I recently read something that was rather thought provoking. The comment gave me pause and made me really reflect on my own personal situation. The comment went along the lines of, “Our access to credit has made us rather fortunate compared to other countries in the world.”
As I re-read the statement over again, I started asking myself if the burden of student loan debt has actually made me more fortunate.
I mean, I was able to obtain an education. I have a job. My mortgage covers the loan for the house I currently live in and I wouldn’t be driving Dorian (my Dodge Charger) if I didn’t have a loan on the vehicle.
Many would argue (and I no doubt wouldn’t disagree with them) that debt of any kind isn’t necessarily a good thing. However, a lot of the stuff we have today, we wouldn’t have it if we didn’t finance it.
I’m sure I could have gotten a cheaper and just as reliable car that was financed for a lower amount, but yet, I still made the decision I made and I’m living with it. I didn’t have any savings to pay cash in full for a car. I didn’t have cash to pay for my house in full. Nor did I have the cash to pay for college in full.
Yet, if I never attended college, I don’t know what I would be doing with myself or if I would be any better off without my college degree. Sometimes when we’re lost in thoughts about how much our student loans are holding us back, we fail to have an open mind to explore the possibilities of life without the education we worked our asses off for.
Instead of continuing my whining, I’m open to exploring the possibility that the author of the above statement had a point. Immigrants have fought their way to this country to live the same so-called dream we’re living. Despite the fact that we’ve financed many of these dreams is a moot point.
We have access to opportunities that some citizens in other countries don’t have access to. There are people who would love to get an education or live in homes. There’s opportunity here in this country and this fact can’t be denied.
Given these opportunities, we still have a choice. When used properly, credit is a tool that can help some get ahead in life.
When we choose to mindlessly squander away student loans on stupid things — well, the joke ends up being on us. Just like credit can be used as a tool for our advancement, it can also be used to our detriment.
Let’s take back control. Instead of viewing student loan debt as an unnecessary burden, let’s consider the fact that we are solely responsible for our own plight. We still have a chance to be among the number of fortunate folks who responsibly borrowed to get ahead in life as long as we learn from our past mistakes.
We’ve sobbed and whined long enough about how our student loans are holding us back in life. But if we’re honest, we’ve held the gun and pulled the trigger on these decisions and now we’re doing the time.
Blaming one industry alone and demanding a fix isn’t going to solve our problem or the next generation’s problem. It’s only going to cover up a wound that needs healing. This wound is our desire to have everything now without carefully considering all the alternatives.
After this reflection and reading the statement about credit contributing to the fortune of many, I may very well consider changing my negative opinion on student loan debt.
For ten years I’ve been crying about how much my student loans are keeping me from living my dreams. But honestly, the opportunities that have come from my student loans are not something I’m willing to give back.
Yes, I have two degrees that I’m not using. Yes, I have work experience in a field I didn’t study. However, without those degrees I highly doubt I would be employed by my current employer. I also wouldn’t demand the salary I’m currently earning and I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today.
Even though it sort of hurts to admit it, I’m pretty damn fortunate because of my student loans.
I made the decisions and now it’s time to own up to them, pay off the debt, and consider myself otherwise blessed.
What about you? Would you consider yourself fortunate because of your student loans?