Millennials Say Debt Has Stifled Their Career Options
Millennials aren’t just burdened by college debt—they may actually be hindered by it. According to a new study from Clif Bar, a majority (56%) of adults 18-34 years old say debt from their time in school limits their ability to pursue a fulfilling career.
Student loan debt is the biggest source of stress for young adults, followed by credit card debt and medical bills. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported the average student loan debt in America was $37,172, compared to the average annual wage of $48,098.
In the survey, 63% of young adults said they took the first job they were offered to start repaying their debts rather than waiting for the ideal job opportunity. Sixty-eight percent were “extremely” likely to accept a job they did not consider fulfilling if it accelerated their debt payoff, and 73% said their financial situation prevents them from exploring other career options.
How to Pursue Your Ideal Career While Paying off Debt
Consumers who feel they must choose between a job they love and a job that pays the bills have some options to consider:
- Consolidate your student loans and use a graduated repayment structure. Your payments will be low at first and gradually increase over the duration of the term. This gives you time to get into a career you love and boost your income over time.
- Prioritize your debts based on the interest rate of the loan. Repay credit cards with the highest interest first to keep your overall debt low.
- Focus on living within your means. You may need to make sacrifices with your cable, phone, food, clothing and social activities, but those sacrifices will be worth it in the long run.
- Avoid large loans until you have a stable career with strong pay. While this may limit your ability to build equity, it will put you in a good position to buy a house or vehicle in the future.