In March of 2018, I spent 12 days on vacation with my family. On the plane and on the beach, I read a fantastic John Grisham novel that contained a surprise for me that made my hair stand on end. What was it? The principal characters were all coping with horrific law school debt.
I’ve spent my entire professional life getting college students and grad students to careers they excel at and love with zero student loan debt. I spent years researching and writing a book on this subject. I can tell you, Grisham’s research on this topic is right on the money. He nails it.
BEWARE. Law school debt has the potential to destroy your kid’s life.
I am not overstating this. Students who attend law school are at frightening risk of not being able to earn enough afterward to pay even the required minimums on their law school debt and interest. Law students from elite law schools who land the “big time” jobs will still struggle to pay—many times while working grueling 80+ hour workweeks that can feel more like indentured servitude than a great, fulfilling career.
Don’t fool yourself. It’s possible to get a great, fulfilling, high-paying professional career while avoiding law school.
Pages 133–151 of my book explains exactly how parents can use three career assessments to figure out what that great, fulfilling, well-paying career might be for their teen or 20something.
If your spouse has student loan debt, what does that mean for you and for your financial future?
What can you do now that will keep you safe throughout the decades ahead, even if something bad happens?
Immediately address the biggest thing you must worry about when your spouse has student loan debt.
Think, for just a minute, of the unthinkable. What if your spouse dies, leaving you with a mountain of student loan debt that you have to pay off? Are you doomed? Or is there something you can do now to get out of paying thousands back all by yourself later?
No parent wants to consider this — but what happens if one of your children runs up $80,000 in student loan debt, and then perishes in a car accident or dies of cancer? Will your grief be compounded by having to make years (decades!) of student loan payments, until the student loan obligation is paid in full? Every parent needs to be clear on the answer to this question: “What happens to student loan debt after you die?”
The answer is scary, but — there’s great hope for those who can plan ahead just a bit.
If you as a parent are out of debt by the day your kid starts college, you’ll have more cash on hand to help with college bills. If you start the process of getting out of debt years before your kid starts college, you’ll have more cash on hand to save for college.
Either way, you’ll dramatically increase the chances that your child will graduate from college and begin adult life debt-free.
Today I’m featuring four amazinglyeasy steps to get out of debt, from best-selling author Dave Ramsey. These steps to get out of debt are so easy, you can fit them on a post-it note.
There’s no question about it; the ability to focus and concentrate for extended periods is absolutely critical to college academic success.
In his outstanding book Deep Work, author Cal Newport says this about extended periods of focus and concentration: “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. It’s like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy.”
Can student loan debt interfere with the focus and concentration necessary for doing “deep work”?
College students say yes.
In this article by college student Ashley Bulchandani on dailytarheel.com, she tells adults exactly how she feels. “As a current college student, I am personally struggling with college debt and paying off my loans.” She worries that, “debt accumulation can stress out students and lead to negative behaviors such as drinking, smoking, working a lot, and not focusing in class.” She points to research showing that, “excessive college debt results in overall low academic performance in college and low graduate school attendance.”
Today I’m featuring a 5-minute video clip from the popular TV show Adam Ruins Everything. This 5-minute clip is titled, “How College Loans Got So Evil.” It’s funny! But then again, it’s not funny at all — because it’s true.
Please share this post with every parent, teacher, guidance counselor, school staff person, government official, and college staff person you know.
Because we all need to know the truth — so we can take evasive action for the kids we love.
*Viewer discretion is advised
For clear, step-by-step help getting your kids through college debt-free, read on.
Parent, I urge you: DO NOT cosign a student loan for your child.
Today I’m featuring information from an article by nationally syndicated radio host and author Clark Howard. I consider this to be must-read info for every parent. After you read below, you can find articles by Clark Howard, listen to his radio show, view his videos, and sign up to receive his money-saving advice right in your email inbox at ClarkHoward.com.
Are you considering cosigning a loan for an adult child who needs a car, a student loan, or a credit card?
Here are 7 deeply concerning things you need to be aware of before you pick up that pen.
1. If you cosign a student loan, you may unwittingly strain future family relationships.
Nobody likes to think about this, but there’s an almost four in 10 chance that when you cosign a student loan, you will be the one who has to pay off the balance. A CreditCards.com survey found that of the cosigners they surveyed, 38 percent had to pay some or all of the loan balance or credit card bill because the primary borrower did not, 28 percent experienced a drop in their credit score because the person they chose to cosign for paid late or not at all, and 26 percent said the cosigning experience damaged their relationship with the person they cosigned for.
A 10th grader contacted me recently and asked me this great question about taking college classes in high school.
“Jeannie, I know that you strongly recommend dual enrollment college classes in high school for kids who want to get through college debt-free. I want to do dual enrollment full time in 11th and 12th grades so that I’ll have two years of college done by the time I graduate from high school. But my parents are trying to steer me toward doing dual enrollment only just part time. They’re worried that if I take a full load of dual enrollment college classes in high school, I’ll miss out on ‘the full high school experience.’ What do you think?”