Let me get political for a moment. The political landscape has been transformed with talk about the character Julia
For those of you who don’t think it’s bad out there for grads, let me present another character, Rickey.
Rickey, a young lady just graduating high school, decides to go to college for management. The economy’s starting to get poor, but a solid business degree should be a good bet.
During college She works a series of part time jobs, usually at minimum wage. This helps out with books and some things that Rickey needs, but it doesn’t come close to paying all the bills.
During summers she held unpaid interships to help her network connections and fulfill the internship requirements at her school.
Rickey graduates her college with a degree, and $20,000 college debt and $3,000 credit card debt.
She graduates, but has a hard time finding a job. Talking with some friends they all know someone who is either still looking for work, or doing food service or retail.
Rickey eventually finds and takes a job as a secretary. Many of the wanted ads for jobs require 3-5 years experience, which Rickey (as a new grad) doesn’t have, so she’s lucky to get this job.
Rickey lasts a few rounds of layoffs, eventually finding herself doing her original secretary job plus managing the website, doing the books, and (with this last round of layoffs) managing payroll.
She finds a boy and gets married. She brings $15,000 worth of debt to the relationship, and he brings $25,000 worth of debt. Combined they also have approaching $10,000 worth of credit card debt
Rickey opted for a very simple wedding, and the couple spends about $6,000 when everything’s all said and done. This is far below the average cost of a wedding (a website calculator says weddings in her area cost $18,000 to $30,000), so she’s pleased.
The happy couple waits a few years and has a baby. The admission costs alone to have the baby approach $20,000. Their health insurance pays most of that, but they still have $3,000 worth of medical bills. They also need to move up to the family insurance plan at work, which costs more.
Daycare for the small one costs about $18,000. That takes a good chunk out of the budget.
Rickey and her husband know they need to save up about $200,000 to $300,000 for Baby’s college education. They aren’t going to be able to save as much as they should for baby, as they are still paying off their own loans, but… they save as much as they can.
Thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act Rickey spends 6 weeks with her baby before feeling she needs to go back to work. When she returns to work she’s informed her job has been furloughed. They don’t know when they can bring her back..
Somehow Rickey gets the feeling they aren’t going to call her back.
Unemployment helps, but not really. Her husband manages to snag a part time, night and weekends job at the mall, and that helps a bit too.
Eventually Rickey finds another job. She manages to do so before the 6 months of unemployment run out, and she feels that she was really lucky to get a job.
Rickey just hopes that social security will be around for her, as the couple’s “nest egg” at this point is maybe a third of a down payment on a house. She is not that optimistic, given how her financial life has been so far. 2050 is a long ways away.
On a personal note: Every day I thank my stars that computer programming is in demand, and (normally) well paid. I have some of the same problems as Rickey, and some of them are more easily solvable. Some aren’t: There’s not $1,000/month in the budget to put away for Vivienne’s college fund. I know it’s better for us though: I know people who make - or made - $1,000 or $1,500 in a month at some jobs. Still: so many bills we have to pay…