Don’t Encourage Your Kids Into Long Term Indentured Servitude. This is a fascinating conversation. Now, of course, this is a sensitive conversation. A lot of people in America tons of debt. A lot of it is debt we feel like we needed to take on. Some of it is bad and wrong. We got too big of a house that we know we didn’t need and blah, blah, blah. Most the people I know are stepping into a just crushing debt that they did believe was for the right reasons. Schooling, maybe it was a house reason, et cetera, so this is sensitive conversation, we totally understand.
So when we’re speaking here, I think, first thing I would encourage you guys for the next five, seven minutes is, don’t hear us say that it’s bad or there’s something wrong with it or whatever. What we’re saying is, “Man, I think all of us can agree with that the ideal is to not be in debt.” So what would it look like to generationally make that plan? It’s not going to happen overnight, you’re not going to get out of debt in five days. So can you as a father, spend an almost entire generation to set your family up to be a family that does not take on this style of debt, because there’s whole different versions of debt, kind of this crushing debt that kills the generation, kills your ability, kills your resources, kills one of those streams of capital. Jeremy, what do you say on that then? What are you meaning here when you say all this?
Yeah, guys. I want to talk specifically to the fathers who are thinking about their own kids. Even if you have really young children, when you think about, what is part of your role to set up your kids for future success? It’s to be careful and understand that the culture has a pathway to essentially make your child an indentured servant for decades, and we’ve seen this with the way that people have taken on enormous debts for school, and this is some of the most difficult debt ever because there are special protections, you can’t file bankruptcy when you have student loan debt. So as I have had conversations when I was in a CEO role, I’d be hiring people, I’d have a very consistent conversation with a lot of people that were $150,000 or more in debt.
They would have a degree in something that generally pays maybe $40,000 a year, and they went almost $200,000 in debt to get that degree. And it always, to me, felt like a failure of fatherhood in their life. I was like, “Man. While you were enjoying those four years and getting,” really, in a lot of cases, “a great education, there was nobody for you to sit down with and actually calculate whether or not this was a good idea.” And that the kinds of decisions you watch-
That was just assumed.
It’s just heartbreaking that a lot of these men and women had to make after school that could really affect their future family was really a bummer. And when they talk about, “Yeah, I asked my parents what they thought and my parents were like, ‘Yeah, yeah. It’s just what people do today. Go for it.'” And the parents didn’t realize particularly, again, I just expect the father to give really good advice in this area.
One father who’s giving hard advice to lots of people in this generation around this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs fame.
Yeah, I love him.
He has this really famous quote, which I love, and he says, “We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist.” And I think that where he’s putting emphasis is that we’re giving this to kids. That always is what stands out to me in this quote. “We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist.” So who’s supposed to help kids? Because loan sharks have existed in every single society and these are just people who have the power to enforce loans and to make sure that there’s no way you can get out of it. It’s a powerful thing in every culture, and we have those today, and they seem friendly to us because they’re helping us get through school, but they can also really do incredible damage to the next generation, and I just think it’s important for you guys to understand wherever you’re at on this topic, whatever you’re wrestling with, like Jeff said, a lot of us just were giving bad advice in this area.
Just know that it’s important for you to think about how you are going to be advising your kids and how you’re going to be preparing your family so that when your kids are 35 and trying to raise a family, they’re not sitting with a mound of debt that there’s no way for them to very easily or very quickly get out from under. So that’s our job as parents, to be helping our kids not make those kinds of long term mistakes.