: I don't have a mortgage. I did have one but paid it off far faster than the stated term of the loan. I did that by overpaying every month and doing things like not going on vacations and driving a crap car which I paid for in cash.
As for whether you "need" to take out loans to go to college, most people appear to take out loans to get degrees that will not provide them with high incomes, an entirely foolish use of money when you could do a more or less unskilled job even without college -- only a fool gets $100k into debt in getting a degree in history only to to get a job as an administrative assistant that they could have done without anything more than some common sense and the ability to use a computer.
I partially worked my way through college, though I also had merit scholarships and some (small) loans that I rapidly paid off -- I got a computer science degree which would pay me a large salary so I figured the fairly small loans were not going to be much of an issue and they weren't. College was not a time when I partied or socialized -- I worked hard getting the maximum possible education in an engineering discipline while also working so that I would not have trouble with money later. Such loans as I had, I overpaid on so I'd get out from under them quickly, minimizing my interest burden.
I'm sure this means I'm not one of the 99% -- I'm not bad at planning or looking out for myself and don't expect others to fund my lifestyle. Does that mean I'm somehow privileged and should be punished for it by supporting the rest of you with my tax dollars? Should I have loafed in college, gone through with nothing but loans instead of working part time and later demanded debt forgiveness so that the world would pay for my fun?