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Modest house (and I'm really saying modest, not too small, but nothing spectacular): $1.5m, @ 6%: $9000/mo
Taxes: $16000 yr
Insurance: $2000 yr
Maintenance + Utilities: $10000
Other than kid expenses: $20k/yr (I can live off that, includes food, a run-of-the-mill Honda, etc)
Savings: $10k/yr
total: $166k

AMT kicks in, assume 35% overall federal + state tax rate.

income necessary before even CONSIDERING a kid: $255k


Kid expenses: $6k/yr (summer camps, food, etc, etc)
Kid education: $25k/yr (K-12, $50k/yr college)

Not tax deductible, so, another $31/.65 = ~ $47k -- even more at college, but less early on, so evens out

You forgot the final line:

Having kids: PRICELESS

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Give up T1 for a T4?
« on: April 11, 2006, 06:03:38 AM »
In my case, the T1 is between 30-50. The T1 requires a move, the T4 is local and less expensive, in a city I prefer to be in. But I'm interested in other people's situations as well. I'm also wondering if I'll do better if I attend a less competitive school?

I would say it all depends on where you want to practice, and the quality of the T4 you're considering.  Schools 30-50 are not national schools, regardless of what tier you put them in.  If you want to live and practice in the city where that tier 1 is, then you'll probably be better off there.  But if you're thinking about going to school there, then coming home, you might not be better off.  Because quality of the Tier 4 schools vary greatly. 

My situation isn't completely similar, because I wasn't moving my family no matter what.  As such, I only applied to local schools.  But, had I sent applications to schools 30-50, I think I could have gotten somebody to bite on me.  It wasn't worth it though, becuase I want to practice in Boston.  And I'm pretty sure that I'll have a better chance getting a job in Boston coming out of Suffolk (which has numbers comparable to a lot of T2 schools, BTW) than I would coming out of Ohio State, or Alabama-Tuscaloosa.  But I wouldn't feel as confident if the Tier 4 I was attending didn't place well.

Financial Aid / Re: Appealing a Financial Aid Offer
« on: March 31, 2006, 03:13:04 PM »
Ever since the very beginning of the law school application process, Michigan has been my dream school.  Now that the dream has the potential to become real, however, I realize that I may not be able to afford it.  Despite the fact that my parents combined income fits us solidly into middle class territory and that I stipulated on the Need Access form that my parents won't be contributing anything to my law school expenses, I was offered a package of nothing but the standard federal loans.  According to Michigan's web site, "in the 2005 entering class, 80 percent of students received some form of grant, in an average amount of $8,600. 51 percent of first-year students received grants based on financial need; 36 percent received grants based on academic merit; 7 percent received a combination."

Given this information, I find it hard to believe that my situation wouldn't qualify me for need-based grant aid.  What should I do?  The fin. aid email says that Michigan would be happy to re-evaluate my fin. aid application in light of special circumstances, but that the process wouldn't begin until mid-September.  I LOVE Michigan, but I'm not sure I'll be able to go there without any need-based help. 

Any advice or input you can offer as to what I can do to receive a grant prior to enrolling would be very, very much appreciated...

I can only speak for Suffolk, but thay made it clear that they would only reconsider your financial aid package if you have some new or different information.  IOW, they won't give you any money if you say, "but please, that just isn't enough . . . "

I got laid off last friday and my prospects of finding a new job that will let me work full time until August and then 10-15 hrs per week thereafter are slim, so I plan on appealing my financial aid decision.  But I'm not expecting much . . .

FWIW, I heard from Suffolk again today, after apealing for more aid based on my recent layoff.  They gave me an addional $1,000 grand and an additional $1,500 interest-free loan.  Seems fair enough to me it was about whatg I expected.

Well can't you just go in now and change your numbers on your current fafsa - play around with them and see how assets and dependents affect things?  As long as you don't list any schools, or list school's you're not attending, it shouldn't affect anything, right?

don't go to "fancy" grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

Wow, I never even thought of TJ's as fancy.  In fact it often had the best deals on milk, produce and other items.  It had a lot of the same things (read Ben & Jerrys and other name brands) as other stores but at half the price and knock-off items (spreads, dips, and other miscelaneous items) for much less than upper crust stores.  Not to mention 2 buck chuck.  I'm now in a city with no TJ and I easily spend more on groceries than in a more expensive city with a TJs.

Our local TJ doesn't stock 2 buck chuck because of stupid MA laws resticting liquor licenses.  I'm not a big wine drinker, but if I could get drinkable stuff for $2, I might be.

I only like one kind of cereal, and that's how much it costs... on sale.  I don't like packaged, mass-produced bread either; I buy it from a European-style bakery.  Fruit, on the other hand, is easy to find both cheap and good around here.

I'm thinking out loud here, not telling other people what their food budgets should be like.

Yeah, food is something you can spend as much or as little as you want.  If you clip coupons and shop sales, you can literally cut your budget in half without making many sacrifices, but that takes time and effort.  If you're willing to live on cheap stuff like ramen noodle and cheap hot dogs or bologna, you can live on 10-20 bucks per week.  But few people want to live like that and I don't blame them.

One of my concerns about food is how much I'll have to spend on food and drink to remain social.  Honestly, I'd be fine bringing PB+J sandwiches every day, but I'm thinking that I need to network with other students for study groups and that sort of thing, and that stuff is typically done over lunch or drinks or something. 

I shop sales, so my $3 for two pounds of fruit is not unrealistic.  A pound of bananas goes for 49 cents around here; apples are 99 cents to $1.29 a pound in season; grapes are 99 cents a pound; oranges are 99 cents a pound in season.

If you shop the sales, what are you doing paying $4 for a box of cereal or $3 for a loaf of bread? 


Does this mean I have to roll it over into a house in order to make the FAFSA numbers work? I assume there is a huge difference between a large family with few assets and one low earner and a large family with 50-70k in the bank and one low earner.

Don't be so sure of that.  If you really have a large family with a low earner, the money in the bank may not matter.  I'm the sole earner for my family of 4 and I wasn't making much - about 40K last year, and when I did my FAFSA with and without $35K in assets, it didn't change a bit.  I believe there's some standard where if you have enough dependents and your income is low enough, then assets don't matter.  Of course, you need to research this because it isn't worth pissing away the 50-70K if I'm wrong.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Anyone else having second thoughts?
« on: March 28, 2006, 06:03:19 PM »
If I have a worst-case scenario and have to pay $2K a month back in loans, it's not going to be hard for me to be making $3K more a month to put me at a standard of living that I had before. 

This is what I'm counting on too.  I think as long as you have this perspective that you're going to be an attorney because thats what you want to do and you don't mind living reasonably, then everything will be fine.  If you want to be an attorney to be rich, or if you'll need a new BMW upon passing the bar, well, then you should probably stress about the debt.

What do you guys think about me asking Northeastern for more money, I have heard that they rarely give out dollars and I was surprise to receive some from them...but should I ask for more, I could use my Hofstra and Suffolk as a leverage? what do you guys think. Also in my letter of continued interest, I told them that they are my first choice and that I will withdraw from every school once they accept don't know whether that will hurt my bargaining power....please share  your thoughts on this. Thanks in advance

Here's my thoughts.  It is almost certain that won't give you more money if you don't ask for it.  If you DO ask, will they give you anything?  Maybe.  Couldn't hurt to ask.  Be honest with them - tell then your decicion is between them and Suffolk and that you really like both schools, but right now the money from Suffolk is tough to ignore.

At this point, it really can't hurt to put all your cards on the table.

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