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Smart is the New Rich: Money Guide for Millennials by Christine Romans

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Chapter 2College Investment

People have to follow their dreams. If people are interested in art, they should pursue art. If they're interested in business, they should pursue business. But they shouldn't be afraid of numbers and they shouldn't be afraid of things they haven't done before, and they shouldn't be afraid to learn new things.

—Jack Lew, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

Let's settle the silly “Is college worth it?” debate straightaway. Of course it is. But a college degree costs more than ever, and it doesn't come with the guarantees that it used to.

Face it: You can't afford college. And you can't afford not to go to college. The question “Is college worth it?” has become the debate of the twenty-first century. And the answer is yes…if you are smart about the debt and choose the right major. Once you graduate, you have to manage the debt wisely. Not even bankruptcy will wipe away this debt. It's with you forever until you pay it off.

Let's tackle the debt problem first. There are two schools of thought on education debt in the United States. The first holds that the country is up to its eyeballs in student debt. Student loan balances are now greater than all outstanding credit card debt and second only to mortgage loans. In this camp, there is growing fear that all that debt will keep millennials from marrying, buying homes, and spending money in the economy. The student loan bubble will pop and hurt borrowers and everyone else.

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