'Debt is a thief': Financial expert tells people to rethink college

Chelsea Lombardo
Production Assistant

Americans currently owe $1.56 trillion in student loans and one expert said folks should just avoid debt altogether.

“No debt, don’t do it. If you have to wait while you work and save up money, or you wait while you pursue grants or scholarships, I would much rather it take you six years to get a four-year degree than to take on $200,000 in student loan debt that'll take you 15 years to attempt to pay off,” Chris Hogan, author of “Everyday Millionaires,” and financial expert, told Yahoo Finance’s On The Move.

Earlier this year, Student Loan Hero reported that there are 44.7 million Americans with student loan debt, with 11.5% of student loans that are in 90 days or more delinquent or in default.

“Debt is a thief. This student loan situation is a massive problem,” Hogan stated. “On average, [Americans] have around $55,000 in student loan debt. So people feel the crunch and the push to try to figure out what to do. And right now, they're drowning in debt. They can attack this debt by being on a budget and understanding” how it can be fixed.

FILE - In this May 17, 2018, file photo, new graduates line up before the start of the Bergen Community College commencement at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. A college degree has long been a ticket to the U.S. middle class. Yet a new survey shows that college graduates aren’t as likely as they once were to feel they belong to the middle class. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

As the number of total national student loan debt continues to rise, student debt cancellation plans has become an imperative topic in the 2020 presidential race. Democratic presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang have all proposed student debt forgiveness plans.

There’s a myth that you have to go to a “fancy school” and take on $200,000 of student loans to become wealthy, Hogan said. Instead, state and community colleges are good affordable options.

“Some young people don't need to go to college,” Hogan said. “They might need to go to a trade school or maybe they work while they're saving up money. But I think there's so many scholarships and grants out there, that we're so used to signing on the dotted line for a student loan instead of taking the time to apply for scholarships.”

Chelsea Lombardo is a Production Assistant for Yahoo Finance. You can find more of her work here.

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