money or buying a house, still feel – for the most part – that going to school was worth it.
About 60% say they would have liked to have done something different, such as working more during their studies, finding scholarships or going to a cheaper university. But only 10% say that in hindsight, they wouldn’t have gone there at all.
Addo said that made sense. “Higher education probably remains one of the strongest predictors of financial security and stability in our society.”
So even though the financial risks and inconvenience of college and higher education have increased, most people still think it’s worth it when doing the cost-benefit analysis.
There’s plenty of evidence that’s the case, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.
“The unemployment rate for college graduates is half of those who didn’t go to college. There is a lifetime income bonus of nearly $1 million for those who graduate from college,” he said. “So there are definitely long-term benefits.”
But, he added, they come at a short-term cost.
There’s a lot going on in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is there for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down world events and tell you how it affects you in a factual and accessible way. We count on your financial support to continue to make this possible.
Your donation today fuels the independent journalism you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help maintain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.