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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: kmb501 on January 13, 2016, 04:33:35 PM

Title: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: skuzuker28 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?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: OvertheRainbow 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...

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: skuzuker28 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: lbmustache 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.



Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: FausseBourgeoise 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ChicagoGirl 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.   
 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: little_brown_dog 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ooeei 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Jakejake 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.

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: therethere 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: tomorrowsomewherenew 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.   
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: therethere 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.

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: shotgunwilly 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.   
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: therethere 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.

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: zephyr911 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: zephyr911 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: therethere 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Jakejake 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!
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Bee21 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.

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: little_brown_dog 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: NV Teacher 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: BarkyardBQ 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ragesinggoddess 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!
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Bee21 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pompera_firpa 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ReadySetMillionaire 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 (http://www.direct.ed.gov/pubs/dlmpn.pdf) ("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 (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/am-i-crazy-not-to-work-8-more-hours-a-week-for-health-insurance/msg892303/#msg892303), 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 (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/a-common-error-when-calculating-your-target-amount/msg884695/#msg884695). 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 (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/tiffany-bracelets-and-dom-perignon-how-to-sell-this-shit/msg895792/#msg895792) 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 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).
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: therethere 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ReadySetMillionaire 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: little_brown_dog 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?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ragesinggoddess 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: tomorrowsomewherenew 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.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 14, 2016, 07:38:44 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.

That's a very good idea. I would like more information on it.

The $0 per month payments are what I owe, so I am currently in repayment, not deferment.

I'm wondering if there's an option to go back to school and stay in repayment? My lender said that my loans would automatically go back into deferment, but I wonder if there is a way around this. A $0 per month balance on PSLF and IBR AND status as a student would be ideal. Do you think I could work out this deal with them? See, right now, I actually owe less on my loans while they're in repayment, because in deferment the $0 per month wouldn't be going toward my 120 consecutive payments.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 14, 2016, 07:41:48 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?

I want it all, but to be realistic, it might make sense just to go back and finish that foreign language degree. An ESL teacher should have near fluency in a foreign language anyway. I think that would make me happy and be time well spent.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Kris on January 14, 2016, 07:49:31 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?

I want it all, but to be realistic, it might make sense just to go back and finish that foreign language degree. An ESL teacher should have near fluency in a foreign language anyway.

No.

I am a Ph.D. In a language. And a college language professor.

Going back for a language degree will not make you fluent. Do not do this.

If you want fluency in a language, there are other ways. PM me if you want. But do not take on more college debt. Because you will be deluding yourself.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: FeelingRosie on January 14, 2016, 07:56:56 PM
To me, there are only two ways of tackling this. The first being what a friend of mine did, is to work for a non-profit or university or such so that you're student loans will be forgiven in 10 years. In the mean time max out all your retirement contributions that are taken directly out of your pay check and get on the salary adjusted repayment plan, so hopefully you'll actually get a fair amount forgiven. The second way is to simply get angry about your debt and attack it with vengeance, which is what I chose to do. Find the cheapest possible place within walking distance to work. Drive your car as little as possible. Stop eating out completely. Grabbing a $5 burger might not seem like a bad deal, but it's always cheaper to make it yourself. If you just cook a huge pot of food on the weekend and just have to heat it up when you get back from work, it's even easier than going some place and ordering a burger.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 14, 2016, 08:15:08 PM
To me, there are only two ways of tackling this. The first being what a friend of mine did, is to work for a non-profit or university or such so that you're student loans will be forgiven in 10 years. In the mean time max out all your retirement contributions that are taken directly out of your pay check and get on the salary adjusted repayment plan, so hopefully you'll actually get a fair amount forgiven. The second way is to simply get angry about your debt and attack it with vengeance, which is what I chose to do. Find the cheapest possible place within walking distance to work. Drive your car as little as possible. Stop eating out completely. Grabbing a $5 burger might not seem like a bad deal, but it's always cheaper to make it yourself. If you just cook a huge pot of food on the weekend and just have to heat it up when you get back from work, it's even easier than going some place and ordering a burger.


See, I would have to throw over half of my entire income at that debt, and since there's a good chance it will be forgiven if I continue on the track I'm on now, I would rather just continue on this track and put as much money toward something else as I can. The maxed out contribution to the 401K work plan is a good idea, but I don't know how long I will be at this job, and one of my jobs doesn't even have that option, that I know of, because it's only part-time (really volunteer work but it pays a generous stipend). Is there an option for me to contribute to a retirement fund outside of my job so that I'll have it when I leave? I'm not planning for my current job to be permanent. I'm planning to move on to better things once I get a year or two of experience and get to know my boss and coworkers well enough to provide good references to my skills.

My second job may not pay much, but it's a wealth of knowledge and training. I learned most of what I know about teaching from that job. I also get a chance to hone my foreign language skills once in a while, because some of the refugees speak the languages I'm trying to learn. I just feel like a class would help me pick it up more quickly. For me, one skill strengthens another. Conversation practice makes it easier for me to remember spelling and grammar rules and vice versa.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Bee21 on January 15, 2016, 02:43:20 AM
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?



I quite like my high horse. What's wrong with repaying our debts? Why shouldn't we do it?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 03:18:08 AM
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?



I quite like my high horse. What's wrong with repaying our debts? Why shouldn't we do it?

It would be very inconvenient for me without a second full-time job. Merely existing for ten years to pay off a debt that will be forgiven for public service anyway, makes no sense to me. I could pile those unnecessary student loan payments into a 401K plan and work toward early retirement, or I could throw it into a CD with a five year maturity limit and have a fair amount of savings fairly quickly. I could also just do the dumb thing and save up to go back to school. In any case, paying off my loans when the government agreed to pay them for me (under certain conditions) just doesn't make sense to me.

I know some think the student loan debt ceiling is another bubble waiting to break, but that's the government's issue, not mine, just like the housing crisis was also the government's issue. Do I think we should get people in office who care about the national debt? Yes, I do think we should, but do I think the American citizens should take it upon themselves to pay a debt they really didn't create? No, I don't. In my opinion, education should be free to begin with. Charging so much for it makes little sense to me. A default on these loans en masse would send a clear message to the institutions that the current system is not working, and hopefully it would mean education would become affordable again. I feel like I was robbed. Much of the financial aid I received was in the form of unsubsidized loans that accrued interest WHILE I was still in school and sometimes unavailable to work due to status as a full-time student. If you ask me, that's robbery and not fair at all. I'm not in a hurry to take any of my hard earned money to throw at that debt, especially since I'm not legally obligated to.

I will repeat, though, if I could find a second full-time job that pays as well as the one I currently have, I would be willing to attack those unsubsidized loans, because the interest on them is over half of what I make each year.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 03:41:31 AM
I don't want to touch the bulk of my student loan, the unsubsidized loans, but I wonder if it would hurt to try to get the subsidized loans out of the way. They've hardly accrued any interest, so the payments on them would be really low. Do you think it might be worth it to try to pay those down while letting the elephant in the room wander off?

Wow, I feel like I need to look for a second full-time job.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: former player on January 15, 2016, 06:38:37 AM
My understanding is that government forgiveness of loans for people in public service was designed to help people like you: those with loans for education who are doing a job in the public sector that requires that education but doesn't pay particularly well.

The cumulative effect of all the choices you have made so far, regardless of whether you knew what you were doing, or should have known what you are doing, or should have been sat down and told what you are doing, has led you to where you are today.    Where you are today is that you need to buckle down to 120 months of public sector work, using the education you got from those loans.   For you, that means being a teacher in the public sector. 

If you can add to your current education without additional loans and without adding any months or years to the time it would take you to have them forgiven, then go for it - part-time classes paid out of pocket while you are still working full-time is probably the only practical way to do this.  If you can get a better paid or more career orientated teaching job in the public sector, go for it.  Otherwise, carry on with your current job.  Try to find ways of treating yourself, or treating yourself better, that do not involve fast food burgers which will destroy your health and your wealth.  Put your spare cash, including every $5 that you haven't spent on burgers, into your retirement fund.  Put a chart on your wall with 120 squares on it and cross off each one which counts towards forgiveness of your loans.

If you are truly interested enough in learning languages to become fluent, you can find a way to do that without paying anything, through self-study and spending time with native speakers.  I've had a lot of education in a foreign language (not to degree level, though), I've lived and worked in the country where it is the native language, I've attended and chaired work meetings in that language.  I'm nowhere near fluent and never will be, and I'll never have a good enough accent to teach others.  The fact that you speak "a little French" and "a little Spanish" even after studying full time at (uncompleted) degree level suggests to me that you are probably in the same situation I am: moderately interested and moderately skilled but never going to get to the expert level.

Reading your posts, I think that for you the idea of going back to school is a way of retreating from the adult world, a way of avoiding your problems, and a way to avoid accepting a future which starts from where you are now.  I think you are thinking of it as a kind of time machine which lets you redo everything in your past which you think of as a mistake.   It's not a time machine: whatever you do, in 10 years time you are always going to be 10 years older than you are now, and the only question is: will you have put in the time to get your loans forgiven and a decent pension investment, or won't you?

How many of those 120 boxes can you tick off right now? By the end of another 30 days, you'll be able to tick off another one.

Good luck.

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ooeei on January 15, 2016, 06:55:08 AM
You seem very adamant about wanting to go back to school, even after multiple people pointed out why it's a terrible decision.  What's the reason for this?  Get past all of the excuses about learning another language or earning more money, because plenty of people provided alternatives, and be honest about why you want to go back so badly.  I suspect it doesn't have anything to do with money or a degree.

Have you considered seeing a therapist to talk through some of this stuff with?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ReadySetMillionaire on January 15, 2016, 07:00:19 AM
Bee21: OP would be paying his debts per the terms of the note he signed.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Jakejake on January 15, 2016, 07:26:56 AM
Bee21: OP would be paying his debts per the terms of the note he signed.
I completely understand the point you were making about this being a legit way to pay back the loans (through service).

I think the tone of the responses may have been a reaction to the thread title, Attacking Debt, which turned into what seemed to be not wanting to pay the debt or do the service component of it, and whining (perhaps in a humorous self-deprecating way) that it was unfair they were being held responsible in any way for spending 100k of other people's money to support 10 years of bad decision making.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: RamonaQ on January 15, 2016, 07:40:34 AM

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


+1

I looked at some of your older threads and it looks like you have anywhere from $500-$1000 of spending that is unaccounted for each month.  I would strongly suggest tracking where your money is actually going right now.  If you can't account for where half your take home pay goes, finding another job or changing your mode of transportation isn't going to help much, because you could easily blow those savings without even realizing it.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pompera_firpa on January 15, 2016, 09:18:07 AM
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.

Yeah, I think we're all noticing that you operate from the gut, rather than reason. You seem like your response to being lost in the woods would be to run in some direction, ANY direction, rather than to sit still a moment to try to get your bearings and figure out which direction would be best.

At heart, I think what everyone here is telling you-- in one way or another-- is to STOP DOING THAT, because a) that's what got you into trouble in the first place, b) it is prone to getting you into more trouble, and c) it is not, in any way, shape, or fashion, going to be helpful in getting you OUT of trouble. You feel like, because you have a big problem, you need to solve it with something equally big! and fast! because it sucks to feel like this! This is not the case.

Consider what you were talking about when you said "I end up being uncomfortable and actually spending MORE"-- because learning to deal with discomfort without throwing money at it is at the heart of the philosophy around here. We use relatively mild discomfort (OH NO I CANNOT WATCH THE TV SHOW I WANT IMMEDIATELY / OH NO I HAVE TO MAKE MY OWN DINNER) as a tool to inoculate ourselves against things that are actually hard and bad. Think of it as curated discomfort-- a specific set of discomforts selected to increase your satisfaction in life, and your confidence, and your joy by learning to overcome them.

We live in a culture that is terrified of boredom and terrified of discomfort. We are no longer encouraged to entertain ourselves or to toughen up; we're encouraged to buy things that will solve the immediate problem, although at the cost of never letting us learn how to deal with it ourselves and never letting us learn patience by having to wait for things.

What we are telling you is to be still for a moment and just sort of sit with the discomfort. Sit with the discomfort of being $100K in debt. Sit with the discomfort of being dissatisfied with what you are doing. Sit with the discomfort of not having everything you want RIGHT NOW. Don't berate yourself for it, don't flail around for ways to fix it as fast as possible, just hang out with these discomforts and let them exist.

Then start making changes. Not drastic ones; we are asking you to start making your own smoothies, not OMG MUST SOLVE ENTIRE PROBLEM RIGHT NOW. The point here is to grow as a person, and, by doing so, transform your financial situation.

Going to school to solve your problems is a solution that you're comfortable with, but honestly it ain't all that. Employers are more impressed by "I am fluent in Spanish after living in Mexico for three years" than "I went to school to learn Spanish and I have a degree to prove it!", because the first indicates that you're a badass who can brave the confusion and discomfort of learning another language through use in the field, while the other indicates that you are comfortable with learning things in a classroom setting and writing papers.

Get comfortable with discomfort, delayed reward, and inconvenience. Start by making your own smoothies.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 09:24:36 AM

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


+1

I looked at some of your older threads and it looks like you have anywhere from $500-$1000 of spending that is unaccounted for each month.  I would strongly suggest tracking where your money is actually going right now.  If you can't account for where half your take home pay goes, finding another job or changing your mode of transportation isn't going to help much, because you could easily blow those savings without even realizing it.

I downloaded a budgeting app, and most of that money has been going to unnecessary purchases, mostly fast food. I eat out a lot, and I also make unnecessary shopping trips. An easy solution to this is to just leave the debit card at home and force myself to make changes to accommodate my new budget or go without. Sacrificing a day's pleasure is worth it in the long run, and eventually I would adjust to not being able to run out and order a pizza, burger, milkshake, or smoothie whenever I'm stressed. That's one reason I want to start paying toward my goal first. Then, I could just live off of whatever is left over. I've done it before. Before I started this job, I was making about half of what I make now, and I was living okay off of it. I've just gotten lazy and adjusted my spending to fit my new salary, as people often do.

Again, the easiest solution to this is for me to just leave the debit card at home so that I don't make spur-of-the-moment purchases, like "oh, I love this sweater! How much is it? $20? It's such a pretty color, though! I think I'll get it just this once...." That's pretty much how my inner conversation goes, but if I don't have my debit card, "what a pretty sweater...oh, my debit card's at home....(at home) they don't have the sweater online...I guess I can wait until it goes on sale  (a few weeks later I've completely forgotten about the purchase I wanted to make). Another example, "oh, I don't feel like cooking tonight, I think I will order a pizza...they don't have any specials. Well $15 tonight isn't going to hurt...wait, I left my debit card...I guess I'll eat at home.  (if I make the effort to cook at home, I usually forget about the pizza. I've just been spoiling myself and justifying it lately. I really need to stop.)
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: zephyr911 on January 15, 2016, 09:29:50 AM
I downloaded a budgeting app, and it has been going to unnecessary purchases, mostly fast food. I eat out a lot, and I also make unnecessary shopping trips. An easy solution to this is to just leave the debit card at home and force myself to make changes to accommodate my new budget or go without. Sacrificing a day's pleasure is worth it in the long run, and eventually I would adjust to not being able to run out and order a pizza, burger, milkshake, or smoothie whenever I'm stressed.
Learn to cook more of the things you like, and take the sacrifice out of it. I'm all about having my cake and eating it too... I eat every bit as much delicious food as I did before MMM, I just make 95% of it myself, and I usually do it in bulk so I can take it along for lunches and snacks later.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Kris on January 15, 2016, 09:48:00 AM
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.

Yeah, I think we're all noticing that you operate from the gut, rather than reason. You seem like your response to being lost in the woods would be to run in some direction, ANY direction, rather than to sit still a moment to try to get your bearings and figure out which direction would be best.

At heart, I think what everyone here is telling you-- in one way or another-- is to STOP DOING THAT, because a) that's what got you into trouble in the first place, b) it is prone to getting you into more trouble, and c) it is not, in any way, shape, or fashion, going to be helpful in getting you OUT of trouble. You feel like, because you have a big problem, you need to solve it with something equally big! and fast! because it sucks to feel like this! This is not the case.

Consider what you were talking about when you said "I end up being uncomfortable and actually spending MORE"-- because learning to deal with discomfort without throwing money at it is at the heart of the philosophy around here. We use relatively mild discomfort (OH NO I CANNOT WATCH THE TV SHOW I WANT IMMEDIATELY / OH NO I HAVE TO MAKE MY OWN DINNER) as a tool to inoculate ourselves against things that are actually hard and bad. Think of it as curated discomfort-- a specific set of discomforts selected to increase your satisfaction in life, and your confidence, and your joy by learning to overcome them.

We live in a culture that is terrified of boredom and terrified of discomfort. We are no longer encouraged to entertain ourselves or to toughen up; we're encouraged to buy things that will solve the immediate problem, although at the cost of never letting us learn how to deal with it ourselves and never letting us learn patience by having to wait for things.

What we are telling you is to be still for a moment and just sort of sit with the discomfort. Sit with the discomfort of being $100K in debt. Sit with the discomfort of being dissatisfied with what you are doing. Sit with the discomfort of not having everything you want RIGHT NOW. Don't berate yourself for it, don't flail around for ways to fix it as fast as possible, just hang out with these discomforts and let them exist.

Then start making changes. Not drastic ones; we are asking you to start making your own smoothies, not OMG MUST SOLVE ENTIRE PROBLEM RIGHT NOW. The point here is to grow as a person, and, by doing so, transform your financial situation.

Going to school to solve your problems is a solution that you're comfortable with, but honestly it ain't all that. Employers are more impressed by "I am fluent in Spanish after living in Mexico for three years" than "I went to school to learn Spanish and I have a degree to prove it!", because the first indicates that you're a badass who can brave the confusion and discomfort of learning another language through use in the field, while the other indicates that you are comfortable with learning things in a classroom setting and writing papers.

Get comfortable with discomfort, delayed reward, and inconvenience. Start by making your own smoothies.

+ 1.

I've been reading this thread, not commenting out of frustration, and this is pretty much exactly what I would have said.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: zephyr911 on January 15, 2016, 09:58:34 AM
Has anyone suggested, in lieu of foreign travel, seeking immersion through volunteer work?

My mom lives in Boston and has been working with a Spanish-speaking church for the last couple of years, during which time she's recovered much of her early fluency after long years of disuse. This is free, and she gets it right where she lives. Maybe OP can find something similar. No cost, do some good for others, and maybe gain a little stoicism on the side from seeing their struggles.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Rubic on January 15, 2016, 10:37:11 AM
Has anyone suggested, in lieu of foreign travel, seeking immersion through volunteer work?

+1

Start here:  http://www.workaway.info/hostlist.html
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: AZDude on January 15, 2016, 10:51:07 AM
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.

Same with Riverside county in California, where starting you can $50K+.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: lbmustache on January 15, 2016, 11:40:07 AM
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.

Same with Riverside county in California, where starting you can $50K+.

I am SO skeptical of this stuff. Teacher shortage. Everyone panics. Major hiring ensues. Orange County is doing the same thing - they are short teachers, and are even offering to pay for your credential while you teach (I have an M.A., so can teach college, but no credential to teach h.s.). I looked into it. My experience with education has been - give it 5 years and all of these teachers will be cut again and the cycle will repeat itself.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: lbmustache on January 15, 2016, 11:41:24 AM
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.

Yeah, I think we're all noticing that you operate from the gut, rather than reason. You seem like your response to being lost in the woods would be to run in some direction, ANY direction, rather than to sit still a moment to try to get your bearings and figure out which direction would be best.

At heart, I think what everyone here is telling you-- in one way or another-- is to STOP DOING THAT, because a) that's what got you into trouble in the first place, b) it is prone to getting you into more trouble, and c) it is not, in any way, shape, or fashion, going to be helpful in getting you OUT of trouble. You feel like, because you have a big problem, you need to solve it with something equally big! and fast! because it sucks to feel like this! This is not the case.

Consider what you were talking about when you said "I end up being uncomfortable and actually spending MORE"-- because learning to deal with discomfort without throwing money at it is at the heart of the philosophy around here. We use relatively mild discomfort (OH NO I CANNOT WATCH THE TV SHOW I WANT IMMEDIATELY / OH NO I HAVE TO MAKE MY OWN DINNER) as a tool to inoculate ourselves against things that are actually hard and bad. Think of it as curated discomfort-- a specific set of discomforts selected to increase your satisfaction in life, and your confidence, and your joy by learning to overcome them.

We live in a culture that is terrified of boredom and terrified of discomfort. We are no longer encouraged to entertain ourselves or to toughen up; we're encouraged to buy things that will solve the immediate problem, although at the cost of never letting us learn how to deal with it ourselves and never letting us learn patience by having to wait for things.

What we are telling you is to be still for a moment and just sort of sit with the discomfort. Sit with the discomfort of being $100K in debt. Sit with the discomfort of being dissatisfied with what you are doing. Sit with the discomfort of not having everything you want RIGHT NOW. Don't berate yourself for it, don't flail around for ways to fix it as fast as possible, just hang out with these discomforts and let them exist.


Then start making changes. Not drastic ones; we are asking you to start making your own smoothies, not OMG MUST SOLVE ENTIRE PROBLEM RIGHT NOW. The point here is to grow as a person, and, by doing so, transform your financial situation.

Going to school to solve your problems is a solution that you're comfortable with, but honestly it ain't all that. Employers are more impressed by "I am fluent in Spanish after living in Mexico for three years" than "I went to school to learn Spanish and I have a degree to prove it!", because the first indicates that you're a badass who can brave the confusion and discomfort of learning another language through use in the field, while the other indicates that you are comfortable with learning things in a classroom setting and writing papers.

Get comfortable with discomfort, delayed reward, and inconvenience. Start by making your own smoothies.

BAM! You said it the best. +1000.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: BarkyardBQ on January 15, 2016, 11:50:44 AM


What we are telling you is to be still for a moment and just sort of sit with the discomfort. Sit with the discomfort of being $100K in debt. Sit with the discomfort of being dissatisfied with what you are doing. Sit with the discomfort of not having everything you want RIGHT NOW. Don't berate yourself for it, don't flail around for ways to fix it as fast as possible, just hang out with these discomforts and let them exist.



And listen to some Alan Watts, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHLGT2N7QXI
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: tomorrowsomewherenew on January 15, 2016, 01:16:37 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.

That's a very good idea. I would like more information on it.

The $0 per month payments are what I owe, so I am currently in repayment, not deferment.

I'm wondering if there's an option to go back to school and stay in repayment? My lender said that my loans would automatically go back into deferment, but I wonder if there is a way around this. A $0 per month balance on PSLF and IBR AND status as a student would be ideal. Do you think I could work out this deal with them? See, right now, I actually owe less on my loans while they're in repayment, because in deferment the $0 per month wouldn't be going toward my 120 consecutive payments.

I would suggest PMing ReadySetMillionaire as he is currently using this as his student loan repayment method.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 01:38:34 PM
Well, in theory, I have ample opportunities to learn new languages, because I teach ESL and have several speakers of French, a few in Spanish, and a handful of Farsi speakers. In theory, I could do a language exchange with any of my students to gain enhanced language proficiency, but I'm likely not going to do that, because it's not something I should be doing and I wouldn't feel confident enough to try to communicate with them without being afraid of making mistakes. Learning it in school provides an easier more accepting atmosphere to practice. The language teachers and tutors are great, and many of them are native speakers. Plus, I just miss the other aspects of college life, like the free counseling and discounted everything. The bus pass was only $20, not $40. I could rent a bicycle, write for the paper, start a student club, etc. in addition to going to classes. I had ample opportunity to feel productive as a student, as an adult, not so much. My teaching jobs only take up a few hours of my day, and I feel like I haven't helped anyone at the end of it. There's so much I still want to learn.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: EconDiva on January 15, 2016, 01:43:36 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.

This is not my thread, but I must say thank you.  I needed to read this today.

There are many of us that need this type of advice to 'push' us into realizing we are not doing all we can to be better.  That it takes a lot of EFFORT to see the kind of changes many of us want to see.  Just wanted to say thank you for being up front...plus you can tell you actually read and put thought into the OP's posts.  That's why I like this community; there are people here who actually care to help others out.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 01:49:42 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.

This is not my thread, but I must say thank you.  I needed to read this today.

There are many of us that need this type of advice to 'push' us into realizing we are not doing all we can to be better.  That it takes a lot of EFFORT to see the kind of changes many of us want to see.  Just wanted to say thank you for being up front...plus you can tell you actually read and put thought into the OP's posts.  That's why I like this community; there are people here who actually care to help others out.

I'm also very thankful for the advice provided to me on this thread. Some of you might think I'm arguing with you and dismissing these ideas, but I guess it's just the way I write. I'm actually paying attention and plan to implement most of the ideas you have suggested. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Jakejake on January 15, 2016, 02:18:54 PM
Well, in theory, I have ample opportunities to learn new languages, because I teach ESL and have several speakers of French, a few in Spanish, and a handful of Farsi speakers. In theory, I could do a language exchange with any of my students to gain enhanced language proficiency, but I'm likely not going to do that, because it's not something I should be doing and I wouldn't feel confident enough to try to communicate with them without being afraid of making mistakes. Learning it in school provides an easier more accepting atmosphere to practice. The language teachers and tutors are great, and many of them are native speakers. Plus, I just miss the other aspects of college life, like the free counseling and discounted everything. The bus pass was only $20, not $40. I could rent a bicycle, write for the paper, start a student club, etc. in addition to going to classes. I had ample opportunity to feel productive as a student, as an adult, not so much. My teaching jobs only take up a few hours of my day, and I feel like I haven't helped anyone at the end of it. There's so much I still want to learn.

It's cheaper to pay $40 for a bus pass and buy a bicycle than pay for college tuition. I wouldn't even raise those as justifications for going back to school.

If you don't feel like you are helping people at the end a day of teaching, that points to the solution others mentioned above - volunteering. You could volunteer with a group that helps refugees, immigrants, etc - and in that scenario it would be appropriate to help them while doing a language exchange, especially because them helping you in return is great for their sense of self. Just like you feel better about yourself if you are in a position to help others, so do others.

The part I bolded, that's the part I would focus on. How can you transition to finding productive ways of being an adult, instead of only being comfortable in the student role?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ooeei on January 15, 2016, 02:40:25 PM
Plus, I just miss the other aspects of college life, like the free counseling and discounted everything. The bus pass was only $20, not $40. I could rent a bicycle, write for the paper, start a student club, etc. in addition to going to classes. I had ample opportunity to feel productive as a student, as an adult, not so much. My teaching jobs only take up a few hours of my day, and I feel like I haven't helped anyone at the end of it. There's so much I still want to learn.

Keep in mind these "discounts" and free things cost tuition money.  They aren't free at all.  I second (or is it third?) the advice above about looking in to volunteer work if you want to feel more accomplished.

Of course college is more fun than the real world, you're PAYING to do it!  Sure there's some work involved in studying and taking tests, but at the end of the day everyone in school wants you to succeed, and it's set up for you to do so.  That's not usually the case when someone is paying you to do something, they expect you to do the hard stuff regardless of the circumstances and complications that come up. 

Modeling/designing a house in a class and building a model is a ton of fun, and isn't necessarily easy, but it's nothing compared to building a house in the real world.  In the real world even though the builders showed up a week late, there was two weeks of rain that put off pouring the foundation, and two workers quit halfway through the job, you're still expected to deliver a finished house on time because someone is paying you for it.  When you're in college, you're the customer who everyone's trying to please at their own expense.  You may feel accomplished for learning things and get lots of pats on the back, but at the end of the day nobody's going to pay you to go and learn stuff in a classroom.  Even if they did, I imagine that job would be pretty competitive with all of the people who'd apply. 

If you constantly compare your life to college, it's going to be a tough ride. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: little_brown_dog on January 15, 2016, 02:47:41 PM
If you constantly compare your life to college, it's going to be a tough ride.

Yup. And college at 30 is probably going to feel alot different than at 18. Most college students over the age of 24 are going to be working part time, full time, or caring for families. They won't be running around campus, making friends, and doing what the 18 year olds are doing. The fun, "let's go to the gym and then study and then get pizza and beer!" lifestyle probably won't happen.  This is totally okay. In fact, it would be a bit weird if you fell right back into the college lifestyle at an older and more mature age. College is a learning and growing experience...as in, you are supposed to grow out of it.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: BarkyardBQ on January 15, 2016, 02:50:24 PM
If you constantly compare your life to college... it's going to be a tough ride.

(https://cessnachick.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/youre-going-to-have-a-bad-time.png)

FTFY
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pompera_firpa on January 15, 2016, 03:11:13 PM
If you constantly compare your life to college, it's going to be a tough ride. 

TRUTH.

College is adulting for beginners. It's normal and natural to miss it; I think everyone I know has had some kind of minor (or major, in a few cases) breakdown in their mid-to-late 20s when it really hits home that you're not going to be automatically shuffled along to the next group organized by age, you're not going to be given further guidance without asking, and this whole business of being an adult is AWFUL.

Stop being afraid of making mistakes. You don't accomplish anything good in life without fucking up constantly for a while.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 03:28:11 PM
If you constantly compare your life to college, it's going to be a tough ride.

Yup. And college at 30 is probably going to feel alot different than at 18. Most college students over the age of 24 are going to be working part time, full time, or caring for families. They won't be running around campus, making friends, and doing what the 18 year olds are doing. The fun, "let's go to the gym and then study and then get pizza and beer!" lifestyle probably won't happen.  This is totally okay. In fact, it would be a bit weird if you fell right back into the college lifestyle at an older and more mature age. College is a learning and growing experience...as in, you are supposed to grow out of it.

I'm planning to go back to school while working full time. I'll only have time to go to class in the evenings, on the weekends, or online. That "party lifestyle" was something I was never a part of, anyway. If I did hang out with young people, it would probably be to give them warnings and wisdom. I don't want to become a fixture, really, and I would be okay with online classes, if I could find any for foreign language.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 03:43:21 PM
I downloaded a budgeting app, and it has been going to unnecessary purchases, mostly fast food. I eat out a lot, and I also make unnecessary shopping trips. An easy solution to this is to just leave the debit card at home and force myself to make changes to accommodate my new budget or go without. Sacrificing a day's pleasure is worth it in the long run, and eventually I would adjust to not being able to run out and order a pizza, burger, milkshake, or smoothie whenever I'm stressed.
Learn to cook more of the things you like, and take the sacrifice out of it. I'm all about having my cake and eating it too... I eat every bit as much delicious food as I did before MMM, I just make 95% of it myself, and I usually do it in bulk so I can take it along for lunches and snacks later.

I pay around $40 per month for internet access. I need to take a weekend and look up some recipes and tutorials for the foods I like to eat. It really makes a lot more sense than running to the deli for pre-made soups or sandwiches. It would probably be better for my health, too.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 03:47:36 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.

Same with Riverside county in California, where starting you can $50K+.

I am SO skeptical of this stuff. Teacher shortage. Everyone panics. Major hiring ensues. Orange County is doing the same thing - they are short teachers, and are even offering to pay for your credential while you teach (I have an M.A., so can teach college, but no credential to teach h.s.). I looked into it. My experience with education has been - give it 5 years and all of these teachers will be cut again and the cycle will repeat itself.

I already HAVE a master's in ESL and I SPEAK SPANISH (a little). I still doubt they would even consider hiring me. I would love to move and make a better salary. Plus, there's probably more to do in California than Alabama anyway. I just doubt my teaching ability quite a bit, though.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 03:55:17 PM
If you constantly compare your life to college, it's going to be a tough ride. 

TRUTH.

College is adulting for beginners. It's normal and natural to miss it; I think everyone I know has had some kind of minor (or major, in a few cases) breakdown in their mid-to-late 20s when it really hits home that you're not going to be automatically shuffled along to the next group organized by age, you're not going to be given further guidance without asking, and this whole business of being an adult is AWFUL.

Stop being afraid of making mistakes. You don't accomplish anything good in life without (messing) up constantly for a while.

"Take chances, make mistakes, get messy..." ---Valarie Frizzle (Scholastic's Magic School Bus)

I get it, but I need to get started on actually getting out there and making mistakes. This playing it safe business is not for me. I constantly daydream about bigger and better things, and I think it gets in the way of the accomplishments I could make. I just feel more comfortable doing something with a group. I guess it's that herd mentality most humans adopt as children. I'm not a farm animal, though, and I would be willing to commit to something if I could only find two or three other people who are interested, too. I don't want to fall victim to any get rich quick schemes, but I'm having trouble accepting this slower pace. I'm really not comfortable just doing the same thing year after year. 

Now, I fully plan to save as much as I can or at least a lot more than I've been saving, because it will help me keep much better track of my money. As it stands, it's gone to pizza, burgers, and spur-of-the-moment purchases, some somewhat justifiable (like books for the kids) and some totally not, like a new skirt for $60. Some of these frugal lifestyle changes will also give me more fun hobbies, like perhaps sewing.

I think most of my wanting to go back to college is about not wanting to get old. I know I get older each year, but I feel strangely productive in school; it's like belonging to a cool club. Plus, there are some things I genuinely want to learn, but, ironically, even though I have a master's in Education I feel like teaching myself anything would be a daunting task; I have trouble finding the resources and breaking the lessons into manageable chunks, for one thing. I have no idea why I have so much trouble with this, and, oddly, it's one reason I pursued a teaching degree. I thought surely that curriculum design would have been part of the coursework, but that wasn't the case. I still view teaching myself as a difficult task, especially when I have no one to learn with.


Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 04:07:15 PM
I think there's another elephant in the room that I neglected to mention in this thread. I got diagnosed at a student clinic, not by an actual doctor, with ASD, so my passions may be in fields that require great communication skills, but that's because I have and have had since I was a child, communication issues, issues that I badly want to overcome. At this age, I want to achieve the goals I've always wanted or work until I die trying, but if I want to accomplish anything, I need to make my goals more realistic and that means taking my limitations into consideration.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: little_brown_dog on January 15, 2016, 04:10:32 PM
Know that you are not alone in this feeling. We are trained from preschool on to always know where we are going. We become addicted to accomplishing measurable goals – grades, college acceptances, cum laude status, grad school, employment….and then, what? That’s it? We are stuck at employment? Sure promotions and job switches help keep things interesting, but it certainly isn’t the same as the linear progress we learned to crave while in school. Every single 20 something has felt this way at some point, and this is the feeling that always precedes really dumb decisions like going back to get yet another degree with more loans, or marrying someone you are just meh about because you are eager for the next step/phase in life. Heed the advice on here. Slow is not bad. The fact that you are uncomfortable with it means this is exactly the pace you need to be at to reorient yourself.
There are a million ways to add novelty to your life, switching careers is just one of them (and one of the most risky). Try new exercises or recipes each week. If you aren't partnered up force yourself to join online dating just for the hell of it and make yourself go on a bunch of dates. As others mentioned, volunteer. Your options really are only limited by your attitude and the fear of trying something new.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: lbmustache on January 15, 2016, 04:26:29 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.

Same with Riverside county in California, where starting you can $50K+.

I am SO skeptical of this stuff. Teacher shortage. Everyone panics. Major hiring ensues. Orange County is doing the same thing - they are short teachers, and are even offering to pay for your credential while you teach (I have an M.A., so can teach college, but no credential to teach h.s.). I looked into it. My experience with education has been - give it 5 years and all of these teachers will be cut again and the cycle will repeat itself.

I already HAVE a master's in ESL and I SPEAK SPANISH (a little). I still doubt they would even consider hiring me. I would love to move and make a better salary. Plus, there's probably more to do in California than Alabama anyway. I just doubt my teaching ability quite a bit, though.

With a Master's you can teach college. They just make sure you have a master's degree, ask for your teaching philosophy, and you're more or less on your way. I started teaching college when I was 21 - so my students were pretty much my age or even older. Zero experience. Teaching public speaking. :P You only gain experience through practice and putting yourself through uncomfortable situations.

"A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor." ;)
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 04:59:13 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.

Same with Riverside county in California, where starting you can $50K+.

I am SO skeptical of this stuff. Teacher shortage. Everyone panics. Major hiring ensues. Orange County is doing the same thing - they are short teachers, and are even offering to pay for your credential while you teach (I have an M.A., so can teach college, but no credential to teach h.s.). I looked into it. My experience with education has been - give it 5 years and all of these teachers will be cut again and the cycle will repeat itself.

I already HAVE a master's in ESL and I SPEAK SPANISH (a little). I still doubt they would even consider hiring me. I would love to move and make a better salary. Plus, there's probably more to do in California than Alabama anyway. I just doubt my teaching ability quite a bit, though.

With a Master's you can teach college. They just make sure you have a master's degree, ask for your teaching philosophy, and you're more or less on your way. I started teaching college when I was 21 - so my students were pretty much my age or even older. Zero experience. Teaching public speaking. :P You only gain experience through practice and putting yourself through uncomfortable situations.

"A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor." ;)

I really think a lot of those jobs, including teaching, require above average social skills. Perhaps that's where ASD is my greatest hindrance. In theory, I do have enough education to be an instructor at a college, but do I have the personality for it? That matters on a job interview. I want to look into it, though. Maybe one or two closed doors doesn't mean they are all closed.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 05:36:26 PM
I really like the idea of riding a bike to work just for the exercise and fun of it, but does anyone have good suggestions for riding a bike in heavy traffic? I know I would need to order signaling equipment and headlights, and I would need to wear a helmet, but I also have concerns not related to visibility, such as not slowing traffic on my way back from work and keeping my shiny bicycle from getting stolen at work. I work at a detention center, you know. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: lbmustache on January 15, 2016, 05:57:02 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.

Same with Riverside county in California, where starting you can $50K+.

I am SO skeptical of this stuff. Teacher shortage. Everyone panics. Major hiring ensues. Orange County is doing the same thing - they are short teachers, and are even offering to pay for your credential while you teach (I have an M.A., so can teach college, but no credential to teach h.s.). I looked into it. My experience with education has been - give it 5 years and all of these teachers will be cut again and the cycle will repeat itself.

I already HAVE a master's in ESL and I SPEAK SPANISH (a little). I still doubt they would even consider hiring me. I would love to move and make a better salary. Plus, there's probably more to do in California than Alabama anyway. I just doubt my teaching ability quite a bit, though.

With a Master's you can teach college. They just make sure you have a master's degree, ask for your teaching philosophy, and you're more or less on your way. I started teaching college when I was 21 - so my students were pretty much my age or even older. Zero experience. Teaching public speaking. :P You only gain experience through practice and putting yourself through uncomfortable situations.

"A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor." ;)

I really think a lot of those jobs, including teaching, require above average social skills. Perhaps that's where ASD is my greatest hindrance. In theory, I do have enough education to be an instructor at a college, but do I have the personality for it? That matters on a job interview. I want to look into it, though. Maybe one or two closed doors doesn't mean they are all closed.

Forgive me, but I got lost somewhere. You teach currently, yes? You have a degree in Education, which you admitted was basically a straight path to teaching? And you want to go back to school for a language to teach ESL (more than what you currently teach)?

I am not trying to minimize ASD or anything like that but why are you suddenly shooting down teaching?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 15, 2016, 06:06:09 PM

Forgive me, but I got lost somewhere. You teach currently, yes? You have a degree in Education, which you admitted was basically a straight path to teaching? And you want to go back to school for a language to teach ESL (more than what you currently teach)?

I am not trying to minimize ASD or anything like that but why are you suddenly shooting down teaching?

It was VERY difficult for me to find a teaching position. I got many interviews, but I consider myself lucky that I finally found this one. Most of my interviews, including in high need areas, yielded few results, and my substitute teaching experience was a record of disaster. I'm beginning to understand that it wasn't all my fault, though, but ASD, I feel, has impeded my ability to manage an inclusion classroom, and if my potential employers found out I was a high-functioning autistic, they would probably not even consider me. The communication issues that come along with this disorder lend to a pretty poor skill set for teaching kids. Now, college may be another story, though.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: mozar on January 15, 2016, 07:00:06 PM
Quote
I could do a language exchange with any of my students to gain enhanced language proficiency, but I'm likely not going to do that, because it's not something I should be doing and I wouldn't feel confident enough to try to communicate with them without being afraid of making mistakes. Learning it in school provides an easier more accepting atmosphere to practice.

Trying things that you don't feel confident about is exactly how you become confident.

I think you need to get a formal diagnosis of ASD. Then you can access more types of help, government etc. Disability is protected, meaning that you can't be discriminated against for it in hiring and firing and your employer will be required to provide accommodation. If you start speaking openly about ASD employers might even admire your drive. And being disabled is not something to be ashamed of. It's merely a label (a poor one) that entitles you to more support. People fought for this label!
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: former player on January 15, 2016, 11:30:50 PM
If you are getting "many interviews" that is a clear indication that your paper qualifications are not the problem, which means that more school is not the answer.  Which is good news.

Honestly, I think substitute teaching is a miserable way into the teaching profession, because you don't have the automatic authority of being a staff teacher, you don't have the opportunity to develop settled a relationship with a class, you don't have the opportunity to work out your own coherent implementation of the curriculum, and you are working against the relationships and curriculum established by another teacher in ways which are highly likely to be antithetical to the ways in which you would have done it.  So don't beat yourself up too badly about substitute teaching not being for you when you started out as a teacher.

You say that your current job is not heavy on hours.  Use the time and energy it leaves you to spare to work out how to do your current job better and better, and to get better and better results from your students.  That will give you knowledge, experience and success to build on.  That will come across in interviews, and get you better jobs.  Rinse and repeat until you have reached the level you are content with.

Good luck.

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 02:44:50 AM
You say that your current job is not heavy on hours.  Use the time and energy it leaves you to spare to work out how to do your current job better and better, and to get better and better results from your students.  That will give you knowledge, experience and success to build on.  That will come across in interviews, and get you better jobs.  Rinse and repeat until you have reached the level you are content with.

Good luck.

How can I improve on anything without being taught?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 04:13:49 AM
Wow,

I looked over my bank statements and discovered I made over $600 of unnecessary purchases in a month's time--mostly clothes and food. No, this is going to stop right now. I'm planning to skim off $600 from my next paycheck and invest it in a CD or something meaningful. It makes zero sense for me to throw away that much money every month.  I wasn't doing it when I didn't have it, so I don't need to do it now.

Plus, due to an accident on the school's part, all of the teachers were off for three days with pay. My sub license is active, so I actually could have worked for other schools during those three days I wasn't required to show up to work and could have made double the money for those days. I guess I just haven't been thinking.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: former player on January 16, 2016, 04:15:05 AM
You say that your current job is not heavy on hours.  Use the time and energy it leaves you to spare to work out how to do your current job better and better, and to get better and better results from your students.  That will give you knowledge, experience and success to build on.  That will come across in interviews, and get you better jobs.  Rinse and repeat until you have reached the level you are content with.

Good luck.

How can I improve on anything without being taught?
By teaching yourself.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 04:21:27 AM

By teaching yourself.

I agree, but that's actually difficult for me. This is going to sound silly, but no one ever taught me how to do that. I'm also bad at teaching myself to teach myself.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: former player on January 16, 2016, 04:24:07 AM
That's understandable, but you are clever and I bet if you think about it and work at it, applying the professional knowledge you've already got to the problem, that you can get there.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 04:38:00 AM
That's understandable, but you are clever and I bet if you think about it and work at it, applying the professional knowledge you've already got to the problem, that you can get there.

I certainly could, but one of my problems is time management. I don't even know where to get started in the planning process, so I waste a lot of time and accomplish very little.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Jakejake on January 16, 2016, 06:55:43 AM

By teaching yourself.

I agree, but that's actually difficult for me. This is going to sound silly, but no one ever taught me how to do that. I'm also bad at teaching myself to teach myself.
This is probably the most interesting post in the thread to me - I think it gets to the core of the problem. And it sounds like a great challenge to tackle because it's such a huge step in self-sufficiency.

I would pick one thing you want to learn and brainstorm how you could learn it without paying to take a class on it.  On a ridiculously tiny level, let's say you've never made a smoothie before, without taking a cooking class, what are two ways you could figure out how to do it?

That's pretty easy, but take that thought process, and apply it to the next thing you want to learn.

And when you are teaching, whenever possible, ask your students to do that as well. For example, if you are teaching ESL, ask them: Outside of class, what are some ways you could improve your English skills? See how many things they can come up with. It's a great exercise for them (teaching them to teach themselves) and also you see how many of the ideas they come up with can also be useful for you if you are trying to master another language.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: gaja on January 16, 2016, 08:42:44 AM
Well, in theory, I have ample opportunities to learn new languages, because I teach ESL and have several speakers of French, a few in Spanish, and a handful of Farsi speakers. In theory, I could do a language exchange with any of my students to gain enhanced language proficiency, but I'm likely not going to do that, because it's not something I should be doing and I wouldn't feel confident enough to try to communicate with them without being afraid of making mistakes. Learning it in school provides an easier more accepting atmosphere to practice. The language teachers and tutors are great, and many of them are native speakers. Plus, I just miss the other aspects of college life, like the free counseling and discounted everything. The bus pass was only $20, not $40. I could rent a bicycle, write for the paper, start a student club, etc. in addition to going to classes. I had ample opportunity to feel productive as a student, as an adult, not so much. My teaching jobs only take up a few hours of my day, and I feel like I haven't helped anyone at the end of it. There's so much I still want to learn.

I love learning new stuff, and I love the university atmosphere. I even enjoy taking exams. That is why my FIRE plans include going back to uni. We don't have tuition costs here, except $50 student administration fee, so if I have enough to cover living expences, the sky would be the limit to how many degrees I could earn. But to reach this goal faster, and make the experience even more fulfilling, I'm considering getting a sign language and writing interpreter licence. That way I can follow a deaf or HOH student to his/her classes, help them out, and learn a lot while doing it. Recording audio textbooks for blind and dyslexic students is also a very good way to learn while working.

We might have similar dreams, kmb501, the difference is that I have a plan. I already have 20 years of school (age 7 to 26). Now I'm approaching 10 years of job/marriage/kids. Based on my grandparents, I'll probably live to 100, but the last 10 years dementia will hit. So I need to make the most of the next 55 years. If we spend the next 5 years paying down all debt and adding to the savings accounts, including getting rid of the mortgage, we can afford DH staying at home and me working part time as an interpreter. Yes, I'll be 40 yo, but I will not even be half way through life.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 10:15:45 AM
Perhaps it's not very realistic, but it's better than just sitting around and dreaming about what could be.

Veterinary medicine, law, foreign language, and computer programming are all careers that could take me far. I could probably work for anyone, and  I wouldn't be bound to one place. Teaching, except maybe private tutoring, is not a very lucrative career, and I wasn't concerned about money at first, but now I sort of am, because I would like to be able to pay off my student loan debt without going hungry. I would also just like more flexibility with my options in life.
Title: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 16, 2016, 11:01:24 AM
When I was a child, my dream was to be a translator. I enjoyed writing. Public speaking was fun. I am an extrovert. I like tests. I got an undergraduate degree in English and an MBA in Finance, and then a bunch of professional designations. I spent my career translating technical concepts for laypeople, first as a financial planner, then as a pension consultant. I also did quite a bit of writing and speaking in my field. In other words, I found jobs that fit what I liked to do and what I was good at.  I had fun (well, for the most part) and made good money at the same time.

My question for you is: what are those things for you? What do you like to do? What are you good at? If you don't know the answers, you need to find them. You could start with What Color is Your Parachute, which is almost certainly at your local library.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: mozar on January 16, 2016, 12:28:11 PM
What color is your parachute:
http://www.joycenter.net/wp-content/uploads/parachute2012.pdf

Books on teaching:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/antwaunsargent/books-that-will-make-you-a-better-teacher#.ovqXRbm27

ESL curriculum design
http://esl.about.com/od/esleflteachertraining/a/t_enonpro2.htm

I'm also bad at teaching myself to teach myself, but no one is born with that skill. I've learned through reading books.

Quote
Veterinary medicine, law, foreign language, and computer programming are all careers that could take me far. I could probably work for anyone

You think these jobs will fix everything, but it will take much more work to get there. You don't just go to school and voila someone gives you a really high salary. No matter what profession you are in you have to teach yourself, communicate well, try hard things, and be social. One reason I went into accounting was because I though I wouldn't have to talk to people, but talking to people is 40% of the job.
It turns out you can't get the big bucks without major social skills.
Teaching may not be lucrative but you do have a lot of options. Honesty I don't think you could handle law or computer programming at least not without getting help with ASD.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: lbmustache on January 16, 2016, 12:56:04 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.

Yeah, I think we're all noticing that you operate from the gut, rather than reason. You seem like your response to being lost in the woods would be to run in some direction, ANY direction, rather than to sit still a moment to try to get your bearings and figure out which direction would be best.

At heart, I think what everyone here is telling you-- in one way or another-- is to STOP DOING THAT, because a) that's what got you into trouble in the first place, b) it is prone to getting you into more trouble, and c) it is not, in any way, shape, or fashion, going to be helpful in getting you OUT of trouble. You feel like, because you have a big problem, you need to solve it with something equally big! and fast! because it sucks to feel like this! This is not the case.

Consider what you were talking about when you said "I end up being uncomfortable and actually spending MORE"-- because learning to deal with discomfort without throwing money at it is at the heart of the philosophy around here. We use relatively mild discomfort (OH NO I CANNOT WATCH THE TV SHOW I WANT IMMEDIATELY / OH NO I HAVE TO MAKE MY OWN DINNER) as a tool to inoculate ourselves against things that are actually hard and bad. Think of it as curated discomfort-- a specific set of discomforts selected to increase your satisfaction in life, and your confidence, and your joy by learning to overcome them.

We live in a culture that is terrified of boredom and terrified of discomfort. We are no longer encouraged to entertain ourselves or to toughen up; we're encouraged to buy things that will solve the immediate problem, although at the cost of never letting us learn how to deal with it ourselves and never letting us learn patience by having to wait for things.

What we are telling you is to be still for a moment and just sort of sit with the discomfort. Sit with the discomfort of being $100K in debt. Sit with the discomfort of being dissatisfied with what you are doing. Sit with the discomfort of not having everything you want RIGHT NOW. Don't berate yourself for it, don't flail around for ways to fix it as fast as possible, just hang out with these discomforts and let them exist.

Then start making changes. Not drastic ones; we are asking you to start making your own smoothies, not OMG MUST SOLVE ENTIRE PROBLEM RIGHT NOW. The point here is to grow as a person, and, by doing so, transform your financial situation.

Going to school to solve your problems is a solution that you're comfortable with, but honestly it ain't all that. Employers are more impressed by "I am fluent in Spanish after living in Mexico for three years" than "I went to school to learn Spanish and I have a degree to prove it!", because the first indicates that you're a badass who can brave the confusion and discomfort of learning another language through use in the field, while the other indicates that you are comfortable with learning things in a classroom setting and writing papers.

Get comfortable with discomfort, delayed reward, and inconvenience. Start by making your own smoothies.

I am quoting this again because it still applies. You are still looking towards bandaids to fix your problem. Going back to school will just add to your debt and not fix any of the problems you are mentioning here.

How to teach yourself? "Make mistakes, get messy." Watch youtube videos. Read a book. I just installed under cabinet lighting and took half my kitchen apart. Did I go to school for any of this? No. I have a degree in Communication, not home improvement. Never even took home ec or whatever the class is called. I went to Home Depot, looked at some reviews, bought a drill that was rated well, and the drill bits I needed, and went to work. Watched some youtube videos and read some forum posts. Everything has turned out okay so far.

You cite communication skills as a problem holding you back in your current career. Do you think these communication skills are not necessary for professions in: veterinary medicine, law, foreign language? (maybe not for computer programming - ha ha don't kill me computer programmers :)

I agree, do the what color is your parachute thing, maybe even a Myers-Brigg test. It will give you a clearer idea of what skills you possess and what careers would be suited to your personality type.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 02:09:30 PM
I'm reading What Color is Your Parachute? now. Thank you. You've all given me some great information.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: gaja on January 16, 2016, 02:30:27 PM
Perhaps it's not very realistic, but it's better than just sitting around and dreaming about what could be.

Unrealistic plans are the same as dreams. Except they can do major damage if you try to implement them.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 03:19:11 PM
Mustachians,

I do think going back to school for additional math or science (including computer science) training is a very good idea. Here is my rationale. Math, science, and foreign language teachers are in high demand in this area. Additional certification in these fields would mean that I would be able to choose from a pretty wide job pool. I would also have more luck as a private tutor.

The question is, though, is there a way for me to go back to school without deferring my loans? I plan to pay for my classes out of pocket, but, unless I misunderstood, my lender said that my loans would go back into deferment if I went back to school. I wonder if there is an option for me to keep my loans in repayment, even if I go back to school part-time? 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 16, 2016, 03:35:10 PM
Math, science, computer science. Do you like any of these subject areas? Did you get good grades in them? Do you read science books and do math puzzles for fun? Have you ever written an app just to see if you could? STEM people tend to have minds that work in a certain way. Does your mind work that way?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 03:38:20 PM
Math, science, computer science. Do you like any of these subject areas? Did you get good grades in them? Do you read science books and do math puzzles for fun? Have you ever written an app just to see if you could? STEM people tend to have minds that work in a certain way. Does your mind work that way?


I love languages quite a bit, and, although I'm not the best math student, I love reading about new scientific discoveries and love learning about animals, plants, and elements. I would need a bit of guidance to develop an app or learn really heavy math-related stuff.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 03:51:42 PM
Yikes! The more I think about it, the less appealing going back to school looks to me. Tuition and fees have climbed pretty high. The university I was considering now charges around $400-$500 per credit hour--that's about $1200-$1500 per class, not including miscellaneous fees. Wow...I should have signed up when the cost was lower.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: mozar on January 16, 2016, 03:58:10 PM
Quote
I do think going back to school for additional math or science

Stop thinking that school is going to answer your problems. Your plans are too vague. See how you can turn your ESL experience into a better job. You already have a masters.

Here is a website that can help you ascertain your proficiency.
https://www.khanacademy.org/
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Kris on January 16, 2016, 04:01:59 PM
Quote
I do think going back to school for additional math or science

Stop thinking that school is going to answer your problems. Your plans are too vague. See how you can turn your ESL experience into a better job. You already have a masters.

Here is a website that can help you ascertain your proficiency.
https://www.khanacademy.org/

I agree.

Want to get better in a language? Get a job abroad as an English teacher, in a country that speaks the language you want to learn.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 16, 2016, 04:04:24 PM

Quote
I do think going back to school for additional math or science

Stop thinking that school is going to answer your problems. Your plans are too vague. See how you can turn your ESL experience into a better job. You already have a masters.

Here is a website that can help you ascertain your proficiency.
https://www.khanacademy.org/

I agree.

Want to get better in a language? Get a job abroad as an English teacher, in a country that speaks the language you want to learn.

This is a very good idea.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 04:25:42 PM
I'm definitely not against teaching abroad, but my second job should provide me with leads to teaching abroad opportunities, and, so far, it hasn't done so, but most of the European countries aren't looking for fresh teachers, at least not on the websites I've visited. Plus, since I already have two decent teaching jobs, wouldn't it make sense to look for online ESL teaching opportunities or paid language exchanges? That way, I would not only be getting language practice, but I would be getting paid on top of it. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Kris on January 16, 2016, 04:27:14 PM
I'm definitely not against teaching abroad, but my second job should provide me with leads to teaching abroad opportunities, and, so far, it hasn't done so, but most of the European countries aren't looking for fresh teachers, at least not on the websites I've visited. Plus, since I already have two decent teaching jobs, wouldn't it make sense to look for online ESL teaching opportunities or paid language exchanges? That way, I would not only be getting language practice, but I would be getting paid on top of it.

What language do you want to speak fluently?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 04:28:55 PM


What language do you want to speak fluently?

Spanish, French, and Farsi...

I already know a fair amount of Spanish, but I'm not fluent; I have trouble with verb conjugations and spelling.

My French is not so great and sometimes gets confused with my Spanish...

I don't know many words in Farsi...
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 05:09:23 PM

By teaching yourself.

I agree, but that's actually difficult for me. This is going to sound silly, but no one ever taught me how to do that. I'm also bad at teaching myself to teach myself.
This is probably the most interesting post in the thread to me - I think it gets to the core of the problem. And it sounds like a great challenge to tackle because it's such a huge step in self-sufficiency.

I would pick one thing you want to learn and brainstorm how you could learn it without paying to take a class on it.  On a ridiculously tiny level, let's say you've never made a smoothie before, without taking a cooking class, what are two ways you could figure out how to do it?

That's pretty easy, but take that thought process, and apply it to the next thing you want to learn.

And when you are teaching, whenever possible, ask your students to do that as well. For example, if you are teaching ESL, ask them: Outside of class, what are some ways you could improve your English skills? See how many things they can come up with. It's a great exercise for them (teaching them to teach themselves) and also you see how many of the ideas they come up with can also be useful for you if you are trying to master another language.

Languages--without taking a class, I could get a textbook, look up a syllabus online (for pacing information), and advertise on Craigslist for a language exchange partner. I could also Google YouTube videos, possibly the news, with captions or accompanying transcripts in that language. I could also, with the help Google Translate, keep a journal in that language with information about my progress. I could also sign up and practice my pronunciation on free sites like Duo Lingo and Live Mocha. It would be a little slow at first, but after a while I might catch on and start being able to have decent conversations in my new language. Now, all I need is a conversation partner and a decent textbook.

Math--I could practice basic math on Khan Academy, take a look at the course requirements for a teaching certificate in math, purchase a textbook from Amazon, work through the problems and check the answers in the back of the book, use Google to look up real-world examples of the problems, and find sample Praxis math tests. I could also hire a tutor to work with me on studying for the math Praxis.

Science--Again, it would be beneficial to look online for a list of course requirements, buy or rent the textbooks, download a syllabus outlining what I need to study, watch videos outlining the subjects, Google practice Praxis tests, buy a Praxis test prep book, and hire a science major as a tutor if I'm not sure of myself.

Computer Programming--my best bet, I think, would be to approach it as I've approached the other tasks above, except I think I need to find an apprenticeship in the area to really feel confident I know what I'm doing.

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 05:50:53 PM
Thanks for those books on teaching.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Kris on January 16, 2016, 05:53:55 PM


What language do you want to speak fluently?

Spanish, French, and Farsi...

I already know a fair amount of Spanish, but I'm not fluent; I have trouble with verb conjugations and spelling.

My French is not so great and sometimes gets confused with my Spanish...

I don't know many words in Farsi...

Choos one.

Which one?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Kris on January 16, 2016, 05:55:29 PM

By teaching yourself.

I agree, but that's actually difficult for me. This is going to sound silly, but no one ever taught me how to do that. I'm also bad at teaching myself to teach myself.
This is probably the most interesting post in the thread to me - I think it gets to the core of the problem. And it sounds like a great challenge to tackle because it's such a huge step in self-sufficiency.

I would pick one thing you want to learn and brainstorm how you could learn it without paying to take a class on it.  On a ridiculously tiny level, let's say you've never made a smoothie before, without taking a cooking class, what are two ways you could figure out how to do it?

That's pretty easy, but take that thought process, and apply it to the next thing you want to learn.

And when you are teaching, whenever possible, ask your students to do that as well. For example, if you are teaching ESL, ask them: Outside of class, what are some ways you could improve your English skills? See how many things they can come up with. It's a great exercise for them (teaching them to teach themselves) and also you see how many of the ideas they come up with can also be useful for you if you are trying to master another language.

Languages--without taking a class, I could get a textbook, look up a syllabus online (for pacing information), and advertise on Craigslist for a language exchange partner. I could also Google YouTube videos, possibly the news, with captions or accompanying transcripts in that language. I could also, with the help Google Translate, keep a journal in that language with information about my progress. I could also sign up and practice my pronunciation on free sites like Duo Lingo and Live Mocha. It would be a little slow at first, but after a while I might catch on and start being able to have decent conversations in my new language. Now, all I need is a conversation partner and a decent textbook.

Math--I could practice basic math on Khan Academy, take a look at the course requirements for a teaching certificate in math, purchase a textbook from Amazon, work through the problems and check the answers in the back of the book, use Google to look up real-world examples of the problems, and find sample Praxis math tests. I could also hire a tutor to work with me on studying for the math Praxis.

Science--Again, it would be beneficial to look online for a list of course requirements, buy or rent the textbooks, download a syllabus outlining what I need to study, watch videos outlining the subjects, Google practice Praxis tests, buy a Praxis test prep book, and hire a science major as a tutor if I'm not sure of myself.

Computer Programming--my best bet, I think, would be to approach it as I've approached the other tasks above, except I think I need to find an apprenticeship in the area to really feel confident I know what I'm doing.

Are you doing any -- ANY -- of this right now?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 16, 2016, 05:58:33 PM
https://www.teachaway.com
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 05:58:46 PM


Choos one.

Which one?

I'll go with Spanish for now. It's the language I know the most of. I'm just not fluent.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Kris on January 16, 2016, 06:08:34 PM


Choos one.

Which one?

I'll go with Spanish for now. It's the language I know the most of. I'm just not fluent.

Then here. Choose a Spanish speaking country.

https://www.interexchange.org/travel-abroad/teach-english/
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 06:17:06 PM


Choos one.

Which one?

I'll go with Spanish for now. It's the language I know the most of. I'm just not fluent.

Then here. Choose a Spanish speaking country.

https://www.interexchange.org/travel-abroad/teach-english/

Wow, I should have applied for some of this while I was in college. It sounds like a cool idea.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Kris on January 16, 2016, 06:18:02 PM


Choos one.

Which one?

I'll go with Spanish for now. It's the language I know the most of. I'm just not fluent.

Then here. Choose a Spanish speaking country.

https://www.interexchange.org/travel-abroad/teach-english/

Wow, I should have applied for some of this while I was in college. The study abroad department wasn't really a lot of help.

So do it now.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 06:20:04 PM
https://www.teachaway.com

Some of these are offering free accommodation and a decent salary. I think I'm going to apply and see what I come up with. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 16, 2016, 06:20:55 PM
Go for it!
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 06:43:31 PM
Okay,

I applied. I hope they call me back...
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 16, 2016, 06:46:13 PM
If not there are many similar programs.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 16, 2016, 06:48:55 PM
http://www.gooverseas.com/teach-abroad
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 16, 2016, 06:51:52 PM
Thanks for posting the links. The only ones I was aware of before were TeachAway and Dave's ESL Cafe.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 17, 2016, 06:25:56 AM
In other news, I found a $500-$600 hole in my budget (spent mostly on clothes and dinner out, shamefully), and I'm planning to plug it by skimming that amount off of every paycheck I get and investing it into a high-yield savings account or saving toward something I feel like I need or want, like land, property to rent out, a good car, or more school (after I've figured out what I want to do). I also plan to make the necessary lifestyle changes to accommodate the new budget, like making my own food and freezing it for when I need it, getting more exercise via taking a bike to my primary and second job and using the car as little as possible, getting the car fixed so that it is able to be sold, and maybe even learning how to make my own work clothes (although that will take time and patience. I did sign up for a sewing class, though. I did that before posting my concerns here, and it was only $30.)

I've also found local opportunities for language exchanges in both Spanish and French, so perhaps I'm on my way to meeting my goals.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Jakejake on January 17, 2016, 08:18:54 AM
Excellent job on finding the budget hole!

Maybe you answered this and I missed it, but are all your student loans going to be forgiven? If not, how much will be forgiven, and how much will you need to pay back?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: lbmustache on January 17, 2016, 12:55:17 PM
In other news, I found a $500-$600 hole in my budget (spent mostly on clothes and dinner out, shamefully), and I'm planning to plug it by skimming that amount off of every paycheck I get and investing it into a high-yield savings account or saving toward something I feel like I need or want, like land, property to rent out, a good car, or more school (after I've figured out what I want to do). I also plan to make the necessary lifestyle changes to accommodate the new budget, like making my own food and freezing it for when I need it, getting more exercise via taking a bike to my primary and second job and using the car as little as possible, getting the car fixed so that it is able to be sold, and maybe even learning how to make my own work clothes (although that will take time and patience. I did sign up for a sewing class, though. I did that before posting my concerns here, and it was only $30.)

I've also found local opportunities for language exchanges in both Spanish and French, so perhaps I'm on my way to meeting my goals.

Sounds like you're getting on track, good work!
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: mozar on January 17, 2016, 02:23:46 PM
Woohoo! Sewing your own clothes won't save you money though.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 17, 2016, 02:40:52 PM
Woohoo! Sewing your own clothes won't save you money though.


I agree that the clearance racks have a lot of good items, but knowing how to sew might help me save money if I learn how to re-purpose old garments, hand-me-downs, and clothing from the thrift store. It also might help me save on having clothing tailored, as I should be able to do it myself after I learn how. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 17, 2016, 02:48:42 PM
Excellent job on finding the budget hole!

Maybe you answered this and I missed it, but are all your student loans going to be forgiven? If not, how much will be forgiven, and how much will you need to pay back?

From what I understand, all of my loans are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. They're all federal loans. Some are subsidized, but a large portion of them are unsubsidized. I'm guessing the accrual of interest while I was in college is the reason my balance is so high now...
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: cats on January 17, 2016, 03:22:48 PM
Mustachians,

I do think going back to school for additional math or science (including computer science) training is a very good idea. Here is my rationale. Math, science, and foreign language teachers are in high demand in this area. Additional certification in these fields would mean that I would be able to choose from a pretty wide job pool. I would also have more luck as a private tutor.

The question is, though, is there a way for me to go back to school without deferring my loans? I plan to pay for my classes out of pocket, but, unless I misunderstood, my lender said that my loans would go back into deferment if I went back to school. I wonder if there is an option for me to keep my loans in repayment, even if I go back to school part-time?

When I went back to school for my master's, I would have had to specifically request that my loans go back into deferment--it was not automatic.  Granted, my loan amount was much smaller than what you were dealing with, so I wasn't really too fussed about whether or not they were in deferment--the minimum monthly payment was totally manageable on my grad student stipend so I just kept throwing money at them.  So I think you might want to check the fine print of your loan and figure out if you would automatically go back into deferment or if it's something you would have to request.  In general, deferment is offered as a "benefit" so that people don't have to worry about making loan payments while they're in school.  If you were to work and attend school part-time, I don't see that you would necessarily need to go into deferment, as long as you could keep making minimum payments on your loans.

If math/science/foreign language teachers are in high demand in your area, have you looked into whether or not you need actual coursework beyond your teaching certification?  I briefly looked into teaching a while back and it seemed like if you really were looking for a job in a high demand subject, there was some flexibility with regards to qualifications (though I had the opposite situation to you, lots of math/science but no teaching certification).  If a school district is desperate enough and you can convince them you have enough qualifications to be worth investing in, they may also have some options for helping you with getting additional qualifications.  How much work have you put in with regards to speaking to school principals (or whoever does the hiring) and asking "would you have a job opening for me?  If not, is it because of my qualifications, and what additional qualifications would get me a job here?".  Right now it seems like you have an idea that certain teaching jobs are more lucrative but it's not clear that you have gotten any further than the general idea stage.  You need to be further along before you sink more money into coursework.

And, if you are thinking of doing additional foreign language work, you will benefit much more from classes if you are also making an effort to learn on your own, so definitely use some of the suggestions you've been given here! 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 17, 2016, 03:32:31 PM
Mustachians,

I do think going back to school for additional math or science (including computer science) training is a very good idea. Here is my rationale. Math, science, and foreign language teachers are in high demand in this area. Additional certification in these fields would mean that I would be able to choose from a pretty wide job pool. I would also have more luck as a private tutor.

The question is, though, is there a way for me to go back to school without deferring my loans? I plan to pay for my classes out of pocket, but, unless I misunderstood, my lender said that my loans would go back into deferment if I went back to school. I wonder if there is an option for me to keep my loans in repayment, even if I go back to school part-time?

When I went back to school for my master's, I would have had to specifically request that my loans go back into deferment--it was not automatic.  Granted, my loan amount was much smaller than what you were dealing with, so I wasn't really too fussed about whether or not they were in deferment--the minimum monthly payment was totally manageable on my grad student stipend so I just kept throwing money at them.  So I think you might want to check the fine print of your loan and figure out if you would automatically go back into deferment or if it's something you would have to request.  In general, deferment is offered as a "benefit" so that people don't have to worry about making loan payments while they're in school.  If you were to work and attend school part-time, I don't see that you would necessarily need to go into deferment, as long as you could keep making minimum payments on your loans.

If math/science/foreign language teachers are in high demand in your area, have you looked into whether or not you need actual coursework beyond your teaching certification?  I briefly looked into teaching a while back and it seemed like if you really were looking for a job in a high demand subject, there was some flexibility with regards to qualifications (though I had the opposite situation to you, lots of math/science but no teaching certification).  If a school district is desperate enough and you can convince them you have enough qualifications to be worth investing in, they may also have some options for helping you with getting additional qualifications.  How much work have you put in with regards to speaking to school principals (or whoever does the hiring) and asking "would you have a job opening for me?  If not, is it because of my qualifications, and what additional qualifications would get me a job here?".  Right now it seems like you have an idea that certain teaching jobs are more lucrative but it's not clear that you have gotten any further than the general idea stage.  You need to be further along before you sink more money into coursework.

And, if you are thinking of doing additional foreign language work, you will benefit much more from classes if you are also making an effort to learn on your own, so definitely use some of the suggestions you've been given here!

I have inquired, and they require math and science coursework, but they don't necessarily require a teaching license, as you have the option of earning that while you work. It can't be done the other way around, though, without good scores on the Praxis for those subjects and a minimum level of coursework. Right now, I only have about 8 hours of coursework in math and about 12 in science, no where near the 30-40 hours required.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: cats on January 17, 2016, 05:10:41 PM
Well okay, how about foreign language, since it sounds like that's something you probably have a good start on, and that is (I think) easier to self-teach?  If you have an ESL certification and can hit a certain level on the praxis exam, would you be a candidate for a foreign language teaching position, or do they really want to see coursework?  And if they want to see coursework, are you looking at just a couple additional courses, or several semesters of full-time coursework? 

Also, I know you have said that you looked into teaching abroad in Europe and it didn't seem to be a good option, how would you feel about Japan?  I know several people who have gone to Japan for a couple of years to teach English through the JET program.  Not sure how well it pays but they did all come back with a decent grasp of Japanese.

I also wouldn't 100% rule out the Middle East if I were you.  I had a teacher who had spent time teaching in the Middle East and he said that if you were willing to basically stay in the compound for foreign employees, a lot of the crazy restrictions on lifestyle were not as much of an issue as you might think from what's presented in the news.  Obviously for a woman it might still feel too restrictive, but for a year or two of astronomical salary it might be worth at least evaluating whether or not there are more westernized/permissive countries that you could manage in.  India might also be worth looking into?
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 17, 2016, 05:28:00 PM
Well,

Another issue for me that I'm planning to try to look into next week is ASD--it's high-functioning autism that presents mainly as a social communication disorder. I was tested for it a few months ago at a student clinic, and I'm planning to get a second opinion tomorrow as to whether or not I actually have it. If I do, I suspect it might be one of the reasons I've had quite a difficult time actually communicating and connecting with my students.

I inquired about foreign language teaching; they said that I need an actual degree in it, similar to the math and science teaching requirement. In reality, though, they might overlook the coursework requirement if I can pass the Praxis and demonstrate fluency. The local university also has a program to help people in that situation who already know a lot of the language; they can opt to go to the highest level language classes and get credit for the ones below it if they pass the higher level coursework.   

The JET program is something I might want to look into, but I don't think I would be interested in teaching in the Middle East. I've heard it's great money, and it might be safe if you know what you're doing, but I don't want my slight tendency to stutter and social communication disorder to leave me committing faux pas with major consequences.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: ooeei on January 18, 2016, 07:27:07 AM
Well,

Another issue for me that I'm planning to try to look into next week is ASD--it's high-functioning autism that presents mainly as a social communication disorder. I was tested for it a few months ago at a student clinic, and I'm planning to get a second opinion tomorrow as to whether or not I actually have it. If I do, I suspect it might be one of the reasons I've had quite a difficult time actually communicating and connecting with my students.

I inquired about foreign language teaching; they said that I need an actual degree in it, similar to the math and science teaching requirement. In reality, though, they might overlook the coursework requirement if I can pass the Praxis and demonstrate fluency. The local university also has a program to help people in that situation who already know a lot of the language; they can opt to go to the highest level language classes and get credit for the ones below it if they pass the higher level coursework.   

The JET program is something I might want to look into, but I don't think I would be interested in teaching in the Middle East. I've heard it's great money, and it might be safe if you know what you're doing, but I don't want my slight tendency to stutter and social communication disorder to leave me committing faux pas with major consequences.

While I understand that ASD is a big deal for you, being diagnosed (or not) isn't going to change your situation.  Whether your lack of social skills is from ASD or some other source, you're still in the same position.  Based on this thread you have some confidence issues, which need to be addressed.  Temple Grandin is the highest profile ASD person I know of, she clearly has issues with social interaction yet she's made a career of public speaking.  She found something she was good at, and worked very hard at it despite all of the difficulties along the way.  Yeah as of today she has some "celebrity" pull to get people to listen to her, but can you imagine her trying to convince farmers/ranchers/companies to adopt her methods before anyone had heard of her?  Despite her social issues, she got a lot of people to listen to her. 

As someone mentioned earlier, it seems like you're expecting someone else to send you to the "next step" in life, and that's not what happens in the real world.  We've all seen people working jobs they were overqualified for and had been at for 20 years without promotion.  I knew a few people at the last company where I worked who were great at their jobs, but never really TRIED to move up or out from their current position.  Guess what, if you're doing a good job your boss is usually going to be happy to let you do that job forever.  YOU have to make the effort to change your situation, you have to try at things, you have to work on your off hours towards your goals whatever they may be.  Learning new things doesn't always cost money.  Sure, paying for it makes it easier, but is easier necessarily better?  Nobody is going to hold your hand and lead you to your next step anymore.

I vote for hopping on Khan Academy and going to town on the math sections.  If there's a math test you need to pass for teaching, you can most likely learn all of it there.  Just go slow and keep trying, there's forums all over the internet for math help, and there's lectures from colleges online to look at if you want it more like a traditional class setting.  Try and get some practice tests and work through them first with the internet at your disposal, then eventually without.  Get a tutor for a few hours if you need to.  It'll be maybe $20-$40 an hour, but if you're really having trouble with a few concepts of the test they can help you through it for way less than a college class will cost. 

In fact, if you make it to the point of working through practice tests and are stuck, shoot me a PM and we can get on a screen sharing website and work through some problems free of charge. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 18, 2016, 07:46:43 AM
Being in a foreign country can be easier, not harder, if you have communication issues. If you make an effort to learn the local language, even a few words, people will be grateful and cut you all kinds of slack. Especially since Americans don't tend to do this. Also, in a community where most people are speaking English as a second language, your own language deficiencies will not be noticed.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 18, 2016, 09:04:50 AM
Being in a foreign country can be easier, not harder, if you have communication issues. If you make an effort to learn the local language, even a few words, people will be grateful and cut you all kinds of slack. Especially since Americans don't tend to do this. Also, in a community where most people are speaking English as a second language, your own language deficiencies will not be noticed.

I know. I noticed this and was very surprised when many of the ESL students I was tutoring in college actually connected with me. My professor was so happy that I enjoyed working there that she recommended I try to get on as a full-time instructor. Of course, I made excuses. I only had a bachelor's degree at the time and insisted I needed a master's. Soon, the opportunity passed, and I stayed employed only part-time while completing that master's. 
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 18, 2016, 09:07:09 AM

I vote for hopping on Khan Academy and going to town on the math sections.  If there's a math test you need to pass for teaching, you can most likely learn all of it there.  Just go slow and keep trying, there's forums all over the internet for math help, and there's lectures from colleges online to look at if you want it more like a traditional class setting.  Try and get some practice tests and work through them first with the internet at your disposal, then eventually without.  Get a tutor for a few hours if you need to.  It'll be maybe $20-$40 an hour, but if you're really having trouble with a few concepts of the test they can help you through it for way less than a college class will cost. 

In fact, if you make it to the point of working through practice tests and are stuck, shoot me a PM and we can get on a screen sharing website and work through some problems free of charge.


I think I'll take your advice. I have some time today, so that makes sense. Plus, even if I don't use it for anything else, I'll be able to help my students with more advanced math at least.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 18, 2016, 09:10:34 AM
So doesn't that argue for a job abroad? I understand making excuses; I used to make a lot of them myself. Then I realized how much fear was holding me back. If there's one thing I would tell my younger self, it would be to embrace the fear and try new things.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 18, 2016, 09:26:43 AM
So doesn't that argue for a job abroad? I understand making excuses; I used to make a lot of them myself. Then I realized how much fear was holding me back. If there's one thing I would tell my younger self, it would be to embrace the fear and try new things.

I need to invest a little time and money to get my necessary documents in order. Then, I need to bite the bullet and start applying for jobs directly at the schools, not through recruiters. I was leery of the recruiters last time, because I've heard horror stories of people becoming "trapped" in the jobs they're assigned in because they didn't bring enough money to leave and live on their own if the deal doesn't turn out good. They also sometimes don't get signed up for the right kind of visas. It's much better to apply directly with a school or that country's ministry of Education, or so I hear, so that's what I think I'm going to do. I've read that recruiters are a good way to get into a country and start teaching, but unless they are well-known and reputable, it's a gamble.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Easye418 on January 18, 2016, 09:48:55 AM
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.

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.

Everyone told you great advice, I hope you listen to it and get yourself on the right path because I feel you can do it.  Just want to share personal experience, thoughts on tuition, and feedback on what other people have chimed in.

1.  I was this [    ] close to doing the same exact thing as you (granted for a higher paying degree).  I applied for UIUC and UIC for Finance, I got accepted into UIC for Finance and denied Finance at UIUC.  If I would have been accepted into UIUC, I would have easily racked up $100k in Student Loans by the same method as you as girlfriend (now wife) went to the campus as well.  If we bothed would have stayed,  we would easily have racked up $200k of Student Loan debt.    Instead, I got my BS in Fin and MBA in Fin and my wife got her BSN for maybe ~$100k, and now we are making close to mid 100k income by 26 yo.  Close call for sure.

2.  I am going to say this because it needs to be said.  This should be a case study on why kids need to really think about how much income they will make after undergrad and graduate work.  You spent $100k for a $30k a year job.  The reason I am bringing this up is you better be damn sure your next trip to college town that you will come out making at LEAST $60k+ or you will be a slave to your debt for the rest of your life.


This one told you the nice way (@therethere , agreed with all of your posts on 1st page)
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.

This one told you how it really is aka reality and the truth.
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.


It's embarassing, offensive, and really freaking tough at first, but you will get the hang of it and CAN and WILL get the hang of paying off debts.  Best of luck.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: Jakejake on January 18, 2016, 10:20:45 AM
So doesn't that argue for a job abroad? I understand making excuses; I used to make a lot of them myself. Then I realized how much fear was holding me back. If there's one thing I would tell my younger self, it would be to embrace the fear and try new things.
If I understand the loan situation correctly, teaching abroad probably interferes with the loan forgiveness program. This is the dilemma with the forgiveness program. You can either commit to ten years of public service (likely at a very low salary) and have the loans forgiven, or pay them yourself and have the freedom to take a higher paying job.

This is the one thing that bothered me about the post where you found the $500-600 month budget hole. You talked about being able to save that amount each month, but seemed to have already planned a whole mess of exciting ways you could spend that money even before you've saved any of it. It kind of reminds me of army people spending their bonus money before finishing their enlistment, and finding themselves in a world of trouble when they end up taking an early discharge (for medical reasons, for example). Then they have to pay back the bonus that they already spent on things they didn't really need.

I would save the budget hole money and just stash it away, at a minimum until the loans are either forgiven or paid off. It would be tragic to blow that money on a new car, or yet more degrees, and then life gets in the way and for some reason you can't complete the ten years of public service. Maybe your district goes through layoffs. Maybe you get an amazing job offer you really really want. Maybe you start a family, or have medical problems. That savings should be your insurance plan, so that ten years from now you aren't sitting on even more debt, with no hope of ever paying it off.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 18, 2016, 11:59:59 AM


Everyone told you great advice, I hope you listen to it and get yourself on the right path because I feel you can do it.  Just want to share personal experience, thoughts on tuition, and feedback on what other people have chimed in.

1.  I was this [    ] close to doing the same exact thing as you (granted for a higher paying degree).  I applied for UIUC and UIC for Finance, I got accepted into UIC for Finance and denied Finance at UIUC.  If I would have been accepted into UIUC, I would have easily racked up $100k in Student Loans by the same method as you as girlfriend (now wife) went to the campus as well.  If we bothed would have stayed,  we would easily have racked up $200k of Student Loan debt.    Instead, I got my BS in Fin and MBA in Fin and my wife got her BSN for maybe ~$100k, and now we are making close to mid 100k income by 26 yo.  Close call for sure.

2.  I am going to say this because it needs to be said.  This should be a case study on why kids need to really think about how much income they will make after undergrad and graduate work.  You spent $100k for a $30k a year job.  The reason I am bringing this up is you better be damn sure your next trip to college town that you will come out making at LEAST $60k+ or you will be a slave to your debt for the rest of your life.

It's embarrassing, offensive, and really freaking tough at first, but you will get the hang of it and CAN and WILL get the hang of paying off debts.  Best of luck.


I still think that if I want to start paying these loans I need to either (a) work out a way to get free room and board AND a slightly better salary from my employer (this is where an overseas job really makes sense, because some places are so desperate for English teachers that they will award extra benefits like living accommodations to qualified applicants, meaning living there is almost free), or (b) change direction and try to use my current education and any free training I can get to get a better income (this could include taking jobs on the side as a private tutor, starting a small business, or anything else that could generate a better income).

Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 18, 2016, 12:12:13 PM
So doesn't that argue for a job abroad? I understand making excuses; I used to make a lot of them myself. Then I realized how much fear was holding me back. If there's one thing I would tell my younger self, it would be to embrace the fear and try new things.
If I understand the loan situation correctly, teaching abroad probably interferes with the loan forgiveness program. This is the dilemma with the forgiveness program. You can either commit to ten years of public service (likely at a very low salary) and have the loans forgiven, or pay them yourself and have the freedom to take a higher paying job.

This is the one thing that bothered me about the post where you found the $500-600 month budget hole. You talked about being able to save that amount each month, but seemed to have already planned a whole mess of exciting ways you could spend that money even before you've saved any of it. It kind of reminds me of army people spending their bonus money before finishing their enlistment, and finding themselves in a world of trouble when they end up taking an early discharge (for medical reasons, for example). Then they have to pay back the bonus that they already spent on things they didn't really need.

I would save the budget hole money and just stash it away, at a minimum until the loans are either forgiven or paid off. It would be tragic to blow that money on a new car, or yet more degrees, and then life gets in the way and for some reason you can't complete the ten years of public service. Maybe your district goes through layoffs. Maybe you get an amazing job offer you really really want. Maybe you start a family, or have medical problems. That savings should be your insurance plan, so that ten years from now you aren't sitting on even more debt, with no hope of ever paying it off.


That is something to consider. Although I had originally planned to teach overseas, I should probably talk to my lender to find out if any of the programs will remain active for me while I'm over there. If not, I better make sure I accept a job with a really good salary and great benefits, because I'll need to buckle down and make several student loan payments while living abroad. Really, though, if I can get a decent salary abroad and have my accommodations taken care of, I might be in better shape than I am right now.

Yes, I know. It seems like the best option for me right now would be to stash away that extra $500-$600 per month into a high yield savings account and forget about it. One thing that I don't like about this job, though, is that it doesn't always pay the same amount every month. I'm paid at the same rate, but on shorter months and months with holidays, I make a little less, so I'm not sure I'm going to be able to put away exactly $500-$600 each month. I also have expenses that I should probably take care of first, like getting my car fixed so that I can sell it after I've successfully moved closer to work.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: mozar on January 18, 2016, 12:44:30 PM
Online degrees are worth less than brick and mortar non-profit schools to employers.
Title: Re: Attacking Debt--suggestions?
Post by: kmb501 on January 20, 2016, 03:46:15 PM
Online degrees are worth less than brick and mortar non-profit schools to employers.

WGU is an accredited university, though. Actually, I have looked into it already.