Connect with us


James Altucher’s advice for young people is to skip college



high school graduates crying sad
student debt problem hit a depressing milestone in


  • Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, and
    the problem isn’t going away as tuition rates climb and the
    demand for college degrees remains high.
  • James Altucher, a tech investor and self-help guru,
    says young people should consider letting wealthy individuals
    or organizations invest in their future for a percentage of
    their future earnings. This way they could pay off their
  • The idea has ignited criticism over the years from
    people who say “human capital contracts” are a modern form of
    identured servitude, or slavery.
  • We asked Altucher why he thinks this idea could fix the
    student debt problem.


In Startupland, where college dropouts have a reputation for
becoming Silicon Valley royalty, one wealthy tech investor has a
bit of unsurprising advice for young people.

Skip college, says James Altucher. It’s a rip off.

But if you decide a higher education is a critical part of your
future success, Altucher says he has a wild idea that can save
young people from crushing tuition debt.

In a
blog post
that originally appeared on Quora, Altucher, a hedge fund
manager, author, and self-help guru, posited that young people
would be much better off if they let high net-worth individuals
or organizations invest in their future for a stake in their

“What if I graduate college and then say, ‘I will sell off 10% of
all of my future earnings,'” Altucher
said in the post

“This creates an exchange where I can invest in kids that look
like they have bright futures (or some organizations can do it
for charitable reasons) and then I get a piece of all the
earnings of the kids I invest in,” he said, adding that investing
in young people could be a “great source of income for older
people in a low-interest rate environment.”

Altucher explained in his post, “It can also help kids monetize
their future income (the way a company does every single day) to
help pay down their student loan debt.”

Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt,
auto loan debt ($1.1 trillion) and credit card
debt ($977 billion) in the US. According to Altucher, the problem
isn’t going away as tuition rates climb and the demand for
college degrees remains high.

James Altucher
James Altucher, an
investor and self-help guru, self-published a book titled “40
Alternatives to College” in 2012. In a Quora post, he outlines
why he thinks outstanding student loan debt is the biggest
problem facing the US.

Harrison/Getty Images for Airbnb

His controversial solution has been floated before.

In 2013, a new crop of startups let people forge “human capital
contracts,” in which an individual raises money from investors in
exchange for equity in themselves. Borrowers, who were often
referred to as “talent” or “upstarts,”
could potentially earn $20,000
for every one percent of
future income they were willing to pledge. They might use the
money to pay off their college loans or cover living expenses
while they start a business.

Human capital contracts never took off they way
their adherents hoped
. Critics said they weren’t loans, but
“a form of tech-enabled ‘indentured servitude,'” Vice wrote in

Altucher, who is perhaps best known as the face of the
“bitcoin genius” ads
that are all over the internet, proposed
putting a cap on the number of years that the borrower has to
give away part of their earnings, so they aren’t on the hook for
the rest of their lives.

“What’s not consensual is student loan debt,” Altucher said in
respose to the criticism.

“In a weird way, students feel like they have to go to college,
because they’ll either disappoint their friends or their peers or
their future employers or their parents,” he said. “So they feel
forced to go to college, and they are forced to take student
loans, and then the government will take those wages from you —
without your consent — for the rest of your life, because it’s
the only debt you can’t get rid of in bankruptcy.”

Currently, it is nearly impossible to have your student loan debt
forgiven by declaring bankruptcy. To be successful, the borrower
must hire a lawyer, which can be expensive, and
prove that being forced to repay
their student loans poses an
“undue hardship.”

college student loan debt problem
you identify the next Mark Zuckerberg or Susan Wojcicki at 21
years old?


Other critics are not convinced that investors can tell a person
is going to be successful based on what they’re like as a college
student. They also run the risk that their investment has low
returns — or worse, becomes worthless — in the event the person
suffers a career-killing move, such as a
sexual harrassment scandal
, or serious illness.

In 2013, one of those companies specializing in human capital
contracts, called Fantex, gave investors the ability to buy and
sell interests in professional athletes. It
shut down last year
after lackluster interest from investors
and little trading activity proved fatal.

A college professor of sports management warned of the company’s
potential pitfalls for investors in a 2013 interview with

The New York Times
: “You are potentially one hit away from
losing your money. On any given Sunday, anything can happen to
any player.”

Altucher admitted that not all bets would give great returns,
though he’s optimistic.

“Sure, some of these ‘investments’ will not work out, but some
will, creating a source of income for older generations and
removing the debt of younger generations, allowing them to be the
entrepreneurs and innovators they were meant to be,” Altucher

“Will this happen? I don’t know. Why don’t you make this
business? Be a billionaire.”

You can
read Altucher’s post in full on Business Insider

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job