Student loan debt is scary. That’s the message of this video.

In B-movie style, this short film dramatizes that many young Americans are suffocating under their student loans and other debts. The problem is all too real, but most Americans still take out student loans without a thought. After all, what can we do? Higher education costs continue to spiral upwards, and American businesses still view the college degree as a prerequisite for the “good” jobs.

Once upon a time, Americans viewed student loans as “good debt.” Education was an investment in the future. This debt would increase earnings potential, which would offset the cost, thereby leaving the debtor in a better economic situation.

Once upon a time, Americans also viewed home mortgages as “good debt.” A family home was an investment in the future. The home loan business, as we all know, got a little out of whack (that’s a technical economic phrase). Too many Americans borrowed too much, and too many of these homes turned out to be bad investments. We learned that borrowers have to exercise wisdom and responsibility.

Student loans are even trickier than mortgages. If you find yourself upside down in your home, you could (though I don’t recommend it) just hand the keys to the bank. You can’t give back your college education. You’re stuck with those loans.

I see two morals to the above video. First, if student lonas are crippling you, you’ve got to face the problem. Get serious, and pay them off. Fast. Cut expenses to the bone and get rid of the debt. The web is full of inspiring stories of people who have payed off tens of thousands of dollars on small incomes. It can be done. Second, if you’re thinking about taking out student loans, use wisdom and act responsibly. You don’t want the blessing of a college education to turn into a curse.

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