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Conventional wisdom states that a four-year degree is essential to financial success. However, many who graduated during the 2008 recession felt less than successful when job opportunities were slim. After a slow start, many are now getting back on track.

May 2008 college graduates were met with one of the worst recessions since that of the 1930s. The result is that many took part-time or low wage jobs that did not require a degree. A graduate’s search for a first job out of school is not a new phenomenon. Every class faces the same challenges. But when the economy is slow, new grads are forced into lower paying positions that can affect their overall earning potential over the course of their lives. When this is coupled with credit card debt and large student loans, the road to financial freedom seems out of reach.

Eventually most graduates are employed in their field and become able to pay their bills. Although where a professional starts can affect where he or she ends up, it is not the only determining factor in overall success. But there are always some who face health challenges and prolonged joblessness that never seem to reach their earning potential. For these individuals it may be helpful to consider bankruptcy.

Though student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, consumer debt like credit cards are. In many cases a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eradicate consumer debt. After a detailed consultation, a bankruptcy attorney can help determine the best legal course of action.

Source: NY Times, “A Degree in Hand, but a Slow Start Up the Career Ladder,” Amy Scott, March 24, 2014.