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The Student Loan Delinquency Rate In The United States Has Hit A Brand New Record High

College Graduation - Photo by Mando vzl37 million Americans currently have outstanding student loans, and the delinquency rate on those student loans has now reached a level never seen before.  According to a new report that was just released by the U.S. Department of Education, 11 percent of all student loans are at least 90 days delinquent.  That is a brand new record high, and it is almost double the rate of a decade ago.  Total student loan debt exceeds a trillion dollars, and it is now the second largest category of consumer debt after home mortgages.  The student loan debt bubble has been growing particularly rapidly in recent years.  According to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of student loan debt has risen by 275 percent since 2003.  That is a staggering figure.  Millions upon millions of young college graduates are entering the “real world” only to discover that they are already financially crippled for decades to come by oppressive student loan debt burdens.  Large numbers of young people are even putting off buying homes or getting married simply because of student loan debt.

So why is this happening?  Well, a big part of the problem is that the cost of college tuition has gotten wildly out of control.  Since 1978, the cost of college tuition has risen even more rapidly then the cost of medical care has.  Tuition costs at public universities have risen by 27 percent over the past five years, and there appears to be no end in sight.

We keep encouraging our young people to take out all of the loans that are necessary to pay for college, because a college education is supposedly the “key” to their futures.

But is that really the case?

Sadly, the reality of the matter is that millions of young Americans are graduating from college only to discover that the jobs that they were promised simply do not exist.

In fact, at this point about half of all college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.

This is leading to mass disillusionment with the system.  One survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in college.

And because so many of them cannot get decent jobs, more college graduates then ever are finding that they cannot pay back the huge student loans that they were encouraged to sign up for.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article.

Eleven percent of student loans were seriously delinquent — at least 90 days past due — in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 6 percent in the first quarter of 2003, according to the report by the U.S. Education Department.  Almost 30 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds aren’t employed or in school, the study found.

Everyone agrees that we are now dealing with an unprecedented student loan debt bubble, but none of our leaders seem to have any solutions.

The two charts posted below come from a recent Zero Hedge article, and they are very illuminating.  The first chart shows how the amount of student loan debt owned by the federal government has absolutely exploded in recent years, and the second chart shows how the percentage of student loan debt that is at least 90 days delinquent has risen to a brand new record high…

Delinquent Student Loans - Zero Hedge Chart

How is the economy ever going to recover if an increasingly large percentage of our young college graduates are financially crippled by student loan debt?

And things are about to get even worse.

If Congress takes no action, the interest rate on federal student loans is going to double to 6.8 percent on July 1st.  That rate increase would affect more than 7 million students.

And debt burdens just continue to increase in size.  In fact, according to one recent study, “70 per cent of the class of 2013 is graduating with college-related debt – averaging $35,200 – including federal, state and private loans, as well as debt owed to family and accumulated through credit cards.”

This is one reason why there is so much poverty among young adults in America today.  As I mentioned in a previous article, families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.  For much more on the student loan debt bubble and how it is crippling an entire generation of Americans, please see my recent article entitled “29 Shocking Facts That Prove That College Education In America Is A Giant Money Making Scam“.

And of course delinquency rates remain very high on other forms of debt as well.  For example, delinquency rates on home mortgages have typically been around 2 to 3 percent historically.  But as you can see from the chart below, the delinquency rate on single-family residential mortgages is currently close to 10 percent…

Delinquency Rate On Single-Family Residential Mortgages

So are we really having an “economic recovery”?

Of course not.

Things are good for those that have lots of money in the stock market (for now), but for the vast majority of Americans things continue to get worse.

And we continue to forget the lessons that we should have learned from the financial crisis of 2008.  Right now, we are seeing a resurgence of cash out financing.  But this time, people are leveraging their inflated stock portfolios instead of their home equity.  The following is from a  CNN report

The recent run-up in the market, financial advisers say, has led to a resurgence of the type of loan not seen since the end of the housing boom — cash out financing. But this time, though, people aren’t tapping their inflated house for money. These days stock portfolios appear to be the well of choice.

Financial planners say in recent months clients have taken out so-called margin loans to buy real estate, fund small business acquisitions, or to provide gap financing before a traditional loan could be secured from a bank.

“No one wants to be out of the market for 90 days,” says Mark Brown, a financial planner for Brown Tedstron in Denver. “People just don’t want to sell right now.”

We are a nation that is absolutely addicted to debt.  We know that it is wrong, but we just can’t help ourselves.

We are like the 900 pound man that recently died.  He knew that he was eating himself to death, but he just couldn’t stop.

In the end, we are going to pay a great price for our gluttony.  Everyone in the world can see that we are killing the greatest economy that ever existed, but we simply do not have the self-discipline to do anything about it.

The Student Loan Debt Bubble Is Creating Millions Of Modern Day Serfs

Every single year, millions of young adults head off to colleges and universities all over America full of hopes and dreams.  But what most of those fresh-faced youngsters do not realize is that by taking on student loan debt they are signing up for a life of debt slavery.  Student loan debt has become a trillion dollar bubble which has shattered the financial lives of tens of millions of young college graduates.  When you are just starting out and you are not making a lot of money, having to make payments on tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt can be absolutely crippling.  The total amount of student loan debt in the United States has now surpassed the total amount of credit card debt, and student loan debt is much harder to get rid of.  Many young people view college as a “five year party“, but when the party is over millions of those young people basically end up as modern day serfs as they struggle to pay off all of the debt that they have accumulated during their party years.  Bankruptcy laws have been changed to make it incredibly difficult to get rid of student loan debt, so once you have it you are basically faced with two choices: either you are going to pay it or you are going to die with it.

But we don’t warn kids about this before they go to school.  We just endlessly preach to them that they need a college degree in order to get a “good job”, and that after they graduate they will easily be able to pay off their student loans with the “good job” that they will certainly be able to find.

Sadly, tens of millions of young Americans have left college in recent years only to find out that they were lied to all along.

As I have written about previously, college has become a giant money making scam and the victims of the scam are our young people.

Back in 1952, a full year of tuition at Harvard was only $600.

Today, it is over $35,000.

Why does college have to cost so much?

At every turn our young people are being ripped off.

For example, the cost of college textbooks has tripled over the past decade.

Has it suddenly become a lot more expensive to print books?

Of course not.

The truth is that an entire industry saw an opportunity to gouge students and they went for it.

The amount of money being spent on higher education in this country is absolutely outrageous.  One father down in Texas says that he will end up spending about 1.5 million dollars on college expenses for his five daughters before it is all said and done.

Unfortunately, most young adults in America don’t have wealthy fathers so they have to take out large student loans to pay for their educations.

Average student loan debt at graduation is estimated to be about $28,720 right now.

That is a crazy figure and it has absolutely soared in recent years.  In fact, student loan debt in America has grown by 511 percent since 1999.

And student loan debt will follow you wherever you go.

If you do not pay your loans when you graduate, you could end up having your wages, your tax refunds and even your Social Security benefits garnished.

In addition, your account could be turned over to the debt collectors and they can be absolutely brutal.

The student loan debt bubble is the best thing to happen to debt collectors in ages.  The following is what one professional who works in the industry said in a recent article that he wrote for a debt collection industry publication….

As I wandered around the crowd of NYU students at their rally protesting student debt at the end of February, I couldn’t believe the accumulated wealth they represented – for our industry.

It was lip-smacking.

At my right, to graphically display how she was debt-burdened, was a girl wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the fine sum of $90,000, another with $65,000, a third with $20,000 and over there a really attractive $120,000 was printed on another shirt.  Guys were shouldering their share, with t-shirts of $20,000, $15,000, $27,000, $33,000 and $75,000.

There is no way that our young people can afford to take on those kinds of debt loads, and that is one reason why student loan delinquency rates continue to surge.

In fact, the student loan default rate in the United States has nearly doubled since 2005.

Today, one out of every six Americans that owes money on a student loan is in default.

One out of every six.

And it is going to get a whole lot worse.

At this point there are about 5.9 million Americans that are at least 12 months behind on their student loan payments.

So could the bursting of the student loan bubble do tremendous damage to our financial system?

Don’t worry – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is promising that the student loan debt bubble won’t cause a crisis.

And you can trust him, right?

For those living with the burden of unpaid student loan debt, life can be really tough.  Some try to avoid the debt collectors, but it is easier said than done.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….

Hiding from the government is not easy.

“I keep changing my phone number,” said Amanda Cordeiro, 29, from Clermont, Fla., who dropped out of college in 2010 and has fielded as many as seven calls a day from debt collectors trying to recover her $55,000 in overdue loans. “In a year, this is probably my fourth phone number.”

Unlike private lenders, the federal government has extraordinary tools for collection that it has extended to the collection firms. Ms. Cordeiro has already had two tax refunds seized, and other debtors have had their paychecks or Social Security payments garnisheed.

The biggest problem, of course, is that there are not nearly enough jobs for the hordes of college graduates that our system produces each year.

During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

So without a good job, how are those young people supposed to service their student loans?

Once upon a time, a college degree was a guaranteed ticket to the middle class.

Sadly, those days are long gone.  Today, millions upon millions of college graduates have taken jobs that do not even require a college education.  The following is from a recent CNBC article….

In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).

You probably know young people who have experienced the “wake up call” that comes as a result of entering the “real world” in this horrible economic environment.

It is not easy out there.

And this can be extremely disappointing for parents as well.  How would you feel if your daughter got very high grades all of the way through college and ended up working as a waitress because she couldn’t find anything else?

Even those that pursue advanced degrees are having an extremely challenging time finding work in this economy.

For example, a Business Insider article from a while back profiled a law school graduate named Erin that is actually on food stamps….

She remains on food stamps so her social life suffers. She can’t afford a car, so she has to rely on the bus to get around Austin, Texas, where she lives. And currently unable to pay back her growing pile of law school debt, Gilmer says she wonders if she will ever be able to pay it back.

“That has been really hard for me,” she says. “I have absolutely no credit anymore. I haven’t been able to pay loans. It’s scary, and it’s a hard thing to think you’re a lawyer but you’re impoverished. People don’t understand that most lawyers actually aren’t making the big money.”

And the really sad thing is that the quality of the education that our young people are receiving is very poor.  I spent eight years attending U.S. universities, and most parents would be absolutely shocked at how little our college students are actually learning.

Going to college really has become a ticket to party for four or five or six years with a little bit of “education” thrown in.

But our society has put a very high value on those little pieces of paper called “diplomas” so we all continue to play along with the charade.

Some college students are finding other “creative” ways to pay for their educations other than going into tremendous amounts of debt.  For example, an increasing number of young women are seeking out “sugar daddies” who will “sponsor” their educations.  The following is from a Huffington Post article about this disturbing trend….

On a Sunday morning in late May, Taylor left her Harlem apartment and boarded a train for Greenwich, Conn. She planned on spending the day with a man she had met online, but not in person.

Taylor, a 22-year-old student at Hunter College, had confided in her roommate about the trip and they agreed to swap text messages during the day to make sure she was safe.

Once in Greenwich, a man who appeared significantly older than his advertised age of 42 greeted Taylor at the train station and then drove her to the largest house she had ever seen. He changed into his swimming trunks, she put on a skimpy bathing suit, and then, by the side of his pool, she rubbed sunscreen into the folds of his sagging back — bracing herself to endure an afternoon of sex with someone she suspected was actually about 30 years her senior.

Of course that young woman will probably deeply regret doing that later on in her life.

Once graduation comes, millions upon millions of our young people are discovering that it is really hard to be financially independent if you are drowning in student loan debt and you can’t find a good job.

So what are they doing?

They are moving back in with Mom and Dad.

One poll discovered that 29 percent of all Americans in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket are still living with their parents.

Ouch.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

Why Are Record Numbers Of Young Adults Jobless And Living At Home With Mom And Dad?

In the United States today, unemployment among those age 18 to age 34 is at epidemic levels and the number of young adults that are now living at home with Mom and Dad is at an all-time high.  So why are so many of our young adults jobless?  Why are record numbers of them unable or unwilling to move out on their own?  Well, there are quite a few factors at work.  Number one, our education system has completely and totally failed them.  As I have written about previously, our education system is a joke and most high school graduates these days are simply not prepared to function at even a very basic level in our society.  In addition, college education in the United States has become a giant money making scam that leaves scores of college graduates absolutely drowning in debt.  Many young adults end up moving back in with Mom and Dad because they are drowning in so much debt that there are no other options.  Thirdly, the number of good jobs continues to decline and this is hitting younger Americans the hardest.  Millions of young people enter the workforce excited about the future only to find that there are hordes of applicants for the very limited number of decent jobs that are actually available.  So all of this is creating an environment where more young adults are financially dependent on their parents that ever before in modern American history.

Since the start of the recession, the percentage of young adults in America that are employed has dropped like a rock.  In 2007, the employment rate for Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 was 62.4 percent.  Today, it is down to 54.3 percent.

Yes, there are certainly many out there that are lazy, but the truth is that most of them would like to work if they could.  It is just that it is much harder to find a job these days.

And it isn’t just young people that think that the job market has gotten tougher.  According to one recent survey, 82 percent of all Americans believe that it is harder for young adults to find jobs today than it was for their parents to find jobs.

But if they cannot get jobs, then young adults cannot financially support themselves.  So more of them than ever are heading back home to live with Mom and Dad.

In the year 2000, 8.3 percent of all American women between the ages of 25 and 34 were living at home with their parents.  Today, that figure is up to 9.7 percent.

In the year 2000, 12.9 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 were living at home with their parents.  Today, that figure is up to an astounding 18.6 percent.

Take a moment and let those statistics sink in.

Nearly one out of every five American men from age 25 to age 34 are living at home with Mommy and Daddy.

When you look at Americans age 18 to age 24, it is even worse.  Among Americans age 18 to age 24, 50 percent of all women and 59 percent of all men still live with their parents.

Those are very frightening numbers.

Part of this has to do with a fundamental cultural shift.  An increasing number of parents these days expect that they will have to take care of their own children beyond the age of 22.  The following is from a recent article by Pew Research….

When asked in a 1993 survey what age children should be financially independent from their parents, 80% of parents said children have to be self-reliant by age 22. In the current survey, only 67% of parents say children have to be financially independent by age 22—a drop of 13 percentage points.

But what accounts for the tremendous gender disparity that we see in the figures above?

Well, one major factor is that young women are now far more likely to pursue a college education than young men are.  According to an article in the New York Times, women now account for approximately 57 percent of all enrollments at U.S. colleges and universities.

The less education you have, the more likely you are to be unemployed in America today.  So that is certainly a significant factor.

But many that have gone on to college are also moving back home.  When you are a young adult with no job and no prospects and you are swamped with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, it can be incredibly difficult to be financially independent.

After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are now borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.  Many students that go on to graduate school end up with more than $100,000 in total student loan debt.

Sadly, those degrees often do not pay off.  In fact, in America today one-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that there are millions upon millions of angry, disillusioned and frustrated young adults out there today.  A recent USA Today article told the story of 32-year-old Dennis Hansen….

After a year without work, Hansen, 32, was hired to monitor Lake Michigan and Lake Superior water for the state and federal governments over two summers. He also had short stints as a census worker and as an extra post office hand during one holiday crush.

It hasn’t been enough: Hansen says he has a $13,000 credit card debt and that’s just for basics — his $600 monthly mortgage, heat and food.

“It’s definitely a roller coaster,” Hansen says, with the ups coming when he’s done well in a job interview and the downs when there’s a rejection: “That’s when I’m frustrated, angry and wondering why I went to college for 10 years.”

If the economy was humming along on all cylinders, it would be easy to blame our young adults for being too lazy.

But these days most young adults have to scramble like crazy just to get a really low paying job.  Large numbers of very talented young adults are waiting tables, flipping burgers or stocking shelves at Wal-Mart.

And this reality is reflected in the overall economic statistics.  Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.

The “wealth gap” between younger Americans and older Americans is also growing and recently hit a new all-time high.  U.S. households led by someone 65 years of age or older are now 47 times wealthier than U.S. households led by someone 35 years of age or younger.

But this is not good for our society.  When there is civil unrest, it is not those 65 and older that take to the streets.

We desperately need our economy to get healthy again so that our young adults can get good jobs, get married, set up households, raise families and be productive members of society.

Instead, the percentage of young adults that have jobs is near an all-time low, the percentage of young adults living with their parents is at an all-time high, the proportion of adults in the United States that are married is at an all-time low and we have hordes of angry, frustrated young adults with plenty of time on their hands.

You don’t have to be a genius to see trouble on the horizon.

What is going to happen when the next major financial crisis comes and the economy gets significantly worse than it is now?

In the end, we are going to reap what we have sown.  We have fundamentally failed our young adults, and those failures are going to produce some very bitter fruit.

Underemployed And Hating Life

Today, millions of smart, hard working Americans are flipping burgers, waiting tables or working dead end retail jobs not because they want to, but because they have no other options.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 14 million Americans are currently unemployed and another 9.3 million Americans are currently “underemployed”.  During this economic downturn, a lot of Americans have been forced to take part-time jobs because they have been unable to find full-time jobs.  For many, this can be a soul-crushing experience.  It can be easy to become very bitter when you have worked very hard all your life and yet you find yourself having to take a job that only pays you a fraction of what you used to make.  A lot of young college graduates end up hating life because the only jobs that they can seem to find do not even require a college degree and don’t even come close to enabling them to keep up with their crippling student loan debt payments.  Sadly, the underemployment problem continues to grow even worse.  In September alone, the number of underemployed Americans rose by close to half a million.

There are other measurements that indicate that unemployment in America is even worse that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is indicating.

For example, a recent Gallup poll found that approximately one out of every five Americans that currently have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.

In addition, according to author Paul Osterman about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

When you try as hard as you can and you still can’t pay the bills, it is easy to end up hating life.

What some Americans are going through is absolutely heart breaking.  Just consider the following story from a recent article on Fox News….

Damian Birkel, of Winston-Salem N.C., found himself in similar circumstances. He was a marketing manager at Sarah Lee in the early 1990s when he was downsized. Since then, he has been laid off from three other jobs, including one at a recruiting firm.

“I felt like I had ‘loser’ tattooed to my forehead, and ‘will work for food’ tattooed to my chest,” he says. 

The hardest part was telling his young daughter that there might not be enough money to pay the bills — among them, sending her to summer camp. “She brings her piggy bank and says, ‘Daddy, why don’t you break into the piggy bank so that you can pay some of the bills.’”

How would you feel if your little daughter said that to you?

Unfortunately, the number of good jobs just continues to decrease.

There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

And the mix of jobs that our economy is producing continues to change.

Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

What that means is that the middle class is shrinking.

A lot of young people are coming out of college right now and are having their dreams absolutely crushed.  Large numbers of them are entering the “real world” with nightmarish student loan debt burdens and only a limited number of them can find decent jobs.

A recent USA Today article told the story of one of these very frustrated young Americans….

Kate Wolfe chased a dream when she moved to New York after college, looking to break into acting while working as a maître d’.

Her $50,000 worth of student loans were a distraction she could handle. Then the uninsured 25-year-old was mugged last year, and the final indignity was the $30,000 emergency room bill.

We are pumping out tons of college graduates, but we are not pumping out nearly enough jobs for all of them.

If you can believe it, in the United States today there are 317,000 waiters and waitresses that actually have college degrees.

That is an absolutely horrifying statistic.

But the truth is that the lack of good jobs is hitting every age level really hard.

For example, the average American family is under a tremendous amount of financial stress in this economy.  Once you adjust it for inflation, median household income in the United States has declined approximately 10 percent since December 2007.

Meanwhile, the cost of food, gas, health insurance and just about everything else a family needs has gone up significantly.

Our politicians keep talking about “jobs, jobs, jobs” but the number of decent jobs continues on a very clear downward trend.

Back in 1980, 52 percent of all jobs in the United States were middle income jobs.  Today, only 42 percent of all jobs in the United States are middle income jobs.

Sadly, it now looks like even the low income jobs are starting to dry up.

Mall vacancies recently hit a brand new all-time record.  Major retail chains all over the country are announcing layoffs.  Things do not look very promising for the upcoming holiday season.

So what are our leaders doing about all of this?

Well, unfortunately they continue to fumble the football very badly.

According to a recent ABC News report, the U.S. government actually gave a $529 million loan guarantee to an electric car company that decided to make its cars in Finland….

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.

If we don’t figure out how to stop millions of jobs from leaving this country we are going to be in a world of hurt.

The trade policies of the federal government are neither “free” nor “fair” and they are causing the standard of living of American workers to rapidly sink toward the level of the rest of the world.

We are told that it is “inevitable” that we are going to be deindustrialized and that we are going to become a service economy.

But guess what?

Service jobs generally pay a lot less than manufacturing jobs do.

A “one world economy” where our labor force is merged with the labor forces of the rest of the globe is not a good thing for the average American worker and it is not a good thing for America.

But of course trade is not the only reason why we are losing good jobs.  There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is happening.  For many more reasons, just check out this article.

A lot of you that are reading this article are unemployed or underemployed right now.

Unfortunately, there is not much hope that the U.S. economy is going to experience a significant turnaround any time soon.

In fact, it is likely that things are going to be getting even worse.

Our economic system is dying.  Now is the time to try to get as independent of it as you can.

Don’t count on a job (“just over broke”) as your only source of income.  In this economy, no job is safe.

There are millions upon millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans that never dreamed that their lives would go so horribly wrong.

But they did.

Our nation is experiencing the consequences of decades of very bad decisions.

There is no help on the horizon and the cavalry is not on the way to rescue us.

You better prepare accordingly.

It’s A Great Time To Be A New College Graduate: High Unemployment, Crappy Service Jobs And Crippling Student Loan Debt

Today, America’s best and brightest are graduating from college full of hopes and dreams, but cold, hard economic reality is rapidly crushing many of them.  Record numbers of college graduates cannot find jobs.  Hordes of others have been forced to take very low paying service jobs.  At the same time, student loan debt loads have become more crushing than ever.  The truth is that it is a really, really bad time to be a fresh college graduate.  After spending tens of thousands of dollars and investing four (or more) years of their lives in an education, millions of recent college graduates find themselves waiting tables, tending bar, delivering pizzas and working next to (or subordinate to) people who never even went to college.  At one time, a college degree was an automatic ticket to the middle class, but now for many Americans all a college degree means is crushing loan payments, sleepless nights and mind-numbing frustration.   

We were always told that a college degree was supposed to prepare us for life in the real world.  But today, the vast majority of college graduates end up moving back in with their parents.

In fact, a recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

So why are 80 percent of our college graduates moving back in with their parents?

Well, because they can’t get jobs.

Two million recent college graduates are unemployed, and millions of others are working in fast food joints, at big box stores and in other very low paying service positions.

The stories that some recent college grads tell are so bizarre that they border on the unbelievable.

The Huffington Post recently featured the story of Kyle Daley – a highly qualified UCLA graduate who has been unemployed for 19 months….

I spent my time at UCLA preparing for the outside world. I had internships in congressional offices, political action committees, non-profits and even as a personal intern to a successful venture capitalist. These weren’t the run-of-the-mill office internships; I worked in marketing, press relations, research and analysis. Additionally, the mayor and city council of my hometown appointed me to serve on two citywide governing bodies, the planning commission and the open government commission. I used to think that given my experience, finding work after graduation would be easy.

At this point, however, looking for a job is my job. I recently counted the number of job applications I have sent out over the past year — it amounts to several hundred. I have tried to find part-time work at local stores or restaurants, only to be turned away. Apparently, having a college degree implies that I might bail out quickly when a better opportunity comes along.

The sad thing is that so many of these recent college graduates can’t even get hired for retail jobs.  A reader of my column on The American Dream blog named Kate is a recent college graduate who is experiencing the kind of extreme frustration that so many new graduates are going through right now….

I just graduated college in May… Moved to a new state and am now living with my boyfriend who should not and cannot continue to have to pay everything because i just plain can’t get a job.

I’m over qualified for retail survivor jobs… so I lie on my application. But then retail stores just plain don’t hire full time. So even if I could get a job as a cashier someplace… I’d only work enough hours to maybe pay for my car payment/ car insurance/ gas…. and my half of rent/electric and such is out of the question… not to mention charged to the limit credit cards from being unemployed and student loans that will hit in just a matter of months.

Any other jobs either don’t exist or they just ALL want 5 years professional experience…. which is impossible for someone who just graduated and has been working part time retail jobs since high school.

But it just isn’t college graduates that are suffering.  The truth is that this economic downturn has been hurting everyone….

*According to a recent Pew Research poll, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.

*A different Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of American workers have experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

*According to another survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is currently looking for a full-time job.

For many U.S. households, the person looking for a job is a recent college graduate.

As you read this, hordes of highly qualified college grads are out applying for jobs as waitresses, pizza delivery men, grocery checkout clerks and hamburger flippers.

Even those who are able to get decent jobs are finding themselves disappointed.  Starting salaries for college graduates across the United States are down in 2010.

But why shouldn’t starting salaries be down?  It is the employers that hold all the leverage – not the new graduates.

Meanwhile, many of these college graduates are graduating with crushing student debt loads.  Today, many students borrow 10, 20 or even 30 thousands dollars per year while they are in school.

Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor’s degree within four years.

That is a very sad statistic.

The truth is that college courses have become so “dumbed down” in 2010 that even the family dog should be able to graduate from most U.S. colleges in four years.

Even after 6 years, that same group’s graduation rate was still only 57 percent.

Very sad.

But getting back to the point, every single one of those years most college students are racking up huge amounts of debt.

Today, approximately two-thirds of all U.S. college students graduate with student loans

Student loan balances of over $50,000 are becoming quite common among our college grads.  In fact, some students end up with over $100,000 in student loan debt by the time they are done.

Unfortunately, student loan debt is some of the cruelest debt out there.

Federal bankruptcy law makes it nearly impossible to discharge student loan debts, and many recent grads end up with loan payments that absolutely devastate them financially at a time when they are struggling to get on their feet and make something of themselves.

So what do you think?  Can you identify with this article?  Are you a recent college graduate or do you have a recent college graduate living back at home?  If so, please feel free to share your story in the comments section below….

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