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Your Take: Survey Shows Delay in Life Milestones for Recent Graduates

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A few months ago, the subject of a Your Take centered around which generation had the most debt (prompted by an infographic from Experian). In looking at the infographic, and how the younger generations had much higher levels of debt, I thought about the impact of student loan debt. The results of a recent survey by the College Savings Foundation showed that recent graduates are more likely to delay milestones of independence, such as getting married, having children and buying a house. When you are burdened with a significant amount of debt, it’s hard to get ahead and on with your life.

Highlights from the survey (recent graduate refers to someone who graduated in the last year):

  • 36% of recent graduates said they had to live with parents longer than expected
  • 40% of recent graduates were delaying when they would buy a house.
  • 19% of recent graduates were delaying when get married.
  • 21% of recent graduates were delaying when they would have children.
  • 70% of recent graduates were employed.

The survey discusses how these numbers compare with older graduates and in all cases the recent graduate numbers are higher, so it shows a trend that’s worsening, but I’m not surprised by it. My alma mater costs an eye popping $60,000 a year now and I graduated a scant ten years ago.

Next week, we’ll have a two part interview with Peter Mazareas, Chairman Emeritus of the College Savings Foundation. He shares a lot of good information about saving for college that I think anyone, from students to parents, will find extremely educational.

What do you think? Is college debt to blame? Or is it more about the economy? Or both?

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Your Take: Survey Shows Delay in Life Milestones for Recent Graduates”

  1. Matt says:

    I would say it’s more of the economy being weak but college costs factor in. Of those 70% who are employed a good part of them are probably underemployed.

    • KR says:

      I agree. Of course being in debt is a huge factor, but for those of us who were lucky enough to make it through college without accruing debt, sometimes our salaries and/or savings aren’t in great positions to even think about tackling wedding costs or mortgages.

  2. cvargo says:

    My wife and I both have about 30K in student loan debt for our bachelor degrees. The problem in my opinion is that even though we got jobs in our field after graduating, the wages are just low right now. My wife is a school teacher, and I do analytics for a big company we both have good jobs were able to buy a house in this down economy but we are delaying having children.

    • DMoney says:

      My nephew is in a similar situation. Finding a job was a little bit hard for him, but even when he found a great job, the cost of living is so high that after living expenses and student loan payments, there’s not much left over to hit any of these milestones anytime soon.

  3. freeby50 says:

    I assume this is mostly the current economy.

    I don’t think the debt is that big of a problem honestly. Sure the typical $25-30k in debt is a burden but if you have a decent job its manageable. The lack of decent paying jobs is the bigger problem.

    Also theres mroe and more people getting degrees nowadays and the # of higher paying jobs isn’t growing along with them. That means a higher % of graduates are going to be underemployed as theres imply isn’t demand for 100k new psychology degrees or 70k new communications majors every year.

  4. Mike says:

    The only employed college students I know have jobs that are no way related to their major.

  5. Shirley says:

    With the debt incurred for a college education, the economy being what it is today, and the job market narrowing, I can see many young people delaying college in favor of OJT or trade schools. I certainly understand their reticence at committing when the future looks rather bleak, but I also believe that very few of them will actually go back to school at a later date.


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