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Canadian law school graduate Alex Kenjeev lived the new American dream by paying off his hefty student loan debt in full with cold, hard cash. At first, the Royal Bank of Canada refused to fork it over, but after a few days of proper due diligence the bank let him withdraw the money. Mr. Kenjeev put the money in a bag and walked a few blocks to Scotiabank, which housed his student loan debt. Here you go, it's all there, may I have a receipt, please? Living the dream, people, living the dream.
But Mr. Kenjeev, a Toronto venture capitalist, didn't stop there. He posted his "paid in full" bank receipt to Facebook, where it was promptly forwarded to Reddit because, well, that's what happens in the digital age, isn't it? Internet commenters, however, apparently didn't see the humor in Mr. Kenjeev's joke or stunt or achievement or whatever you want to call it. Where did dude get $114,460 to pay off his student loan debt in full? And why use cash? What a show off.
Mr. Kenjeev says it feels good to be debt-free (um, yeah...) but also told reporters: "Some people have taken it pretty offensively. I actually think they have a point. It hadn't really occurred to me." He's talking about it all on his Twitter page.
What set some people off, exactly? Mr. Kenjeev's "offense," I think, is the very act of attaining zero balance on his students loans at a young age, and then letting everyone know about it.
Saying publicly how you slayed the student loan debt dragon in ONE VERY LARGE LUMP SUM is becoming the modern-day equivalent of pulling up to your friend-of-modest-mean's modest home and showing off a brand-new Porsche you "just felt like" buying. Or pronouncing that you'll be picking up the tab for your table of 25 at an expensive restaurant because "it's no big deal." Or welcoming people into your new, $1 million vacation home. Let's make that your second vacation home. Why not? Student loan debt can feel like that much of an albatross these days. Bottom line: Doing what Mr. Kenjeev did is something most Gen Xers and Gen Yers can only dream of, especially in these days of rapidly rising college costs. Hence, the reaction.
But that's just my opinion, of course. Don't get me wrong; I'm happy for Mr. Kenjeev, if not a tad envious. He could have used the money to buy himself a brand-new Porsche or something, but instead he chose to pay off his student loan debt. Good for him. I greatly admire people who make good on their debts to society, to the bank, to whomever. Just don't post the receipts to Facebook, I guess.