Splashy weddings and 401(k) cash outs: America’s biggest money regrets

“A combined (private/federal, ungrad/grad) student loan balance pushing $100,000.” “Getting into $70K student loan debt from my undergraduate degree from a public university.” Survey participants had a lot of regrets when it comes to student loan debt. American borrowers collectively owe more than $1.5 trillion in students loans, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

Given the ever-increasing cost of higher-education, these loans are hard to avoid. The College Board found that prices tripled at public four-year schools and doubled at public two-year and private non-profit four-years schools from 1988 to 2018. For the 2018-2019 school year, average tuition at the latter type of school was $35,830. However, thanks to scholarships, grants and tax breaks, the average net price paid there was actually $14,610. Big savings to be sure — but 14 grand-plus can still put a big dent in anyone’s pocketbook. That’s where loans come in.

The most recent Survey of Household Economics and Decision-making from the Federal Reserve Board found 42% of college students — and 30% of all U.S. adults — have incurred student loan debt. SHED figures show Americans owe, on average, $20,000 to $25,000 in student loans, with up to $300 per month owed in payments. Seemingly endless debt can add up to a lot of regret, and many Americans are now finding that a college education isn’t always the only option — or a forgone conclusion — for those seeking profitable and fulfilling career futures, CNBC has reported.


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