This young man from Indianapolis owes $36,000 on a car loan, but he can barely get that amount done in one year. Ramsay’s show offered him a reality check

This young man from Indianapolis owes $36,000 on a car loan, but he can barely get that amount done in one year.  Ramsay’s show offered him a reality check

‘You have to work at McDonald’s all day’: This Indianapolis teen owes $36,000 on a car loan — but he can barely make it in one year. Ramsay’s show offered him a reality check

The wave of student loans continues to rise, taking more young people into debt each year. Twenty-year-old Dylan from Indiana, struggling in the depths of this crisis, called Ramsay’s program seeking advice.

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Co-host John DeLoney had a simple escape plan: “You have to work at McDonald’s all day and then deliver pizza at night.”

Here’s how fast food could change Dylan’s situation.

High student debt costs

Dylan revealed that his total debt is more than $70,000. Of that amount, $36,000 is from a car loan and another $3,700 is from a personal loan he took out to pay rent between jobs. However, the most shocking part of Dylan’s debt pile is the $32,000 student loan he took out after just one semester in college.

“Wait, one semester? On Mars?” Delauney asked incredulously.

To be clear, Dylan’s debt load is not exceptional. The average student loan debt is $37,718, according to the Education Data Initiative. However, this is usually the debt that students accumulate after completing their program and graduating.

Dylan said he attended a private Christian school in Minneapolis. Tuition fees for some of these institutions can reach tens of thousands of dollars annually, so a young person’s debt level can quickly add up.

Dylan’s situation highlights how millions of Americans have accumulated a total of $1.74 trillion in student loan debt over time.

Read more: Millions of Americans are in massive debt in the face of rising interest rates. Here’s how to get your head above water as quickly as possible

Take a “scorched earth” approach to reducing debt

Co-host Rachel Cruz recommended a “scorched earth” strategy for reducing Dylan’s debt, which meant quitting his job because it didn’t pay enough — and then working multiple jobs and long hours to reduce his debt.

Dylan said he earns approximately $36,000 in base salary and commissions as a car salesman. This is not enough to manage its debt burden.

“The days of the car salesman are over,” DeLeone said. “You’re not good at that.”

Instead, DeLoney recommended that Dylan work at McDonald’s, deliver pizza and work as an Uber driver. Meanwhile, Cruz said he must sell his car, move back in with his parents, and work relentlessly to pay off the remaining debt.

“I would work 80 hours a week,” she said.

Depending on the reality, non-management roles at McDonald’s locations in Indiana tend to fall between $9 and $12 per hour. Pizza delivery drivers in the state earn an average of $15 per hour, per Ziprecruiter. If Dylan earned $12 an hour working 80 hours a week, he would likely earn close to $50,000 (before taxes). Saving a chunk of that could help him pay off his debt within a few years.

Working long hours or multiple jobs is not unusual. In fact, nearly 8.4 million Americans held multiple jobs as of November 2023, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

“You’re not going to have a life,” Cruz warned. But the effort is worth it to get out of debt while Dylan is still young.

“If you get all of this right, especially at your age, you can build some significant wealth in the future.”

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. They are provided without warranty of any kind.

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