Personal finance: It's the economy and we're not stupid

Michelle Singletary
Thursday, November 4, 2010; 8:44 AM

Despite the despicable election ads from partisan red and blue politicians, we, the voters, know what's important.

It's not who is or isn't a witch that matters. It's the economy.

Nearly 40 percent of voters in a recent Washington Post poll named the nation's fiscal situation as their top concern in the days leading to the election.

As the Post's Sandhya Somashekhar wrote, the Iraq war topped the list of voter concerns on election day four years ago. But now it's the economy that has supplanted such worries. In the Post poll, fewer than five percent of voters described "the situation in Afghanistan" as the most important issue affecting their vote for Congress.

Now that the election is over, I hope the name-calling and the witch hunts will end and our elected officials will come together to help continue to fix the economy.

I want to hear from you. This week's Color of Money Question is: What do you think it will take to improve the economy? Send your responses to and put "It's the Economy and We're Not Stupid" in the subject line.

Is law school worth it?

Not too long ago, there were a lot of people who thought getting a law degree was their ticket to prosperity. But pricey law degrees are not offering the financial return many recent law school graduates expected, according to the non-profit group National Association for Law Placement.

Annie Lowrey, an economics and business reporter for, reported recently on a new study which found that although the employment rate for the class of 2009 was 88.3 percent, about a quarter of those jobs were temporary and did not come with the salaries needed by most new lawyers to pay off crushing debts.

That statistic is enough to make recent or current law students wonder whether law school is worth it.

Graduates "cannot earn enough income after graduation to support the debt they incur," said Richard Matasar, a dean of New York Law School in 2005. "Even those making the highest salaries find that the debt that they have accumulated while in school may tax them for years."

Still, the demand for law degrees hasn't waned. The number of law degrees granted is up 11.5 percent since 2000.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company