To continue the policy of posting on random topics.
I was listening to an NPR report on the current ‘college loan problem’, where a large swath of middle-class america can’t afford to put their kids through college, but at the same time can’t get goverment sponsored loans.
(I know that my parents ran into this same problem with me & my sister, the NPR report was on how this had gotta worse since then)
It seems that the main issue here is that the government came up with it’s guidelines, a long time ago (don’t remember the decade exactly), but when the ‘Standard Quality of Life’ was much lower … and it was, and still is, therefore expected for a family to be able to spent 22% of their post-tax income towards college. In the modern age, with ‘expected quality of life’ that we have, very few people have almost 1/4 of their salary as just free cash sitting around. They elaborated on this a bit more on the report, but it really got me to thinking …
Think about ‘life now’, versus, say, just as far back at the 60’s (or 70’s for that matter). There are so many things now that we EXPECT, and couldn’t imagine living life without. And it’s not just the privileged … I have many friends from all walks of life, and even those that are supporting a family of 5 on one and a half minimum wage salaries … have to have a Cell Phone for example.
Cell phones are probably a great example of this. I really can’t imagine life without one now … but thinking back, I didn’t get one until, probably, 8 years ago, if then. I have trouble imaging how my parents survived so long without out, and as my son continues to grow up, I fully expect to buy one for him (at some unspecified age) so that he can contact me.
I remember much of my, and my parent’s lives being filled with ‘waiting around’, because of a lack of cell phones. In college I would be dropped off for afterschool activities, or at a golf course, or at a game, wherever … And my parent’s would only have an estimated time of when I would be free. And they would show up. If it ended early, I had to hang out and twiddle my thumbs. If it ended late, they did.
The more I think about it, it’s amazing to me now the amount of technology that I have, that I just couldn’t live without now, and that therefore is a constant monthly drain of resources for service fees, OR at least is a constant drain of ‘replacements & upgrades’.
I suggest you take a second to ponder this yourself. It’s interesting. I don’t see any ‘solution’ to it, it’s just a sign of the times. I don’t plan on changing it myself. Below I’m going to document all of these things that fall under that category for myself:
- Cell Phone (on top of land line service as well)
- PDA (usually combined with Cell Phone now)
- Cable (or satellite)
- ReplayTV (Insert name of your preferred DVR here)
- GPS systems for Vehicles
- Internet Access
- Mobile Internet Access
- Home Computer(s)
- Video Game System + Monthly Online Access Fees
- Mobile gaming system (PSP, Nintendo, etc)
These are all things that I couldn’t imagine living without, personally. And are all things that 40 years ago, didn’t exist, and so wasn’t a cost for anyone.
I’m sure others would have some extra items on that list (such as iPods, etc.)