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Author Topic: How much debt is too much?  (Read 5608 times)

HankieB

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How much debt is too much?
« on: November 10, 2004, 05:31:25 PM »
I'm applying to law school for the third time (long story), and I am wondering if I am crazy for being willing to take on huge amounts of debt to go to school full-time. 

*part time is really out of the question, because working and pt law school would keep me away from my 2 kids - one of whom is a 4 month old baby - way too much*

I have already completed an MBA program, and I have about $60K in student loan debt before even starting law school.  In my family, I make the bulk of the earnings (my husband is a cop, I'm in finance), and we own a house with a substantial mortgage.  Even if we pare down our expenses to the bare minimum, and assuming I get some merit aid, I will be putting on an additional $100K+ in loans at a tier 2 school. 

After graduating, I would prefer to not have to work for a big firm if I can avoid it, but would be willing to do so for a few years to help pay off those loans.

So have I really lost my marbles here?  I want to be an attorney so bad I can taste it, so of course I am more than happy to go deeper into debt.  What I need is an objective opinion.  Any thoughts? ???

Casper

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2004, 06:39:09 PM »
Seriously, you should have gone to law school instead of getting your MBA.  But I would suggest you delay going to law school for a years and work to pay off those loans.  Or settle for T3 school, in which they will give you more scholarship. But  def. don't burry yourself with loans, that will take you years to payoff. 

Can you get an deferrement on those loans, if you're enrolled in law school, or does the interest rates keep piling on? 

I'm not sure what you mean by BIG FIRM?  As in private practice, making over $150k? or you would want to work in public sector? 

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matt510

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2004, 12:03:03 AM »
Since you work in finance and have an MBA, you are the best judge of whether you can afford to attend law school. Though here are my thoughts ...

My take ... 2 kids (1 infant), "substantial" mortgage, and you are looking at 160k in loans. Part-time taking away from kids? What about the life of a full-time student ... class, hours of study every day, and trips to the library?

From my experience ... my mother-in-law began night law school when my wife was 2 and her sister was 3 months old ... and she had no day job. She graduated though nowhere near the top and struggled in her law career until she met a retired executive twenty years later.

HankieB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2004, 10:49:31 AM »
When I said part-time would take away from time with kids, I meant part-time in addition to working full-time.  That would obviously be the easiest way to avoid having huge loans.  I fully understand that full-time law school would require more time and effort than my current full-time job.

After thinking about it a little more, I'm now thinking that doing a part-time program might be the way to go (but only work part-time).  I think that I will contact the two schools to which I will be applying (one of which is my UG alma mater), to find out what my options are.  Hopefully, I could get a bit more merit aid, since my numbers are pretty high for their part-time programs - plus if I can find some part time work (maybe even with the school), that could help minimize the amount of loans I would need.

At the end of the day, I have always wanted to be a lawyer.  The MBA thing came about because my employer pushed it (and paid for most of it).  I was hoping that it would "cure" me of wanting to go to law school.  That didn't happen. 

Anyhow, thanks for your responses so far...any additional input is always appreciated.

desmo

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2004, 11:20:07 AM »
this is from an old thread,


Part time instate tuition and books will run me about $40K total (90 hour program x $342/hr + books etc.).  Time invested is estimated at 6400 hours - rounding up this puts time investment at $260K for a rough total of $300K in.

The killer comes in when I consider current salary.  Over a 7 year period I have to average $120K /yr to have enough of a gain to break even in a little over 7 years (if I assume I don't increase current $$$) 

Hardly seems worth it when you consider what your time is worth.

jaxon

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2004, 11:25:52 AM »
i am going to school part-time and have a 1 year old... i think with your current debt load you should consider whether going to law school full-time is in best interest of your family, especially, if you are not going to be attending a highly ranked school, in which case, the economic equation becomes even more precarious.


I'm applying to law school for the third time (long story), and I am wondering if I am crazy for being willing to take on huge amounts of debt to go to school full-time. 

*part time is really out of the question, because working and pt law school would keep me away from my 2 kids - one of whom is a 4 month old baby - way too much*

I have already completed an MBA program, and I have about $60K in student loan debt before even starting law school.  In my family, I make the bulk of the earnings (my husband is a cop, I'm in finance), and we own a house with a substantial mortgage.  Even if we pare down our expenses to the bare minimum, and assuming I get some merit aid, I will be putting on an additional $100K+ in loans at a tier 2 school. 

After graduating, I would prefer to not have to work for a big firm if I can avoid it, but would be willing to do so for a few years to help pay off those loans.

So have I really lost my marbles here?  I want to be an attorney so bad I can taste it, so of course I am more than happy to go deeper into debt.  What I need is an objective opinion.  Any thoughts? ???

Casper

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2004, 11:33:40 AM »
Wait, another consideration to throw into the mix.  It's advised that you shouldn't work during 1L in law school.  You can live on loans the first year, and work during 2L and 3L in law school.  This is the compromise between working all the way through law school, and not working at all.  But it also depends on how competitive the law school that you are applying to. 

But this is all relative, since there are those who are able to handle working FT and going 1L part time. 

Drawing dead, serving 25 to life.

helendemilo

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2004, 12:22:57 PM »
I know that it's your dream to go to law school, but it sounds like you decided to do other things with your life.  You decided to get married, have 2 babies, buy a house with a substantial mortgage, and take on a lot of debt for something you were pretty sure you didn't want to do.  It seems like you have a stressful life right now, and maybe daydreaming about becoming a lawyer provides a nice escape.  However, it doesn't seem like your family can afford for you to have another experiment with expensive grad school.

Why don't you wait to go to law school?  You could pay off -your- debt, and maybe spend some money towards investing in your husband's education/earning potential.  You say that you're the breadwinner, well, maybe you can take up some of the slack to allow him to pursue a graduate degree.  It's hardly fair for you to help yourself to all of them!

I know you'd like to go to law school, but you've signed yourself up for a lot of obligations that just aren't going to reasonably allow you to do that.  But don't worry.  You've got a long time.  Even if you have to wait ten years until your kids are older, you've paid off your debt, and you have the mortgage a little more under control, you can still go back to law school then.

HankieB

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2004, 01:58:33 PM »
helendemilo,
I appreciate your feedback, however I don't appreciate your insinuation that I am selfish.  My husband just changed careers and took a huge pay cut so that he could pursue a career that made him happy (being a cop).  I have always encouraged him, even though that meant that I would have to take on a larger role in terms of income.  He loves what he is doing, and doesn't need nor want a masters degree in his field. 

Why don't I wait to go to law school?  I've been waiting for nearly 10 years already.  Yes, I picked a career path that wasn't my first choice so that I could support my first born (when I was a single mom), and have tried to stick with it and improve myself along the way.

Outside of the original question about taking on debt, I'm kind of surpised that the responses I am receiving aren't more encouraging in terms of following one's dream in life.  I'm kind of sorry that I asked the question at all, because now I really feel sh*tty and selfish, and even more confused than I was before.

buster

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Re: How much debt is too much?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2004, 02:10:44 PM »
I don't know how helpful this will be, but...

Yes, you have lost your marbles. So have I; our circumstances appear somewhat similar. If you and your husband are both committed to making this work and remain so, then the two of you will do so.

Are you making the wisest choice? Probably not. Neither am I.

 :)



helendemilo,
I appreciate your feedback, however I don't appreciate your insinuation that I am selfish.  My husband just changed careers and took a huge pay cut so that he could pursue a career that made him happy (being a cop).  I have always encouraged him, even though that meant that I would have to take on a larger role in terms of income.  He loves what he is doing, and doesn't need nor want a masters degree in his field. 

Why don't I wait to go to law school?  I've been waiting for nearly 10 years already.  Yes, I picked a career path that wasn't my first choice so that I could support my first born (when I was a single mom), and have tried to stick with it and improve myself along the way.

Outside of the original question about taking on debt, I'm kind of surpised that the responses I am receiving aren't more encouraging in terms of following one's dream in life.  I'm kind of sorry that I asked the question at all, because now I really feel sh*tty and selfish, and even more confused than I was before.