038: Leah Bell on Being an Angry Grad and Setting Yourself Up for a Life of Success
Leah Bell spent tens of thousands of dollars on a college education for a degree in Education with the same hope of getting a job one day. After struggling to find a teaching job as an Elementary school teacher, Leah had to work at a minimum part-time job to supplement her teaching salary. However, the school closed and she lost her job. Leah took on a job related to sales. But after a few years she realized that she wanted nothing more than to stay at home with her son. But with student debt and rising prices, it was extremely difficult on one income.
Leah Bell learned the most about life, not in the classrooms of the colleges she attended, but in the years following. After realizing the struggle in the job market, the difficulty of paying off student loans, and the heartbreak of sacrificing priceless time with family to meet financial needs, she and her husband have devoted their lives to sparing people of this depressing fate through their company Neotrep™, providing entrepreneurs with affordable education and tools to succeed. She recently wrote the book The Angry Grad to help prospective students and recent graduates choose the route of entrepreneurship instead of the unstable job world.
Mortgage, student loan, debt, competition, labor, happiness, tax and return on investment.
Economics and finance suddenly became personal. It became emotional and, at that time, I became interested in it because it’s not just about numbers. I want people to get their finances under control so they can have a better life and give their children a better life – Leah Bell.
Paul Dolan and John Gathergood.
“Always be asking questions, always be willing to learn and take advantage of all of the resources that are out there” – Leah Bell.
- what is the average student debt?
- how a college degree is different today than it was just two or three decades ago.
- why it’s so difficult for college graduates to find jobs and pay back their student loans.
- how the future will look if we continue teaching young people that debt is the only way to afford a house, a car and an education.
- what other options are there for people who are considering an education.
- how debt is not the only way to get through college.
- if we are paying more for college than we can hope to get back.
- if it’s still worth taking on so much debt to get a degree.
- if we’re living in a school loan debt bubble.
- what we can do about all this?
The Disillusioned Student
High-school students are being blind-sided and do not truly understand the debt that they will accumulate while attending college. Educators and college and career guidance counsellors are failing high-school students by only providing a one-sided argument to going to college. They emphasise the pros of going to college and, in most cases, fail to disclose the cons of going to college in terms of the costs, term loans and the interest repayments. Educators prepare high-school students for college in terms of the grades but lack the financial planning required by the student and their parents.
Typically, a $30,000 loan, which is approximately the average student debt in the US, will amount to $60,000 in capital and interest repayments over the life the loan. However, in many cases, students fail to meet these repayments which equate to upward of $1,000 per month. Consequently, the loan becomes structured to suit the needs of the graduate by acknowledging their current income status and the number of children they may have.
People are putting life events on hold because of the amount of debt they are in – Leah Bell.
Many graduates have become disillusioned with the education system in terms of the costs and the likelihood of repaying it with jobs that do not exist for the training and preparation that they had done at college. For example, teachers are supplementing their teaching salary (if they have a teaching job that is) with a second income earned at shoe stores and restaurants.
By the time students plan to have their entire loan paid off, their going to have double maybe triple the total amount that they originally took out – Leah Bell.
Unfortunately, parents do not understand the reality of the situation. When they themselves were graduating from college, they typically did well relative to those who didn’t attend. Then, jobs weren’t competitive but today, almost everyone has a college degree and finding a job is so much greater than it was then. Now, you need a masters degree to be competitive.
Since there is a demand for college places and lenders are willing to give education loans, colleges can charge whatever they want. Colleges are aware of this and are raising their rates to astronomical levels. Colleges too are borrowing to finance the development of their campus and their sports and recreational facilities. Football stadiums are being built to professional standards and who best to service this debt than the incoming college students who are paying the ever-increasing fees.
Students are paying more for a college experience than for a college education – Leah Bell
“The college experience is setting up people to fail”. Unless you’re going to college for an engineering degree or something in computer science or physics, something math or science heavy, those are the jobs that you make a decent amount coming out of college. But not everyone fits this mould. Some want to do something in education, social science, music, photography or the arts. Those, however, are on the lower end of the pay scale.
Quotes by Leah Bell on the Economic Rockstar podcast:
“We’re living a very different life than the one we were expecting” – Leah Bell.
“The highest taxed person is the employee” – Leah Bell.
“Why people are encouraged to go to college and get a job is just for the tax reasons” – Leah Bell.
If you can just discipline yourself enough to sit down and learn and go out and try things and be willing to fail and get back up again, you can do anything – Leah Bell.
You’re capped out at your salary and your employer is using your strengths to become really wealthy. What upsets me is people don’t look inside themselves and see all the potential they have and what they can do for themselves – Leah Bell.
“I feel that when I wrote this book, I was writing it to myself 12 years ago” – Leah Bell.
Get off your butt. Get some confidence. Do things different. Step out of the box and be different. Don’t be what everyone’s telling you you have to be – Leah Bell.
I deal with doubts every single day – whether or not I can do what I wan to do. Do I have enough time in the day? Am I good enough to do it? That’s so natural – Leah Bell.
There’s no one in the world that has not failed except for the people who don’t try. And the people who don’t try never succeed because they never try to get to the point of success – Leah Bell.
Blogs Mentioned in this Episode:
- www.neotrep.com by Leah and Walt Bell
- www.theangrygrad.com by Leah Bell
- www.smartpassiveincome.com by Pat Flynn
- www.flippedlifestyle.com by Shane and Jocelyn Sams
Podcast Episodes Mentioned in this Episode:
- SPI 122 : From Teachers to Totally Rocking it Online – Shane and Jocelyn Sams Share their Success Story – Smart Passive Income.
- 007: Ryan Blair – Gangster turned Millionaire on Decision-Making, Game Theory and Incentives – Economic Rockstar.
- The Angry Grad: Your Guide to Student Loans, a Struggling Economy, and Becoming Your Own Boss by Leah Bell
- Spirit of Apollo by Sidney Newton Bremer
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur by Ryan Blair
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki
It’s Not Right For You by The Script
This song inspired Leah during the writing of her book The Angry Grad.