said by ISurfTooMuch:
I'm going to nit-pick a little here. True, no one forces you to take student loans or a mortgage, but you almost have to. The cost of college is insane, especially professional programs like med school and law school, so, if you want to get a college degree, loans are a big part of that. Sure, you can skip college, but your earning potential is much lower in most cases. As for a mortgage, unless you want to rent all your life, you'd better buy a house, and, unless you happen to inherit one or have enough cash on hand to buy one outright, you have to take out a mortgage. You can continue to rent all your life, but all you're doing is helping pay someone else's mortgage, and you have nothing to show for it in the end.
Optional, yes, but there are very strong incentives to get them.
If you are going to undertake a professional degree program like med school or law school, it is incumbent upon you to do the net
financial analysis up front, not cry about it later. The cost is only "insane" because irresponsible wannabe "professionals" allow it to be. For undergrad, school doesn't have
to be expensive - especially if parents act responsibly and force a budget on the situation.
As for your earning potential, I'd submit that most people with the fortitude to survive med school or law school will do just fine in any endeavor they pursue, and with a 4-10 year head start, will come out ahead.
As for a mortgage - I suspect you'd find there are millions of "homeowners" who disagree with your romantic vision - sometimes "having nothing to show for it" (and renting) beats owing the bank more than the intrinsic value of the house, while while paying for property taxes, maintenance, repairs, insurance, gardening, water/sewer and trash, and living in a car-only suburb.
If you really want to "own", that's fine, and a personal decision - but you shouldn't be buying more house than you could ever afford, nor should you complain about it as a "necessity".