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David Bradshaw: No Second Chances, the Lasting Impact of Debt

Tom welcomes Dave Bradshaw, a CPA, MBA, author, and business owner, to discuss his recently published book, “No Second Chances: A Family Guide to the College Decision and the Lasting Impact of Debt.” The conversation revolved around the escalating college costs, questionable value of certain degrees, and the burdensome student loan debts many students now face.

Dave shared insights on how college has evolved from his childhood days, no longer promising a guaranteed path to financial success for numerous graduates. He stressed the significance of families considering the real costs of attending college, including the potential long-term impact of student loans on their children’s future financial wellbeing. They addressed the skewed incentives in the system, such as government involvement in student loans and the absence of price discovery in the market for higher education.

Dave was inspired to write the book after observing a friend’s aspiration to become a veterinarian and the immense financial burden that choice would impose on her. Dave highlights the importance of understanding the split between education costs and interest paid on loans. He advocates for students to weigh their future earning potential against taking on large student loan debts and criticized the lack of transparency surrounding college costs and financial aid.

They question the distortion in the education system due to government intervention in student loan industries, arguing that without price discovery, certain degrees and disciplines were either overvalued or undervalued. They pointed out examples such as nursing and veterinary medicine, where the value proposition was clear versus fields like sociology where the value was less evident.

The book serves as a practical guide for students and parents in making informed decisions about post-secondary education, with a workbook design that encourages self-reflection and dialogue between students and parents. It focuses on helping young people determine their purpose in life, considering what they want to learn, the job they aim for, and why they wish to attend college.

Dave suggests several strategies for alleviating the financial burden of higher education, such as living at home to cut costs in half, scholarships, tuition reimbursement programs from employers, having a job during college, and considering community colleges as an affordable alternative for the first two years.

Time Stamp References:
0:00 – Introduction
0:40 – Debt & College
4:42 – Degrees, Loans, & ‘Aid’
7:06 – Inexperience & Decisions
10:08 – Inspiration for the Book
13:47 – Value Vs Interest Costs
15:47 – Hidden Costs & Understanding
24:05 – Distortions & Regulation
30:32 – Guiding & Finding Purpose
40:12 – Graduating Vs. Defaults
43:14 – Consequences & Examples
48:33 – Hacks & Workarounds
56:40 – Wrap Up

Talking Points From This Episode

  • College costs have escalated, questioning its value and burdening students with debt. Families need to consider real costs and long-term impact.
  • Government intervention in student loans distorts education market, leading to overvalued or undervalued degrees and policies preventing bankruptcy discharge.
  • Strategies for reducing financial burden include living at home, scholarships, employer tuition reimbursement, part-time jobs, and considering community colleges.

Guest Links:
No Second Chances: A Family Guide to the College Choice and Lasting Impact of Debt
Amazon Book:

David Bradshaw currently serves as the CEO and owner of Cylinder Testing Solutions (CTS), a material testing company with eight US locations, focusing on Non-Destructive Testing for the high-pressure gas industry. He also leads Tensoric, Inc.’s accounting and finance team since 2013.

Since 2007, Bradshaw has consulted small business owners on various aspects including business structure, accounting systems, tax planning, finance, operations, and market opportunities. With a background as a CPA, he spent three years in public accounting before starting his first business. His experience with diverse small businesses led him to various consulting roles. Since 2004, Bradshaw has held multiple positions within companies as controller, operations manager, CFO, CEO, and investor. In 2014, he bought out partners from the testing service business.

An outdoors enthusiast, he enjoys snowboarding and backpacking with his wife. His credentials include a CPA license (Colorado, inactive) and degrees in Master in Business Administration, BSBA Management, and BSBA Accounting from the University of Southern Colorado.

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