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Author Topic: How much debt is too much?  (Read 5743 times)

helendemilo

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2004, 02:28:40 PM »
I didn't have all the information about your husband, so sorry for insinuating and making you feel bad.

I'm all for following dreams in life, but you have to set yourself up to be able to follow your dreams.  Until you pay off the debt you already have, I don't think you should be taking on more debt.  60k is a lot of money, in addition to a mortgage, and how much the kids cost (day care ain't cheap, I'm sure). 

It's great to have a goal, but you have to make sure you're not cheating the ones you love out of something very important - you!  Going to school is going to require a huge time commitment that will take you away from your kids and husband.  They love you and they will miss you.  You're going to miss your baby!  You want to structure your school/work commitments to leave time and energy for your family, because they're more important. 
(EDIT:  This is not to say that moms shouldn't go to school.  I only mean that the prospect of working FT and going to law school PT or vice versa or going to a 2nd tier school where you're going to have to study all the time to be in the top 10% to be able to get the kind of job that will pay back all the law school debt is VERY VERY time consuming, and the trade-off might not be worth it to you)


That much debt is going to take a large amount of resources away from the family.  Also it's a double whammy because to pay off the debt, you'd likely have to take the highest paying job possible, which might not be the one you'd enjoy the most and it would probably require long hours, again taking you away from your family.

I'm thinking that a better solution would be to take a fraction of the money you would spend on law school and dedicate it to figuring out what could make you happy with your current skills.  Sign up for some life coaching, buy some motivational books.  Quit your job and spend some time networking and find one you DO like.  I think this will be a much better use of your limited resources in the long run.  Sure it will be tough to quit your job and not know what to do until you find a new one, but that lack of job and money is way less than what you'd take on by signing up for law school. 

There is something that you can do right now with the education you have that will make you happy.  Spend some time thinking carefully about what that might be.  You don't have to get a new degree to switch tracks. 

desmo

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2004, 02:29:48 PM »
so you're looking for an objective opinion, but only if it shines up your rose colored glasses?

HankieB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2004, 02:41:41 PM »
desmo,
No, I understand that I asked a loaded question.  I guess in my heart I knew what the responses would be, and my best-case scenario would be to hear from someone who had similar circumstances and made the leap anyway (whether successfully or not).  It's just kind of disappointing to have others spell out what I suspected in the first place...

Oh well.  Maybe a career counselor would be a good place to start.  I had thought about that, but I figured that I would also reapply to law school to hedge my bets.

Does anyone know where one would find a career counselor?




jaxon

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2004, 03:25:43 PM »

i dont get it... if you really want to be a lawyer you will make the sacrifices necessary to do so.. in your current position, it would be highly irresponsible to go full-time and put yourself in a terrible financial position... but there is nothing stopping you from toughing it out in a part time public institution while working full time..

if this sounds like too much of a sacrifice, then you probably do not want to go as badly as you dislkie your current situation.


desmo,
No, I understand that I asked a loaded question.  I guess in my heart I knew what the responses would be, and my best-case scenario would be to hear from someone who had similar circumstances and made the leap anyway (whether successfully or not).  It's just kind of disappointing to have others spell out what I suspected in the first place...

Oh well.  Maybe a career counselor would be a good place to start.  I had thought about that, but I figured that I would also reapply to law school to hedge my bets.

Does anyone know where one would find a career counselor?





HankieB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2004, 04:08:17 PM »
I agree about the full time issue, and am planning to apply to part time programs as a result of the reality check I received from this post (thanks to all-seriously!  ;D).  There aren't any public schools in the area, but I really think that I can make a go at a part time program at a private school if I get a good merit scholarship.  That remains to be seen.

I'm willing to do whatever it takes to become a lawyer, I just want to make sure that I don't get in too far over my head...that wouldn't be fair to me or (especially) my family.

jaxon

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2004, 10:28:16 AM »

I have already accepted that I will probably be able to spend a couple hours per week tops with my family while school is in session.  if you make a decent salary now, and can get in to a private school part time it may be worthwhile... i only have 18K in UG loans so i am going to go to a private PT.  i am expecting to accumulate about 60K in additional debt by the time i finish, and would be able to make payments without issue on my current salary, so the financial equation works out ok...

if you really want to do it, then go for it. just make sure you keep your day job.


I agree about the full time issue, and am planning to apply to part time programs as a result of the reality check I received from this post (thanks to all-seriously!  ;D).  There aren't any public schools in the area, but I really think that I can make a go at a part time program at a private school if I get a good merit scholarship.  That remains to be seen.

I'm willing to do whatever it takes to become a lawyer, I just want to make sure that I don't get in too far over my head...that wouldn't be fair to me or (especially) my family.

Louder Than Bombs

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2004, 10:36:17 AM »
Question: Why do you want to be a lawyer 'so bad'?! You realize it's a crappy profession, and that many, many attorneys are VERY unhappy with their lives. I am of the opinion that the only 'happy' lawyers are solo practitioners or those who do public interest work (because they are all about 'doing good', and being a lawyer is a great way to do that - but these people make no $). Even then being a lawyer sucks. I mean, I like to argue just as much as the next guy, but the idea of bickering every day on behalf of others really sickens me.

HankieB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2004, 12:21:39 PM »
If you think it is a crappy profession, then why are you going to law school yourself?  Just curious.

Not all lawyers are miserable mopes, although I will admit that plenty are.  Probably a lot of lawyers who are slaves to BIGLAW are somewhat unhappy. 

As for myself, becomming an attorney would provide me with a lot of different options professionally.  I don't personally have the desire to do BIGLAW (though I would do it in the short-term if the opportunity presented itself and I desperately needed the $ to pay off law school debt).  I would like to open up my own practice, but I haven't decided exactly what I would specialize in (though I have several ideas).  My feeling is that a lot of people think that they know what they want to do when they start schol, but end up doing something completely different in the end - so I'm keeping my options open. 

I have some family members who are lawyers or who have been lawyers, and they have contacts who have spoken to me about their fields and the pros/cons of each one.  That has been helpful. 

There is no doubt that I am going into this with my eyes wide open.  Heck, I'm even open to the fact that I may HATE law school, and drop out after a year.  But if I don't at least give it a try, I'll never find out.

Question: Why do you want to be a lawyer 'so bad'?! You realize it's a crappy profession, and that many, many attorneys are VERY unhappy with their lives. I am of the opinion that the only 'happy' lawyers are solo practitioners or those who do public interest work (because they are all about 'doing good', and being a lawyer is a great way to do that - but these people make no $). Even then being a lawyer sucks. I mean, I like to argue just as much as the next guy, but the idea of bickering every day on behalf of others really sickens me.

desmo

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2004, 12:31:45 PM »
so you're in debt up to your neck now and you're going to take on more for law school that you might decide isn't for you?  WTF, this all just doesn't make sense.  I doubt that freshly minted lawyers can make much of a go at private practice unless you're in a small town where people don't have a choice.  Your looking at $160K + in debt on top of your mortgage.  The kids will just get more expensive as the get older.  I'm waiting for reality to kick in somewhere on this thread and it ain't happening. 

HankieB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2004, 12:53:36 PM »
I'm not looking at $160K in debt if I go part time and continue to work.  Yes, I do live in a small town (but I'm close enough to a large city to take a job at a firm), and I'm also not expecting to be raking in the dough if I do open my own practice.  It's just one of many options that I have considered. 

Also, I'm not in debt up to my neck right now.  Yes, we have a substantial mortgage, but we can afford the payments without any difficulty and my student loans are $300 per month.  We have no other debt, so I'm really not worried about our ability to pay for SOME additional debt (which is why I quickly reconsidered the full-time option for school, yes, adding another $100K would be ridiculous in our situation). 

We don't have to pay for daycare, because my husband works nights and I also have family nearby.  So, our regular expenses wouldn't increase if I attend school. Kids can be costly (I have an 11 year old in addition to the baby), but are not really super-expensive until they reach college age.

What's wrong with being prepared to cut my losses if I find that I just can't stand law school?  I don't expect that to happen, but it has happened to people before, I'm sure.  And I don't look at going to law school as an "experiment" - but rather as an opportunity to move into a career path that I will find much more satisfying.