Are Student Loans An Investment or Not?

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[The following is a partial transcript of this episode of The Scott Alan Turner Show. Listen to the full episode to hear this story, listener questions, money hacks, and inspiring stories of people that are changing their financial lives. Subscribe to the free podcast on iTunes or Google Play]

In This Episode / Listener Questions

  • Are student loans an investment, a ripoff, or just dumb debt? Emily, an applicant to the Scott Alan Turner Personal Finance Scholarship, weighs in.
  • Should I pick a SEP IRA or Solo 401(k) (Rory, Youtube)
  • In the band – Molly paid off $50,000 in student loans.
  • I am in debt by now and don’t know a way to pay it because I am still studying (Ann)
  • Best way to save for kids (Richard)
  • What should I look for in buying a home (Hunter, California)
  • Which debt should I pay down first (Tilly, Ontario, Canada)
  • Ways to get sponsors to pay for things like events or products


We’re giving away $1,000 each to two lucky winners.

Emily C., Texas.

One of the most prominent childhood memories I have is of my mother at the peak of her stressful marriage to my father. I came home from school one day to find her crying over my parents’ financial statements on our computer. My parents were in over their heads in debt. Yes, they taught me about spending and saving. But if I’m being honest, much of what I have learned about personal finance was created from seeing where my parents went wrong when it came to budgeting. Not only did this help me understand healthy ways to approach finances, it also motivated me to pursue a career in finance so that I can dedicate my career to helping others reach their goals and financial stability.

Because they had multiple accounts with fairly large credit lines, one of the biggest issues my parents faced was credit card debt. A few emergencies and a lot of impulse purchases later, my parents racked up almost $60,000 in credit line debt.

Today, it is not uncommon to hear people talk about the dangers of credit cards when it comes to creating an empire of debt. But, while having credit cards at your disposal does mean you could take on loads of debt, responsible use of them means you are establishing (or further establishing) good credit habits and your personal credit profile, which is important when it comes to things like purchasing your first home and financing new or used vehicles.

The biggest misconception about credit cards is that they are bad- they are not. It is one’s inability to use them responsibly that invites danger. From my parents’ mistakes, I have learned how to use them responsibly. As a twenty-two-year-old, I have almost four years of positive credit history and a diverse credit portfolio that will serve me well in the future.

One of the biggest things I have learned about personal finance on my own is that student loans are truly a form of investment.

For me, as with many others, debt is a large form of stress. Taking on student loans is something I wish I did not have to do. But when it comes to taking them on, it is important to understand that in the long-run, they are an investment in my future career. Especially because student loan debt has been a hot-button issue in our country over the last few years, it is important that students make smart decisions when it comes to taking them on.

I have friends who decided to pay out-of-state tuition to obtain their degrees when they could have obtained them from schools in our home state for a fraction of the cost- which is the difference between graduating with $150,000 in student loan debt and graduating instead with $40,000 of student loan debt.

As a finance major, I will graduate with about $35,000 of student loan debt. As much as this stresses me out, I realize that my career field is lucrative if you’re willing to put in the work.

Not only will I be able to repay these debts, it is a key investment when it comes to my career of helping other people. It is worth taking it on.

Though I do wish my parents had been smarter when it came to their finances, their mistakes taught me better practices and sparked my interest in the finance industry. Today, they have recovered from their debts and have re-established their credit profiles.

This taught me another thing: that people can come back from their financial mistakes. I want to be a financial advisor because I don’t want other people’s future to look like my family’s past. I don’t want daughters and sons coming home to a parent crying over personal finances. To the best of my ability, I will devote my career to other people. I look forward to a successful career of helping other people reach their personal financial goals.


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