LETTER: Students should learn about finances

Your recent headline article regarding the student loan debt level carried by ISU students is very troubling to me (“Despite study’s findings, debt still high,” Oct 4).

I think the situation is probably worse than just that – many students are also carrying a high debt load on credit cards as well, and upon graduation these students are in for an incredible shock. The $25,000 to $50,000 annual salary of the first job you take out of college may not go as far as you think it will.

I know that for a fact – I graduated from Iowa State in 1999 with more debt than income. Not good.

I now run a personal financial coaching business in Ames, and many of the clients coming to see me are college-educated people making good incomes that are simply out-spending their income.

Proverbs 22:7 says that “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender,” and that reigns true in almost everyone that comes to see me for financial guidance. I see people trapped in jobs that they hate, simply because they need them to pay their debts. They try to cheer themselves up by purchasing cars and HDTVs, but after the high of the purchase wears off, they just end up deeper in debt and more unhappy.

Enough of the gloom and doom. The bright side is that you can change your course now – don’t wait. Stop going deeper into debt. Work a part-time job. Start living on a monthly budget. You need to know what your basic necessities cost (food, rent, tuition, etc.). Stop using your ridiculous credit cards – they’re causing you to overspend, and the 18 percent interest rate they’re charging you isn’t worth the free T-shirt you got for signing up for them. Work hard during the summers and save up for the next school year. Once you’ve graduated, don’t do something stupid like immediately going out to finance a new car – be smart and first clear up your debts, and vow never to go into debt again. That’ll put you in a position to win in life, and your grandchildren will thank you for it.

Robert Kibbe