Author Topic: Planning for Debt  (Read 8468 times)

TheFlaid

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Planning for Debt
« on: March 20, 2016, 11:26:08 AM »
Hi everyone,

I had heard the story of Mr. Money Mustache several years ago and was intrigued by it (but didn't know there was a site devoted to it), and now that I have found this place I want to do more to grow my stache.

My problem, though, is that I know me and the Mrs. are going to be incurring a huge amount of debt in the near future.  So I'm delaying doing anything until that happens, which seems like a dumb idea... so I was hoping to get some advice.

Here's my situation:

I am 28 with a 95k / year job. 
I have a 401k with ~$60,000 that I put 5% in (with a 3% company match).  Some of it is Roth and some of it is traditional; I can't remember how much of each.
I own a house (market value $250,000, mortgage $220,000)
I have a car loan ($9,000 left @ 0.9% interest). 
My wife has student loan debt ($20,000 ~5% interest)
Currently, I have around $25,000 in the bank sitting there not doing anything.

I've been neglecting to put it to work for me because my wife is going to be going back to school for Veterinary Medicine, which is a 4 year program that costs, on average (depending on where you get in) around $40,000-$50,000 per year, or about $250,000 by the end of the 4th year.  Obviously we will have to take out substantial loans to pay for this....  Depending on where she gets in, we might have to move to a different state/city.  If we have to move, I would be downsizing to a cheaper house or apartment.  But if we don't move, it would be cheapest to stay where we are.

My gut says I should just take as much money as I can and throw them at the existing student  loans, and then, when she starts getting new ones, throw money at those, too.  I also don't know much about my 401k.  Can anyone point me to some MMM articles about them? 

Anyway, I'm not sure what would be the best course of action here.  Any of your expertise would be greatly appreciated!

FrugalFan

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 11:36:31 AM »
Just a couple of questions about being a vet (that is something I wanted to do once upon a time as I love animals, but I found a different way to work with animals instead). In Canada, being a vet pays very little compared to other jobs one obtains with a professional degree. I don't know if this is also true in the US, but if it is, it will probably not be worth getting into $250k worth of debt over. Also, has your wife ever volunteered in a vet clinic? I had to do this before applying to vet school and it was very eye opening and made me realize it was not really work that I would enjoy for various reasons.

Cassie

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 11:39:55 AM »
Since you could be moving I would want to keep the cash on hand. I live in a medium size city on the WEst Coast with average cost of living and the vets make a fortune. Anything other then shots, etc costs usually 1k and any surgeries start at that and go up and I mean way up. If you live somewhere where they make the big bucks it will be worth it.

TheFlaid

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 11:42:47 AM »
Hey, excellent question.

We have gone over this multiple times together and we decided its really hard to put a price on your dream job.  She has wanted to be a vet since she was a kid, but never thought it was obtainable.  She got a degree in secondary science education (biology emphasis), and taught at a secondary school for 2 years before she realized that it just wasn't for her.

She has been volunteering at shelters and vet clinics, and currently has a job as a "vet assistant", which doesn't require any sort of training (she answers phones and makes appointments and sometimes helps with procedures).  While she enjoys it, she doesn't want to do it as a career.  As a vet assistant / vet tech, you are in charge of cleaning up poop and doing some of the other grunt work, and, after doing it for awhile, she realized she really does want to be in charge.

Average pay for a veterinarian is around $70,000 per year, according to some U.S. government site I found once.  So, while we realize that it would take awhile to pay off the debt, it really does make her happy.  And that's worth something too, right?


PharmaStache

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 12:16:05 PM »
250k in debt to make 70k a year is an idiotic decision (sorry).  Have you done research beyond looking at a random government website to figure out what her actual salary would be? 

MisterTwoForty

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 12:33:48 PM »
There is no way that taking out 250K in loans is a good idea.  You need to pay off your wifes student loan and your car, then try to cash flow the schooling if thats what she wants to do.  You do not want 4X her annual income in debt for her to get a degree.  It may be her passion, but that does not excuse you from doing the math. 


FrugalFan

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 12:34:28 PM »
I'm glad to hear that she has been working in a vet clinic and still enjoys it. When I volunteered there, the things that I didn't like were that the vets did not seem to be very compassionate towards the animals, the techs resented the vets because the vets made more and made all the decision while the techs did a lot of the hands-on work and the less desirable work, the long hours, dealing with some pretty crazy pet owners, and the fact that being a vet is often very similar to a sales job. Not at all how I imagined it. I do think there is something to be said for finding a job you would be happy with, but you should aim to be happy in many aspects of your life. For example, I could not be happy even with a job I loved if I had $250 k of debt hanging over my head. It also depends on your life goals and your financial goals. Do you plan on having kids? Have you actually done the math to see what would be involved in paying that amount of debt off? How long would it take? How would it affect your day to day finances and your lifestyle? How would it affect saving for retirement?

former player

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 12:59:50 PM »
What is that $250,000 cost made up of?  Is it all tuition fees?  Or is some of it living expenses?  Because your wife is going to have living expenses for the next four years whether she is in vet school or not, and I would hope you would be able to cash-flow those from your $95k job.  In fact, you should be close to being able to cashflow the tuition fees from a $95k job.

So the big take-away for me is that your wife needs to get into the vet school which is local to you and which lets you carry on working at your current income level and stay in your current house.  The alternatives would be you financing her to live away from you for four years, which doesn't sound like a great marriage, or selling your house and both moving, with the uncertainty of getting another job at such a good salary and benefits.

Also, your wife has had two years as a teacher and is now a vet assistant: how much progress has she made in that time towards paying down her undergraduate student loans?  That will give you some sort of indication what her attitude will be to paying down a debt more than 12 times the size.


coolistdude

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2016, 01:20:06 PM »
There is no way that taking out 250K in loans is a good idea.  You need to pay off your wifes student loan and your car, then try to cash flow the schooling if thats what she wants to do.  You do not want 4X her annual income in debt for her to get a degree.  It may be her passion, but that does not excuse you from doing the math.

If you do want a pass on doing math, don't take student loans for it. In the least, cash flow her schooling. $250k is another mortgage. I would not do it if it were me. You will already be making six figures if she gets a minimum wage job, or just waiting until you get a bump or two. If I was in your shoes, I would save $50k+ a year and set a FI date. As for the wife, her desire would not get my buy in. Maybe it'd be helpful to calculate how much money you'd waste.

Using an online tool, 250k for 10 years at 5%, she will spend $70k in interest, or 1 year of her life. In total, it will take about 4.5 years for her to break even, after spending 4 years in school. So...8.5 years. What if, instead, you retired in 8.5 years instead of paying off her last student loan? $-)

Edit: This did not calculate taxes. She will be 9+ years from from breaking even.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 01:21:41 PM by coolistdude »

SingleMomDebt

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2016, 01:20:07 PM »
My niece has her own vet practice with horses. Alone she owns 5 houses and brings in a substantial amount of income. She is extremely frugal. Some almost say cheap. During her undergrad studies she lived with her uncle. Then went to Oklahoma State on a scholarship for vet degree.

Perhaps your wife having her own practice afterwards would be something to consider. And applying for scholarships through the school years to help pay for some of the schooling.

Best of hard work to your wife. :)

Davids

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2016, 04:37:40 PM »
Seems like the average salary of a vet is $85K from a quick google search (I would have thought it was at least above $100K). To go into $250K debt for this, I am not sure it is a wise choice.

Another Reader

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2016, 06:03:20 PM »
The "good" news here is that she has not actually been accepted to vet school yet.  Unless she has outstanding grades as well as the experience, vet school may remain a dream. 

Going into debt for this is not a sensible choice.  Not all graduates of vet school even have jobs, much less own a practice.  I know vets that take relief shifts and work at low cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinics because they cannot find a permanent job.  Small animal medicine is increasingly corporate, with low salaries, difficult conditions, and pressure to upsell tests and procedures (VCA is the prime example).  Some vets that got out of school a decade ago are still paying off their loans and a number I know regret their career choice.  Unless she gets a scholarship and is willing to accept low pay for the long term, in her shoes, I would reconsider.

TheFlaid

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2016, 06:27:31 PM »
Hey everyone,

@Davids Yes, the "$70k" number was average starting salary, so it doesn't necessarily reflect what she would be making after a few years.  This was also a couple of years ago when we first started looking into it.  Before I thought hard enough about money :(

@Another Reader the local veterinary school had a 98% job placement for this year's graduates, many of whom received multiple competing offers.  I'm not saying that this will always be the case, nor am I saying that it will be the case for my wife, but I took it as a pretty good sign.

@Everyone $250,000 is a rough estimate. 
For example, if she gets in to the local university, where we would not need to move, it is ~$33,000 per year for tuition/books/supplies (so not including housing/transportation/etc).
If she got into a neighboring state where she did not qualify for "in state" tuition, the number jumps to $48,000 per year for tuition/books/supplies (closer to $250,000).  Housing around this university is significantly cheaper, so our mortgage/rent payment would go down significantly, probably in half or more.  Also, I have the ability to work from home, so my salary will follow us if we need to move.

As for her current student loan debt, the figure is actually around $13,000 now, with the rates between 5 - 6.5%.  I thought it was higher because when I asked her how much was left, she thought it was around $20k.  When I asked her to check, it is actually around $13k.  Sorry about the inconsistency... :(

I believe that her dream of becoming a licensed veterinarian is something that is worth pursuing, even with the debt cloud.  What do you do with your time when you retire early?  As far as I know, you pursue your hobbies and your passions.  For her, her passion is animals, especially shelter animals.  She would be able to make a greater impact on the community as a licensed veterinarian than she would as a volunteer.

As for having children: when you're in veterinary school (according to current students we've talked to), you are basically in class for 8-9 hours per day and studying for 3-4 hours per day, and that doesn't include the other extra-curricular things like clubs (they have clubs for basically any interest) which can give you invaluable hands-on experience.  Not saying that means we couldn't have a kid when she was in school, but it would be extremely difficult.

Fuzz

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2016, 06:04:58 PM »
Being a good spouse is important, and I applaud your desire to support your wife.

I would:

*Keep it in state (wait a year and apply again, if it doesn't happen the first time).
*Encourage her to meet with folks in the program she wants to go to
*Encourage her to meet with the admissions people in the program she wants to go to
*Encourage her to meet with people who recently graduated from the program. If they were happy with their choice, chances are your wife will be happy too. If they're miserable, that is a strong contraindicator. Use LinkedIn to find these people.

It's reasonable to spend 100+ hours doing hard work on this decision. Doing work on the front end can save a lot of pain on the backend. The people I know that did the best coming out of law school tended to be the ones that made the most thoughtful decision going into law school.

Since you're making close to $100K/year, it seems nuts to plan on borrowing up to $50K/year.


TheFlaid

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2016, 09:37:38 AM »
@Dmy0013: I realize that this is a financial website, and I realize that this is a particularly difficult financial situation.  I was hoping that people could give advice on how to best manage the situation instead of just saying "don't do it, bro."

@Fuzz:  I guess I'm not planning on borrowing all of the $50K per year.  I mean, I would like to throw as much money at it as I can so that when she does come out we are in the best position of not paying tons of interest.  That should make it a lot shorter debt period when she's working -- if we can keep relatively the same standard of living / expenses, her salary would basically go straight to the loans.

As for the school, it would be nice to get in to the local university, and, indeed, our chances are higher there (more in-state seats for less applicants), but competition is fierce.  The application process at a lot of universities is somewhat arbitrary, relying on a behavior-based interview that could go better or worse just depending on how your personality meshes with the interviewer's. 

This is actually my wife's second year applying, and she is on the waiting list for both the local university and a neighboring state.  At this point, I would be willing to take on additional debt if it means she can start this year.

I guess this thread was pretty eye-opening to me.  Apparently I'm not cut out for "magnum platinum super ultra stache" status... as my priorities don't exist solely in making shit tons of money and retiring early.  Would I love to become financially independent and be able to do whatever I want instead of working full time?  Absolutely.  But I can say, without a doubt, that I will never compromise my wife's dream and her happiness to get there.  My wife is one of the hardest working people I know, and she will undoubtedly make a difference in animal's lives.  Animals are an integral part of so many family structures, which means she will be helping people, too.  I hope, to those saying that following her dream is "an idiotic decision," that you don't have pets of your own.  I would hate for you to take them to a veterinarian and think "wow, you sure are an idiot, you could be making more money and retire sooner but instead you're helping a member of my family."  Rest assured, though, if you do come to that point, and you come to my wife the veterinarian, she will still help you.  She is that awesome.

Sorry for the soapbox, and I know arguing on the Internet is totally pointless, but I just felt that it needed to be said.   

Retire-Canada

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2016, 09:49:04 AM »
I guess this thread was pretty eye-opening to me.  Apparently I'm not cut out for "magnum platinum super ultra stache" status... as my priorities don't exist solely in making shit tons of money and retiring early.  Would I love to become financially independent and be able to do whatever I want instead of working full time?  Absolutely.  But I can say, without a doubt, that I will never compromise my wife's dream and her happiness to get there.

This site is great for getting your ideas challenged. That doesn't mean anyone expects you to change your mind, but at least you got to hear some critiques of your plan now when you could make a different choice.

Just out of curiosity in relation to the text I bolded above is there a dollar value on the cost of your wife's vet dream that would have you saying no or do you feel you need to support her dream no matter what? If the cost was $100K/yr or $150K/yr for 5yrs and you could get loans to cover the costs would you proceed?

neo von retorch

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2016, 09:49:44 AM »
Can you create a budget spreadsheet with... ?

* Your income
* Combined "fixed" expenses (with or without school)
* Her income now, her school expenses, her future income, any changes to living expenses

See the overall impact on your net worth and FI point (savings/nest egg = [25 times fixes expenses plus remaining debt]). See how much she'll actually be spending (not $48,000 times 4 = $250,000... but actual costs) and how much you can realistically afford to pay for during her schooling.

TheFlaid

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2016, 09:53:45 AM »
Just out of curiosity in relation to the text I bolded above is there a dollar value on the cost of your wife's vet dream that would have you saying no or do you feel you need to support her dream no matter what? If the cost was $100K/yr or $150K/yr for 5yrs and you could get loans to cover the costs would you proceed?

I am sure there is some threshold, but my wife is a reasonable person.  If it got to the point where we would not be able to make ends meet because of it, she would find something else.  But this amount of debt is doable.  Not ideal, sure, but doable.

charis

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2016, 10:20:12 AM »
I guess this thread was pretty eye-opening to me.  Apparently I'm not cut out for "magnum platinum super ultra stache" status... as my priorities don't exist solely in making shit tons of money and retiring early.  Would I love to become financially independent and be able to do whatever I want instead of working full time?  Absolutely.  But I can say, without a doubt, that I will never compromise my wife's dream and her happiness to get there.  My wife is one of the hardest working people I know, and she will undoubtedly make a difference in animal's lives.  Animals are an integral part of so many family structures, which means she will be helping people, too.  I hope, to those saying that following her dream is "an idiotic decision," that you don't have pets of your own.  I would hate for you to take them to a veterinarian and think "wow, you sure are an idiot, you could be making more money and retire sooner but instead you're helping a member of my family."  Rest assured, though, if you do come to that point, and you come to my wife the veterinarian, she will still help you.  She is that awesome.

Sorry for the soapbox, and I know arguing on the Internet is totally pointless, but I just felt that it needed to be said.

You don't have to be very mustachian to recognize that the financial picture you represented (250K debt to 70K/yr salary) would under most circumstances a terrible financial circumstance that most people would be trying to crawl out from under, not willing getting into.    But if you are aware of how adverse the situation is and still want to proceed, that is saying something and I wish you the best of luck.


Fuzz

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2016, 10:30:02 AM »
@Dmy0013: I realize that this is a financial website, and I realize that this is a particularly difficult financial situation.  I was hoping that people could give advice on how to best manage the situation instead of just saying "don't do it, bro."

@Fuzz:  I guess I'm not planning on borrowing all of the $50K per year.  I mean, I would like to throw as much money at it as I can so that when she does come out we are in the best position of not paying tons of interest.  That should make it a lot shorter debt period when she's working -- if we can keep relatively the same standard of living / expenses, her salary would basically go straight to the loans.

As for the school, it would be nice to get in to the local university, and, indeed, our chances are higher there (more in-state seats for less applicants), but competition is fierce.  The application process at a lot of universities is somewhat arbitrary, relying on a behavior-based interview that could go better or worse just depending on how your personality meshes with the interviewer's. 

I think you need to challenge the idea that the behavior based interview is just a crapshoot. It is something you can prepare for an ace. Ramit Sethi and his growth lab has some ideas on interviewing. She could talk to people that are in the program and hear about how they did it. She can say to you, 15 times, out loud her 2 minute answer to the question "Why do you want to go to vet school?" You time her. You record her. Then you have her answer the question: "Why this vet school?" And "Tell me about your experience as a bio teacher, or whatever..." You can guess what the Qs will be. You can practice your answers. You can have anecdotes on tap that address your strengths and weaknesses. You can take out the admissions people to coffee. None of this is fun--it's work--but it's stuff that the best candidates do. My guess is you know this stuff, and have talked through answers and scenarios, but it's different when you get out a stopwatch and actually do it, no screwing around.

And yes, I agree arguing on the internet is pointless. :)

Good luck!

SomedayStache

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2016, 10:43:49 AM »
So you folks have no kids right?  And a $95,000 salary?

Can you use this time while she is on the waiting list for the local university to ramp down your lifestyle and pay off that student loan and car loan?

If you have none of that debt and a $95,000 salary, and she gets into the local university which you say costs $33,000 a year then you should be able to cashflow it.

If your take home pay is about $70,000 (assuming 25% of $90,000 is taken out for taxes):
$70k - $33k = $37k

$37,000 is more than many households live on.   Can you ratchet down your lifestyle for a few years and make this happen?

TheFlaid

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2016, 11:25:54 AM »
I think you need to challenge the idea that the behavior based interview is just a crapshoot. It is something you can prepare for an ace. Ramit Sethi and his growth lab has some ideas on interviewing. She could talk to people that are in the program and hear about how they did it. She can say to you, 15 times, out loud her 2 minute answer to the question "Why do you want to go to vet school?" You time her. You record her. Then you have her answer the question: "Why this vet school?" And "Tell me about your experience as a bio teacher, or whatever..." You can guess what the Qs will be. You can practice your answers. You can have anecdotes on tap that address your strengths and weaknesses. You can take out the admissions people to coffee. None of this is fun--it's work--but it's stuff that the best candidates do. My guess is you know this stuff, and have talked through answers and scenarios, but it's different when you get out a stopwatch and actually do it, no screwing around.

Oh, I didn't mean that it is a total crapshoot, but say you get the last interview of the day (2:00 PM, when the first was at 8:00 AM) and the person interviewing you doesn't share your same views on animal care (they are a food/production animal surgery expert and you want to focus on companion/shelter medicine).  Even if you do "above average", the interviewer might still rank you "average" because of the difference of opinion.

People and their opinions are hard to quantify and plan for.  That being said, of course the more prepared you are the higher your chances.  Interesting note: the top ranked schools in the country do not use interviews, but rather academic scores and essay submissions (granted, you could make the same argument for bias with essays, but at least you have a longer period of time to organize your thoughts than in a face to face interview)

So you folks have no kids right?  And a $95,000 salary?

Can you use this time while she is on the waiting list for the local university to ramp down your lifestyle and pay off that student loan and car loan?

If you have none of that debt and a $95,000 salary, and she gets into the local university which you say costs $33,000 a year then you should be able to cashflow it.

If your take home pay is about $70,000 (assuming 25% of $90,000 is taken out for taxes):
$70k - $33k = $37k

$37,000 is more than many households live on.   Can you ratchet down your lifestyle for a few years and make this happen?

I think this is my plan, or at least to get close to it.  Using tips from this site I'm hoping to ratchet down and come up with a significant payment plan so we can come out of it more-or-less ok.  Just think of me as a time-lost mustachian who made some decisions and got into some debt 4 years in the future, and is going to work on getting out of it.  I'm sure there are tons of stories where people started with tons of debt and managed to pay it down and start saving.  I'm just deferring a bit.

FrugalFan

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2016, 02:01:17 PM »
... as my priorities don't exist solely in making shit tons of money and retiring early.  Would I love to become financially independent and be able to do whatever I want instead of working full time?  Absolutely.  But I can say, without a doubt, that I will never compromise my wife's dream and her happiness to get there. 

I don't think that's what this site is necessarily about. But I do think most people here look at very large expenses, especially those that would require going into massive debt for, from a cost benefit perspective (i.e. is the cost worth the potential benefits, and not just financial benefits). But I do think education costs in the US are on an unsustainable path and it's too bad these decisions have to be made. In any case, since you have a great salary and no kids, I agree with others that you should actually be able to do this with minimal or no loans at all. So I wouldn't be aiming for getting as much as loan money as you can, but rather quite the opposite. I also would pay off your wife's 20k loan with the 25k you have sitting in savings before taking on more debt.

captainker

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2016, 02:40:30 PM »
Your wife wanting to go to vet school is awesome, and good for her for having that as her dream, and getting experience in the field as she can!

I think the biggest problem is the apparent price tag that you seem to be assuming. $250k is a LOT of money! Be sure to look for as many ways as possible to trim it down. With your salary, you should be able to pay for it with potentially even zero debt with some lifestyle changes. A massive debt costs a LOT more than the initial borrowed amount...

onlykelsey

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2016, 02:43:54 PM »
Could OP put money in a 529?  Spouse counts as dependent for those, right?  it wouldn't be much, but it could help. 

TheFlaid

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2016, 03:29:03 PM »
Could OP put money in a 529?  Spouse counts as dependent for those, right?  it wouldn't be much, but it could help. 

I admit I don't know much about 529 plans, but would it be advantageous given the short window of time?  A (very) quick glance over an informational page about it indicates various fees, including a (small) initialization fee.

With your salary, you should be able to pay for it with potentially even zero debt with some lifestyle changes. A massive debt costs a LOT more than the initial borrowed amount...

That's what I'm thinking now that I've been wandering around this site.  It should be possible to come away with significantly less than 100% of the cost in loans.

I also would pay off your wife's 20k loan with the 25k you have sitting in savings before taking on more debt.

Yeah, we bit the bullet and did that.  It turns out they were just shy of $13k instead of $20k, so we're sitting in a pretty decent spot I think.

WGH

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2016, 09:02:48 PM »
When I planned for debt I worked a second evening job to help out with the burden.

I haven't seen that mentioned but along with cutting down on expenses look for some side hustle additional income.

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2016, 06:22:07 AM »
Could OP put money in a 529?  Spouse counts as dependent for those, right?  it wouldn't be much, but it could help. 

I admit I don't know much about 529 plans, but would it be advantageous given the short window of time?  A (very) quick glance over an informational page about it indicates various fees, including a (small) initialization fee.



It depends on your state. If contributions are tax-deductible, you could keep the funds in cash/stable value and take the tax write off.

happypup

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2016, 07:04:48 AM »
Obviously we will have to take out substantial loans to pay for this....

I think partly you're getting the responses you're getting because of the way you've framed this. Given your current financial situation, it's not at all obvious that you'll have to take 'substantial' loans. Take a hard look at your budget and figure out how to free up money and minimize the loans you take. Or figure out what a reasonable debt burden (maybe 70k - her expected starting salary?) is and reverse engineer your budget from there.

Also consider that minimizing her loans gives her the best possible chance at working in her dream job. If you guys can arrange things so that she's not exiting school with a massive debt burden, then she won't be forced to take the first half-decent offer that comes her way just to start getting a paycheck. She can be selective about what practice she winds up in, or e.g. take a lower-paying job in a shelter if that's the most rewarding thing for her. Don't fall into the trap of thinking the loans are the thing that'll get her into the career she loves. Cut back now, live like poor grad students, minimize what you borrow, so that you both have the freedom to capitalize on her education when it's done.

soupcxan

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Re: Planning for Debt
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2016, 07:49:44 PM »
This says that average vet debt is $135,000 and average starting vet income is $52,000. That is a very poor return on investment. Don't say we didn't warn you.

https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/150615a.aspx