The Next Bubble to Burst?

11 Oct

According to the U.S. department of Agriculture It will cost an estimated $241,080 for a middle-income couple to raise a child born in 2013 for the next 18 years. That’s an average of over 13,000 dollars per year, and like most things in life you can count on it getting more and more expensive each year. Of course the more money a child rearing couple makes the more they will spend on their child and conversely a couple with less income will spend less on raising their child.

But sadly, while costs continue to increase each year, salaries in America have not been keeping up, especially when it comes to health care, child care and education where the financial gap has widened at a pace faster than more ordinary cost of living expenses.

And what happens when your child, born in 2013, turns 18 in 2031 and wants to go to college? By 2031 you and your spouse might be facing bills for college tuition and room and board that will equal or eclipse the 241,000 dollars that you just spent raising your child to the age of 18!

When I attended college in the 1970’s tuition at a state college cost around $900 per semester. That figure is now 10 times more and if the trend continues state tuition plus room and board should easily top $30,000 per year with private school costs easily topping $50,000 per year…if they haven’t already. I’m not sure because I haven’t sent a child to college since last year!

Besides, what parents in 2031 are going to want to spend as much money sending their children to college for 4 years as they just spent raising them for 18? Especially when you consider that children (and parents) here in 2014 already owe over 1 trillion dollars in student college loans! That’s more than people in the U.S. owe on credit cards and by 2031 (if these trends continue over the next 18 years) College loan debt will probably be greater than the national debt…if you can possibly believe that…but after all, we are trying to pay down our national debt. Can anyone say that about college loan debt? Certainly not banks and colleges.

I’m sure that students are trying but they need jobs first and getting a well paying job is not something that banks or governments or even colleges and universities guarantee to someone with a college education. You’d think that for 1 trillion dollars in loans that (thanks to Congress) can never be erased or forgiven like ordinary debt, college students might be guaranteed something, (besides debt) wouldn’t you?

So, what will parents of the future, do? And how will colleges of the future sell their bucolic educational resorts and the future trillions of dollars of debt that will go along with it, to the young students of the future whose parents and families will most probably still be paying off their own trillion dollar college debt?

Perhaps they will offer some college courses on how that can and will be done?

5 Responses to “The Next Bubble to Burst?”

  1. momshieb October 11, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    As my children approach their own parenting years, this is one of my greatest worries. They are all saddled with enormous college debt already……

  2. avwalters October 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    We’re seeing it now. The birth rates for college graduates are falling (as are the rates at which they buy homes and consumer goods.) Colleges will find themselves with no students, as their former students do the math and realize they cannot afford children.

  3. A Voice October 12, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

    This is a multi-faceted problem, with the two biggest faces the structure of education (all things considered) and the ‘private sector’.

    To the former, education is all over the board when it comes to standards and the rise of for-profit colleges make things more difficult. Add to this a society that is in no meaningful way appreciative of or focused on the Arts and it’s really science degrees and business degrees that have any chance of landing ‘the job’ and really paying down that debt. Further, when the glut of degrees out there is considered it truly makes degrees less and less valuable due to their being near ubiquitous. From a lack of standards, to poor focus, to culturally irrelevant degrees offering no fiscal remedy to debt, to the debt itself: education is simply in a position where education itself is not the focus or even a secondary goal.

    To the latter, most importantly, companies hold no national allegiance and are actively encouraged to simply increase revenue. Making more and more money is always the goal, which necessarily forgoes investing in people and community. There is neither incentive to invest in people and community save for token examples nor penalty for not doing so, allowing the ‘private sector’ to wantonly chase naked profit. People are not good-at-heart and until laws both incentivise and penalise the above-mentioned appropriately…well, jobs will always be fucked.

    The latter impacts the former so much it’s astonishing and without a cultural shift, a real reassessment of values, this isn’t going to change.

  4. onnovocks October 13, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    One answer no-one seems to like: replace an economic system that is based on infinite growth, with one that is finite, like the planet we live on. Or, we can wait for the problem to self-correct,…again!

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