People would do some crazy things to get out of debt.
According to a survey from Student Loan Report, 26.8% of student loan borrowers would willingly contract the Zika Virus in order to get out of debt. 50% of borrowers said they would jump into a gorilla cage to shed the debt. 58.4% said they would wear Crocs every day for the next 10 years.
While the report only surveyed 500 borrowers, the wild claims got us thinking whether or not some of these crazy trade-offs were worth it.
So we’ve picked one of the claims — 57.8% of borrowers said they would talk to a Comcast customer support representative for one hour every day for five years — to answer the basic question.
Is it worth it?
(Note: This is all a theoretical exercise using back-of-the-envelope calculations, so let’s not take it all too seriously.)
In order to conduct this analysis, we supposed the debt load of the theoretical student was $35,000, roughly the same as the average student debt burden for the class of 2015. (Note: This is a back of the envelope calculation that doesn’t account for taxes)
To judge the hourly income, we took the average income of a household with a head between the age of 25 and 34 years old, $53,274, and broke it into hourly earnings, $25.61 per hour. (Oddly enough, this was nearly the same as our other considered measure, average hourly earnings for American workers, which stands at $25.59 an hour.)
Assuming that a worker dedicates 10% of their earnings to debt service, so $2.56 of each hour’s wages, it would take 6.57 years to pay back student loans. If you were to jump up to 15% of wages (which admittedly a lot), or $3.84 of each hour’s wages, it would take 4.38 years to pay off the average loan.
So, yes, if you pay the basic amount (or less) towards you debt, it would make sense to get on the horn with a Comcast representative and endure the experience every day for 5 years. If you make a little more, or can dedicate a bit more of your income to debt service, it may not make sense.
Put another way, if you gave up one hour of work per day to talk to the customer service rep, the average worker would only miss out on $26,624 of wages over 5 years. Less than the average $35,000 debt load.
Additionally, both of these calculations do not take into account interest payments, which would make it even more advantageous to take the Comcast deal.
So yes, incredibly average college grad, if someone offers to pay off your student debt only if you suffer through mindless offers for upgraded wifi service one day a year for a half-decade, DO IT.
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