Author Topic: Next step forward?  (Read 3980 times)

b20015

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Next step forward?
« on: June 15, 2013, 05:20:28 AM »

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« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 10:42:38 AM by b20015 »

jfer_rose

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 05:56:24 AM »
I'm so sorry to hear you have such a stressful situation. From what I've seen, I think it is safe to predict that you'll get some good ideas from the mustachians here but be warned, some of them may be tough love.

Can I ask some questions for clarification? Is the $800 payment your only student loan payment for the family? You mentioned your wife's student debt too, so it isn't clear to me. Are you continuing to look for better work? Your current situation does sound like a drag, having to sit at home at times and at other times have such long commutes just to get to work. Have you called Sallie Mae, explained your situation, and found out if you have any options besides paying that $800 per month?

From what I've seen here, your debt situation is actually not that bad. I've been reading stories of people here who have made great progress on paying back much larger amounts and who have gone on to build up great staches. That's one of the great things about this site-- the strategies can help with saving so quickly that a few years here or there aren't that consequential (I'm working toward retiring before age 50 which is in my mind SO much better than 64 or older). The big bummer is your low salary (which I'm gathering is also unpredictable). Maybe you will have to move to find better paid work. I know it is hard to leave a place you have ties to because I have done it. I finished grad school in 2002 and although I wanted more than anything to stay in Seattle, there just weren't jobs there at that time. So I moved to the east coast, a place to which I had no ties, and I'm amazed at how much my salary has grown since 2002. And my social ties here have grown too!

I do wish you the very best-- these sleepless nights sound awful.

nktokyo

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 07:05:57 AM »
First things first - relax. You don't have a debt problem or a spending problem, you have an income problem.

No credit card debt - awesome, you're already doing better than most of the western world.
No car debt - lapping the field here.
Combined $70,000 school debt - given the crazy numbers people pay to go to school this isn't the end of the world.
Low rent - wow, nice
Low food cost - really nice
Shitty wage combined with high commute cost and infrequent work - this is your problem.

From what you've said your current shortfall will be about $300 / month. That seems like a lot but it's not. You could borrow $3,600 from either of your parents and that would give you ONE YEAR of breathing space at your current burn rate to sort this out.

So here's what I think you should do.

1. See if you can't get the credit score issue resolved. I'm not American and your way of establishing credit is greek to me but there will be people on here and elsewhere on the internet with the process you follow to try this.

2. Talk to your family or hers and see if you can get a $5,000 loan so you're not worried about being pitched out on the street.

3. Brainstorm 50 ways you could double your income. Write down anything that pops into your head, no matter how stupid is sounds.
- You're good with property, offer to do maintenance work on people's rentals at half what tradespeople charge. Your landlord might have other properties or he might know people. Go find a local property manager and pitch her on this. PM's love cheap reliable help (reliable more important than cheap).
- Could you relocate? To Asia? Dubai? As English teachers? I taught English in Japan for a year and saved $15-20,000 pretty easily. As a couple you could net $35K. In two years you'd be debt free and you might have networked your way into your career of choice. I have a friend who places teachers in Korea if you're interested.
- Can you make websites? I taught myself HTML, CSS and a bit of word-press and now I regularly set up sites for people at $500-$3K a pop as just something on the side. You could set up something for your self, an online store or blog and maybe try to monetize is. In the "throw down the gauntlet" forum on here there's a thread about creating a passive income stream and some of the guys in there are talking about monetizing websites.
- Are the skills you learned at school valuable to a small business that couldn't afford a full time hire, but might be interested in 1 day a week? I currently consult at a friend's company 1-3 days per week.
- That's 4 ideas... the other 47 I'll leave to you.

4. Know that your job/commute system is unsustainable and you might have to go somewhere else for work. That's OK. ou have 50 ideas to follow through on. I went to Japan for work a decade a go and never left.

Nick
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 07:07:48 AM by nktokyo »

Zaga

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2013, 08:32:05 AM »
Contact all of your student loan servicers and ask about Income Based Repayment, or IBR.  They all have it.  It's not a long term answer, but it will help you to tread water for awhile while you are finding ways to increase your income.  Also, this will go a long way towards improving your credit score, which you said concerns you.

The economy is improving, keep looking for better paying work, you will eventually find it.  Took me until age 28 to be making $30K a year, fortunately it's been improving since then.

Dee18

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 09:16:16 AM »
Your wife could get a part time job when you are home- waitressing if nothing else. Or perhaps a family member could provide limited child care for six months. Or she could provide child care to others- perhaps watching a couple school age children during the summer or after school during the year. I would be sleepless too If I were the sole support for three people.

b20015

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2013, 01:19:44 PM »
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« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 10:42:54 AM by b20015 »

Dee18

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2013, 05:57:03 PM »
my main suggestions were that your wife work when you are home, perhaps on the week-end, or that she make money by caring for other children. I in no way suggested a stranger should care for your child.

nktokyo

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2013, 09:03:00 PM »
Cutting back won't get you anywhere. You need a proper income and one without that commute and you should do your best to find work that energises you because you'll be doing it for a long time.

I'm visiting Portland for a week next month with friends, I hear it's a great town. You can always move back once you're set up with healthy income streams.

Get into it with the side businesses, thinking through and validating ideas is the best habit you could possibly get into out of this. I had that corporate life-sucking job you are looking for until I quit to run my side business at 3-4x my original salary.


oldtoyota

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2013, 09:17:45 PM »
Cutting back won't get you anywhere. You need a proper income and one without that commute and you should do your best to find work that energises you because you'll be doing it for a long time.


I think the above is good advice. If your wife can take on paid work, that will certainly help. It's asking a lot to have you alone pay back her loans, your loans, and support three people. I feel for you.


b20015

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2013, 09:48:06 PM »
my main suggestions were that your wife work when you are home, perhaps on the week-end, or that she make money by caring for other children. I in no way suggested a stranger should care for your child.

I apologize, Dee18. I didn't mean to put it forth like you meant for us to do that. I was more or less regurgitating a conversation I had had with my wife about it. We've talked about it, and will again. I totally agreed with you on the taking care of other children, she would probably be amazing at it, given her demeanor and her occupational experience, it's just a matter of if she'd consider that or if she would rather just get a part time job outside of the home.

But again, it's not just her. I should be picking up additional work as well and I know it. No one is free from blame in this scenario. Thank you again.


b20015

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Re: Next step forward?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2013, 10:02:59 PM »
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« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 10:43:05 AM by b20015 »