Slowly (almost excruciatingly so), I’m reducing my student loan debt. It was just in October that I announced how my student loan debt was down to $98 thousand and change. Well, today I can announce that it is down to $97 thousand and change. Sure, that might not seem like a big accomplishment, but when you’re in my position and you’re writing $1,000+ checks every month in an effort to speed up the repayment process, that’s big news.
It would be great if these damn loans were out of the way and I didn’t have to worry about them. The more that I repay and the more that I learn about student loans, the more I wish that I had started to pay them back when I was in school. Out of control student loan debt can really stifle a person’s ability to move to the “next step” in life. For example, I was talking with one of my coworkers the other day about our 401k plan and how we all lost a large percentage of money last year, but we’re making it back this year. Well, I found out that she’s contributing 10% of each paycheck to the 401k. Ten percent! That’s pretty significant. The truth is that I spent the last year contributing 0% of each paycheck into the 401k plan – I just couldn’t afford to do it (and I make good money). I opted to take the money that wasn’t going into the 401k and, instead, put it against my student loans. I’m not sure if it helped at all (especially with the NJHESAA loan accruing interest at an outrageous 7.33% rate), but it’s what I had to do.
Extreme student loan debt is stifling – even for a guy like me who works a day job and teaches at night. In the coming year, I’m going to have my day job and I’ll be teaching at night during both the spring and fall semester as well as teaching online for the first time; I’ll also have my website company, which is growing a little bit bigger each month. My hope is that with all of these irons in the fire that enough income comes in where I can make a larger dent in at least one of my student loans (the NJHESAA one so I can be done with that organization once and for all). In the mean time, though, I’m wearing myself thin by working seemingly around the clock and not accumulating savings at the same rate that I could be accumulating them. Just think about it – since 2006 I’ve repaid about $25,000 in student loan debt and that’s just the principal. When you tack on interest, I’ve written student loan checks for over $35,000 in the last three years!
Pretty disgusting, huh?
I’m not overly bothered by it because I know that I have a plan to repay this debt quickly and efficiently. I am, however, annoyed that it seems more and more that I won’t be able to take advantage of the current housing slump due to the student loan debt. It’s not that I wouldn’t get approved for a mortgage by a bank (I think that I would be approved), rather it’s that the $35,000+ that I could have used as a down payment is gone. Yeah, I have some money sitting in the bank and I’m actually doing very well with my personal investments in the market and in my savings account, but $35,000+ is a lot of money!
Oh well. I leave those thoughts for another day. Today, though, I celebrate knowing that the student loan debt is down to $97 thousand and change. And I also “celebrate” knowing that an additional $1,300 payment is already in the mail – so I should have another post announcing how the debt is down to $96,000 very soon!