Long-time readers of my blog know that I usually post a monthly update on my student loan repayment progress. The last such update was posted back in January and it was pretty well-received by the readers. Thanks for that, everyone! Since January, I haven’t posted any updates about my repayment progress. There’s a good reason for the lack of updates, though: there hasn’t been much progress since January. Shocking for a guy who has managed to repay so much in such a short period of time, right? Well, here’s the story…
Sometime towards the end of January/early February, my roommate told me that he finally received a call back for a job that he’s been waiting to hear from for several years. He said that if he passed the different qualification rounds (he did and there was never a question on whether he would) and the agency offered him a position (which was and remains likely), then he would have to move out at some point in the middle of May.
Just like any sane person, I reacted to this news by weighing my future housing options. Through this process, I realized very quickly that my options for selecting a living situation in 2013 are much different than they were 5 or 10 years ago. Today, I don’t really need a roommate to pay for the too-high rent required for the three bedroom, two and a half bath townhouse that I currently live in. However, only having to pay half of the rent and half of the utilities obviously makes my financial life easier and I can’t complain about the roommates that I’ve had over the years – they’ve all been great with paying their share of the costs. And they’ve been good guys, too.
However, I’ve gotten a bit older and what I’ll accept for living space today is different than what I would have accepted 5 or 10 years ago. For example, I could very easily continue life as a renter and move into a less expensive condo or apartment that is much closer to the beaches and the bars that I go to (on those rare occasions when I actually go out to the beach or bar). But not only would continuing to be a single renter be a poor use of my income, living in those areas is not really where I want to be at this point in my life. Granted, “those areas” are only minutes from where I live now, but as a guy with an aggravating commute I’d rather be as close to the main highways as possible. The area that I live in right now is less than a mile from the Garden State Parkway and less than 5 minutes to other major highways in the area. It’s nice to have that type of access to main highways.
I’ve quickly gotten off topic here. The point of this entry is to provide a brief student loan update! I’m in an awkward position right now with my students loans. For the first time in years, I haven’t made any extra, excessive payments to the USED / MOHELA loan because I’ve been saving my money to buy a new home. Of course, as you might imagine there are two aggravating items that I have to report on about this situation.
First, I have $17 thousand still outstanding on my student loans. What is aggravating about the outstanding balance is that I have the entire amount (and then some) sitting in a savings account right now. Why not use the money in the savings account to pay off the balance of the loans, you ask? Simple. I’m saving those funds to buy a house. Just like the detour I had to take last year when my Honda Civic crapped out and I bought a brand new Ford Escape, I’ve been presented with a situation that requires me to change my financial goals.
Second, between principal payments and interest over the last nearly 7 years that I’ve been repaying my students loans, I’ve given private entities like NJHESAA and MOHELA and government agencies like the USED some $104 thousand in principal payments and some $35 thousand in interest payments for a combined nearly $140 thousand no longer in my possession. Just to give you a perspective on how that type of repayment has had a lasting, real impact on my life – the $140 thousand from the repayment could have easily combined with the $17 thousand that I’m sitting on to allow me to buy the condo that I’m considering purchasing – with absolutely no mortgage.
Of course, that’s not the situation that I’m in and that’s not the way my financial life has progressed. And I’m not mad… Am I aggravated about it all sometimes? Yes. But definitely not mad. In fact, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to position myself such that I can buy a home at 32 years old when there are so many people in my generation that just aren’t able to do so yet. And the path that I’ve taken to get here will allow me to decorate the walls in my soon-to-exist-home-office with various degrees and professional commendations. Not such a bad outcome, really. Does buying a home mean that my plan to retire my student loan debt by this summer is going to change? Yes. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to push that repayment plan out a little bit longer. But pushing the repayment plan out a little bit longer because I’m buying a home isn’t so bad!
So instead of reading about how I retired my student loan debt in the summer of 2013 you’re probably going to have to wait a few extra months – possibly a full year – to read that update. In any event… stay tuned!