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VICE Money: Let’s do this

If sometime in the last decade a college or university spat you out, wobbly, hungover, and clutching a bachelor’s degree, you’re much less likely than previous generations to think college was a worthwhile investment.

That’s understandable. The Great Recession was big and scary. (That’s why they called it “great.”) The recovery was depressing. And you probably have a Gibraltar-sized student debt dangling over your head.

But you’ve probably also heard that your scrolled-up diploma has never been worth more. In dollar terms, a college degree translates to well over $1 million over the course of your working life compared to the earnings of Americans with less education. But there’s a dirty little secret to that statistic: A college degree is only more valuable compared to not having one at all.

In fact, the wages of those Americans with just a bachelor’s degree have been falling in recent years. Between 2001 and 2013, their wages dropped 10.3 percent. But even after that drop, the earnings of a college graduate still trounce those of someone without a diploma. In 2013, the median earnings of a millennial with a college degree were $45,500; somebody with a high school degree earned just $28,000.

In other words, a college diploma isn’t valuable because it’s a golden ticket to the good life. It’s valuable because it’s the last seat on the lifeboat.

This is the kind of stuff we’re going to be talking about here at VICE Money, the new channel of VICE News focusing on the world of economics and money that, essentially, determines almost everything.

Think of VICE Money as your translator for the language of business and economics. We take the bloodless world of GDP growth, unemployment rates, and intentionally bewildering financial jargon and use it to talk about that things that actually matter: paychecks, jobs, inequality, living costs, debt, college, and politics. (Nothing is more political than money.)

A few disclosures: Reading VICE Money will not make you rich. (Further disclosure: You don’t get rich reading things on the internet.) VICE Money won’t pander to you. And VICE Money won’t pretend there’s some magic basket of mutual funds or one weird trick that will guarantee a Scrooge McDuck-style existence.

Instead, VICE Money will explain the facts and do our best to give you a bullshit-free guide to what you need to know — and what’s simply interesting — about the economy.

So, don’t let us get away with anything. Tell us if we’re failing to report on things you care about, missing a big story or simply not explaining things well. And come back soon. We’re just getting started.

Oh, I’m Matt Phillips. I’ve been covering business for about 15 years, most recently as a writer and editor at The Wall Street Journal and Quartz, and I’ll be editing the site. Email, tweet or DM me your questions, comments, ideas, rants and — I hope — effusive praise.

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