Links of the Day

What a busy weekend and week! I don’t have the time for a super long post, but I wanted to share some great links I stumbled upon regarding debt.

Both of the following posts are by Steve Rhode, the Get out of Debt Guy, who writes a blog for Huff Post.

My Student Loans Take Half My Income. Help.

This article offers some advice to a person with $80k in student loan debt, $48k of which are private. Steve has some great tips, including consolidation and income-based repayment for the federal loans. As far as the private loans, Steve provides a link to a credible website that specializes in helping people manage private loan debt. FYI, he often stresses in his blogs to avoid paying for private student loan help.

If you’re curious about bankruptcy options, you can find some valuable information in another one of the links Steve provides. I’ll be writing more about this later, but if you’re curious and are looking for some trustworthy info, I recommend his articles.

Why Most Student Loan Debt Advice Is Bad or Just Wrong

Similarly, this post discusses avoiding scams and getting the right help from the right people. Sometimes, professionals who are genuinely trying to help are misinformed or uneducated on student loan debt. Here, Steve provides links to help you get started if you are seeking professional help.

I want to draw attention to one of Steve’s paragraphs, in which he says, “Some might say I’m advocating just walking away from problem student loans. I’m not. What I am advocating is that legitimate help is already available for people who are buried in student loans, can’t make the payments, have loans sitting on deferment or forbearance and getting bigger, desperate for real help, or don’t have the ability to save for retirement. In a perfect world everyone would be able to repay their student loans without a problem. But then again we don’t live in a perfect world, do we?”

If you read Steve’s blog, you’ll notice he writes a bit about bankruptcy and it can be a tempting option. But like Steve said, he doesn’t advocate walking away from your debt, but he does want you to know that if your debt is crippling you may have other options that you haven’t explored.

You climb every mountain, Maria.

So, explore away. You’ll find me citing quite a bit from Steve, so I recommend following him for tips on getting out of debt. 

Understanding the System

If you’re like me (and nearly 37% of other grads), you didn’t find a job in your field right after graduating. Me? I worked in fucking retail for two years … by the way, I had a 3.7 GPA, so don’t take it personally if this happens to you. And if it doesn’t happen to you, don’t judge your peers for their inability to land their dream job right away.

So, how have I managed to pay off my enormous loans so far? By understanding the system.

See, here’s how my loans break down: About $108,834 are private loans and the remaining $28,707 are federal loans.

Stop looking at me like that, George.

My provider is Sallie Mae, and while they don’t offer much in the way of making your private loans manageable, they do have some options. Continue reading

We Got a Lot of Debt

Do you have a lot of college debt? Join the club.

Recent reports show that 71% of college grads have debt, averaging $29,400. That is a shit ton of money, especially for unemployed or underemployed college grads.

Now I’m going to be straight with you. My collective student loan debt blows that amount out of the water. In all, I have amassed about $140,000 in student loan debt. For undergrad.

How I feel every time I log into my Salle Mae account.

Why am I telling you this? Because I’m surviving and so can you.

There’s no use in crying over spilled milk. I spent the money and now I’m paying it back.  Throughout the lifetime of this blog, I’ll tell you what I’m doing and I welcome you to share how you’re managing your debt.

It’s a cruel world for college grads. We go from studying and partying and having the time of our lives to owing a brand new car’s worth of money (or in my case, a mortgage’s worth). Learning how to create and stick to a budget is tough, but we can help each other out, learn from our mistakes, and put an end to our financial nightmares.

I shared, now it’s your turn. How much debt do you have?

Living with Student Loans Is …

Well, it’s a lot of things, but depressing is the first word that comes to mind.

I’m not going to bullshit you. I hate student loans. Sometimes, if I think about them too much, I end up curled up in a ball on my bed sobbing. If I don’t think about them enough, I spend too much money and come payment time also end curled up in a ball sobbing. Continue reading

A Look at ROI

This has been making the rounds on the Internet, but in case you haven’t seen it or don’t quite understand what they’re talking about, here you go!

4 surprises about the costs and benefits of college

In a nutshell, PayScale took a look at every college in the US and calculated the average ROI, or return on investment. Essentially, PayScale examines how much it costs to attend a given college and compares it to a typical alumni’s average earnings 20 years after graduating. The ROI is the net 20 year earnings of the college grad, minus what the person would have earned as a high school grad and the cost to attend college. So, simply put, it’s how much more a college grad earns compared to their high school grad peers.

I’m going to make a shit ton of money … right?

This isn’t such a useful tool for people who have already graduated from college (unless you find out your school/major has a great ROI which can be encouraging). But I’m a silver linings kind of gal, and one of the things I took away from my massive student loan debt is now I know better.

So, 20-30 years down the road when my kids are ready to go to college (if I can ever afford to have kids), I’ll remember this article and try my very hardest to encourage them be computer science majors … err, I mean, follow their dreams? As long as their dreams are a sure thing … right?

But we want to be art history majors!

That’s good parenting.