Author Topic: Attacking Debt--suggestions?  (Read 30951 times)

kmb501

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Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« on: January 13, 2016, 04:33:35 PM »
I have over $100,000 in student loan debt from my undergraduate and graduate years in college. I was careless. I could have tried to be more frugal, but I was afraid. I lost my parents' house after Katrina, and I didn't want to live out on the street, so I opted for expensive and "safe" living options like on campus dorms and apartments (which charged me a rate several times higher than a regular apartment considering I was required to have roommates.) The total rent at those student apartments was about $500 per person, and I had two roommates on top of it! Tres expensive! I should have looked around and found a nice off-campus living option, but I was afraid, so I stayed in those student apartments, ate in the on campus restaurants, and went through several thousand dollars a year in "living expenses" while I earned my degree. I had a small job as a substitute teacher at that time, but I only made about $700 per month, enough to pay the interest on my student loans, but I will admit that I didn't even do that.

I know, though, if I can rack up that much debt and spend that much money in seven years' time, surely now I could save enough to get myself out of debt and back on track. Right now, I'm on an income-based repayment plan that will probably change a little after I file my next tax return. Right now, I owe $0 per month, but my loans are still accruing interest. If I tried to pay them back at the usual rate, I would be looking at ten years' worth of payments at $1200 or so per month. That's a little over half of my current salary, and it wouldn't make a good dent in the debt for quite a few years.

I've been thinking about trying something drastic, like giving up rent and opting to room with someone, but I like the control I have with a flexible lease. This way, I know rent is only $500 per month every month and I can leave after giving 30 days' notice. Some places require at least a 12-month lease, no exceptions, so I like this arrangement.

Another big expense is transportation costs. Recently, I had to pay $77 to get the tires changed.  The car has a problem that wears out the tires extremely quickly; I have to change them every six or so weeks. I've thought about just opting to take the bus to work, but that would mean I would have to get up 2 hours earlier for work.

Then, there are just the "feeling sorry for myself" expenditures, like eating out. I could just start bringing my own lunch, but $5 for a burger or smoothie after a hard day at work doesn't seem like a lot.

I do want to go back to school, though. I really wanted to try to get into law or vet school, but I can't pay my tuition out of pocket, and I can't borrow any more money with these student loans looming over my head. I'm almost 30 years old. There are plenty of people who are retired at my age. I need to come up with a plan. I'm tired of wasting money and want to be free.

dleavitt

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2016, 04:52:25 PM »
I'm not necessarily one you should emulate, as I have my own debt issues, but here are some questions off the top of my head:

What is your degree in?
What is your current job?
Do you anticipate needing to move within the next 12 months?
Are you WILLING to move for a better job?

When you get down to it, you have two not mutually exclusive options: increase income and reduce spending.  Sounds like you should be pursuing both concurrently.

$5 for a burger doesn't sound like a lot, but if you are doing that five times a week that adds up to $25 a week or $100 a month.  $1200 a year.  What could you accomplish with an extra $1200 a year?

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2016, 05:28:02 PM »
I didn't know I wrote $1,200 per year. I thought I wrote $1200 per month. That would be around $15,000 per year. With that, I could get back in school and train for a more lucrative career.

Right now, I make about $2000 per month as a teacher. It's a fairly decent salary, but I haven't made clear goals, so I spend a bit too much money. I want to change that by giving myself a goal to work toward so that I know that the money I want to save is not just something extra sitting in the bank that I can eat away at if I get bored.

I've been brainstorming, and I've been thinking about just paying the money directly to where I want to focus my goal. In this case, that would be the college accounting office. 

OvertheRainbow

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2016, 05:35:07 PM »
Is there anyway you can get a second job on the weekends? I don't know...may bank telling? The average teller makes 12/hr. If you just work sixteen hours per week, you can make an additional $10k per year. Something to think about...


dleavitt

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2016, 05:45:08 PM »
I didn't know I wrote $1,200 per year. I thought I wrote $1200 per month. That would be around $15,000 per year. With that, I could get back in school and train for a more lucrative career.

Right now, I make about $2000 per month as a teacher. It's a fairly decent salary, but I haven't made clear goals, so I spend a bit too much money. I want to change that by giving myself a goal to work toward so that I know that the money I want to save is not just something extra sitting in the bank that I can eat away at if I get bored.

I've been brainstorming, and I've been thinking about just paying the money directly to where I want to focus my goal. In this case, that would be the college accounting office.

That $1200 was the burger and smoothie you mentioned.

Have you looked into the various loan forgiveness programs, since you are a teacher?  If you work for certain schools in certain areas you can get up to $17,500 of your loans forgiven.  Not much, but better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Having clear goals should be step one.  What do you want to do?  You mentioned Law and Veterinary Medicine, but is sounds like those are options only because you think you will earn more money in those professions.  Neither degrees will be inexpensive to obtain.  It would not do you any good to spend many more thousands of dollars on another degree only to find you don't like the career.

What kind of skills do you have?  Do you have experience in any of the trades?  That could be either an option for a career change (to earn more money) or even something you do while school is not in session for extra income.

It might be helpful for both yourself and us if you fill out the full Case Study template.

lbmustache

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 06:00:26 PM »

Another big expense is transportation costs. Recently, I had to pay $77 to get the tires changed.  The car has a problem that wears out the tires extremely quickly; I have to change them every six or so weeks. I've thought about just opting to take the bus to work, but that would mean I would have to get up 2 hours earlier for work.

I have never heard of this??? Also, what set of tires costs $77, unless they are all used (???).

I am going to be harsh. Bear with me.

A lot of your posts have a tone of not wanting to change. The, "I can't," mentality. "I could do X, but I don't want to." "Y makes sense, but I am comfortable doing A." "I tried Z, but like B a lot better."

You need to make a concentrated effort. A few posts ago you were asking about laser hair removal - which is understandable given the concerns you outlined - but now reveal you have a 100k debt that you want to get rid of. Unfortunately, these two things cannot exist together unless you make some crazy changes you might not like - living with a roommate and waking up an extra 2 hours early to take the bus. You received advice and turned down every single one (waxing, shaving, bleach, etc.) with an excuse. 

Your other post mentioned that you have almost $1500 a month that is not accounted for. You received some good advice but again, turned most of it down. You will need to create a budget and/or start tracking expenses carefully. I like Excel. Blonde on a Budget (google) has a pre-made template that is easy to use.

Basically you need to determine what is more important to you. The $5 lunches out, or tackling this debt and moving on the road to FI/RE.

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 09:40:19 PM »

Another big expense is transportation costs. Recently, I had to pay $77 to get the tires changed.  The car has a problem that wears out the tires extremely quickly; I have to change them every six or so weeks. I've thought about just opting to take the bus to work, but that would mean I would have to get up 2 hours earlier for work.

I have never heard of this??? Also, what set of tires costs $77, unless they are all used (???).

I am going to be harsh. Bear with me.

A lot of your posts have a tone of not wanting to change. The, "I can't," mentality. "I could do X, but I don't want to." "Y makes sense, but I am comfortable doing A." "I tried Z, but like B a lot better."

You need to make a concentrated effort. A few posts ago you were asking about laser hair removal - which is understandable given the concerns you outlined - but now reveal you have a 100k debt that you want to get rid of. Unfortunately, these two things cannot exist together unless you make some crazy changes you might not like - living with a roommate and waking up an extra 2 hours early to take the bus. You received advice and turned down every single one (waxing, shaving, bleach, etc.) with an excuse. 

Your other post mentioned that you have almost $1500 a month that is not accounted for. You received some good advice but again, turned most of it down. You will need to create a budget and/or start tracking expenses carefully. I like Excel. Blonde on a Budget (google) has a pre-made template that is easy to use.

Basically you need to determine what is more important to you. The $5 lunches out, or tackling this debt and moving on the road to FI/RE.

I did set up an online budget, and I know where most of my money is going; it's going to unnecessary expenses, like eating out and going shopping. I know I can live off of a lot less than I'm living off of now, because I've done it before. Once upon a time when I was just out of college, I was only making $800 or so per month and living off of that, and my basic expenses haven't changed, except for the car. I've just adjusted my spending to fit my income. I could go back to living off of a little if I had to, though. Maybe I need to make a commitment to a goal to really start getting things in order. 

I accepted a few of the suggestions I got from the other posts; I didn't just dismiss them.

I'm planning to plug the leak in my finances by dedicating a certain amount of money to saving for my goal, but I'm so bad at saving money I've thought about just paying a certain amount toward my goal in advance each month. If I'm trying to save for early retirement, I should throw a percentage of my paycheck into a savings bond or IRA account, for instance. If I'm trying to save for a new car, I should send a check to the car dealership each month. If I'm saving to go back to school, I should pay my tuition in advance to the college accounting office. That way, I won't have the money on hand to spend.

One thing I do need to do first, though, is either get my car fixed or stop using it. The around $100 every two or so months in tire repairs is not necessary. I buy used tires because I know I'm going to need to replace them quickly. Plus, new tires don't seem to last any longer than used ones on this car for some reason.

I've thought about just ditching the car and getting a bus pass, but I would have to use the car to get to my other job anyway. Plus, waking up at 4:00 AM is terribly inconvenient, and the bus is sometimes a no-show on top of everything else. I've also considered biking to work, but I'm leery of all of the traffic here. I wish I could just get up the nerve to do it anyway.




kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 09:53:37 PM »


That $1200 was the burger and smoothie you mentioned.

Have you looked into the various loan forgiveness programs, since you are a teacher?  If you work for certain schools in certain areas you can get up to $17,500 of your loans forgiven.  Not much, but better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Having clear goals should be step one.  What do you want to do?  You mentioned Law and Veterinary Medicine, but is sounds like those are options only because you think you will earn more money in those professions.  Neither degrees will be inexpensive to obtain.  It would not do you any good to spend many more thousands of dollars on another degree only to find you don't like the career.

What kind of skills do you have?  Do you have experience in any of the trades?  That could be either an option for a career change (to earn more money) or even something you do while school is not in session for extra income.

It might be helpful for both yourself and us if you fill out the full Case Study template.

I love animals and logic, and I've wanted to pursue law school and veterinary medicine, but I thought teaching would be a great career that I could get on the way to those goals. It didn't work out that way, though. I used up all of my tuition money just trying to get a teaching degree and a job.

As far as trades go, that's probably a better option for my situation, but I don't really know where to begin. I'm not even sure what I would enjoy doing as a trade. What's a good trade for a woman with a master's in Education, besides teaching?

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2016, 10:12:01 PM »
As for the Case Study categories:


Life Situation: I file taxes as a single person, and I currently have no dependents. I work as a full-time teacher at a detention center. I receive full health benefits.

Gross Salary/Wages: ~$2500 per month

Pre-tax deductions: health insurance, student loans?

Other Ordinary Income: I have two jobs, one as a teacher at a detention center full-time and another as a part-time ESL teacher.

Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains: none right now

Rental Income, Actual Expenses, and Depreciation: N/A

Adjusted Gross Income: $2500

Taxes:

Current expenses: Rent~$515, Internet ~$45, Car insurance~$75, Car expenses (gas and upkeep) ~$200, Food~$70, Miscellaneous~$150.

Expected ER expenses: N/A

Assets: my car maybe?

Liabilities: student loan of over $100,000

Specific Question(s): I'm on an income-based repayment plan, but I really want to go back to school. What would be my best set of options?
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 04:11:35 AM by kmb501 »

FausseBourgeoise

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2016, 10:31:14 PM »
If you don't want to bike then move close enough to work that you can walk. Feel awesome about this.

The car is destroying you. Get rid of it. Take the bus to your part-time gig if you have to. Use cash to pay instead of a commuter card so you're feeling the hit every time you pay to take the bus. Feel uncomfortable and know that growth is coming from it. Listen to music on the way there or enjoy the fresh air and sound of the city around you.

Move closer to work, get a roommate, keep your lunch/dinner in your bag and a pile of snacks in your desk or backpack. Feel awesome about this.

Consider vegetarianism. Feel awesome about this.

If you are hungry for learning, throw yourself into a free online course in Memrise or a MOOC on Coursera. Feel awesome about this.

Halve your misc. category.

I am a teacher and this is what has worked for me.

P.S. Is it possible that you could take a different teaching gig that makes more money instead of running to the two different ones? We've all been there... I work at two places right now in transition, lots of people work at 3 even. If you're working privately consider asking for a better wage per hour.

ChicagoGirl

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2016, 12:25:27 AM »
Get serious and SPECIFIC with your goals.  Before starting anymore schooling...research EXACTLY how much the schooling will cost, books, tuition, etc. Research how you will balance working and going to school.  THEN research what your income potential will be and the job prospects when you would graduate.  Talk to people in the field of interest to get an idea as to what it is like. Do this before starting anymore schooling.  If you don't complete these steps...you aren't ready to go back to school right now.

My suggestion...work with the education you have and find ways to maximize getting that debt down to a workable level before accruing anymore.

If you really want to go back to school, I wouldn't do it unless you can find a job that has some kind of tuition reimbursement.  Or like another poster mentioned take free courses online to satisfy your quest for knowledge.

Also...I am just going to toss this out there (and I could be wrong here since I am reading between the lines of your posts)...maybe you are looking at schooling as a way to put off the inevitable...tackling that large school loan. If I recall, staying in school keeps your loans on hold for a while. Mentally it can be a way to busy your mind with new schooling, so as to not have to be addressing the elephant in the room...$100K student loan.

Also...if you like animals...find a way to teach a class to kids or adults about animals or taking care of animals. If you like law...find a way to integrate that into your field. Find a part-time job at a lawyers office, secretarial, clerk...whatever it takes to learn more about the field. Find ways to incorporate your interests into using your education degrees.

Just a side note...do you really only spend $70/mo on food?  That just seems awfully low for one person, I noticed you mentioned you were dining out on occasion. I would drill down your expenses to the penny, no "miscellaneous categories" you need to know where everything is going specifically.  Haircuts,  Clothes,  Groceries,  Eating Out, Toilettries, etc.   
 

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2016, 07:24:30 AM »
If you don't want to bike then move close enough to work that you can walk. Feel awesome about this.

The car is destroying you. Get rid of it. Take the bus to your part-time gig if you have to. Use cash to pay instead of a commuter card so you're feeling the hit every time you pay to take the bus. Feel uncomfortable and know that growth is coming from it. Listen to music on the way there or enjoy the fresh air and sound of the city around you.

Move closer to work, get a roommate, keep your lunch/dinner in your bag and a pile of snacks in your desk or backpack. Feel awesome about this.

Consider vegetarianism. Feel awesome about this.

If you are hungry for learning, throw yourself into a free online course in Memrise or a MOOC on Coursera. Feel awesome about this.

Halve your misc. category.

I am a teacher and this is what has worked for me.

P.S. Is it possible that you could take a different teaching gig that makes more money instead of running to the two different ones? We've all been there... I work at two places right now in transition, lots of people work at 3 even. If you're working privately consider asking for a better wage per hour.

Work
This is a good job and requires me to work half the amount of time I would need to as a regular school teacher. Plus, the two jobs bring in more money than I would make teaching in public school, because they are both year-round. Plus, I wouldn't have time to do both jobs if I worked in a regular school because of the steep learning curve I would encounter my first year. I am planning, however, to transition to a public school eventually so that I can grow as a teacher. Proctoring tests while students sit at a computer all day isn't really teaching, but it pays about the same.

Transportation
I want to get rid of the car, really, but the second job I have requires me to have reliable transportation. I want to keep the job, but I could bike there and back or maybe take the bus half way, if needed. The bus doesn't run my way after 7:00, but maybe it can get me close enough for me to convince my boss that I'm taking it to and from work and not just walking. It's a few miles, so I'm not allowed to walk. I would love to learn how to bike to work, but I live on a very busy main road. I almost never see people riding bicycles on this road. There is a bike path, but it is very narrow and on the side of the road. If I want to stay safe, that's not the place to be in busy traffic.

Relocation
I might look into moving closer to work, but it's a detention center in a pretty rough neighborhood. In reality, I could take the bus to work and not be extremely inconvenienced. I would just have to start getting up earlier to make up the difference. There are places I could move that would be more convenient yet relatively safe, though, if I were to try to move closer to my second job. I pass my second job site on my way to work each morning. Being able to walk to it might solve my transportation concerns.

School
I'm signed up for free courses already, but they just aren't doing for me what an actual classroom could do. Online learning is great, and I might check those out, but I miss the interpersonal aspect of face-to-face instruction.


little_brown_dog

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2016, 08:40:38 AM »
Definitely don’t go back to school yet – vet and law are so vastly different, the fact that you can’t decide between the two, and are not in a field related to either of these currently, suggests that you really don’t know what you want to do. These are both extremely expensive and time consuming academic tracks…you really should be pretty darn sure that you really want one of these paths before you embark on another degree. If you love animals, a vet tech program may be a a much better option. You won't make as much as a vet, but you will spend a ton less money and time in school and you will still get to work with animals.

It sounds to me like you mayyy be a bit of a degree chaser based on some of your responses, specifically when you mention you just thought you'd embark on multiple careers knowing that they all have extremely different academic and work requirements (teacher and then vet or lawyer). I say this with compassion and love, because I'm like this. Oh I'll get this degree, and then my masters, and then my PhD. Oh wait, I don't know really what PhD to get...I love all these areas! Maybe I'll pick this one? Wait that doesn't seem right...my real love is animals...I should go back and go to vet school! Honestly if I didn't have a husband and baby relying on me I probably would still be chasing yet another degree right now. Having them in my life has forced me to really prioritize my time, energy, and money. Turns out, I'm not madly in love with any given field to the point where I'd be willing to give up time or add more debt to go back to school right now. So I'm just sitting tight and if one day I really can't imagine missing out on a specific path, then maybe I'll go back.

I think academia has really given us the false impression that your career will be this immensely fulfilling experience - and so when we become a teacher, or engineer, or whatever and we aren't super enthused, we automatically start thinking we aren't on the right track, and that some other path will be the answer to our need for self fulfillment and purpose. And then we switch tracks completely and it turns out you can be just as burnt out, run down, and unfulfilled...except now you have spent even more time, and money, and energy. Be really careful that you aren't stuck in this mindset.

ooeei

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2016, 09:10:45 AM »
I could go back to living off of a little if I had to, though.

You have to.  Do it.

Quote
I'm planning to plug the leak in my finances by ...

Don't plan it, do it.

Quote
One thing I do need to do first, though, is either get my car fixed or stop using it. The around $100 every two or so months in tire repairs is not necessary. I buy used tires because I know I'm going to need to replace them quickly. Plus, new tires don't seem to last any longer than used ones on this car for some reason.

What sort of car problem causes tires to wear down every 2 months?  Seems very strange.

As for the Case Study categories:

Adjusted Gross Income: $2500

Taxes:

Current expenses: Rent~$515, Internet ~$45, Car insurance~$75, Car expenses (gas and upkeep) ~$200, Food~$70, Miscellaneous~$150.

Liabilities: student loan of over $100,000

Specific Question(s): I'm on an income-based repayment plan, but I really want to go back to school. What would be my best set of options?

You have $2500 in income (~$2000 after taxes) and are spending $1055.  Where is the other $945 going?

Do you have the grades to be a vet or lawyer?  I hate to break it to you, but if you had to spend $100,000 and more than 4 years to get a degree for teaching, you probably aren't going to be able to handle the coursework for those. 

Have you talked to any vets or lawyers?  I suggest cold calling/emailing a few (try an alumni directory through school) and asking to schedule a phone chat with them for 20 minutes or so about your future career prospects.  Probably 10% or so will respond to you.  During the phone call tell them you're considering pursuing a career in their field, and ask what they think about it, what their schedule is like, what are the good/bad parts of the job, what their school costs were, what their grades were like, what a typical day at work is, what a bad day is, stuff like that.  Also ask how easy it was for them to find a job, and their peers from school.

Jakejake

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2016, 09:32:40 AM »
I could go back to living off of a little if I had to, though.
It sounds like you have to.

At this point, the money you are living off it isn't yours, it belongs to other people - you just haven't paid them for it yet.

As someone upthread mentioned, the $5 a day smoothie/burger habit adds up to an entire month of loan repayments. But you are deciding you would rather buy smoothies than pay your debts off.

At the end of a long day, yes you deserve a smoothie if you want one. But there's no reason you can't make it at home and pack it. I'm drinking a smoothie right now, at work, during my lunch break. I made it this morning using kale. The cost:
49 cents for about a pound and a half, so maybe 2 cents of kale in this smoothie.
99 cents for a big markdown bag of ripe bananas - so 10 cents of banana
0 - cost of pumpkins
A couple cents of cocoa powder

Maybe 15 cents total. I can make 33 smoothies for every one that you buy. If you aren't shopping sales, it still wouldn't cost you a dollar. I promise you the ingredients are not $5 - you are paying $5 (plus your interest rate on the loans) for someone to push the start button on a blender. And the worst thing is - it's not even saving you any time. I can throw the stuff in a blender, hit start, pour it into a jar, and wash the blender in less time than it take you to go to a smoothie place - let alone wait on line, wait while they take your order, wait while they make it and pay for it and get change.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 09:46:43 AM by Jakejake »

therethere

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2016, 10:01:40 AM »
Good news. Your loans are not insurmountable.
Bad news. Depending on how long you continue to delay payback they will take a long time. If you stick to it, eventually they will be gone although it may be 5-10 years.
However, if you continue to delay spending cuts or go back to school you can wake up 10 years later and still have very high loans (maybe even higher if you are letting interest accumulate).
Which situation would you rather be in 10 years from now?
That is the real question?

Going back to school right now is a poor idea. Interest can accumulate really fast on 100k and you will come out of school with a higher balance on that 100k AND additional school loans. You thought you were overwhelmed as it is?

I don't really understand your plans of prepaying for a purchase that you haven't made. The safest place for your money is not prepaying for tuition (or a car?!) in little bits and pieces. That's just a crazy idea! They would have no idea why you are sending them random money and likely have horrible accounting for it. If you want to save up for something in advance your best bet would be to open a checking or savings account at a bank separate from your normal account. Make it difficult to get money out of it by hiding or changing your password. Then you "pay" it with transfers from your normal bank so it is out of sight and out of mind. You are spot on when you say you should do this immediately when you get your paycheck. Better yet, most companies allow you to split your paycheck to multiple accounts.  Set up your direct deposit of your paychecks to split out whatever you want to save to the new account automatically and the balance to your normal account for spending money.

On a larger scale, vote for candidates that will improve your student loan situation and help prevent future students from incurring the same slavery.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 10:08:36 AM by therethere »

tomorrowsomewherenew

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2016, 10:20:20 AM »
Have you thought about going overseas to teach at an international school? I had a friend from college who got married to another teacher. They both wanted to be teachers, but didn't want to slave away for their entire lives, never making much more than about $40k/yr. They both got hired at a school in the middle east and have been able to put away tens of thousands of dollars since then. After a few years they were able to get jobs at more desirable international schools in the western world.

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2016, 11:29:25 AM »
Have you thought about going overseas to teach at an international school? I had a friend from college who got married to another teacher. They both wanted to be teachers, but didn't want to slave away for their entire lives, never making much more than about $40k/yr. They both got hired at a school in the middle east and have been able to put away tens of thousands of dollars since then. After a few years they were able to get jobs at more desirable international schools in the western world.

I work with a lot of people from North Africa and the Middle East as an ESL teacher currently. I guess the fact that I work with refugees has turned me against going to the Middle East. I've heard horror stories of war and corrupt governments. My aunt also took a job in the Middle East once and was lucky to escape with her life. I would really need to do my research if I wanted to try teaching overseas.

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2016, 11:34:18 AM »
Definitely don’t go back to school yet – vet and law are so vastly different, the fact that you can’t decide between the two, and are not in a field related to either of these currently, suggests that you really don’t know what you want to do. These are both extremely expensive and time consuming academic tracks…you really should be pretty darn sure that you really want one of these paths before you embark on another degree. If you love animals, a vet tech program may be a a much better option. You won't make as much as a vet, but you will spend a ton less money and time in school and you will still get to work with animals.

It sounds to me like you mayyy be a bit of a degree chaser based on some of your responses, specifically when you mention you just thought you'd embark on multiple careers knowing that they all have extremely different academic and work requirements (teacher and then vet or lawyer). I say this with compassion and love, because I'm like this. Oh I'll get this degree, and then my masters, and then my PhD. Oh wait, I don't know really what PhD to get...I love all these areas! Maybe I'll pick this one? Wait that doesn't seem right...my real love is animals...I should go back and go to vet school! Honestly if I didn't have a husband and baby relying on me I probably would still be chasing yet another degree right now. Having them in my life has forced me to really prioritize my time, energy, and money. Turns out, I'm not madly in love with any given field to the point where I'd be willing to give up time or add more debt to go back to school right now. So I'm just sitting tight and if one day I really can't imagine missing out on a specific path, then maybe I'll go back.

I think academia has really given us the false impression that your career will be this immensely fulfilling experience - and so when we become a teacher, or engineer, or whatever and we aren't super enthused, we automatically start thinking we aren't on the right track, and that some other path will be the answer to our need for self fulfillment and purpose. And then we switch tracks completely and it turns out you can be just as burnt out, run down, and unfulfilled...except now you have spent even more time, and money, and energy. Be really careful that you aren't stuck in this mindset.

I agree that maybe I should try to put off going back to school for now because of my student loan situation, but classes make me feel productive. Plus, I would love to finish my foreign language teaching degree, as it would open up opportunities in other parts of the Western and Eastern world, and it wouldn't take that long to finish.   

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2016, 11:43:05 AM »
I could go back to living off of a little if I had to, though.

You have to.  Do it.

Quote
I'm planning to plug the leak in my finances by ...

Don't plan it, do it.

Quote
One thing I do need to do first, though, is either get my car fixed or stop using it. The around $100 every two or so months in tire repairs is not necessary. I buy used tires because I know I'm going to need to replace them quickly. Plus, new tires don't seem to last any longer than used ones on this car for some reason.

What sort of car problem causes tires to wear down every 2 months?  Seems very strange.

As for the Case Study categories:

Adjusted Gross Income: $2500

Taxes:

Current expenses: Rent~$515, Internet ~$45, Car insurance~$75, Car expenses (gas and upkeep) ~$200, Food~$70, Miscellaneous~$150.

Liabilities: student loan of over $100,000

Specific Question(s): I'm on an income-based repayment plan, but I really want to go back to school. What would be my best set of options?

You have $2500 in income (~$2000 after taxes) and are spending $1055.  Where is the other $945 going?

Do you have the grades to be a vet or lawyer?  I hate to break it to you, but if you had to spend $100,000 and more than 4 years to get a degree for teaching, you probably aren't going to be able to handle the coursework for those. 

Have you talked to any vets or lawyers?  I suggest cold calling/emailing a few (try an alumni directory through school) and asking to schedule a phone chat with them for 20 minutes or so about your future career prospects.  Probably 10% or so will respond to you.  During the phone call tell them you're considering pursuing a career in their field, and ask what they think about it, what their schedule is like, what are the good/bad parts of the job, what their school costs were, what their grades were like, what a typical day at work is, what a bad day is, stuff like that.  Also ask how easy it was for them to find a job, and their peers from school.

I agree that veterinary and law school would be difficult and costly to complete. I could perhaps get a job as a paralegal right now since I have a master's degree in teaching (I have no idea what teaching has to do with paralegal work, but a few of the lawyers here hire teachers because apparently we are good at doing research.) I don't know what I would need to do to become a vet tech or what the demand is for it. Surprisingly, some technical schools and career colleges have tuition more costly than universities.

I think I will try calling alumni.

The over 100K and seven years was from starting three degrees and completing two.

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2016, 11:49:21 AM »
I could go back to living off of a little if I had to, though.
It sounds like you have to.

At this point, the money you are living off it isn't yours, it belongs to other people - you just haven't paid them for it yet.

As someone upthread mentioned, the $5 a day smoothie/burger habit adds up to an entire month of loan repayments. But you are deciding you would rather buy smoothies than pay your debts off.

At the end of a long day, yes you deserve a smoothie if you want one. But there's no reason you can't make it at home and pack it. I'm drinking a smoothie right now, at work, during my lunch break. I made it this morning using kale. The cost:
49 cents for about a pound and a half, so maybe 2 cents of kale in this smoothie.
99 cents for a big markdown bag of ripe bananas - so 10 cents of banana
0 - cost of pumpkins
A couple cents of cocoa powder

Maybe 15 cents total. I can make 33 smoothies for every one that you buy. If you aren't shopping sales, it still wouldn't cost you a dollar. I promise you the ingredients are not $5 - you are paying $5 (plus your interest rate on the loans) for someone to push the start button on a blender. And the worst thing is - it's not even saving you any time. I can throw the stuff in a blender, hit start, pour it into a jar, and wash the blender in less time than it take you to go to a smoothie place - let alone wait on line, wait while they take your order, wait while they make it and pay for it and get change.

That puts things into perspective. I need to start making my own smoothies and burgers at home and carrying them to work. Most of what I spend is from unnecessary comfort activities, and apparently I do a lot of shopping to soothe. It's spending without thinking, and I need to cut it out.

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2016, 11:54:12 AM »
Good news. Your loans are not insurmountable.
Bad news. Depending on how long you continue to delay payback they will take a long time. If you stick to it, eventually they will be gone although it may be 5-10 years.
However, if you continue to delay spending cuts or go back to school you can wake up 10 years later and still have very high loans (maybe even higher if you are letting interest accumulate).
Which situation would you rather be in 10 years from now?
That is the real question?

Going back to school right now is a poor idea. Interest can accumulate really fast on 100k and you will come out of school with a higher balance on that 100k AND additional school loans. You thought you were overwhelmed as it is?

I don't really understand your plans of prepaying for a purchase that you haven't made. The safest place for your money is not prepaying for tuition (or a car?!) in little bits and pieces. That's just a crazy idea! They would have no idea why you are sending them random money and likely have horrible accounting for it. If you want to save up for something in advance your best bet would be to open a checking or savings account at a bank separate from your normal account. Make it difficult to get money out of it by hiding or changing your password. Then you "pay" it with transfers from your normal bank so it is out of sight and out of mind. You are spot on when you say you should do this immediately when you get your paycheck. Better yet, most companies allow you to split your paycheck to multiple accounts.  Set up your direct deposit of your paychecks to split out whatever you want to save to the new account automatically and the balance to your normal account for spending money.

On a larger scale, vote for candidates that will improve your student loan situation and help prevent future students from incurring the same slavery.

Okay, I agree that the separate account that I'm not allowed to touch to save for the goals I want to accomplish is a very good idea. Paying the accounting department directly would be a drastic means of putting away money toward such and such goal. What I would do is speak to the accounting department and see if they would set up an account for me to pay for tuition, auto, land. etc. in advance as if I've already purchased it. It's sort of like a lay-away, and they do allow this at some places. The student accounting office for the university where I graduated is one such place that does it. I would imagine various other places of business do this, too. The only drawback is that I would have to buy the product from where I have an account. For example, if I were to start an account with a Ford dealership, I wouldn't be able to turn around and buy a Toyota with the money I've given the Ford dealership.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 12:01:48 PM by kmb501 »

therethere

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2016, 12:01:27 PM »
You can find ways to feel productive without robbing your future. As it is your loans will take 6-10 years of sending every extra penny (after spending cuts) to pay off. Do you want to be 40 and still have loans because you wanted to "feel productive" for 6-12 months? I'm sure at 40 and 100k+ in debt you will have a lot more "feelings" that don't sit very well in your stomach because of the debt your former self took on. There's no reason you can't go back to school later in your life once you've paid them off or paid them down significantly. Please take some advice from others who have walked in your path before. You're situation and feelings aren't that unique that our advice does not apply.

As for me I graduated with 100k in student loans too. Nearly 50k was at 8.6% interest! (You have failed to mention the interest rate on your loans likely because you don't even know yourself and don't want to look...) Nearly 10 years later I am STILL paying them off and I have a much higher salary than you. I have had to put aside the buying a house, taking any career or life risks, delayed retirement savings, lived with a piddly emergency fund leaving me in fear of medical or financial hardships, and have even thrown out the idea of having kids because I've sent 50% or more of my income to my loans for 10 years! At 32 and on the verge of paying them off I feel like I'm just now starting life. Put them in perspective, you are digging yourself into a huge hole and limiting your freedom, potential, and opportunities.

What are you looking for from posting on this forum? Do you want sound advice on a way out or justification to do whatever you please? You will not get the later from members on this forum. At this point it looks like you'd rather just pile on more debt with the hope that some political initiative will eventually absolve you of it because you will pile on so many loans that it is impossible to payoff.

I won't preach on this thread anymore. You don't seem to be at a point to really listen and that's pretty normal when you're just started to face this huge burden. I have hope that after you let it mull for awhile that you will come back and embrace change to put yourself in a better situation.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 12:05:00 PM by therethere »

shotgunwilly

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2016, 12:27:35 PM »
Everyone else is handling the other shit. I'll just comment on the car.  FYI, if your tires are wearing that fast you have a major problem with your suspension or front end components. Tie rods, ball joints, etc... (This is assuming you already tried the obvious and easy fix of getting a front end alignment.)

You just mention it "has a problem."  Well... what is the problem?  Did you not have a mechanic look at it and suggest a fix?  For as much as you're going to spend on tires it makes sense to spend several hundred to get the problem fixed.  Or youtube and do it yourself.   

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2016, 12:53:04 PM »
Everyone else is handling the other shit. I'll just comment on the car.  FYI, if your tires are wearing that fast you have a major problem with your suspension or front end components. Tie rods, ball joints, etc... (This is assuming you already tried the obvious and easy fix of getting a front end alignment.)

You just mention it "has a problem."  Well... what is the problem?  Did you not have a mechanic look at it and suggest a fix?  For as much as you're going to spend on tires it makes sense to spend several hundred to get the problem fixed.  Or youtube and do it yourself.

It's the rear control arm according to the mechanic. I plan to get it fixed next week after I get paid.

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2016, 01:07:06 PM »
You can find ways to feel productive without robbing your future. As it is your loans will take 6-10 years of sending every extra penny (after spending cuts) to pay off. Do you want to be 40 and still have loans because you wanted to "feel productive" for 6-12 months? I'm sure at 40 and 100k+ in debt you will have a lot more "feelings" that don't sit very well in your stomach because of the debt your former self took on. There's no reason you can't go back to school later in your life once you've paid them off or paid them down significantly. Please take some advice from others who have walked in your path before. You're situation and feelings aren't that unique that our advice does not apply.

From what everyone is telling me, I kind of feel like I've ruined my life. My plans were to stay in school and stay ahead. Then, I found out that my loans get deferred while I'm in school, which since I'm on IBR, that's actually incentive NOT to go back to school. I feel like whining. I want to continuously update my skills and education. Educator CEUs are not the only classes I want to be able to take from now on. I want to update my teacher certification with real skills and credits that show I understand the latest trends and practices in Education; I don't just want to earn little certificates and meaningless pieces of paper!
As for me I graduated with 100k in student loans too. Nearly 50k was at 8.6% interest! (You have failed to mention the interest rate on your loans likely because you don't even know yourself and don't want to look...) Nearly 10 years later I am STILL paying them off and I have a much higher salary than you. I have had to put aside the buying a house, taking any career or life risks, delayed retirement savings, lived with a piddly emergency fund leaving me in fear of medical or financial hardships, and have even thrown out the idea of having kids because I've sent 50% or more of my income to my loans for 10 years! At 32 and on the verge of paying them off I feel like I'm just now starting life. Put them in perspective, you are digging yourself into a huge hole and limiting your freedom, potential, and opportunities.

What are you looking for from posting on this forum? Do you want sound advice on a way out or justification to do whatever you please? You will not get the later from members on this forum. At this point it looks like you'd rather just pile on more debt with the hope that some political initiative will eventually absolve you of it because you will pile on so many loans that it is impossible to payoff.

I won't preach on this thread anymore. You don't seem to be at a point to really listen and that's pretty normal when you're just started to face this huge burden. I have hope that after you let it mull for awhile that you will come back and embrace change to put yourself in a better situation.

I'm on an income-based repayment plan, though, and I might be able to get public service loan forgiveness after ten years anyway, so why should I worry with trying to pay those loans right now? Wouldn't it make more sense to save to go back to school instead? I could go back to school part-time and finish pursuing my degree on 15K, which if I were diligent in saving I could reach in a year. It doesn't make much sense to go back to school if income-based repayment or public service loan forgiveness is going somewhere any time soon, but right now it looks like paying out of pocket is a way to stay in school and stay ahead. Why should I work on paying a significant amount of my salary to my student loans if I'm legally allowed to send in $0 per month and have them forgiven in ten years anyway? 

If I had it to do over again, though, I wouldn't have even borrowed money to go to college. The interest rate on some of these loans is about ten percent. It really adds up after a while. I should have tried to be as frugal as possible, but I was just happy to have a roof over my head at that time. I didn't have a lot of experience with working, and I thought that since they were federal loans, they would easy to repay so I didn't have to worry about how much I was borrowing. That was just dumb. I could have come out better saving for school, like I'm planning to do now. I just didn't think I could make it on that, though.

After all of this, though, throwing half of my salary at my student loans feels like throwing money away. I cannot justify paying half of my salary to a debt that is supposed to get cancelled in ten years anyway. 


I feel like whining. Part of being successful as a teacher is continuously updating your skills and qualifications. Educator CEUs don't do it for me. I want more degrees. I'm upset that no one told me that I could honestly reach a point where it was just too expensive to go back to school. I made what I thought was a sound choice by pursuing a field that would allow me to work with bachelor's degree, but I found out the market wasn't great, so I had to go back for a master's and even started a PhD, but I ran out of money. This isn't fair. I want to protest to change this stupid system and get my loans forgiven now, not in ten years.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 01:19:23 PM by kmb501 »

therethere

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2016, 01:22:51 PM »
First off, you haven't ruined your life. You are just at a big disadvantage from others due to your debt burden. Don't feel defeated. There is a way out. Making well thought out decisions will help you pull yourself out! Take a breathe.


kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2016, 01:30:14 PM »
First off, you haven't ruined your life. You are just at a big disadvantage from others due to your debt burden. Don't feel defeated. There is a way out. Making well thought out decisions will help you pull yourself out! Take a breathe.

Yeah, but from my perspective, I've thrown away 100K of someone else's money. Had I any sense back then, I could have gotten those degrees and been virtually debt free; I could have applied for grants and lived like I did before starting college, but I felt like I needed to get out of everyone's hair. As it stands, I spent money I didn't need to spend because I didn't have enough nerve to apply for a job as an undergraduate. I really didn't think anyone would want to hire me. Looking back, I can't believe I thought that.

I also threw money away by living in expensive student apartments instead of opting for off-campus options...dumb, dumb, dumb...  Now, if I want to get ahead, I have to put off going to school for TEN WHOLE YEARS or throw OVER HALF of my salary to this stupid loan. If I could go back in time, I would shake my teenage self. I may be nearly 40 years old by the time all of this is fixed. 
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 01:34:00 PM by kmb501 »

zephyr911

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2016, 01:31:56 PM »
I work with a lot of people from North Africa and the Middle East as an ESL teacher currently. I guess the fact that I work with refugees has turned me against going to the Middle East. I've heard horror stories of war and corrupt governments. My aunt also took a job in the Middle East once and was lucky to escape with her life. I would really need to do my research if I wanted to try teaching overseas.
If you're bilingual, as many ESL teachers are, would you consider interpreting?

My wife got her masters in Spanish and TESOL, and she really wanted to teach but the gigs weren't there right away. She walked in the door with no certifications and became a contract medical interpreter at $25/hr + travel for occasional appointments (in a low-cost area, mind you) and soon got hired full-time at $20/hr. Now that she's certified (with some help from the company) she's worth even more, especially if we move to a bigger market. There are also people who specialize in doing this for court proceedings, human resources appointments, etc... the bigger the city, the wider the variety of languages they support.

zephyr911

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2016, 01:32:53 PM »
First off, you haven't ruined your life. You are just at a big disadvantage from others due to your debt burden. Don't feel defeated. There is a way out. Making well thought out decisions will help you pull yourself out! Take a breathe.

Yeah, but from my perspective, I've thrown away 100K of someone else's money. Had I any sense back then, I could have gotten those degrees and been virtually debt free; I could have applied for grants and lived like I did before starting college, but I felt like I needed to get out of everyone's hair. As it stands, I spent money I didn't need to spend because I didn't have enough nerve to apply for a job as an undergraduate. I really didn't think anyone would want to hire me. Looking back, I can't believe I thought that.

I also threw money away by living in expensive student apartments instead of option for off-campus options...dumb, dumb, dumb...
Yeah, and I went to college for free and had near-continuous highly paid employment for a decade and no savings. Kicking yourself over past mistakes is just as dumb as making those mistakes. Learn from it and go kick ass in the future.

therethere

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2016, 01:39:07 PM »
My student apartment off campus had bare wiring, windows that didn't shut, and inefficient heat and were $450 a month per person with 2 other roommates. So don't beat yourself up on that account.

Also you did better than I did, because I married someone at school with the same debt load! So 220k in the hole instead of just 100k. I too made the decision to get my master's (added 20k debt) purely because I did not have a job prior to graduation like all my peers. That was dumb sure. I could have just moved home lived for free and continued to job search and likely found a job within a month. Instead I was scared and did what I knew how to do. Go to school and take out more loans. Having a Master's degree actually hindered my job search because I was "overqualified". When I finally landed a job I got the same entry level position everyone with a BS got. Continued schooling could actually hurt your job prospects especially if you have degrees in multiple disciplines that are unrelated. You could be seen as being non-committed because of interests all over the map.

Did we make poor decisions? Yes. But its over. The point is not to make poor decisions going forward or beat yourself up too much. Its just self defeating and gets you nowhere.

Jakejake

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2016, 02:04:57 PM »
I'm on an income-based repayment plan, though, and I might be able to get public service loan forgiveness after ten years anyway, so why should I worry with trying to pay those loans right now?

... I'm upset that no one told me that I could honestly reach a point where it was just too expensive to go back to school.
First paragraph - does the income based repayment thing and loan forgiveness mean that you have to commit to ten years of low income to have low payments, and ten years of teaching for the loans to be forgiven (long term)? If you have to teach ten years to get them repaid, then forget going to school for more degrees until you've done that. OR just suck it up and pay them off ASAP if your priority is a career change and you won't qualify for the forgiveness.

Second paragraph ... I'm torn between being speechless and replying here, but you mentioned logic as a personal interest and potential job skill. You shouldn't have needed someone to tell you that you're expected to pay for your tuition, and that the more years you are in college, the more expensive it becomes. Your reaction that it isn't fair doesn't make sense to me.

As for loan forgiveness, if I'm reading this right, you have to make 120 qualifying monthly payments to qualify for forgiveness, and procrastinating by staying in school doesn't change that. It's not 10 years, it's 120 months of payments.

"you cannot make a qualifying monthly payment while your loans are in an in-school status, the grace period, a deferment, a forbearance, or default." https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service#qualifying-payment

Disclaimer - it's entirely possible I am misunderstanding that program, as I've never participated in it!

Bee21

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2016, 02:49:35 PM »
I am speechless.

Are you depressed? Are you incapable of making rational decisions, taking responsibility for your past actions and your future? You sound like you are gone with the fairies most of the time. Your stance n loan  forgiveness ( ie you should have your debts wiped out because ou were too stupid totake them etc) is just outrageous. Even if legally you can do it, but ethically? You are running away from your responsibilities.

And you want to go back to school to study sth else. Because you are bored? Have nothing else to do in life? Studying law or vet science won't solve your underlying problems, will just add to your misery in the form of new debts. Work on your issues before you commit to anything else. That should be your priority right now. Make teaching work for you until this degree pays for itself ( ie pay off those loans) and then consider what else to do. Strive to be the best teacher.write a book. Work on curriculum development. Develop an online course. There is plenty of mental stimulation there. Teaching is an extremely rewarding career. (And what do vets do? Put down animals.would you like to do THAT?)

Pull yourself together and stop whining.you can do it.


kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2016, 02:51:09 PM »
I'm on an income-based repayment plan, though, and I might be able to get public service loan forgiveness after ten years anyway, so why should I worry with trying to pay those loans right now?

... I'm upset that no one told me that I could honestly reach a point where it was just too expensive to go back to school.
First paragraph - does the income based repayment thing and loan forgiveness mean that you have to commit to ten years of low income to have low payments, and ten years of teaching for the loans to be forgiven (long term)? If you have to teach ten years to get them repaid, then forget going to school for more degrees until you've done that. OR just suck it up and pay them off ASAP if your priority is a career change and you won't qualify for the forgiveness.

Second paragraph ... I'm torn between being speechless and replying here, but you mentioned logic as a personal interest and potential job skill. You shouldn't have needed someone to tell you that you're expected to pay for your tuition, and that the more years you are in college, the more expensive it becomes. Your reaction that it isn't fair doesn't make sense to me.

As for loan forgiveness, if I'm reading this right, you have to make 120 qualifying monthly payments to qualify for forgiveness, and procrastinating by staying in school doesn't change that. It's not 10 years, it's 120 months of payments.

"you cannot make a qualifying monthly payment while your loans are in an in-school status, the grace period, a deferment, a forbearance, or default." https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service#qualifying-payment

Disclaimer - it's entirely possible I am misunderstanding that program, as I've never participated in it!

I spoke to my lender, and I am making the qualifying payments under the income-based repayment plan. They are currently at $0 per month, but now that I'm a full-time teacher, that might change because I'm making more money. Going back to school would put my loans back into deferment, which isn't what I want to do, because it would mean that the ten year mark would get further away or the qualifications for IBR and public service loan forgiveness might change.

If I went back to school, my wisest course of action would be to find a way to pay down the unsubsidized loans (the ones that accrue interest whether I'm in school or not) so that my balance would either dwindle or remain constant. The problem there, though, is that I may not make enough money to both pay out of pocket for continued schooling and pay down my loans.

The second paragraph was whining. I was young and vulnerable, but I should have at least looked for programs to help working-class students. I honestly didn't know that a large student loan would hurt me this much in my future prospects. I need to be in school; I would not have made any conscious decision to keep myself from being able to take classes.

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2016, 03:00:57 PM »
I am speechless.

Are you depressed? Are you incapable of making rational decisions, taking responsibility for your past actions and your future? You sound like you are gone with the fairies most of the time. Your stance n loan  forgiveness ( ie you should have your debts wiped out because ou were too stupid totake them etc) is just outrageous. Even if legally you can do it, but ethically? You are running away from your responsibilities.

And you want to go back to school to study sth else. Because you are bored? Have nothing else to do in life? Studying law or vet science won't solve your underlying problems, will just add to your misery in the form of new debts. Work on your issues before you commit to anything else. That should be your priority right now. Make teaching work for you until this degree pays for itself ( ie pay off those loans) and then consider what else to do. Strive to be the best teacher.write a book. Work on curriculum development. Develop an online course. There is plenty of mental stimulation there. Teaching is an extremely rewarding career. (And what do vets do? Put down animals.would you like to do THAT?)

Pull yourself together and stop whining.you can do it.

Well,

Throwing half of my income and ten years of life to student loan debt would be better than spending half of my income and not really being sure where it's going; that's for sure. I'm not legally required to pay the whole debt, though, because I work in public service (teaching). The only thing I'm upset about is that while I'm on this plan, I can't go back to school without my loans going back into deferment. Deferment may be a good place for them, but it prolongs the debt. Right now, my payments are significantly reduced, and it wouldn't be very wise for me to lose that, really, but I feel like I need school.

 I work as an ESL teacher, and I could do so much better if I finished my foreign language teaching degree. I could then be a bilingual educator. Right now, I speak a little Spanish and little French, but I'm not fluent. Pursuing a foreign language degree would give me the opportunity sufficient practice and exposure to the language. I would also be able to work as a foreign language teacher. 

little_brown_dog

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2016, 03:05:54 PM »
Honey...just by your attitude i can tell you certainly aren't cut out for the work involved to rock law school or vet school. those are nose to the grindstone, suck it up and deal with it environments. law schools actually kick out students who can't compete with their peers in their classes, with no qualms about taking their first year of tuition. happened to a friend of mine. talk about unfair. whatevs. vets are doctors, they work their butts off for YEARS making little money while managing high debt loads, and they have to deal with the difficult task of working with humans who treat animals like crap. just wanting to feel productive, or wanting to take the easy way out of situations (ie: your loans) are not the best attitudes for those environments. you want to know whats worse than your current situation? being 45 and going through all this just to be a law school or vet school drop out.i agree with a previous poster, you sound depressed and are not your best self right now. but what's done is done, and chasing another degree won't make you happy. that only comes from being truly okay with who you are.
this coming from someone who had 100k in loans at 6.8% interest. paying them off in full this year after 5 years of repayment.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 03:13:15 PM by little_brown_dog »

NV Teacher

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #36 on: January 14, 2016, 03:06:12 PM »
Would you consider moving?

Clark County School District (all of southern NV) is still 700 teachers short.  They are voting on the new contract today and beginning teachers will start at $40,900 next year.  If you stay the 30 years and continue your education you will be able to top out at $90,877. 

The cost of living is reasonable.  There are hundreds and hundreds of schools so if one isn't a good fit you have lots of options for something different.  Something to consider.

BarkyardBQ

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2016, 03:08:04 PM »
Would you consider moving?

Clark County School District (all of southern NV) is still 700 teachers short.  They are voting on the new contract today and beginning teachers will start at $40,900 next year.  If you stay the 30 years and continue your education you will be able to top out at $90,877. 

The cost of living is reasonable.  There are hundreds and hundreds of schools so if one isn't a good fit you have lots of options for something different.  Something to consider.

Including NVPERS, 403b and 457b.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2016, 03:15:08 PM »
If you need a foreign language degree to become more fluent so that you can teach in those fields...why weren't you pursuing that degree instead of a phd in education?

If you actually need the degree to reach your goals, then your option is to go to school in the evenings, while you work during the day.  With 100k in student loans, you no longer have the luxury of being a full-time student.

There are other ways to become more fluent that don't require a degree. My area has a French club, a sort-of meetup group, where people of all fluency levels meet to speak together in French.  Everyone learns from everyone else.  I know people who found someone to trade languages with - my friend spoke English, the other person spoke Spanish, and they met in person or online for an hour or two a week to talk to each other and absorb each other's languages.  Get a movie or a book-on-tape in the other language and listen to it.

There are lots and lots of ways to learn that do not require going to school.

I honestly think you'll be best served getting to the root of your fears, because, at the bottom level, I think you are afraid to be out of school and in the real world.  At this point, you're here, you have a ton of debt, and you don't make a lot of money.  You need to work within those parameters.

ragesinggoddess

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2016, 03:19:19 PM »
Yeah, going back to school just doesn't make sense. You are already kicking yourself for the multiple degrees you didn't finish, and now you want to try for more?

I think it's a great idea to take advantage of PSLF as a teacher. Max out all of your tax-advantaged accounts, make those minimum payments, and you'll be free of your debt in ten years.

Also, take some time to think about what you want. Do you want to retire early? Do you want to be a teacher? You seem like you haven't quite figured that out yet (we've all been there!). Don't spend more money until you know what you want. And even then, try to do it without spending the money!

Bee21

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2016, 03:20:18 PM »
I am speechless.

Are you depressed? Are you incapable of making rational decisions, taking responsibility for your past actions and your future? You sound like you are gone with the fairies most of the time. Your stance n loan  forgiveness ( ie you should have your debts wiped out because ou were too stupid totake them etc) is just outrageous. Even if legally you can do it, but ethically? You are running away from your responsibilities.

And you want to go back to school to study sth else. Because you are bored? Have nothing else to do in life? Studying law or vet science won't solve your underlying problems, will just add to your misery in the form of new debts. Work on your issues before you commit to anything else. That should be your priority right now. Make teaching work for you until this degree pays for itself
Pull yourself together and stop whining.you can do it.

Well,

Throwing half of my income and ten years of life to student loan debt would be better than spending half of my income and not really being sure where it's going; that's for sure. I'm not legally required to pay the whole debt, though, because I work in public service (teaching). The only thing I'm upset about is that while I'm on this plan, I can't go back to school without my loans going back into deferment. Deferment may be a good place for them, but it prolongs the debt. Right now, my payments are significantly reduced, and it wouldn't be very wise for me to lose that, really, but I feel like I need school.

 I work as an ESL teacher, and I could do so much better if I finished my foreign language teaching degree. I could then be a bilingual educator. Right now, I speak a little Spanish and little French, but I'm not fluent. Pursuing a foreign language degree would give me the opportunity sufficient practice and exposure to the language. I would also be able to work as a foreign language teacher.

a degree in ESL is a bit different from law or vet science. Just saying. You don't necessarily need a degree in Esl if you are teaching Overseas sometimes it is enough t be a native speaker. And you dont need togo back to uni in order to learn a language.

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2016, 03:24:24 PM »
Would you consider moving?

Clark County School District (all of southern NV) is still 700 teachers short.  They are voting on the new contract today and beginning teachers will start at $40,900 next year.  If you stay the 30 years and continue your education you will be able to top out at $90,877. 

The cost of living is reasonable.  There are hundreds and hundreds of schools so if one isn't a good fit you have lots of options for something different.  Something to consider.

I've applied. They called me but said that my qualifications did not meet their needs. I guess I shouldn't have majored in English Education, really.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 03:27:46 PM by kmb501 »

pompera_firpa

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2016, 03:25:08 PM »
First off, you haven't ruined your life. You are just at a big disadvantage from others due to your debt burden. Don't feel defeated. There is a way out. Making well thought out decisions will help you pull yourself out! Take a breathe.

Yeah, but from my perspective, I've thrown away 100K of someone else's money. Had I any sense back then, I could have gotten those degrees and been virtually debt free; I could have applied for grants and lived like I did before starting college, but I felt like I needed to get out of everyone's hair. As it stands, I spent money I didn't need to spend because I didn't have enough nerve to apply for a job as an undergraduate. I really didn't think anyone would want to hire me. Looking back, I can't believe I thought that.

I also threw money away by living in expensive student apartments instead of opting for off-campus options...dumb, dumb, dumb...  Now, if I want to get ahead, I have to put off going to school for TEN WHOLE YEARS or throw OVER HALF of my salary to this stupid loan. If I could go back in time, I would shake my teenage self. I may be nearly 40 years old by the time all of this is fixed.

I am forty years old, and am here to tell you that being mad at your past self does not guarantee a future without mistakes; it mostly takes up your time and emotional energy and doesn't fix anything. Worse, it gives you the emotional illusion of having done something about the problem, without actually doing anything about the problem. It feels like it ought to be possible to change the past by being super frustrated about it, or maybe to prove to some invisible judge that we are really penitent and that we have changed, and that then maybe somehow this could be undone. It feels that way! But it doesn't work that way.

Stoicism teaches us that not only can we not change the past, we can't change the present-- i.e., we cannot change the circumstances that created the current situation we are in. We can only change the future, via our actions in the present.

So here's the good news: if you learn THAT lesson now, if you teach yourself to stop drinking the sweet elixir of CouldaWouldaShoulda, you will not be someone that your forty-year-old future self will want to shake. You have that choice RIGHT NOW.

You are at a crossroads, my friend, and the crossroad is challenging you, asking if you can make that $100K into the cost of becoming a Mustachian Badass. To deal with your debt, you will need to change your life, you will need to challenge yourself, you will need to grow in ways you never knew you could. The results are beyond price.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2016, 03:32:41 PM »
I am speechless.

Are you depressed? Are you incapable of making rational decisions, taking responsibility for your past actions and your future? You sound like you are gone with the fairies most of the time. Your stance n loan  forgiveness ( ie you should have your debts wiped out because ou were too stupid totake them etc) is just outrageous. Even if legally you can do it, but ethically? You are running away from your responsibilities.

At first I was pissed when I read this. Then I just couldn't help but laugh out loud. Bee21, how's the view from your high horse?

Anyway, Cathy, one of the most knowledgeable and well-respected posters on this forum, recently addressed Bee21's "ethical" (LOL) point of view. I wanted to summarize it but that doesn't do it justice. Read it in full:

Fraudulently securing a loan is obviously wrong. However, that abstract claim simply has no relevance to the morality of income-based repayment plans. The Master Promissory Note ("Note") for most federal student loans explicitly says that a borrower has the option to repay under either the standard repayment plan or a variety of alternative plans including the "Pay As You Earn Plan". Note *7-8. The lender also reserves the right to offer any other payment plan at its discretion, such as plans that did not yet exist when the Note was signed. Note *2 ("ED will provide you with a choice of repayment plans.").
...
In other words -- as ReadySetMillionaire has already claimed -- taking out a federal loan under the Note with the intent of paying it back under an alternative payment plan is not fraud because (among other reasons) it is expressly permitted by the Note.

This forum has seen its fair share of people imposing bizarre moral requirements on top of legislative programs, but asking somebody to gratuitously pay more than is owed under a promissory note is a new level of absurdity. This is literally akin to demanding that bond issuers make larger interest payments to you because of inflation. Do you believe that it is unethical for a corporation to pay 2% on a 2% bond, rather than voluntarily increasing the interest payments each year? If you loan your friend $100 at an agreed rate of 0% interest, do you believe it it unethical for them to pay you back with anything less than 3% interest?

The terms of the Note (and applicable law) govern whether somebody is in default of the Note. Your idiosyncratic views of personal morality are irrelevant and wrong.

As for mortgage lending, the lender is presumably free to ask about the balance of the person's outstanding liabilities and to take that information into account in the decision of whether to extend credit. A lender is not restricted to the four corners of a person's credit report, but can (and does) ask whatever it wants, subject only to applicable anti-discrimination laws and other legal requirements. If a lender fails to ask for relevant information and makes a bad result as a result, that is entirely the lender's fault. There is no obligation to give your entire life history to a mortgage lender. Generally speaking, you are required only to truthfully provide the information that they actually ask for.

I conclude that there are no moral issues implicated by this thread. Whether the original poster should or could purchase a house is a separate question.

In closing, I note that many respected long-time members of this website frequently and openly confess to engaging in literal fraud and do not receive the kind of vitriol that people typically post in threads about benefit programs; if anything, such confessed fraudsters receive adulation and praise. Why is it that forum members here approve of tax fraud, but have a problem with honest taxpayers complying with all the terms of their obligations?

OP: you would be an absolute fool not to take advantage of PSLF. Use 403/457 plans to reduce your AGI and pay as little towards your loans as humanly possible. Save as much as you can and give as little back towards your loans as feasible. PM me if you want links to more details.

If you are hellbent on furthering your degree, I'm honestly not sure if that re-sets the clock. Call your loan servicer and ask. I think you might not reset the clock on your PSLF if you pay in cash, work, and go to school PT, but that's a guess on my part. Best place to call is your student loan servicer, because anything else is just a guess.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 03:36:43 PM by ReadySetMillionaire »

kmb501

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2016, 03:33:19 PM »
First off, you haven't ruined your life. You are just at a big disadvantage from others due to your debt burden. Don't feel defeated. There is a way out. Making well thought out decisions will help you pull yourself out! Take a breathe.

Yeah, but from my perspective, I've thrown away 100K of someone else's money. Had I any sense back then, I could have gotten those degrees and been virtually debt free; I could have applied for grants and lived like I did before starting college, but I felt like I needed to get out of everyone's hair. As it stands, I spent money I didn't need to spend because I didn't have enough nerve to apply for a job as an undergraduate. I really didn't think anyone would want to hire me. Looking back, I can't believe I thought that.

I also threw money away by living in expensive student apartments instead of opting for off-campus options...dumb, dumb, dumb...  Now, if I want to get ahead, I have to put off going to school for TEN WHOLE YEARS or throw OVER HALF of my salary to this stupid loan. If I could go back in time, I would shake my teenage self. I may be nearly 40 years old by the time all of this is fixed.

I am forty years old, and am here to tell you that being mad at your past self does not guarantee a future without mistakes; it mostly takes up your time and emotional energy and doesn't fix anything. Worse, it gives you the emotional illusion of having done something about the problem, without actually doing anything about the problem. It feels like it ought to be possible to change the past by being super frustrated about it, or maybe to prove to some invisible judge that we are really penitent and that we have changed, and that then maybe somehow this could be undone. It feels that way! But it doesn't work that way.

Stoicism teaches us that not only can we not change the past, we can't change the present-- i.e., we cannot change the circumstances that created the current situation we are in. We can only change the future, via our actions in the present.

So here's the good news: if you learn THAT lesson now, if you teach yourself to stop drinking the sweet elixir of CouldaWouldaShoulda, you will not be someone that your forty-year-old future self will want to shake. You have that choice RIGHT NOW.

You are at a crossroads, my friend, and the crossroad is challenging you, asking if you can make that $100K into the cost of becoming a Mustachian Badass. To deal with your debt, you will need to change your life, you will need to challenge yourself, you will need to grow in ways you never knew you could. The results are beyond price.

To make matters worse, they are mostly unsubsidized loans, so going back to school won't do anything for this debt. It will just keep growing each year.

I think I'm ready to make a change, but I feel like I need more education. I know you are probably asking why, but I feel like I can't exactly do what I want with what I currently have. Going back to school might be kind of dumb, but what are my alternatives? I would love to throw 100 percent of my income at that debt and get it taken care of in 5 years or less, but I don't think that's even possible, and what's worse, in the past when I've made sacrifices to try to save money, I ended up being uncomfortable and actually spending MORE. I have a problem. I don't tend to reason through my situations.

I agree with most posters that it makes sense to take advantage of PSLF and IBR. I plan to do so, but I love the idea of going back to school, and I really don't think the conditions will change if I have to sign up for the repayment plan again just because my loans went into deferment. I could invest one or two years into going back to school and putting my loans in deferment, and I could possibly reap a whole lot more in the form of enhanced certification and new skills.

I think I should continue with my original plan, unless I sincerely believe Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton is going to do away with PSLF and IBR in the near future (or change the conditions so that no one can qualify).
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 03:40:53 PM by kmb501 »

therethere

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2016, 03:36:26 PM »
IBR and Public Student Loan Forgiveness are two separate things. I do not have the luxury of taking advantage of any student loan programs. But I'd make absolutely certain  you applied or registered or whatever you need to do for Public Student Loan Forgiveness. Just being on income based payments does not automatically enroll you in the PSLF. At least that's how I understand it. Also you said your "payments" are $0 I would tend to think those don't actually qualify towards the 120 monthly payments under forgiveness. But again, I'm not an expert at all. I retract all this. After a quick google search it appears you apply for PSLF after ther 120 qualifying payments. But it did say: You cannot get credit for a payment if no payment is due that month. Which I would gather means you have not even started the clock yet with your $0 payments.

Are all your loans federal loans? Or do you have private loans in there also? Private loans don't count in PSLF.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 03:43:42 PM by therethere »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2016, 03:39:31 PM »
IBR and Public Student Loan Forgiveness are two separate things. I do not have the luxury of taking advantage of any student loan programs. But I'd make absolutely certain  you applied or registered or whatever you need to do for Public Student Loan Forgiveness. Just being on income based payments does not automatically enroll you in the PSLF. At least that's how I understand it. Also you said your "payments" are $0 I would tend to think those don't actually qualify towards the 120 monthly payments under forgiveness. But again, I'm not an expert at all.

If OP applies and the formula says his/her payments are $0, those payments count towards the 120 payments.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2016, 03:40:35 PM »

I think I'm ready to make a change, but I feel like I need more education. I know you are probably asking why, but I feel like I can't exactly do what I want with what I currently have. Going back to school might be kind of dumb, but what are my alternatives? I would love to throw 100 percent of my income at that debt and get it taken care of in 5 years or less, but I don't think that's even possible, and what's worse, in the past when I've made sacrifices to try to save money, I ended up being uncomfortable and actually spending MORE. I have a problem. I don't tend to reason through my situations.

That's the problem - it sounds like you don't know what you want, so going back to school could be a horrific, tragic mistake. In this thread alone, we all can't tell if you want to get more education for teaching, or go to vet school, or go to law school. It's probably the worst thing you can do in your situation. Your alternative is to work towards the PSL payoff as a teacher, and use these years to really determine what you want out of life. Question: do you have a partner or close family? what to they think about all of this?

ragesinggoddess

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2016, 03:41:17 PM »
Loans that are deferred because you are in school do not count as being paid towards PSLF, however.

tomorrowsomewherenew

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Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2016, 03:48:35 PM »
I'm not looking for any "ethical" arguments, but what ReadySetMillionaire suggests is probably your best option, mathematically speaking. Look for higher paid positions in teaching. As your income creeps up, contribute to your 403b/457/whatever to keep your income low. You will be putting money away while simultaneously getting credit for your $0 student loan payments.