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Author Topic: How much debt is too much?  (Read 6072 times)

WitterUin4

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2004, 10:01:42 PM »
How badly do you want to go to law school? I'm really attached to my very nice home, too, but this is what I suggest:

1. Sell your house. Downsize.
2. Become a scholarship whore, even if it means TTT.
3. Make sure your LSAT score is incredible.


Your husband can likely get a job in any metro area as a cop.  Think outside the box.

I'm telling you, I know. I LOVE my house. Letting it go so I can go to law school is the hardest part of the whole scenario.  Moving the family is hard. Asking your husband to sacrifice is hard. Sacrificing is hard, period. If you absolutely cannot do it right now, relax. Let a few years go by. Plan for it. But if you want it now, it sounds as if you're going to have to put the hurt to yourself a bit. 

But I feel for ya.  This has been a huge undertaking for me and for my family.
I'm at 1L at CU Boulder

Highway

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2004, 12:34:59 PM »
From all the responses on this thread, I may as well kill myself and set my wife up with the life insurance!

Here's a situation for you:

A house with a fairly sizeable mortgage.
2 kids in daycare (3 years old and 1 year old)
2 car payments (will be paid off in another 18 months or so)
2 credit card payments
2 student loans (wife and myself) totalling - ready for this - over $225k!

I want to go to law school. Of course, my situation is different in that my company will cover the majority of the cost. If I had to take on more student loan debt, my wife would probably kill me herself.

I would be looking at evening division only, obviously keeping my job so that we can continue to live in the lap of luxury (ha).

Hey...there will always be debt. We pay the bills each month and no collectors come knocking. I can't always afford to buy everything I want to but, as I'm sure you know, that's the price you pay for having kids and loans.

I want to go to law school because I'm interested in getting into health and insurance law (I am a physician who currently works at an insurance company).

If you realistically understand how much you will be in debt (having that MBA will probably serve you well in that regard), versus how much you can earn (ie: BIGLAW is not necessarily going to be easy to get hired in if you go part time to a lesser school than the T14), you can make an informed decision.

Having large student loans is not the end of the world. They can be managed. Your FICO score may suffer a bit based on total debt to income ratio, but if you pay the bills, you'll be ok.

Personally, if you want to do it, and you find the right school, I say to go for it. I've thought about going to law school every year for the past 5, but have never thought I could. Finally I just decided to go for it. I don't want to be in my old age wondering if I could have gone to law school.

I'm happy to discuss debt issues with you, or anyone else, further, if you want to send me an email:

hwysqrl@aol.com

Take care,
Jeff

Rachelb1

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2004, 04:27:46 AM »
Forgive me if this is too blunt, but basically this is how I see it

"no one is going to die your death, so don't let anyone live your life"

If you and your husband are committed to making this work, then go for it. You're the only one who can decide what's right for you.  If you decide after one year, that Law isn't for you, so what?  Who do you have to account to?  I'd rather try it and find out it's not for me than to be sitting in the nursing home at age 80 saying, "gee, perhaps I should have gone for it"

Follow your heart!!!!!!!!!!!
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ElizaB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2004, 11:48:27 AM »
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with much of what is being said on this thread! Student loan debt is not the same thing as credit card debt or debt from car payments. First off, the interest rates on student loans are as low as 1 to 3 percent.(And if anyone out there is paying rates higher than this, you need to consolidate.) The rates on credit cards are more like 10 to 20 percent.  Even the rates on cars and homes are much higher than the rates on student loans.

Furthermore, I think that you have to view the two differntly. If I looked at the amount of "student-loan debt" that my live-in boyfriend and I have from my undergrad loans and his medical school loans as "debt", I would probably think twice about going to LS, too!  The difference is that you have to look at student loan debt as an investment....not as another car or credit card payment!  My boyfriend and I will probably owe about $200k (combined) by the time I am finnished with law school and he is finnished with his residency....and this amount isn't even that bad considering that many of the people he graduate with from Med school owed $200k by themselves.  However, this $200k is nothing considering the difference between what we will make (over a lifetime) with our degrees versus what we would have made without them.

Besides, the OP can defer student loans...and while she is in school, the gov. will even pay the interest on any subsidized loans! Or she can take 40 years to pay them off if she has to! And many law schools offer loan repayment assistance programs and there are even government programs for loan repayment if one goes into areas of law that benefit the public good and are not paid as well.

Attending: Texas

chicago

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2004, 12:56:08 PM »
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with much of what is being said on this thread! Student loan debt is not the same thing as credit card debt or debt from car payments. First off, the interest rates on student loans are as low as 1 to 3 percent.(And if anyone out there is paying rates higher than this, you need to consolidate.) The rates on credit cards are more like 10 to 20 percent.  Even the rates on cars and homes are much higher than the rates on student loans.

Furthermore, I think that you have to view the two differntly. If I looked at the amount of "student-loan debt" that my live-in boyfriend and I have from my undergrad loans and his medical school loans as "debt", I would probably think twice about going to LS, too!  The difference is that you have to look at student loan debt as an investment....not as another car or credit card payment!  My boyfriend and I will probably owe about $200k (combined) by the time I am finnished with law school and he is finnished with his residency....and this amount isn't even that bad considering that many of the people he graduate with from Med school owed $200k by themselves.  However, this $200k is nothing considering the difference between what we will make (over a lifetime) with our degrees versus what we would have made without them.

Besides, the OP can defer student loans...and while she is in school, the gov. will even pay the interest on any subsidized loans! Or she can take 40 years to pay them off if she has to! And many law schools offer loan repayment assistance programs and there are even government programs for loan repayment if one goes into areas of law that benefit the public good and are not paid as well.



are the rates on private educational loans (above & beyond the $18,500 of stafford loans) really going to be 1 - 3%?  I hope so, but from the (limited) research I've done this, I think the rates are much higher if you have to borrow more than $20K a year....

HankieB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2004, 05:12:59 PM »
Wow, I didn't realize that there were people who were looking at even more student loan debt than myself!  So I guess I'm not alone. 

I recently consolidated all of my student loans and they are currently in the neighborhood of 3% for 20 years, but I can push that out to 30 if necessary (with the same lender, for no charge).  And yes, I will definitely defer my loans while in ls...I mean, why take out loans to make payments on loans (at least when they are both student loans).  A good portion of my loans are subsidized, so that is helpful. 

Rates won't stay this low forever, but I think that the cap on Stafford loans is around 8.5%, which is still a lot more reasonable than credit cards.


Earlier today, I was reading the really long thread "Do you really want to go to law school?".  There are a number of posters who are going to law school because they can't think of anything better to do...I guess that makes me feel better about making the investment, since at least I'm very confident that this IS what I want to do, and have felt that way for a loooong time.   

I'm still planning to apply to part-time programs, however, to try to keep the cost down somewhat (always leaving the option open to switch over to full time after a year). 

66scorer

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2004, 01:23:35 PM »
Hmmm...

The eternal battle of pragmatists and idealists has reared it's ugly head. ;D

There are excellent points to be considered all through this thread.  Everyone has realities they must face. 

But bottom line HankieB: lay next to your husband in the dark of your bedroom.  Search your soul for what you want.  Talk to your partner about what you can do.  Make a decision.  Then charge, one way or the other, into the rest of your life.

Mark Twain said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.





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Because we are taught to read."
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ElizaB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2004, 09:06:46 PM »

are the rates on private educational loans (above & beyond the $18,500 of stafford loans) really going to be 1 - 3%?  I hope so, but from the (limited) research I've done this, I think the rates are much higher if you have to borrow more than $20K a year....

I don't know for sure what the max. upper limit in aid is, but I know that the upper limit isn't $18,500 because my boyfriend gets more than that.  He gets about $28,000 total in Stafford loans and grants a year for Medical School and this is pretty much the same amount that everyone in his class gets. He has never had to take out a private loan. I think that the government adjusts how much you are awarded according to how much the tuition at your school is and how much the cost of living is in your area. If you have to pay more in tuition, than you get more federal aid....I'm sure that if you have expenses above and beyond the norm (i.e. a high mortgage), you probably do have to take out private loans. I honestly don't know what the interest rates on private loans for school are because I have never had to take out one.  I am sure that they are quite a bit higher than 1 to 3 percent, though.  However, I do know that it is possibly to get more than $18,500 in federal financial aid.       
Attending: Texas

DOWNY COOLEY

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2004, 03:00:37 AM »
I had the worst hangover of my life last Monday (if you're familiar with DOWNY you know how bad this was). I puked a lot the night before.

HankieB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2004, 09:30:33 AM »
$18,500 is just the max for government loans with the really low rates...anything above that is private, which (while cheaper than credit cards and less damaging to credit rating) will not have super low rates like the Stafford loan. 

Last year when I went through this whole process (before I knew that I was pregnant), my financial aid packages were decent when considering merit scholarships and Stafford loans, but there was no way for me to avoid private loans.  I also had applied to full-time programs knowing that I wouldn't be working - at least during my 1L year.

I'm hopeful that I can minimize my private loans by going part-time.