Author Topic: New to MMM and mesmerized  (Read 4427 times)

catashe

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New to MMM and mesmerized
« on: January 24, 2018, 03:26:55 PM »
Here is my info as best as I have a handle on it.

We are married, filing jointly. We have 2 children - 6y and 4y. We live in Candler, NC (outside Asheville)

Gross salary (husband) 48,830
Gross salary (me): none currently, on untaxed disability (private) 68,280
Occasional side work (me) ~1500/month
Deductions from husband salary:
  12.37/bimonthly dental
  61.04/bimonthly 403B
  9.03/bimonthly visual
  190/bimonthly health insurance
  +30 expense reimbursement (toward internet)


AGI: not quite sure


We have zero credit card debt. We own two cars - a 2011 Honda Odyssey and a 2004 Mazda Protege. We own them both in full.

Assets:
We have 36,000 in checking.
We have 34,000 in an Oppenheimer 401k.
We have 12,000 in a Transamerica 403B
We have 5500 in a Vanguard 401K
We own a house worth 207,000 - and the mortgage is currently around 111,000 (we pay ~1100/month).

We have 230,000 between us in student loans with average interest of 5.5% My husband has a PhD in mathematics and teaches at a large, non-profit online school. He makes 52,000/year.

I am on mental health disability for the next year(ish) due to the death of our son and PTSD, anxiety, panic disorder, etc. I receive $5600/month (untaxed) in private disability. I have a doctor of veterinary medicine. I work intermittent shifts to keep busy.

We are both on the government income based repayment plan with loans. This means we pay the absolute minimum monthly ($80/me, $280/him). If we make qualified payments for 20 years, the loans are written off, and we pay taxes on them (I believe as income).

We are going to adopt the frugal, mindful lifestyle of MMM - but my question is this - pay off the student loans now (average interest is about 5.5% between them all) or continue on government repayment plan and plan to pay a big tax burden at the end? If we do this, what do we do with our savings - invest into stock index funds? To further delineate my question, if we are able to pay all debt and RE - then we will not have any income when our student loans come due, and thus will have to pay significantly less taxes on them at that time.

Hope those questions make sense. Any help would be massively appreciated. Hopefully, I'm not leaving anything out.



« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 05:04:29 PM by catashe »

catashe

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 03:28:29 PM »
Aaaaand - should've read the "how to" that I just saw.

We are a family of 4 - 2 adults, a 6 year old and a 4 year old. We also have a baby on the way.
My husband's gross income is 52,000.
Mine (disability) is 67,200/annually + whatever I make with contract work (hard to calculate)

MDM

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 05:50:29 PM »
catashe, welcome to the forum and condolences on the loss of your son.

Your post is actually well organized.  Given that, here are some self-study suggestions that may help you answer the questions posed yourself:
How to withdraw funds from your IRA and 401k without penalty before age 59.5
Investment Order
Best and/or Recommended Retirement Calculator - Bogleheads.org
and
the case study spreadsheet (to help analyze current cash flow).

If those suffice, great.  If not, just re-ask.  And good luck!

catashe

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 06:12:19 PM »
Thank you. I've already started skimming them and getting useful information, especially with regards to investments. I am still uncertain what the best thing to do is regarding the student loans though - and I'm not sure if the info is buried in there somewhere, and I'm missing it.

At the moment, we pay about $375/month total towards the loan burden. This is income based repayment through a government plan. In 20 years, it will be written off (barring any missed payments). Whatever amount is written off will be taxed. I am unclear at what rate, but I think as income.

Our options are to continue on IBR and just pay the minimum, save for the tax payment when it comes in 15ish years or crack down and pay it off now. I have no idea which is the more reasonable approach. The idea of debt free is intoxicating, but it seems like it might actually be a bad idea to pay all of that now.

Any thoughts on that specifically ?

Calvawt

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 06:17:16 PM »
At 5.5% I would just get rid of them sooner rather than later.  Programs can change and procedural items can prevent the forgiveness, too.  you could do a spreadsheet, paying the minimum for 20 years might not be much cheaper.

harvestbook

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 06:19:32 PM »
It seems like it would be hard to retire early with that much debt and uncertainty. You didn't post your ages but perhaps you should think in terms of retirement at the time the debt is cleared in 20 years. Do you expect to stay on disability or do you envision a time when you might return to work?

Regardless of the end game, it's always a good time to start building savings, reducing debt, and reducing cost of living. Good luck.

catashe

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 06:42:11 PM »
I'm sorry - I am 38, and my husband is 42.

My private disability only covers mental health for 2 years, so at maximum, I will be covered until January of 2019. I am slowly returning to work. Truthfully, I love being a veterinarian, and I want to work, but there are certain triggers in my environment related to my son's illness and death that make it too stressful just yet. I am doing relief work and vaccine clinics, which pay well, but it's not regular.

It's frustrating to have this educational debt, because other than it and a cheap house, we owe nothing and do well.

Vawt - could you clarify what "procedural items" means?

SwordGuy

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 08:59:38 PM »
Vawt - could you clarify what "procedural items" means?

It means any nit-picky reason some bureaucrat can find to disallow your application to have the debts forgiven.

MDM

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 09:42:43 PM »
If the disability income does not affect the Earned Income Credit, and you don't have more than $3450 investment income (outside 403b/IRA/etc. accounts), consider the following.  It's based on numbers you provided, some guesswork, and some perhaps "out of the box" ideas. 

Paycheck frequency:Annual2X/Month
Paycheck ItemsEarner #1Earner #2Annual
Gross Salary/Wages
$18,000$2,167$70,000
Pretax Health/Dental/Vision Ins.$0$211$5,074
FICA base salary/wages
$18,000$1,955$64,926
401(k) / 403(b) / TSP / etc.$6,000$771$24,500
W-2 Box 1
$12,000$1,184$40,426
Subtractions for AGIAnnualAnnualAnnual
SL int. (approx.)$2,500
1040 AGI
$37,926
Payroll TaxesAnnual2X/MonthAnnual
Social Security$1,116$121$4,025
Medicare$261$28$941
Income Taxes
Federal tax-$7,2692018, MFJ, std., 3 dep-$7,269
Total income taxes-$2,302-$2,302
Monthly
Other Untaxed Income$5,7500$69,000
Income before other expenses$9,311$111,728
Monthly Average ExpensesComments
Mortgage$764Input to Item. Ded.$9,166
Property Tax$300Input to Item. Ded.$3,600
Home/Rent Insurance$36$432
Miscellaneous$5,000$60,000
Non-mortgage total
$5,336$64,032
Loans
Student Loan$2,496$29,953
Total Expense
$8,596$103,152
Total to invest$715$8,577
Summary:
"Gross" income$11,583$139,000
Income taxes-$192-$2,302
After-tax income$11,775$141,302
IRA+401k/403b/TSP/457$500$1,542$24,500
Living expenses$6,523$78,272
Non-mortgage loans$2,496$29,953
After-tax investable$715$8,577

Filing Status21=S, 2=MFJ, 3=HOH
# Dependents3
# Children <173
# Children <133
# Children for EIC3
Adult #1Adult #2
Age3842
Full-time student?00
AGI$37,926
Std. Deduct.$24,000
Act. Deduct.$24,000
Exemption$0
Taxable$13,926
1040 Tax$1,393
Saver's credit$2,000
Tax after n-r credit$0
EIC$3,069
Refundable CTC$4,200
Net Tax-$7,269
Mtg. Int. (approx.)$4,3961000000
Prop tax$3,600
Item. Deduct.$7,996
VersionV10.07

Loans:Orig. Prin.Orig. LengthCurr. Prin.Yrs leftRate
Mortgage$160,00030$111,000174.0%
Student Loan$230,00010$230,000105.5%

reeshau

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2018, 08:26:24 AM »
catashe,
What was your income before you went on disability?  Typically, disability covers 60% of income, so I would calculate about $114k; is that right?

I want to be sensitive to the healing you are doing now, but you seem to also be thinking long-term, so I will follow that signal.  When you get back to work, you have a combined gross income of $162k.  Your total debts are $340k. (student loans plus mortgage)  If you are looking to pursue FIRE and follow an MMM-style life, then it is ridiculous to talk about still paying on this debt for 15 years.  At the very least, if you are living today on disability without incurring other debt or spending down savings, you will have more than $45k (gross) extra to put against debts without any other changes.

You are obviously accomplished people.  While the loan payoff program may work out better on paper, it is not without risk (i.e. denial of application for payoff) and it is not without a mental cost of this pending event in your life.  I would suspect it would be good for your mind and spirit to instead be free of these debts, and free to focus on your children, unencumbered.  The fact that you could do this in less than 5 years should be easy to see as a positive difference in your life.  And if things go well and you work hard at it, the fact it could be just around the corner should be exciting.

Good luck!

catashe

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2018, 12:14:27 PM »
Yes, it was around that number give or take. The disability was set up at a previous job, but my pay was similar at this job, as well. They paid based on what job I was working when I took out the policy.

I wish I knew when I was going to feel like going back to work FT, but I'm not there yet. It's still hard for me to be reliable. I just feel helpless often in the face of finances. I will also freely admit that grief is sometimes so overwhelming that buying something temporarily helps with that feeling. Hence, I have an iPhone X that I sincerely regret but cannot return (any suggestions there - just buy it out for $915, ditch Verizon, and switch to a cheap plan like Straight Talk or keep the $126/month plan that includes the damned phone?).

Next month, we will bring home (after taxes) around $9,000 between my husband's job, my disability, and the work I am doing on the side. There is no reason with that kind of money that we can't be doing better, it's just - I don't even really know how or where to begin. Putting it towards student loans seems kind of wasteful due to the IBR plan, but I 'm never sure.

For some background on my money issues -  my parents are impoverished - living off my dad's SS and military pension. Growing up, my parents couldn't always pay the electric bill. There were 5 of us, and my dad made over 100k at one point. They were just horrible with money, and they still are. Can't afford to fix their cars, can't afford medical bills (my dad has the VA at least). Not really relevant, but I'm really screwed up and easily stressed about money. 

I started a YNAB, and I am going to diligently keep up with expenses from now on to see where we can cut down. I did a meal plan for the week, shopped at Aldi (instead of Trader Joe's) and spent 1/2 of what I would normally. That was a nice feeling. My husband and I are also going out tonight, but we have a restaurant gift card, so that's a win...

I'm just rambling. I hate money.

reeshau

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2018, 03:13:13 PM »
I'm just rambling. I hate money.

Is it that you hate money, or you hate this debt?  You have been living with it for a while. (assuming it started with undergrad, more than 10 years?) And given the background with your parents, you didn't get off on the right foot with it.  I think this is another reason to speed up getting out of debt--spend some time with it doing what you want it to, particularly once your kids are old enough to pay attention to the behaviors you are showing them.

Your iPhone situation does seem to be a microcosm of your general problem statement with money.  You are right, you made the mistake when it was purchased; following through with the payments, which is both financing the big purchase and an expensive phone plan, compounds the mistake.  Get out and get on a sustainable path as soon as you can.  Then, reflect on that lesson learned, and stare the big hairy monster that is your student debt right in the face.  You don't need to fear it, at all.

One other suggestion, for inspiration:  are you familiar with Dave Ramsey, or have you read The Total Money Makeover?  Your situation fits fairly well with his target audience.  I don't know how well a debt snowball will function on two big bills rather than many smaller ones, but his podcast and writing may fire you up to get impatient about paying off your student loans, in particular.  Every podcast has a number of people, with varying income but facing big bills, both as they struggle but also as they celebrate success.  It's important to picture yourself past this issue, so that you can *want* that.

YNAB is a great start--knowing where your money is currently going can be an eye opener; it might help you arrest the impulse ahead of the next iPhone-like episode.  The question to ask is: how much of your spending is actually enhancing your life, vs. impulse or other waste?  Enhancing your life should be reinforcing your core values (e.g. the kids) or preparing for your future (e.g. debt elimination, retirement, kid's education)


catashe

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2018, 03:28:27 PM »
I am examining those very questions currently - impulse/waste v. mindfulness - which is something that overwhelming grief has taught me. I feel like I lived somewhat mindlessly before - not thinking much about my decisions - any of them - not just money-related. Diet, health, exercise, child rearing. I'm not stupid but much like the rest of our culture...always doing something. I will say that the iPhone purchase is not typical of me. We don't have credit card debt. We own our cars (older ones). Our house cost 142,000 in Asheville NC for a 3bed/2bath (worth 208,000 currently per recent tax statement in just four years - offers to buy at 220k). We've made better decisions now that we're older...student loans were just stupid. I will say as a vet student, we were assured that paying them back would be no big deal. Turns out that was a big fat lie. On the bright side, I have a degree that can find me work at the drop of a hat and well paid...

And yes, I am very familiar with Dave Ramsay. Family members have used his program (my husband's - not mine). I will look into TMM and see what I think. I don't like his rice and beans eating philosophy because a) carbs/type II diabetes and b) my son taught me that life is tragically short, so enjoy some of the finer things...like good food.

Anyway, I appreciate the support from everyone. I will keep everyone posted on how it's going.

reeshau

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2018, 07:31:42 AM »
I don't like his rice and beans eating philosophy because a) carbs/type II diabetes and b) my son taught me that life is tragically short, so enjoy some of the finer things...like good food.

While Dave will say he is serious when he says that, I think philosophically he really just wants people to cut their spending to the point of discomfort.  A key part of his method is psychological:  that you need motivation to change your habits, so you need to generate some emotions to make you take action.  These emotions can be positive and negative:  the cajoling to eat only rice and beans, the admonition to downgrade your car and not eat out; but also the endorphin rush of the debt snowball to give a reward on the journey.

But, a heightened emotional state is only sustainable for a certain amount of time; the more gradual the change, the less likely it is to be sustained.  That's where he admits that paying off differently may make better financial sense; but his bet is that many people will quit the long road before that difference is realized, so it's better to be done with it and move on to other, more pleasant, plans with your life and your money.

That's what resonates with me, and why I asked.  Your earnings even today are in the top quartile of US households--you should be able to see a lot of opportunities that can bring you, particularly since you aren't wasting it, like a lot of people.  It seems that the student loan is in the way from seeing that, because it's a big number--bigger than your mortgage, which is usually where people focus, otherwise.  I think you can afford to pay it off entirely, and it will bring you an additional 10 years of your life with that monkey off your back--10 years to be happy about money, and for your kids to see that and pattern after that.

This is only part of the puzzle you are working through; again, good luck.

zeli2033

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2018, 06:17:23 PM »
...Hence, I have an iPhone X that I sincerely regret but cannot return (any suggestions there - just buy it out for $915, ditch Verizon, and switch to a cheap plan like Straight Talk or keep the $126/month plan that includes the damned phone?).

Next month, we will bring home (after taxes) around $9,000 between my husband's job, my disability, and the work I am doing on the side. There is no reason with that kind of money that we can't be doing better, it's just - I don't even really know how or where to begin. Putting it towards student loans seems kind of wasteful due to the IBR plan, but I 'm never sure...

I would recommend buying out the phone in it's entirety and moving to a cheaper phone plan. Personally, I use Ting with an iPhone 6 Plus. Works like a charm. And if you really regret the phone, you could sell it on eBay for a bit less, and buy something much cheaper that still gets the job done on a less expensive phone plan.

As for the loan repayment, the most helpful thing that someone told me to do on this forum was to do the math to understand the outcomes of both options. You said you hate money so I understand if there's hesitancy in learning the math to see what the outcomes of both situations would be. That said, it is still beneficial to have objective numbers first before weighing the subjective elements, feelings, etc. that come with it rather than the other way around. My cheat for this before doing the math was to just use the "Goals" feature of Mint and to put the numbers in that way: First, what would it cost you total over 20 years on the IBR plan. Then what would it cost and how long would it take to simply pay it off with the additional money you have available on a monthly basis. That way you'd have a ball park and could go from there.

MEJG

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2018, 07:55:09 PM »
I know there are ways to calculate IBR with the taxes vs. paying off early.  I'm not sure how to myself.  There are a few fee services that will do it for you, like Doctors without Quarters, but IMO they are over priced.

The other thing you need to think about in terms of IBR is that if/when you go back to FT work your payments will increase.

What you could do- while figuring out the SL issue - is follow the Investment Order, and create a taxable offset account at Vanguard.   I don't see any reason you and your DH cannot fill all your tax advantaged space this year, and continue to do so.  If as your process and learn you decide to pay it all off then you'll have the Badassity muscles built.

If it were me, I would be refinancing those SL and PAYING THEM OFF. The debt, the unknown eventual tax burden since taxes can change, would negatively impact my mental health.  You and your DH will need to look at both the numbers, and the emotional toll of both choices.

Be kind to yourself, no face punches here, it sounds like you have a lot going on and in the face of that have a lot going for you.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2018, 11:09:17 PM »
At 5.5% I would just get rid of them sooner rather than later.  Programs can change and procedural items can prevent the forgiveness, too.  you could do a spreadsheet, paying the minimum for 20 years might not be much cheaper.

Seconded.  But we don't have the details of your program and all that.  Still, it would be great to be free of the debts and to be sure you're getting free of it. 

I have definitely been there re: student loans and sympathize greatly with you there, especially about the over-promising. 

With your combined income, you can do this.  Agree with that last poster as well to strongly consider SL repayment now. 

Second the recommendation re: Dave Ramsey as well.  He does the types of basics you're interested in.  And basic budgeting.  It's motivational as well.  From what you're posting here, I think you would actually enjoy his course.  I'm sure they offer it near you. 

jeroly

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2018, 05:18:11 AM »
catashe,

With your current levels of income and expenditures, you don't have many options.
You can give yourself options by either increasing your income or reducing your expenditures.
I'm not looking to be judgemental here... heavens knows I spend more than you do.
However, if saving and paying off debt are your priorities, especially given your inability to increase your income at the present time (knock wood you continue to heal and are able to get back to full time employment in the not-too-distant future!), the only logical next step is to closely examine your spending and find places to cut back.
Using something like Mint or YNAB is super-helpful in this area - it not only makes you aware of where your money goes, but on some level it gets you thinking about most or all purchases and whether they're really necessary.  As an example, I started to see the charges for each lunch I was eating out, and that motivated me to start buying cheaper lunches / bringing food in from home.

wonkette

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2018, 02:18:44 PM »
Your husband is almost certainly qualified for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which is tax free. Does he have Direct Loans? How long has he been working full time while paying these monthly payments? I highly recommend filling out the PSLF Employment Certification Form immediately. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf

Filling out this form will trigger a review of his payment history and will tell you how many payments you have left to PSLF. That will give you more information for the pay-off vs stay the income-driven-repayment course decision. If you haven't seen it yet the studentaid.gov repayment estimator is worth a look, as it tells you what you will pay in total under the different plans. https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/repaymentEstimator.action

Peachtea

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2018, 09:23:04 PM »
For your student loans:

1) You should do the math on paying off vs getting forgiveness each person’s loans separately, since it might be beneficial to pay off one person’s loans early and do forgiveness for the other. I.e. it might make sense to do PSLF for your husband’s loans and throw all your extra money at paying yours off early.

2) When doing the math you need to use your normal income/ payment amount if you think you will be back to work full time after your disability is gone. Because your $80 a month payment sounds awfully low for your normal salary unless you don’t have many loans...

3) As others pointed out, your husband may qualify for PSLF which has a 10 year forgiveness, no taxes on what’s forgiven. This is one of the reasons you need to calculate separately, especially if he has been in the non-profit sector the last five years - only five years left to forgiveness! Note that “qualified payments” for PSLF is different than the 20-25 year forgiveness program. You have to be working full-time in a government or non-profit job while making payments to qualify under PSLF.  (The 120 “qualified payments” don’t need to be consecutive.)

For teachers, payments during summers count if: “you have a contract for an employment period of at least eight months and you work an average of 30 hours per week during that period, and if your employer still considers you to be employed full-time during the summer break. . . . In this circumstance, your employer should include the dates of the summer break when reporting your dates of employment on the PSLF Employment Certification Form, even though you aren’t actually teaching during that period.” - studentloan.gov FAQ

Also, any payments made before a loan consolidation don’t count towards the 120 payments. Only those after consolidation.

3) If you don’t qualify for PLSF, are you sure your loans will be forgiven after 20 years of payment? If your loans are pre-2014 then it’s 25 years to forgiveness under IBR.  PAYE is 20 years.

4) When doing the math, compare the total (estimated) amount you will pay after forgiveness + taxes to the total amount you will pay if you make early payments. Take the difference and decide if it’s worth being in debt 15+ years, and/or if it’s worth the risk and worry about the program changing without any grandfathering before you qualify for forgiveness.

        - Use the repayment estimator to figure out what you’ll pay over the next x years under IBR and the balance left to forgive. https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/repaymentEstimator.action

        - Use the tax brackets for 2018 or a tax calculator to roughly estimate how much you’ll pay in taxes on the forgiven amount under the 20-25 year plan. https://www.doughroller.net/taxes/federal-income-tax-brackets-deductions-and-exemption-limits/

      - use the bankrate mortgage calculator to estimate what you would pay and how long it would take if you threw extra money at the loans. The “amortization / payment schedule” link/button lets you to add extra monthly payments to see what it does to your payoff date and interest paid. And “view summary” lets you see exactly how much you would be paying in interest. Add the interest to your current loan balance to calculate the total amount if you pay off your loans early. https://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/mortgage-calculator.aspx

5) If you decide to do loan forgiveness, you should use the repayment estimator to see whether your minimum payments would be significantly lower if you file taxes separately (married filed separately vs married filed jointly). Under IBR and PAYE if you file separately, they do not count your spouses income when calculating the payment.  Compare the amount saved in loans payments to the amount you would lose in tax deductions. Some tax deductions you lose are those for IRA accounts (but not for employer sponsored retirement vehicles) and student loan interest. I’m not sure about child tax credit or mortgage interest, which would probably be significant for you. Play around on TurboTax to see how filing separately vs jointly affects your taxes.

Wayward

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2018, 10:02:12 AM »
Welcome catashe and my sincere condolences for your loss.

I would suggest breaking down exactly what is owed for your and your husband's student loans separately in Excel, with interest rates and everything.  From there you have choices:

DHs loans might be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service.  They can be tricky with their requirements so make sure you speak to someone and confirm they are eligible, you should get a determination in writing after you apply.  This program could be helpful if his loans are very large and the forgiven amount is not taxed.  If he is not eligible, it might be worth a job change - I believe Teach For America has good incentive programs https://www.teachforamerica.org/join-tfa/leading-classroom/salary-benefits-aid or since he is a PhD he could teach at a University.

For your loans, I would not be keen on having this debt hanging over my head for 20 years and would see what it would take (cutting spending, selling stuff you don't use/need, working more when able, etc.) to make this payoff possible.  Your minimum payments are not even covering interest right now and the balance will only balloon over time.  Also, look into refinancing for a lower interest rate. 

Start tracking your spending, discuss options with DH, do the math, and pick a plan that works for your situation.  Be creative and make it a game, budgeting doesn't have to be a chore - You are doing this for a better future for your family.     

On a personal side note, when I was going through a really painful, stressful time I learned Transcendental Meditation and it was the best money I ever spent.  It's not a religion, but rather described as "a technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by meditation, repetition of a mantra, and other yogic practices, promulgated by an international organization founded by the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi".  There's also a great book by Thich Nhat Hanh called NO MUD, NO LOTUS: The Art of Transforming Suffering that you may find helpful.

Stay strong, you can get through this! 

Dee18

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2018, 03:05:41 PM »
I recently read this interesting blog entry about paying off student loans:
https://www.millennial-revolution.com/get-student-debt/

One key conclusion from the author was this:

"Any other tips that you’d like to talk about that we haven’t already?
If you want to pay your debt off quickly, drive a clunker and live like a broke minimum wage worker and get rid of it really fast as long as the math supports payoff.

If you owe more than you could ever hope to pay back (double your income or more), you need to take a strategic approach and optimize the government programs for your benefit.

Pay back debt as aggressively as possible like your hair is on fire, or pay it back strategically and slow, taking max advantage of the government income driven options that promise forgiveness.

Most people make the mistake of taking an in between option and it’s really toxic for your finances."

4n6

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2018, 07:12:52 PM »
My condolences on your son. Someone might have already mentioned this, but if your husband works for a non-profit high school and that organization is a 5013c organization (it might be) then he would be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. So his loans would be forgiven after 10 years, not 20. If you work for a non-profit agency (e.g. the humane society) you would also work for a 501 3(c) and your loans could be forgiven after 10. And there is no tax that you have to pay on the debt. For the $230k in 20 years, assuming IRS laws stay the same, any amount that is forgiven would be considered taxable income. So you might have $200k forgiven, but that would put you in a bigger tax bracket where you might owe the IRS a pretty penny.

I would explore PSLF for your husband right away and enroll. And then when you start working again you might consider also working for a 501 3c.

BTDretire

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2018, 12:37:34 PM »
Vawt - could you clarify what "procedural items" means?

It means any nit-picky reason some bureaucrat can find to disallow your application to have the debts forgiven.

 No reflection on catashe here, but you call it nit picky to want people that
borrowed money for a PHD and a Veterinary degree to pay it back.
Seems odd!

civil4life

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Re: New to MMM and mesmerized
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2018, 03:22:17 PM »
I work in the public sector and qualified for the loan forgiveness program after 120 qualifying payments.  It turned out the company that held my loan originally did not use the correct payment plan.  I had about 2 years of payments that ended up not counting.  Then I decided to get my masters and deferred the payments when I was taking enough credits.  I still worked full time.  I have been dutifully paying off my student loans the past 5 years since finishing my masters.  It always ticked me off the insane interest rate they charge on student loans.  Mine was at 6.2%.  I had every plan to make my 120 payments and get the rest forgiven, even though it would have maybe been a few thousand dollars.  I have worked in the government 8 years and still had about 6 years of payments left.  In September, I decided I was sick of paying it and the interest rate.  I refinanced my loan through SOFI.  I have a variable rate of 3.145% on a 5 year loan.  As long as the rate stays low I plan to pay the minimum until it is paid off.  My other concern is that there had been rumors about Trump getting rid of this program.  If you do refinance, use the link on the MMM website for a $300 discount.