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I heard someone describe this as the "capstone" vs "conerstone" model. Previous generations got married and had kids much earlier, and built their lives off of that cornerstone. When it comes to me personally and my peers, we see marriage and children more as a capstone -- something to be done once our student loan is paid, or when we're ready to put a down payment on a house, when we get that promotion, etc.

I'm still in awe that starting off your life with massive student loans is a thing. This is almost always a very poor decision as there are tons of cheap regional schools where a part time job can mostly get you through school with very little debt. And yet we've got a generation of new adults starting life under crushing debt that purchased them something of dubious value (an expensive degree versus a cheap one). My regional university had a decent CS program and tuition was $3k/year.

> tons of cheap regional schools


I teach at the University of South Carolina, where tuition and fees are over $10K a year. To my knowledge, the same is true of all the other four-year colleges in the state (Clemson, College of Charleston, Lander, USC Upstate, The Citadel etc.)

Not as outrageous as private school tuition, but it's still a very substantial burden, especially when you factor in food and housing as well.

My impression is that this is quite typical for the US. I would be delighted to learn that I am mistaken.

The "one weird trick to graduate on the cheap! colleges hate him!" of choice these days is community college.

Have fun trying to get your credits to transfer. I had trouble getting credits to transfer from the Air Force Academy to a state college. They want you to do them there. They would take them as generic credit hours but it was an uphill battle to get them to actually satisfy graduation requirements (which are the real thing that keeps you from graduating, you will already have enough credit hours).

I've always heard that you should complete your AA at community college before transfering for your bachelors as it's a lot easier to transfer with the entire degree than trying to translate individual credit hours between schools.

So first two years cheap at community college for an AA/AS then you only have two years for your bachelors at a more expensive school.

I was charged more than that for a public university in the 1990s. In a few years I paid for that, my wife's similar loans, and a new car. I also got married and had my first two kids.

So it looks cheap to me, assuming the housing isn't insane. I think there is a reasonable assumption that a person gets loans, chooses a sensible major, and actually graduates.

As it turns out, if you ask children with little to no experience living independently and managing money to do something predicated on living independently and managing money, they make poor decisions.

>I'm still in awe that starting off your life with massive student loans is a thing.

I'm of the opinion that, at least in the US, we romanticized the idea of "going off to college" to "find yourself". It is assumed to be this huge drug-fueled, party sex orgy that is funded on essentially credit.

> tons of cheap regional school

That is how it was when I first went away to college in 1994; I think I paid around $3k a year tuition at University of Missouri. I started planning a 529 for my kids this week and was shocked to find that in state tuition here (South Carolina) is $15K a year for just tuition and fees. I'm scared to imagine what it will be in ten years.

You can still find small regional schools around the country which are cheaper, although not if you have to pay out of state tuition. But between rising healthcare costs and rising administrative costs, each of which represent roughly 50% of the increase in college tuition, with the small remainder being states kicking in less per student.

Without a doubt college is a lot more expensive, and it is much harder to find a school doing things cheaper. Which is why my kids will likely just live at home and get their degrees online. They'll miss out on some college experiences which they can then make up for by not being $80k in the hole when they graduate. I mean most kids are on a 25 year payment plan, which is basically their entire working life.

Got married at 38, first kid coming at 40. Had nothing to do with debts and all that other stuff; I chose to live out my wild years to full satisfaction and natural completion.

First and only kid at 41 for me, no looking back. Keep disrupting, dad!

Full completion sounds sexual. Was that intentional?


I know two sisters who each got married.

The older one practiced worldly prudence, courted during high school, got engaged at beginning of college, and waited almost a decade until after her fiancé graduated before they got married and started to have children. But now he can't get a job with his degree (pharmacist), she works at some retail job as a manager, and the whole family lives with her parents. He's in >$100,000 debt and briefly went to a medical facility during a nervous breakdown after realizing he realistically can't pay it back.

The younger sister had no such ambitions. Courted in high school, got engaged, married right out of high school, immediately started a family, he works at Walmart making higher than average money, and she stays at home raising the kids. They also live with her parents in the same house.

True stories. This all happened over the past 7 years.

I would say the prudence of the second couple vastly outshines the "prudence" of the first couple.

I'm not sure your story proves a whole lot.

By the way you phrase it, the outcome of the older sister hinged upon the husband failing to get a job as a pharmacist. If he had successfully landed a job, the outcome of your story would be very different.

The same argument could be made for the younger sister. What happens when Walmart downsizes, and the husband is out of job with a background only in retail?

I'm not sure it is worth citing or criticizing the 'prudence' of either couple.

Plus, I'm under the impression that "can't get a job as a pharmacist" is a rare problem.

The first couple waited almost a decade to start having a family, and accrued $100k in debt.

The second couple had a family immediately, have no debt, and are otherwise in the exact same situation as the first couple.

And the couple that had children sooner, are younger and more energetic, and also have less stressful jobs that allow them to spend more time and better quality time with them.

Also there is a real value in having the mom stay at home full time where she can teach their children their own values and guard them from bad practices or influences at such an impressionable age.

How is living at home with your parents an example of prudence?

Where is this? There's no where in the US where you can't get a job as a pharmacist. No where. Retails are needed very much so, you have to stand and it pays really freaking well, except it's hard to cross over into other types. Again, in the USA, in any state in this country, working full time, at the very worse, you will make $90k/yr as a pharmacist.

It's changed. Check out r/pharmacy.

Getting a PharmD used to be a golden ticket. Then a ton of schools opened up and flooded the market. Wages are actually on the way down and from what I've heard, the retail jobs really suck.

There's either something you don't know or aren't telling us. There has to be a specific reason why someone who holds a Doctor of Pharmacy would be unable to get a job.

Wow, neither of these examples are at all appetizing as an example of a life well lived!

I am not sure how you come to that conclusion without knowing more details. What if the couples truly love each other and enjoy each other's company. What if they share looking after children thus having time for themselves and each other. There might be people who have good jobs are able to travel but hate their jobs, are lonely and don't like their spouse.

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