A Value Investor's Analysis of Student Loan Forgiveness

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My wife Rachel and I had our son Jonah in 2001. I was 28, and she was 23. Rachel quit her job and became a stay-at-home mom and part-time student at CU Denver, where she was finishing her bachelor’s degree.

Rachel and I immigrated to the U.S. 10 years earlier from the USSR. Now, I had a master’s degree in finance and a CFA license but was just a few years into my career as an analyst. I was working for a small investment firm, IMA, making $40,000 a year. As soon as Jonah was born, we opened a custodial educational account and started saving $2,000 a year for Jonah’s future education.

This $2,000 in 2001 was an enormous amount of money for us; it was around 7% of my after-tax income. We had a very modest lifestyle. We were still paying off our college debt. This education money could have let us afford to eat out, enjoy a daily trip to Starbucks, or take another vacation or two. We bought used cars, drove them for decades. We made a budget and lived by it (I wrote about it here). We felt it was our responsibility as parents to make sure that our son went to college and was not burdened by college debt. The value of education had been drummed into our heads by our parents. We wanted to give Jonah every advantage he could get in this country.

We opened similar education accounts for our daughters Hannah and Mia Sarah when they were born in 2005 and 2014. Though my income was growing as my career advanced, funding these accounts was always an effort. We needed more bedrooms – we bought a house. Also, when storks bring babies, what follows are unending new expenses: diapers, daycares, after-school activities, and the kids keep growing, so they constantly need new clothes.