Letters: Not everyone likes Chris; You, your kids and college

Letters in a computer with red mailbox flag

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: From your questions to your comments, our senior producer and mail carrier Deb Clark is here. Hi Deb.

Deb Clark: Hello. Thankfully, I don't actually don't have to carry in this electronic age. Let's start with our good friend and economics editor Chris Farrell.

Vigeland: I believe he just left the building.

Clark: Oh, I guess he did. OK but here's the secret I'm here to tell you: Not everybody always loves Chris.

Vigeland: Oh?

Clark: I know it's hard to believe, he is an extremely nice person, good advice too. But he really annoyed some folks last week with his commentary.

Vigeland: This is where he told people they're going to have to save a lot more for retirement.

Clark: Yes he did. He said all these battles that are happening in states like Wisconsin, etc. over pension benefits are basically just going to worsen, we should all pony up, plan for the worst and make up the difference ourselves.

Here's what Tracy Johnson from Bemidji, Minn. had to say to Chris:

Tracy Johnson: My guess is that if we save 20 percent of our income, that leaves us with enough discretionary income to buy nothing. So all the people whose jobs depend on us buying things would shortly be out of a job, unable to save anything.

Clark: Luana Conley from Monterey, Calif. was similarly displeased.

Luana Conley: I just heard you recommend that we save more, since we can no longer rely on pensions, public or private, Social Security or Medicare. Save what, pray tell, with reduced earnings to the point of subsistence, no raises in five years and imminent threats of layoff? For this educated public employee at a California university, what have I left to save?

Vigeland: Alright, so nobody's going to be able to save for retirement. What's next?

Clark: So we really touched a nerve with your interview with Andrew Ferguson.

Vigeland" He is the author of "Crazy U," a book about trying to get his kid into college.

Clark: Yes, getting into college, paying for college -- that always gets a big reaction around here.

Vigeland: It does indeed. So what was the reaction?

Clark: So, many people wrote in to say it paralleled their experience with college admissions. Others, Laura Matson said she appreciated the story, agreed that a college degree doesn't predict future happiness or success. But...

Laura Matson: I have to take issue with the idea that college students don't learn that much. I had the privilege of attending Sarah Lawrence College and it provided a fantastic education that I have used consistently through my master's degree, professional experience and am continuing to rely on in my legal studies.

Clark: And a number of our listeners wrote in to defend a website that Ferguson had said you basically shouldn't waste your time on, like Theresa Bayer from New Rochelle, N.Y.

Bayer: Perhaps if Ferguson had spent a little more time on College Confidential, he would have realized that most of the parents posting there have a lot of good advice about planning for college. Most parents advise for looking for financial safeties, avoiding massive debt and loving the kid on the couch. There are frequent discussions about whether big name colleges are worth the money and where you could find good deals.

Vigeland: Decide for yourself, I guess. Well, do let us know what else has you hot around the collar. You can tweet me, @radiotess, you can go to our Facebook page and of course, the now old-fashioned seeming way -- comment at Marketplace Money.

Thanks Deb.

Clark: Thank you.

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