A Wall Street Journal article documents the challenge of Mike Meru, a 37-year-old orthodontist, who as of last week owes $1,060,945.42 in student loans.

That would put most people on Prozac or something stronger.

But it doesn’t end there. Mike can only afford to pay $1,589.97 a month. Sounds fair right?

I guess it would be if that payment covered the interest on his loan — which it doesn’t.

While poor Mike is paying regularly — the reduced amount of his payment is adding $130 a day in unpaid interest to his loan.

In 20 years, it will pass the $2 million mark unless Mike fixes a lot of teeth or wins the lottery.

And the other bad news is there’s at least another 100 people in the US who owe at least that much or more.

What’s An Education Worth?

As a doctor Mike can make a lot of money over his working career. However, at what cost? If Mike can pay $1,500 a month then I would guess he’s doing well if there weren’t all the other stuff like rent, food, gas, electric, car, etc.

On the one hand Mike put himself in this situation, — didn’t he? He signed the papers. He must have had a plan on how this was going to work out.

On the other hand I doubt working 20 years and watching your loan double was not in the cards either.

Some Final Thoughts

College is expensive. Books are hundreds of dollars, plus housing, food, etc. A student loan is designed to take the daily monetary pressures off, so you can concentrate on learning.

The kicker is — can you earn enough to pay it back?

If you’re a parent with a promising high schooler or a graduate, consider that only 27 percent of college grads work within their major or a field related to it.

And, sixty two percent end up working at a job that didn’t even require a college degree.

No one can foresee the future. But there is homework to be done before putting yourself a cool million in debt.

Think before you leap has never been so accurate as it is when it comes to student loans. They can ruin any hope you have for a successful fulfilling life.