Posts Tagged ‘frugal dad’

If You’re Poor, Forget College

Ok, I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I was browsing through my Google Reader today and in comes this post from Frugal Dad.  It’s a post about student loan debt, which I can agree with the author is too high. However, the guy actually says this nonsense:

Do you need to go to college? A college degree not only doesn’t guarantee a job, but it also doesn’t guarantee a high paying job. Before you go to college because “it’s expected of you,” or “that’s what the cool kids do,” you should take a few minutes and try to determine your career goals, what is required to achieve those goals, whether or not you need a college degree, and if it is worth the expense. Many times college isn’t the answer and taking student loans while you try to determine your career goals is a recipe for disaster.

Well, instead of throwing a bunch of opinion out there without any facts to back it up, let’s take a look at some hard numbers. The unemployment rate for those with no degree is 10.1% as compared to only 4.5% for those with a bachelor’s degree. The numbers don’t lie. While the author is correct: a college degree doesn’t guarantee you anything, it just may make finding work a little easier for you. You need every edge you can get these days!

Here’s another fact: many jobs that previously did not require a college degree now require one. For example, an entry level manager trainee position at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which really is a glorified sales position, requires a college degree.  Not having a degree can seriously limit the number of jobs available to you today.

What troubles me more than the stupid platitudes espoused in this post as well as many other similar ones I have seen since the economy went into the ditch is that we now seem to be “ok” with telling people with humble backgrounds that they need not even try to reach beyond the station to which they were born. Think about what posts like these suggest: you should not go to college if you cannot afford to pay for it yourself, or if your parents cannot afford it. Furthermore, you ought to evaluate any degree you do pursue by its dollar value, not by personal interest or by the desire to look at a career as more than just a way to make money.

Look, I am not going to suggest that college is the answer for everyone or that it can guarantee you anything, because it isn’t and it can’t. However, if you want to go to college and you need to take out a loan to do it, then you ought to be able to do so, regardless of the cost later. Student loans need to be reformed to be in line with what they used to be: an investment in the future. Investments may not pay off and that’s the risk the banks take in loaning the money. Furthermore, repayment terms need to be made easier and interest rates capped. Half the problem with student loans today is how onerous they are to pay back. You shouldn’t have to indenture yourself to the banks for the rest of your life for a chance at a piece of the pie.

Finally, I just want to say that employers also need a reality check. Is it really necessary to require a college degree for a job that pays $30K? Do you really need to limit your pool of qualified employees to those with college degrees? A bit of common sense here would be welcome about now.

Saving America’s Middle Class? Or Drowning It In Austerity?

Today’s post on Frugal Dad was written by a guest blogger pimping his own site, thedailymiddle.com, a site that claims to be about middle class survival during these hard times.

I read the post on Frugal Dad and I see that the author is using statistics gathered by Elizabeth Warren. Going to his site, he even has a category for her and he’s put up some of her videos. However, he takes her statistics and completely misinterprets them to continue to put forth the “overconsumption myth” which Warren has also gone to great lengths to debunk.

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Getting More Income To Pay Debt

Frugal Dad wrote this article on his blog today about how the most important thing you can do to get out of debt was to bring in more income to put solely toward paying off that debt. I can’t argue with with his logic. After all, if  you develop a plan to bring in more money and you also commit to putting those funds towards your debt, well, you’re going to reduce your debt load more quickly.

Having said that, I do take issue with some of his suggestions as to how you should get more income. For one, he suggests that you need to work 70 hours or more a week. While getting out of debt quickly is good, it is not worth the health costs associated with overwork.  There are other costs to think about, and health is the most important. After all, if you lose your health, then all your income will be gone and then where will you be? 

Furthermore, Frugal Dad does acknowledge the weak economy as an impediment to finding “more work” but then dismisses concerns about the economy as “your excuse to staying in debt, limiting your opportunities and stifling your dreams of financial independence.”  I don’t know where this guy has been living, but most people these days would be happy to settle for a life where they can earn a secure, if, modest living. Financial independence is something few ever attain and it is just part and parcel of that stupid Horatio Alger myth that so predominates American culture.

Frugal Dad, newsflash! We’re in a depression. Yes, I said depression because that’s what you call it when there are millions and millions of people out of work and there are five applicants for every one job that exists out there. For those who are lucky enough to remain employed, (and are scared to death that their job may disappear at any time,) their hours are being CUT. If their hours are not being cut, then their WAGES have been reduced, so that even if they are working more HOURS, they aren’t seeing any net increase in income. Please! Optimism is fine, but at some point, you’ve got to face reality.

Frugal Dad has other suggestions on bringing in more income, one of which is blogging. He blogs himself.  While blogging for a living (I do the same thing) is a decent way to make money, it does take time to pick up steam. It can take a solid year before you see any appreciable income from your blogging efforts. You can’t expect to start a blog, throw up some content, and watch the cash start flowing in. To give FG credit, he doesn’t suggest that this is the case, either, but at the same time,  he does make it sound like a panacea for debt.

Look, I understand where FG is coming from, I just think that at this juncture in time, with the economy as bad as it is, his post just comes across as pollyanna-ish and smug. I don’t know about you, but I am finding that my patience has been worn thin with useless platitudes and smarmy tough talk.

The Truth About Bankruptcy

In this post over at Frugal Dad, guest blogger Neal Frankle asked this question: “Is it wrong to ask to have your debts forgiven?” In his post he mentions actor Stephen Baldwin, a born-again Christian whose income has dried up  as a result of his own choices to refuse roles based on his new-found faith, and who now is in bankruptcy.

The number one reason for bankruptcy is medical bills. The number is over 60%. Among those, more than three quarters have medical insurance. As for the rest, all report some sort of misfortune, most commonly a job loss or other decline in income. Only 9% of bankruptcy filers reported no misfortune.

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