I happened to notice the "U,S, Consumer Debt Profile" in the newspaper the other day (It is shown below). I calculated the monthly payments required for each debt and added a debt payment required for a car loan.
It appears that the typical middle class person (a college graduate) will see $1710 regularly consumed from his monthly paycheck by these ongoing obligations. This will require a pretax income of $28,160 (assuming a federal tax bracket of 25% and not considering FICA, unemployment, pension, health care contributions and state tax withholdings).
The average starting salary for a college graduate is $45,327. His salary in five years will be $50,044 (calculated at a compounded rate of 2% per year which is the typical rate of salary increase). This leaves $16,413 after federal taxes but again not including the aforementioned withholdings.
This is $1367 monthly or about $300 weekly left for retirement savings, child rearing, food, clothing, utilities, insurance, education and other essentials?
Some average tradesman salaries (and remember - no college debt and they have been earning during the four to six years while college students spend at school)
Plumbers -- averaging $52,390 per year.
Nonresidential construction workers averaged $48,330.
Brick layers $54,000.
Am I suggesting that students should abandon the idea of a college education? Not at all - but I am suggesting that it shouldn't necessarily be viewed as a "ticket to the good life" (with a gigantic price tag) as it once was!