“…we found that both kinds of debt had positive effects for young people. It didn’t matter the type of debt, it increased their self-esteem and sense of mastery.”
Basically a study found that young people who have lots of debt (both student loans and credit cards) have high self esteem and “sense of mastery” (whatever the hell that is). From that they concluded that young people must derive them from the debt.
I disagree. Say it with me folks: correlation is not causality.
If I win the lottery and then slip on a banana peel it is not true that lotteries cause bananas or vice versa.
My curmudgeonly theory (which is just as likely as anything) is that if you’ve got a ton of self esteem (and the aforementioned “mastery”) you’ve got a personality that’s willing to amass more debt. Maybe you’re a risk taker. Maybe you’re willing to “invest in yourself” (based on the old fashioned idea that student loans facilitate the education that’ll land you higher paying jobs). Or maybe you’re arrogant, reckless, or lacking in impulse control.
This is a correlation…not causality. And because I know the difference I won’t conclude that journalism degrees cause people to misinterpret science but only that the two tend to go together.
One more thing:
“…the results suggest that debt can be an important resource for young adults that allow them to make investments that improve their self-concept.”
1. Debt is not a resource. Ever. To anyone. Access to credit might give you options but debt alone (as opposed to what you might have bought with it) is inherently negative. It never improved the financial picture for any person, corporation, organization, or nation. It simply isn’t positive. How hard can that concept be?
2. If you need a better “self concept” (whatever the hell that is)…earn it. Self esteem, like love, honor and pride, cannot be purchased.
I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Hat tip to Living Freedom.