Monday, January 2, 2012

Andrei How many psychologists did it take to turn the prairies into fields of wheat?

My head is spinning after reading this on Oprah.com: The 6-Step Financial Reality Check for Newlyweds.

I know this is not real - though the people and their concerns probably are, alas.
Married last June, Maria and Victor Martin* are bubbling with plans. Within the next five years, they want to have two kids and upgrade from their recently purchased two-bedroom condo in Chicago. And Maria, 33, an assistant psychology professor, and Victor, 37, who is finishing his doctorate in clinical psychology, are eager to add to the $60,000 they already have in retirement savings.

Thirty seven years old and not yet embarked on his life career? And Maria, her most fertile years already behind her, although she does have about 10 years of fertility left the main bread winner for now.

It gets worse
When Victor graduates in 2013, he expects to make about $60,000, nearly quadrupling his monthly take-home pay to around $3,500. Yet he'll also have about $150,000 in student loans. Victor can consolidate these federal loans into one with a fixed interest rate that should be below 7.5 percent. The hard part will be choosing a payment plan. If he pays $1,100 a month, he'll be making payments for 30 years. I just don't think it's smart to be paying off your own loans when your kids are in college. If Maria and Victor commit to $1,800 a month-setting aside money from his new job and expenses they've trimmed-the loans will be paid off in ten years.
Got that - if over half of what Victor earns when he finally starts his career goes into paying off his debt, it will be paid off when he is 48 years old!

And you know what - Clinical psychologists are a luxury item, they don't actually grow anything or make anything. When times get hard they are disposable.

After all it is the grain farmers of Minnesota who provide the wherewithal to feed the Victors and Marias of this world with the surplus being used to keep them in the style to which they are accustomed.

And I suspect that most of them started tilling the fields long before they were 38.

3 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

That's staggering. If they are bubbling with plans now, what were they bubbling with when they were 20?

Psycho Milt said...

My university's got no shortage of people in their 30s and 40s doing degrees, and a good thing too. Not everybody gets to buy a farm with daddy's help and spend the rest of their life growing wheat, and nor would that many want to. The whole point of a civilisation is to generate a big enough surplus that people can afford to specialise. It's pointless to complain about the paths people choose to take once they can specialise, but if you're going to complain about it you could always start with someone who wants to become a priest.

Andrei said...

I'm not complaining Milt

In case you hadn't noticed, my friend, the Western World is currently drowning in oceans of debt - which one way or another has to be paid back.

And ultimately is has to be paid back with wheat, coal, steel etc or things made out of those things

The reality check is coming and when it does spending half your lifespan, your prime years if you will, learning skills that do not generate hard commodities might well come to be seen as er well decadence.

Priests btw do not begin their priesthood $150,000 in debt and the costs of their training are met by their diocese, I believe. Nor are they in general highly remunerated - it being a vocation rather than a career

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