I graduated law school with $206,000 of student loan debt (woof). While I have paid off $50,000 in three years, I still have $156,000 to go. For all you student-loan-debt-sufferers out there, no doubt your student loans affect your life in ways you never expected.
12 things no one tells you about your student loan debt.
- You have to rent a cheap apartment because so much of your pay check goes toward your loans
- You still have to drive the car you got in college
- You cannot afford to take vacations because of your debt
- You probably will never be able to afford a house at this point (at least it feels this way)
- Your rich friends do not understand
- Everyone expects you to be well off because of your degree(s)
- Student loans affect your dating life (you are less of a catch because of your loans)
- Your net worth is negative
- The interest on your loans accumulates so fast that it feels like you aren't making any progress
- Your student loans will be around for forever (or so it feels)
- You have to take a second job to afford your life
- If you want a new car, a house, or to take a vacation, you have to make financially unwise decisions
You are not living in a hip part of town (in walking distance to your favorite places) because you have to live somewhere more "affordable." You live in what can be described as a "college-like" environment even though you are in your late 20s.
You cannot afford to trade in your car because all your extra money goes toward paying off your student loans. The thought of your car breaking down terrifies you because you have no plan B.
When your friends want to go on a trip, you have to pass because the thought of spending hundreds of dollars just for fun makes you feel incredibly poor.
Although your parents think you "need to buy a house" soon, you scoff at this idea. You barely have a few thousand dollars in an emergency fund, let alone money for a down payment on a house. And how would you fill the house with furniture anyways?
Your friends who have money think you care too much about your student loans and don't get why you live like you are in college. They constantly forget you are broke and continue to ask you to go out to eat.
People know you are a professional with a good job, so they expect you to spend money accordingly. What they forget is that your "good" salary is dismal compared to your mountain of student loan debt.
You realize that being good with money is a desirable trait in a partner. But all of the people who are good with money are turned off by your massive student loan debt. You don't really blame them, but it still stinks.
In your effort to become financially savvy and responsible, you begin tracking your net worth only to find out it is negative. This is depressing.
You get really excited when you make a student loan payment and see the amount owed go down. Then, 30 days later, you come back to make another payment only to see the interest has accrued so much that it feels like you're barely making headway. You get mad that mortgage interest rates are so low while your student loan interest rate is 8 percent.
Either you accept the fact that your debt will be around forever (25+ years), or you really buckle down and get on a 10 year plan. But then you realize 10 years is still a freaking long time.
Who said babysitting was for teenagers? You decide to pick up side jobs or a second job all together. The only problem is that society really does not accept this model and is very judgmental. And of course, all your free time is gone.
Eventually, peer pressure starts to have its effect on you. But the only way you can upgrade your car, your home, or take a vacation is if you start putting off paying your debt. After all, Joneses are hard to keep up with.