Student loan debt isn’t just giving you stress every time bills come around–it’s also creating a wealth gap that’s really hard to close.
Studies show that college-educated adults who escaped or paid off their college debt have a household net worth of about $64,000. Those who haven’t paid off their student loans? That number drops to–wait for it–$8,700. That means until you pay off your college loans, your luckier (or more financially savvy, depending on the circumstance) pals are going to be making eight times more money than you will.
Further, college-educated adults between the ages of 27 and 30 who still carry student loan debt are a lot less likely to own a home–not just now, but ever. Also, those with student loan debt are likely to rely more on loans for other purchases, like cars.
Part of the reason for the college debt wealth gap is the regular wealth gap: If wealthy families produce wealthy college grads with parents who can afford to pay for tuition, room, board and everything that goes with it, they’re clearly going to have a much easier time financially upon graduation.
Still, college is worth the money: Over time, college graduates will make an average of $58,000 per year, compared with the typical $32,000 a year that someone without a degree will earn. That amounts to almost $830,000 more over a lifetime. That’s money you can put towards retirement, my fellow millennials!
If only it were that easy to live on a middle class income, right?