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Just some thoughts about loans from the real world

gpo613gpo613 342 replies22 threads Member
I am not here to tell people what to do, but instead pass along information.

In the department I manage a have some young folks. I have gotten to know them pretty well. One person let's call her S has been out of school for 3 years. S came to our company overqualified for the first position she was in, but it was her first job and it was her foot in the door. She now makes decent money for her degree. Not top money by any means but decent. S lives at home. S has about 55-60K loans left from college and that is after working for 3 years. S got a car about 12 months after starting to work. She was driving an old car before. S will either live at home for 3-4 years and get the loans paid off or move out and it will take even longer. S never goes out for lunch rather brings one. Actually everyone in my post here does.

M is another person in my department isn't using her degree. She is around 29. M lives at home and drives a very old car. M has loans from undergrad. I don't know the amount. M has now gone back to get her Masters in her field. While doing this she is only able to work part-time. She has had to go on state aid for health insurance.

N is newer. N went to junior college for free. Then got his degree at a good school. I don't know N as well, but I doubt he has near the loans as the others do.

What I do know is none of these kids(yes they are kids to me) are getting married and getting out on their own. It is rough out there at times. Being saddled with large loans can be tough. Just some observations I see out in the real world.
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Replies to: Just some thoughts about loans from the real world

  • compmomcompmom 10823 replies77 threads Senior Member
    It's tough for our kids even without loans. Add loans and I cannot even imagine. Plus, your anecdotes assume a home to go to. Not all parents can offer that. Some seniors are also experiencing difficulties once living on social security.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29582 replies58 threads Senior Member
    Your anecdotes don’t mesh with my experiences. My two youngest are in their own apartments. The older one has a roommate who has taken out a fortune in student loans, will owe for close to 20 years, and has borrowed to maintain his lifestyle with VISA and credit lines. He makes a relatively high income, more than my son, but has little left each month and is about a month behind in a lot of bills. Apparently, that’s not atypical either.

    A lot of high living kids who owe a lot of student debt out there. Also a lot of kids who are living with parents, not just for student debt reasons but to save money or to enjoy a higher standard of living.

    Both of my kids started out living in very tight budgets as their Pay levels were not high. Youngest just started so he’ll be there for a while, having to very carefully watch his life style. The older one is doing very well— Frugality paid off for him. He can now afford living much more up scale and is on track with his savings and investments as well.

    So it’s all over the place. In some areas like NYC, getting a decent apartment, practically any apartment, takes a lot of upfront money and it’s expensive. If parents live within commuting range, living with them until a financial cushion is achieved is a necessity

    Also, as always, kids with parents who can provide a financial cushion have more options. Sometimes the only cushion parents can provide is a room, a place to stay.
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  • bjscheelbjscheel 576 replies5 threads Member
    Our girls have older cousins with student loans ranging from just average to really scary. They are hustling with side gigs, getting married, living on their own, and making it somehow. But they know it is not ideal and spent time at a Christmas gathering once cautioning my big-dreaming youngest about not getting herself into that trap. Fortunately, we succeeded in getting her to an affordable school with scholarships. But she spent a fair amount of time pining over more costly schools.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26882 replies175 threads Senior Member
    tbf, the only story of the three that has significant loan balances is the first. The other two could have balances of $50k or less than $5k. Another thing missing from the story is, how did S get that many loans? Grad school? Or, is S paying back parents for Parent+ loans? Four year, private sleep-away college?

    fwiw: I have no doubt that at least one of my two kids would be living back in his/her BR if they got a local job out of college. (And neither had any loans.) What's not to like about free rent & free food?

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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78557 replies695 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2
    If you like your family, and they’ll allow you to live at home for free, and you can save up for a few years, why not.

    Also, "and your job is near where they live".

    Note that new graduates from lower SES families may be more likely to have to relocate to find good jobs (many lower SES families are lower SES because of a shortage of good jobs in the area due to weak economy there), but also find it more difficult to afford relocation costs involved in seeking good jobs.
    edited November 2
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  • HImomHImom 34442 replies392 threads Senior Member
    My H lived at home for a long time, bought a place and lived there for 5 years but his parents begged him to join them for dinner every night, so he finally moved home, where he was living until we met and married. The only debt he had was from real estate investments, but family loyalty caused him to live with his folks and help them with their finances and other needs. He mostly brought lunch fir decades to save money and eat healthier (plus it was a huge timesaver).

    H worked his way through college and we and our kids worked as hard as we could do they graduated debt-free. I graduated from college and grad school owing the same amount of money I had in savings, so essentially debt-free as well.

    Yes, debt definitely does reduce options and can force unpleasant choices. I do agree with other posters, many folks live with parents for many reasons. Most of my sibs lived with my folks until they married and set up there own households. It’s just how many HI families roll.
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  • jym626jym626 55801 replies2904 threads Senior Member
    A friend who has been battling cancer for 2-3 years posted on her facebook page 3 milestones: That she had her last chemo a year ago, that she got her first haircut in a year... and.... at age 66, she finally paid off one of her kids’ parent plus loans. She has another loan she is still paying off. She is a successful professional, but stuff happens. Please, be careful.
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  • CorinthianCorinthian 1792 replies62 threads Senior Member
    Spend some time on the student loans subreddit to get a flavor for both the success stories and horror stories. To me the horror stories are students who graduate with a bachelor degree but without strong job skills or prospects. yet have six figure debt due to private loans. But there are also plenty of success stories of people who get their loans paid off.

    My D graduated last May debt free, thanks to our ability and willingness to be full pay. She has a serious SO who just graduated middle of his class from a mid-tier law school and masters program with six figure debt. His debt has been something that we as D's parents were very concerned about and which definitely has been a source of stress in their relationship. Especially after his initial job prospect fell through and they had to live on her salary alone for two months while he studied for the bar exam and hunted for a job.

    What has made the SO's loan situation manageable is being eligible for income driven repayment plans and the potential for public service loan forgiveness. He was able to find a public interest law job that he likes and has great benefits, but has a low salary to start and is never going to be a high paying job. There's no way he could manage a conventional 10 year repayment plan on his own, at least not on a public interest law salary. It was a huge relief (for their relationship) to figure out that his federal loans qualified him for several repayment options.

    They found an apartment close to both their jobs in a city with good public transportation, so they don't own a car or have any car related expenses. They rarely go out for lunch and eat dinner at home most but not all nights. They live in an area with tons of restaurants and bars very close by, so they do meet up for happy hour drinks and eats probably at least once a week.

    After observing their experience, I totally see how the cost of relocating can be a significant barrier. We loaned them several thousand dollars to help with the up front costs of the move, including renting a U-Haul to move SO's stuff 600 miles, paying the first month rent and security deposit (about $3500) required for their apartment and helping with some initial IKEA shopping for the apartment. D was paid a small relocation stipend by her employer but didn't actually receive it until about 3 months after she started. The SO's job didn't entitle him to any relocation expenses. It's hard to see how they would've financed the move without help, especially the up front rental costs.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23238 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I read the original post and thought "Well, this is the way it is supposed to be." All 3 kids have jobs and all 3 have figured out how to make the payments, whether it is brown bagging or living at home or taking a second job.

    I have two kids with $15-20k in loans. The one making a good income also has a car payment, insurance payments, and a high rent payment. She also has a dog she treats like a child and pays for EKGs and dog school and cute doggie accessories.

    The other who is still living like a college student makes enough to make her student loan payments and continue her Starbucks habit. She has really bad habits like going out to ear at $12 a pop, but she pays her loans, her car insurance, her (very low) rent. She saved all her tips this summer and just cashed them in for about $2500.

    Both live with their boyfriends and could get married and have children if that is what they wanted to do, but they don't.
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  • sevmomsevmom 8423 replies56 threads Senior Member
    My kids also had loans in the $15-20,000 range and paid them off fairly quickly. But, both had good jobs, lived with multiple people out of college, were not spendthrifts, and made paying off the loans a priority. They paid nothing for their educations upfront (we paid all the bills while they were in school and their contribution was the reasonable loan amount, well below the maximum limit). I don't think all loans are automatically bad. But need to consider individual circumstances in deciding to take on loans and try to keep loan amounts at a reasonable level.
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  • CreeklandCreekland 5761 replies89 threads Senior Member
    I've been working for 20 years now and I always bring my lunch to work - not once did I buy it out nor do I plan on ever doing so. Finances have nothing to do with it TBH. We simply prefer to spend our money on other things.

    My lads all had basic (federal) student loans. The oldest (college class of '14) is married (since his senior year of college), bought a house this past spring, and doesn't use his degree directly. He did out of college, but moved to something he liked better after a year or two. Very recently he was just offered a better job at a higher income with fewer hours than the one he's been doing. I'm not at all convinced that his student loans have hurt him to any degree. He and his wife drive older cars, but so did we at his stage in life. Even now our truck is a '97. It still works for what we need it to do.

    Middle lad is in med school so still racking up loans. I'll admit I'm concerned, but it's the only way for him to become the doctor he wants to be. Everything we hear about him and from him leads us to believe he's going to be a terrific doctor (high scores, great patient and doctor reviews). If he decides to practice around here post residency his schedule will be full - any specialty he ends up in. If we'd have made him do something more affordable to us it'd have been a loss to many as well as disappointing to him. That said, we may end up helping him with loans if needed and are glad to be in the position that we should be able to do so barring a big need in our lives.

    Youngest graduated from college, lived at home for a year to save up $$ for his marriage, is now happily married and doing well at paying down his loans. Like me, he'd be a "take your lunch to work" dude if that were applicable in his situation, but he tends to be a very green minimalist so finances would have nothing to do with it. I've yet to see where his student loans have hurt him.

    As parents we don't look back and wish we'd done anything differently with our kids and college financing. The opportunities and education they've received have been well worth it. We tried hard to find a good fit for each lad and included financial fit in the equation. We just allowed that financial fit to include federal loans for them.
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  • jmnva06jmnva06 769 replies7 threads Member
    I don't regret my loans either. I had a much better year my 2nd year of grad school when I took out loans.

    I also have taken my lunch to work almost every day for the last 28 years. I prefer it to wasting money.

    Loans are not inherently good or bad-- it is all about personal preference
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21395 replies223 threads Senior Member
    @creekland Thanks for sharing your story. A question I'm curious about from interest in how different families handle things, you mention that you might consider helping your middle son out with med school loans. Did you help your other two sons out with theirs? Do you feel a need to be fair to all or do you factor in that the one will have more debt than the others given his career choice vs the other sons?
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  • CreeklandCreekland 5761 replies89 threads Senior Member
    I think it's important to realize that students and parents on CC aren't exactly representative of the masses of students who get themselves into debt.

    While this is true, I work with the "masses" at a statistically average public high school. For many of these kids, loans are the only way to have certain opportunities for their future. My own dh is one who benefited from 5 digit loans back in our era. We lived frugally for 5 years paying it back and have reaped the benefits ever since. Without the opportunity for the loans there's no way he'd be where he's at now as owner of his company.

    When I see former students having troubles post high school, it's rarely a surprise (unless they got hooked on drugs somewhere down the line). People skills are quite often the culprit TBH. Some humans seem to instinctively know how to interact with each other or are at least open to learning how to do so, then there are the others. I know some with college degrees who have problems finding or keeping jobs even in a terrific economy. It's not a surprise at all that they end up working (if they work) at low wage places that desperately need workers - so desperate they put up with things other places won't. If you ask them, life's not fair! If you ask anyone around them who really knows them and how they are, "Yeah I wouldn't hire them either."

    When it comes to debt itself, the key is understanding it and having the dedication to pay it off. It doesn't matter if it's school debt, credit card debt, or any other type of debt. If one prefers eating out and enjoying oodles of the niceties of life, that debt isn't going away. If one gets into more than their paycheck can pay off, they need to change something. It's very helpful to look at how much those payments and paychecks are going/likely to be before saying something is affordable or not. It's helpful to compare COL in various places before settling somewhere too. Whether one can handle debt or not isn't restricted to those with/without people skills. Some folks look at a new credit card they receive in the mail and see it as cash they can spend.

    It's very rare* that I feel sorry for any story about debt I read about in the paper. I see too much IRL experiences from "the masses" and assume it's similar elsewhere.

    *I do feel sorry when the debt is medical related. That shouldn't happen in a first world country.
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