Stories Lament Twentysomethings 'Forced' to Live with Parents
Pity the poor 20-something â€“ at least thatâ€™s what ABC and its partner USA Today seem to want to you to do. The two news organizations teamed up to portray young adults drowning in the â€śnational crisisâ€ť of â€ścollege loans and credit card debt.â€ť
In the November 26 â€śWorld News Sundayâ€ť story â€śYoung & in Debt,â€ť anchor Dan Harris talked up the story about twentysomethings â€śforced to move back in with their parents.â€ť ABC and USA Today each told stories of young men and women facing mountains of debt from school, credit cards and more.
Rather than focus on how self-made those debt mountains were â€“ up to $165,000 in the USA Today story â€“ both reports dwelled on how twentysomethings were â€śstruggling to payâ€ť for their living expenses.
ABCâ€™s John Berman introduced viewers to Todd Townsend, who moved in with his mother because of $50,000 in debt, â€śmostly from student loans.â€ť â€śBut he's not living there because he wants to,â€ť Berman said. He then explained to viewers the horrors of that choice, including living in two bedrooms next door to one another and even sharing a bathroom. â€śYou share a bathroom with your mother?â€ť asked Berman incredulously.
Berman wasnâ€™t finished. â€śMoving back home can provide some financial relief; you get free food and laundry. But there are some pretty serious drawbacks.â€ť According to Townsend, who didnâ€™t like to admit he lived with his mother when he met women, â€śit's not sexy.â€ť
USA Today reporter Mindy Fetterman chose another outlandish example â€“ the story of Heather Schopp, who â€śamassed nearly $165,000 in student loan debt.â€ť Schopp, who earned a degree in chiropractic health, also owes $9,000 in credit card debt and another $4,000 on her car loan.
Fetterman tried to claim that Schoppâ€™s problem was common. â€śLike tens of thousands of twentysomethings, Schopp emerged from college and graduate school with so much debt that her transition into full-fledged adult life has been difficult.â€ť
In Schoppâ€™s case, thatâ€™s unsurprising, since she owes nearly $180,000 and the costly degree she worked for results in a salary of $44,000 and that counts a part-time job. But average debt for American students is far less than that example. USA Today explained in June that â€śThe average college senior graduated this year with more than $19,000 in debt.â€ť
Schoppâ€™s debt works out to slightly less than 10 times that amount.