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Author Topic: How much debt is too much?  (Read 5642 times)

UMHBmom

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2004, 12:49:02 PM »
Another 30-something with kids here. I'm going to second what someone else said about becoming a scholarship whore. Sleep with the dean if you have to... or at least rub his feet. I'm obviously just kidding (that is obvious, right?), but scholarships will make all the difference. I had a choice between UT and Baylor (I live equidistant from the 2), but I chose the lesser-ranked school because they're paying my way. This allows me to keep my loans within the subsidized amount so that my family can still do things like live in a house and eat the occasional box of Hamburger Helper.... spread out over 3 days. I'm not planning on eating at all, myself.  :-\ When all is said and done, my MAX debt-load will be %56,000, including my undergrad debt, AND I'll be able to attend full-time without working. TOTALLY manageable. We will have to make some common-sense modifications, of course: getting rid of cable TV, switching from high-speed to dial-up internet, no more meals out, putting off buying a new car, etc. I've had some people tell me that it was a dumb choice, because I'd make more money as a grad from UT, but I ask you... doing what? BigLaw??? AS IF! I'd rather commit ritual suicide. Twice. My personal goal is public interest law, and I won't have the debt to drag me down and force me to sell my soul to some firm with a ridiculous name like Hairy, Finicky, Schleb, and Moe, LLP.

WitterUin4

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2004, 04:13:26 PM »
Another 30-something with kids here. I'm going to second what someone else said about becoming a scholarship whore. Sleep with the dean if you have to... or at least rub his feet. I'm obviously just kidding (that is obvious, right?), but scholarships will make all the difference. I had a choice between UT and Baylor (I live equidistant from the 2), but I chose the lesser-ranked school because they're paying my way. This allows me to keep my loans within the subsidized amount so that my family can still do things like live in a house and eat the occasional box of Hamburger Helper.... spread out over 3 days. I'm not planning on eating at all, myself.  :-\ When all is said and done, my MAX debt-load will be %56,000, including my undergrad debt, AND I'll be able to attend full-time without working. TOTALLY manageable. We will have to make some common-sense modifications, of course: getting rid of cable TV, switching from high-speed to dial-up internet, no more meals out, putting off buying a new car, etc. I've had some people tell me that it was a dumb choice, because I'd make more money as a grad from UT, but I ask you... doing what? BigLaw??? AS IF! I'd rather commit ritual suicide. Twice. My personal goal is public interest law, and I won't have the debt to drag me down and force me to sell my soul to some firm with a ridiculous name like Hairy, Finicky, Schleb, and Moe, LLP.
  LOL. Yeah, it was me who said she should be a scholarship whore. Some of us with age and kids on our side might wanna go into BIGLAW and make the big bucks, but I'm thinking that's not what the majority of people like us are looking for, so a regional school sometimes makes the most sense.  For instance, I am in love with the idea of going to Cornell.  Even if I somehow managed to get in, I'm not getting any money.  So I look at Cornell like I look at (insert name of celebrity sex god here) and I look at T2+ schools the way I look at my husband. Yeah, he's not gonna set me up with a yacht and a big house on the hill, but he's got his good points and he's attainable (attained).  ;)  I think it's possible to be a pragmatic idealist.
I'm at 1L at CU Boulder

UMHBmom

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2004, 04:21:39 PM »
You know, I used to say I wanted to be a lawyer the same way I said I wanted to be a rock star. Never thought I'd get here. I also have a Sex God Law School: Stanford. My best friend from high school is now a Stanford Fellow in medicine (oncology and hematology) and it makes me feel "less than" to go to a lesser-ranked school. But where I'm compromising on my education, she compromised on her personal life. No kids, can't find a stable relationship, feels married to her study patients, etc. I wouldn't trade my kids, my husband, my dogs, my messy house, my minivan for ANYTHING... including being a lawyer. If they didn't want me to do this, I wouldn't do it. The reality is that I will graduate just two years before the oldest goes off to college. I can't see telling her that she has no money for college because I already spent it all, you know?

WitterUin4

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2004, 05:34:50 PM »
My 17-year-old son is starting college in Fall 2005. Spending his college money isn't an issue because there wasn't any to spend.  He'll be getting loans just like his mom. I doubt my daughter's experience (she's 3) will be the same, but I had her at a much different point in my life. My son's grades are only mediocre, so he'll be going to a CC for a couple of years anyway, working a job at a pizza and pasta place at the same time. He wants to be a cop, so it's not like his choice of UG is going to hurt him. Stanford would be excessive.  ;)
I'm at 1L at CU Boulder

UMHBmom

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2004, 06:04:10 PM »
Oh, trust me.... the kids have no trust funds. LOL... I was more thinking along the lines that because of her age, our income will be counted into her financial aid. It would be a shame to tell her that we couldn't cough up our part of the EFC because we were too much in hock to the First Bank of Bryan/College Station. My daughter is one of those intense, focused types. She plans on going to Duke (she's even putting together a portfolio and registered to take the PSAT in SIXTH GRADE... for practice!) and wants to be a medical examiner. Yeah, she watches "Crossing Jordan". The thing is, regardless of what she eventually ends up majoring in, this kid has every intention of going to a big league college so I'd better get ready. I might wind up selling the other two kids on the black market to finance her dreams.

ElizaB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #35 on: November 20, 2004, 09:22:15 PM »
Another 30-something with kids here. I'm going to second what someone else said about becoming a scholarship whore. Sleep with the dean if you have to... or at least rub his feet. I'm obviously just kidding (that is obvious, right?), but scholarships will make all the difference. I had a choice between UT and Baylor (I live equidistant from the 2), but I chose the lesser-ranked school because they're paying my way. This allows me to keep my loans within the subsidized amount so that my family can still do things like live in a house and eat the occasional box of Hamburger Helper.... spread out over 3 days. I'm not planning on eating at all, myself.  :-\ When all is said and done, my MAX debt-load will be %56,000, including my undergrad debt, AND I'll be able to attend full-time without working. TOTALLY manageable. We will have to make some common-sense modifications, of course: getting rid of cable TV, switching from high-speed to dial-up internet, no more meals out, putting off buying a new car, etc. I've had some people tell me that it was a dumb choice, because I'd make more money as a grad from UT, but I ask you... doing what? BigLaw??? AS IF! I'd rather commit ritual suicide. Twice. My personal goal is public interest law, and I won't have the debt to drag me down and force me to sell my soul to some firm with a ridiculous name like Hairy, Finicky, Schleb, and Moe, LLP.

UMHB Mom....Are you starting at Baylor in the spring?  Did you apply at UT for this fall or last fall? When were you notified of a decision from UT? My boyfriend is looking at doing his residency in Temple at Scott & White (because he wants to get out of the city) and, if we ends up there (which we won't know until March) it would be most convenient for me to go to Baylor or UT.  I have been accepted to Baylor and have not heard from UT....and they only requested my LSDAS report a couple of days ago. We are concerned that we won't both get into programs in the same area and end up having to live apart.  I was just curious what your experiences were.
Attending: Texas

UMHBmom

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #36 on: November 20, 2004, 09:50:45 PM »
I didn't even BOTHER applying to UT. First, I would have had to wait until fall. Second, my numbers were under median and I had a snowball's chance in hell at scholarship $$$. Third, the TRAFFIC!!!! I know it's a pathetic excuse for dinging UT, but I swear.... hitting Round Rock at rush hour is enough to bring me to tears. Seriously... I've CRIED on I-35. Temple is a good place to live. I lived there for 3 years. One thing to consider is that the midpoint between Temple and Waco (Bruceville-Eddy area) is MUCH cheaper than the midpoint between Temple and Austin (Georgetown). Of course, with you going to law school and him in residency, it's not like you'll be seeing much of each other, anyway.  ;)

ElizaB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2004, 10:29:09 AM »
UHMB Mom...I know what you mean about Austin traffic.  I made some comment one time on here about how Austin traffic was worse than Houston traffic and a bunch of people acted like I was crazy, but I really think I was correct.  In Houston you can avoid a lot of the traffic by staying on toll roads and bad traffic is limited, for the most part, to rush hour.  In Austin, there are just too many cars and not enough roads/highways to accomodate them.  I have had to sit in hours worth of traffic on a Sunday afternoon!

Thanks for the advice on the towns.  I am sure that we will wait until we know for sure before we start looking for something, but I know that we will definately want to be looking for something reasonable.  Good Luck to you!
Attending: Texas

UMHBmom

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2004, 10:49:07 AM »
I'd like to gather up all of Austin's urban designers, line them up, and then just smack them over and over again. EVERYONE knows that if you want to get traffic moving through a major city, you create a beltway. A loop (and don't get me started on the MoPac half-moon to nowhere, ok??). SOMETHING that allows those folks who have no desire to see the downtown skyline to actually go AROUND that major metropolitan area. Does Austin do this? NO! All it takes is one UT game and you may as well all put on your parking brakes and call it a used car lot. Can you avoid this in any way in Austin? No, ma'am. The only way around it is THROUGH it and good luck to you!

Sorry for the rant... I'm from the DC area.  :-\

Garbled

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2004, 04:43:43 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.



I wouldn't say that 200K is "nothing" but your point is well taken. Additionally, the interest on student loan debt is written off your tax in a different and much more beneficial way than, say, mortgage interest. With mortgage interest you have to itemize and the tax savings benefits are usually not nearly as beneficial as people might think, but student loan interest isn't handled that way. Ask a tax guy for details.

With credit card debt (and even car loans), if you have equity in your home you should never carry a balance on credit cards (assuming no mortgage insurance). Get an equity line of credit against your house.

Managing unnecessary credit is all about delaying your gratification until you can afford to pay cash.