This is going to be the first part in a multi-part series about this article. Why do I know about this article? Blame Dani and Josh. I’m not a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, I’ll admit it. And I just made a good chunk of the Christians reading this angry – awesome! Clearly this is my destiny (sarcasm). The thing is, many people who offer budgeting advice are out of touch with those in their 20’s and 30’s nowadays. They don’t know how it has been since the Great Recession. I graduated college right as it happened, and my financial life has been insane ever since – this last year was the best year I’ve had. So, welcome to my rant – this is where I’m starting.
1. You know what, it’s almost impossible to graduate college without debt. Screw you, it’s not the 1980’s anymore. College doesn’t cost $5k a year anymore. If you can pull it off, that’s awesome, and I am freaking proud of you. But I do not want you to EVER be so jaded that you give up on going to college because it’s going to mean debt for you. The issue is, college has gotten out of control. That isn’t the students’ fault, darn it. That’s the fault of universities, that’s the fault of the government, and that’s the fault of a number of other things. And you know why I can say that? Because there are a number of countries in Europe that offer low cost education for their students. Yeah, they still have debt (some majors have to pay more than others because of books/supplies/etc), but it’s nothing compared to people like me who are over $50k in debt after a Master’s Degree. You going to call me irresponsible? I think not.
2. The job market sucks, and we are suffering because of it. This job market totally sucks. After looking for a job for several years, I ended up getting a job at a grocery store for much less than my abilities and skills are worth. I have a freaking Master’s Degree. Unless you know someone in a field, or if you are well known in a community, it’s really hard to get anything. I live in a small community, and because my family doesn’t live here and I don’t have a lot of money, I didn’t have that advantage. Freelancing was my best choice if I wanted to stay here (which I may not be staying here much longer for various reasons), otherwise, I would be better off moving to a city. I don’t have connections, and because some people have made me look bad, I won’t find them easily. I have friends who are relocating to Baltimore because the job market is better here than it is in Portland. We have to make crazy sacrifices and moves in order to make it because the job market is so bad.
3. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean that you’re going to live this wealth-filled, “prosperous” life. If you ever, ever say this to me, I am going to disregard almost anything else that you tell me. Why? Because you are full of it. Yes, Christians can have money and be wealthy, and if you’re one of those Christians, awesome! Just don’t look down on me for it. Don’t assume that I’m not being faithful to my calling, because I have tried to do so since I came to know Christ (and it’s not my fault that I’m not following part of that calling anymore). Jesus came to give us life, and to give us life to the fullest. What does this mean? It means that we will live the life God intended us to live. God never intended to offer physical wealth and prosperity for obedience – Christ was poor and only lived on donations from those who believed in His Cause. Does that make Him disobedient? Absolutely not.
4. There is no good “budgeting” advice for those in their 20’s and early 30’s. Look at all of it. Yes, Ramsey has good advice, but it works for people who are A) over the age of 35 and/or B) MARRIED. People like me get screwed in every arena because we’re alone. I don’t have someone to back me up in case I have a bad month freelancing. I have to take a crappy freaking job that doesn’t pay me what I’m worth because it pays my rent because there is nothing in place to keep singles safe. The poverty level for single people is really low, which means that many people who need access to services don’t get them because they make just a little bit more than that. And don’t make the assumption that I get government assistance – the only assistance I get currently is making sure that I eat. Yes, I have a Master’s Degree and I am on Food Stamps. And guess what? I’m not the only one. You know what? People are either opting to stay single longer, or they aren’t getting married at all, and they’re struggling just as badly as I do. But there’s no budgeting advice for us, because we aren’t worth it. Or because people assume that we can follow the same rules they do.
That last point leads me into what will be part 2, which I will likely post on Thursday, which will be about budgeting advice that I have for people in college, and just out of college. Now, if you’re wondering what qualifications that I have in order to offer this advice, well, I wrote for several personal finance blogs for a couple of years (right out of graduate school). I have done endless amounts of reading and research, and I know what it’s like to be someone who got screwed by life in my 20’s and soon to be 30’s. I have lived it, and I have learned a number of different lessons that help me to be able to survive on what I have.
So, I know this is a really controversial post. I know I came off angry, and that’s because I kind of am. I know I will likely make people angry and, well, that’s okay. Because I’m allowed to make people angry, because we all look at things differently. Please, leave comments, share what you think – I’ll reply to your posts and answer questions, I really will. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, and I want this to be somewhere safe that we can talk about them. If you say anything inflammatory, however, I will not approve your comment(s). Not dealing with that crap.