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This is a question Debt pron

Watching TV the other day we caught one of these "Bank of Mummy or the Wife" type shows and we thought, "This is Debt Pron." I.e. peoples financial problems exploited for the voyeuristic pleasure of others. Then we thought, "We bet lots of people on B3ta have massive financial problems. Let's exploit them." So, confess them all. Dodgy credit cards, lending money to some bloke in the pub, visits from the bailiffs, using one card to pay off another. We want to wallow in your fiscal pain. So, what is your biggest money fuck up?

(, Thu 23 Nov 2006, 19:50)
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So I've nearly finished my first term at Uni,
and have been considering the financial side of things. If my spending continues as it has been for the past 9 weeks, I probably won't need an overdraft this year, which can only be a good thing. Even so, I wasn't sure if coming to Uni is financially worthwhile, so I did a bit of calculation. Consider:

£3000 a year fees. Mine is a 4 year course.
£3200 accommodation this year . Thankfully my parents are happy to lend me the money for this, meaning I don't need a loan from a bank.
£3100 student loan.

So that comes to £9300 a year, assuming I don't get myself into any more debt. Now, let's further assume that all goes well, and after 4 years I have a first class masters degree (with honours) in a proper subject (Maths) from a half-decent Uni (Leeds). All for the bargain price of about £37k.

According to this website, graduates in 2005 were earning 45% more an hour than non-graduates (down from 51% in 2001). This is people with degrees overall, not those just out of Uni, who typically are actually earning less than people of the same age who've had a job for the past 3 or 4 years instead. It doesn't consider what kind of degree it is, either.

The average salary in the UK is currently £15500. This means that £37000 is just over two years pay (the 6k or so discrepancy I'm going to ignore on the basis that students get all kinds of discounts and don't pay tax). Add to this the time I could have spent working rather than being at Uni, and I've missed out on 6 years pay.

So, if I work from 22 until I'm 65 (although I suspect that by then the retirement age might be considerably higher), that is 43 years, I will have earned the equivalent of (43*1.45-6) = 56.35 years for a non-graduate.

Obviously I've made a whole host of tenuous assumptions and projections, like current figures staying the same in the future, or that I (and everyone else) make a strictly average salary, which are almost certainly wrong. I'm not even going to try to work out what a difference of 13 earning-years means in terms of actual money, because I know nothing about enconomics. But what I'm trying to say is basically this:

Students, don't moan about your debt, poorly paid part-time job or peers with shiny new cars and mortgages when you're just getting your first permanent placement. Statistically, you will earn considerably more (almost a quarter, in fact) than if you hadn't gone to Uni, and what's more, you will hopefully have learned some interesting things you otherwise wouldn't have.

Everyone should of course feel free to tear this post apart as a load of complete bollocks, giving countless personal anecdotes or well-researched citations on why I'm wrong. It's all irrelevant anyway, as I'm going to pay my way through Uni playing online poker, win the World Series by the time I'm 23 and retire from professional gambling aged 30, a millionaire.
(, Fri 24 Nov 2006, 16:09, Reply)

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