At the end of the week, interest will start accruing on your student loans. Next month, you’ll have to begin making payments again.
Do you know where you’re going to get the money from? I know I don’t.
And to be brutally honest, I was struggling to make payments before COVID-19 put a pause on everything. The past few years have been a financial reprieve I never knew I needed.
The resumption of student loan payments isn’t just a financial problem. It’s going to have disastrous consequences for our entire economy.
The timing couldn’t be worse. The fourth quarter is the most important quarter in the consumer economy. Companies spend most of the year in the red before ending in the black, thanks to holiday spending. This is their Super Bowl, and they expect you and I to show up in full force as we always do. With loans kicking back in, I’m skeptical that Santa Claus will come to town this year.
Not to mention, this is all happening against the backdrop of inflation. Housing is unaffordable, and food prices continue to rise. I don’t need to tell you that. It’s unlikely costs will be coming back down anytime soon.
Zooming out, a radical transformation of the workforce is underway. Even if you can make your student loan payments today, there’s a good chance you won’t tomorrow. Artificial intelligence and automation are swiftly being deployed to replace workers at both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. It’s not a matter of if but when.
The student loan issue is one of several challenges that will profoundly reshape our economy in the years to come.
But in the interim, our economy relies on economic participation. You earn money through gainful employment and spend it on things like date night, new clothes, drinks after work, etc. When student loan payments resume, you won’t be able to do that anymore. At least not like you used to.
Millions of dollars worth of economic participation will be eliminated from the economy. The convergence of myriad economic forces is already making it difficult for consumers to spend money; student loan payments will make it worse.