My suggestion is if you don't want to spend the next 10-20 years unemployed or temping, learn a foreign language and a skill that is transferable anywhere in the world, then consider leaving the country if you can. If you refuse or can't because of family or financial reasons, be prepared to suffer for the foreseeable future.My opinion hasn't changed. I don't care what the nightly news says about signs of improvement. If you are unemployed or underemployed and reading this from your parents' basement, things haven't improved. Suprime JD wrote a post yesterday which listed good reasons for some recent grads to consider moving away for good. I recommend reading the entire post at his blog.
We have been caught in a trap. The injustice against us is severe. We owe all this fucking money with no reasonable means of paying it back anytime soon and having a decent standard of living. Student loan repayments coupled with rising energy prices, rising healthcare costs, low wages and high rents spells hardship for many JD's. The stronger the injustice, the stronger the response. Leaving the country is a reasonable solution for many. Just as other immigrants fled their native countries due to economic discrimination (because in the end all discrimination is in essence economic) so must we. This is one option that exists. If the system is so stacked against us, with banks, government, public sentiment not willing to help us, then we must help ourselves. Who is willing to make a move in order to better his life? Is moving to Germany, Brazil, Singapore, Italy, South Africa, Australia, wherever, worth it in the end? You start a fresh new life, meet new people, and have 0 debt at the expense of leaving loves ones behind. Many others have done the same thing. My parents left world war 2 wrecked greece behind for a better life here. They said goodbye to relatives, friends, and loved ones in order to have economic freedom. For many JD debt slaves in america, fleeing the debt burden is a most viable option. With interest, many will pay back $312,000 on a $150,000 student loan over a period of 25 years. Imagine being able to consume $312,000 over a 25 year period as opposed to paying back debt which did not further your life, but only burdened it. Many american JD's think it to be absurd that they should have to leave their country for a better lifestyle. Heres the reality: it is NOT absurd to leave, but it is absurd to STAY. This is what the lenders want, for us to stay and pay back the loan, with interest.While I wholeheartedly agree with Subprime JD's thoughts on leaving the country, my opinion differs slightly that the education scam, whether you're talking about the college scam or the law school scam, is in the same category as the subprime mortgage crisis:
Millions of others have emigrated for a better lifestyle. The fact that JD's are leaving and other graduate school debt slaves are emigrating from America shows that the USA standard of living has fallen over the course of the past 2 decades. Millions around the world have also gotten professional degrees only to drive cabs and busses, but at least they are debt free as most schools are publicly financed. We JD's here are in a world of trouble and pain. But this can go away rather quickly. Get some type of employment, save your money, work under the table if you have to. Pick a country, get the visa, and split. Learn the language just as so many immigrants here learned our language.
The perception that we american lawyers are so special needs to change. According to the system we are NOT special, but just pawns to be exploited. We studied and gave up working for 3 years in order to pursue a law license to better our lives. We incurred +150k in debt to achieve this goal. For many it has been a fruitless endeavor. We must MAKE OURSELVES SPECIAL. Fleeing the nation is not for everyone. Some will be able to find nonlegal employment that will pay them well. Others have wealthy parents that will support them. But there are thousands of others that will not find alternative employment, do not have wealthy parents, and are working for $15 per hour while owing 150k in debt. Its time to make a move.
The fact of the matter is that the unemployed JD is a tiny, miniscule percentage of the population. There are over 10 million homeowners in default, whereas less than 200,000 JDs are getting crushed in debt, more or less. Our plight will most likely not be recognized by the majority of people. In addition, lawyers are universally hated by the general public. Ive posted about new lawyer woes on other financial blogs and people cheer our suffering. We will not get much support from the general public, nor from the gov, nor from the ABA. We are on our own.The higher education scam will have much deeper consequences for our nation than the downfall of Lehman Brothers or the housing crisis. The issues the law scam blogs write about apply to a much larger population outside of the legal community. The higher education scam is a generational crisis affecting millions of people between the ages of 18 and 30, as well as their children and their aging parents. This is why Angel and I cover the college scams because more people need to realize that rising tuition costs and non-dischargeable student loans isn't just a problem affecting JDs. It will have serious affects on our nation's long-term economic stability and ability to remain competitive on the world stage.
A third of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are unemployed in this country. Young, able-minded adults who should be having families, working, saving up to buy a home or for their children's education are now moving back in with mom and dad to survive. I see daily advertisements for college educated graduates to work for $8.75 per hour as office assistants. No benefits. Who can survive on $8.75 per hour let alone pay off your student loans? You'd be better off on welfare and Medicaid. Guess where these employed college graduates are living? Yep, back home with mom and dad too. This problem is not going away and it will likely get worse. Subprime is right in that we are alone in this, not because our problems our minuscule, but because the law school scam blogs aren't enough to fight the student loan industry and their friends in Washington.
Secretarial jobs were once relegated to high school graduates. An older lady who worked as a secretary at my high school never attended college and she has health insurance, a nice 401k plan, and makes nearly as much as the attorneys doing document review in NYC. Oh, and she's debt free and owns her home. Internships used to be a thing kids did during the summertime or the summer before starting college. Now, college students and graduates are paying thousands for a chance at an unpaid internship. The high school educated secretary with a 401k is our past. The $8.75 per hour college educated personal assistant living in her parents' garage with $100k non-dischargeable student loan debt is our future.
You do have a choice and that is to leave the country. I am not saying this as someone desperate to leave the country because of my exorbitant student loan debt. I mentioned in a previous post that even with my interest accumulating over the last year, my private loan debt is manageable and can be paid off in less than five years. The question you have to ask yourself regardless of your debt is how do you want to live your life. Do you want to spend the best years of your life semi-homeless and leeching off of your parents' dwindling retirement plan with Aunt Sallie ringing your phone every hour? Other countries, Asian countries in particular, are experiencing rapid growth. Some of these countries will be more likely to appreciate your advanced degrees than employers in the United States who take us for granted. There are programs, as I noted in a post several days ago, that provide housing, health care, and salaries that range from a small stipend to more than enough to put into savings and pay off those loans. Some of these programs will also qualify you for Income Based Repayment for your federal loans and even loan forgiveness if you work for a non-profit abroad. Living abroad is not for everyone, but if you are single and childless it is something to consider. Isn't working with health care and a small savings with the incentive to travel better than being depressed, unemployed, and tied down to student loan debt for the rest of your life?