The article was a good start [“Stop Being Broke,” WW, April 4, 2012], but I wish WW would focus some attention on avoiding debt, especially student-loan debt.
Here in Portland, some of the young people with the worst financial prospects are graduates of the for-profit schools like Le Cordon Bleu [College of Culinary Arts] and the Art Institute.
The folks get a worthless degree for $100,000, and the unpaid internships and the line-cook jobs will never cover those loan payments. But no local news outlets will cover the fraud cases being brought against both schools. I guess Goldman Sachs-owned AI knows how to throw money around. They aren’t spending it mostly on instruction.
Like all other personal-finance writers I have read—and they are many—WW writers casually assume that all you need to stop being broke is to live frugally, spend less than you earn, and invest well. I live on a poverty-level income, I am in student-loan hell (paying $150 per month of my poverty-level income toward student loans), and unable to save and invest anything. So my brokeness continues without hope.
WW’s decision to admonish you to learn to live with less is a sad reflection of the Obama message of pessimism and futility. Imagine teaching your toddler that her future is bleak and limited, that only the benevolence of government stands between her and utter poverty. What kind of creative entrepreneur do you think she will become with a message like that? You should absolutely reject the premise of this article, and the core of Obama’s bleak vision. Flip them both off. Walk away. Believe in yourself. Fight for your vision of a prosperous future where government shuts up, gets out of the way and leaves you free to create your own bounty!
WE’LL DRINK TO THAT
I realize this isn’t intended to be accurate [“The Portland Budget,” WW, April 4, 2012], but the amount of money allocated for alcohol isn’t exactly realistic.
Probably hard to believe, but about 61 percent of adults are not current drinkers and 25 percent are lifelong abstainers; the top 10 percent of drinkers are heavy drinkers and drink the vast majority of alcohol consumed.
This representation normalizes heavy drinking and alcoholic behavior. I realize [the article] was intended to be cute, but I have too many people with alcohol problems in my life to not point out this skewed representation.
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