Wednesday, December 08, 2004

My Greatest Wish

School Loans. To pay off my school loans. I HATE my school loans. VERY MUCH. I knew what I was getting into when I took them out, but I still hate them.

I have school loans for my undergraduate Bachelors degree at Binghamton University. I also have loans for my Masters in Physical Therapy at Touro College. Thats seven years of schooling that I have to pay back. My parents are paying a small amount of it from Binghamton, but the majority of it all is mine. There's over $100,000 to pay back over the next 25 or so years.

Month by month I pay large sums of money to the US Department of Education, The Student Loan Corporation, and Sallie Mae. I pay more in school loans than I do in rent. HUNDREDS more.

Most people are shocked when I tell them about my loans. Can't you consolidate them? They are. Why didn't your parents help you? They couldn't afford to. I had one person tell me that her parents were paying for her education (and a rather expensive one it was too, more than mine) because they didn't want her to have to worry about her having to pay back school loans later. Well ya know what? My parents didn't want me to have to worry about that either, unfortunately they couldn't afford to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition. They helped me as much as they could. And I'm grateful for that much. I know other people who pay school loans, but pay about half or a quarter of what I pay. They just had more help than I did. People my age who are working with me are putting down payments on condos, putting a lot of $$ away in savings, going on one or more vacations a year, talking about being young and having fun etc, and I'm still struggling. (SFO btw was fairly cheap for a vacation, I saved for it for a loooong time and it was STILL a struggle)

I know that my debt is "good debt", if there is a such thing, I spent it on my education, its not like I bought thousands of dollars of DVDs or something silly like that that people go into debt for. But I do feel it's limiting. I want a PhD, can't afford it, more school loans. I want to get married eventually. My parents can't afford a wedding, I can't afford a wedding. Not a HUGE deal to have a simple wedding, inexpensive etc but the thought is there. Want to buy a house, MORTGAGE! Want kids, more money I don't have.

Physical Therapy is a great career, but I think therapists are grossly underpaid for the work they do. ESPECIALLY in the Hospitals. The $$ is probably in private practice, but I have NO desire to do that kind of PT. It would make me VERY unhappy.

I have a hard time getting by on what I make now. And I know I'm lucky compared to much of this world. But I dunno, maybe it's the small somewhat selfish part of me that makes me feel guilty inside, but I just figure if I didn't have to shell out almost $900 a month in loans I could put $$ away for other things, further education, house, children, charities, savings, retirement, etc. People always talk about winning the lotto. I don't want millions of dollars, or even one million dollars. I just want about $200,000. To pay off my loans and put away for a PhD. Wouldn't THAT be nice... until I wake up that is and shell out a paychecks worth of bills in an hour.

Ahhhh to dream. A dream is a wish your heart makes... So that's it for me, my greatest wish. To have my loans paid off. Again, wouldn't it be SOOOOOOO nice.


Anonymous said...

I understand that some people must obtain student loans to attend college. What I don't understand is why didn't you attend a less high profile university? When I do home improvements or, let's say, an addition to my house, I would never over invest where I could not recoup my money if I sold the house. You have to strike a balance and draw a line where the payoff is. If you love your line of work (which not all are as lucky to say) then it is worth much more than $100,000. But, if you feel trapped and underpaid due to the fact that your student loans are more than you would like, then I would put the dream of a PhD on the back burner. Is it really going to get you paid that much more money or is it something you would just like to achieve?

I wish you luck in your endeavor. Additionally, if I ever win the lottery I will keep you in mind!

Anonymous said...

I too had school loans to pay off. I took a second job (not something that I loved, but just for the $$) for a few years and used it to pay them off. We had a private physical therapist come to our house twice weekly for several years, for our young son. If you could "moonlight" several hours per week doing that type of work, you could make some additional money toward your loans. You are fortunate to have skills that would allow you to do that.