Jeff Edel­stein: Bet­ter ques­tion is what wouldn’t I do for $30K

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - FRONT PAGE - Jeff Edel­stein

Vol­ume 72, is­sue 4

I al­ways thought mil­len­ni­als got a bad rap. This is com­ing from a straight-up Gen X’er, who dealt with the same crud th­ese kids are go­ing through to­day.

My gen­er­a­tion was told we were lazy, that we thought the world owed us some­thing, that we were part of a gen­er­a­tion that was go­ing to doom Amer­ica.

Well, we aren’t, we don’t, and we didn’t. We’re a solid, if un­spec­tac­u­lar gen­er­a­tion. When his­tory is writ­ten, two items will mark us. One is 9/11; it was the first real threat to Amer­ica our gen­er­a­tion wit­nessed. The sec­ond? The Crash of 2008, which we’re still deal­ing with. Speak­ing for my­self and plenty of oth­ers I know, spend­ing habits changed dra­mat­i­cally post-crash. Credit card bills got paid, dreams of big­ger houses got dashed, belts got per­ma­nently tight­ened.

And it’s be­cause of my eco­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence of the last 10 years that makes me want to throt­tle half of the col­lege grad­u­ate mil­len­ni­als out there.

Why? Be­cause they’re stupid. Fi­nan­cially stupid. Or, as the kids say to­day, “fi­nan­cially cray-cray.” (Edi­tor’s note: We’re pretty sure they don’t say that.)

Get this: Half of mil­len­ni­als with col­lege debt — and the av­er­age grad­u­ate from 2015 with debt clocked in at about $30,000, ac­cord­ing to Peter­son’s — would agree to forgo their vote in the next two pres­i­den­tial elec­tions if their loan was for­given, this ac­cord­ing to a study by Cred­i­ble. com, a per­sonal fi­nance web­site.

To be clear: ONLY HALF of re­cent col­lege grads would give up their right to vote for pres­i­dent in 2020 and 2024 in a trade for their debt. Hm­mmph.

You know what I would trade for $30,000? Pos­si­bly one of my chil­dren, but cer­tainly my vote in the next two elec­tions. Se­ri­ously — vote Trump in again, it’s fine, just hand me the check. Heck, vote Eric Trump in, I don’t care. Vote Kid Rock as our next pres­i­dent, doesn’t bother me one bit, as long as I’m get­ting the $30K. Not life-changing money for sure, but you know what? It’s more than enough to not pull a lever for two elec­tions. Stick that in a re­tire­ment fund, maybe get a 7 per­cent re­turn over the next 30 years, and you’ll have $228,000 star­ing you in the face.

Yeah. Vote for who­ever. I’m cool with my $30K.

Re­ally: Do th­ese kids not re­al­ize the value of a dol­lar? The dif­fer­ence be­tween keep­ing $30,000 for your­self and pay­ing out $30,000 is huge. Re­mem­ber that $228,000 for a few sec­onds ago? Well, if a 25-year-old put that kind of dough away, by the time they’re 75 they’d have $883,000.

But no, mil­len­ni­als, sure, I get it: Your sin­gle vote in your sin­gle state in the elec­toral col­lege sys­tem is cer­tainly not worth giv­ing up for a com­fort­able re­tire­ment. Mil­len­ni­d­iots.

But wait: The study gets worse. Only 44 per­cent would wipe their debt away by giv­ing up Uber or Lyft (call a cab, you schmucks!) and only 42 per­cent would agree to not travel out of the coun­try for five years in or­der to see their debt for­given (go to the shore in­stead, you’ll be fine).

Maybe I’ve been wrong all th­ese years and th­ese kids to­day just don’t get it. I’d like to not care about money like th­ese youn­gins, but if you’re like me — spouse, kids, mort­gage, dog — you know ev­ery penny counts. High and mighty morals — “It is my civic duty to vote in an elec­tion for the Pres­i­dent of th­ese United States” — get com­pro­mised quick when your roof is leak­ing.

Gah, I wish some­one would of­fer me $30,000 to give up my pres­i­den­tial vote in 2020 and 2024. In fact, let’s start the bid­ding at $10.

Jeff Edel­stein is a colum­nist for The Tren­to­nian. He can be reached at jedel­stein@ tren­to­, face­book. com/jef­freyedel­stein and @ jeffedel­stein on Twit­ter.

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