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I’m Thinking of Suicide Because of My Student Loans. – John

“Dear Steve,

My student loans are almost $42,000 dollars. I pay almost $260 dollars per month and all but $12 dollars is interest and the principal continues to go higher. I am 47 years old and working as a Nursing Assistant. I work very hard! I had graduated in 1997 from two years of Legal Assisting with Honors. I did not get a job in that field and I found that there were not many jobs in that field and the pay was low-a lot lower than what I had expected. I thought that I was doing a good thing by going to school but now I wish very much that I had not; it made my life a lot worse than what it had been.

What is my best hope? I frequently think about suicide; thinking about my son is the only thing that has so far kept me from committing suicide.

John”

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The Answer

 

Dear John,

First off, suicide does nothing to resolve the problem. There are other options. Lots of them. I know it can feel desperate, overwhelming, suffocating and depressing being in your current situation. When I was living through my money troubles years ago, they were the darkest days of my life. The irony is that they were only dark because I emotionally made them so.

Since the loans are old you may have a slight chance to seek some relief with bankruptcy. It is worth getting a free bankruptcy consultation with a local bankruptcy attorney to discuss this. It costs you nothing and you’ll walk away knowing exactly what the status of the loans would be in bankruptcy.

Outside of that, the ICRP (Income Contingent Repayment Plan) might be worth pursuing if you are struggling to get by. Read this previous article for more information on repayment options and the ICRP.

It is unfortunate that you spent all that money to enter a field that paid less than you thought it would. Simply jumping back to school for some and getting on the hook for student loans is not necessarily a formula for financial success. If you are an adult and thinking of going back to school, be sure to check and see if the starting income in your new field will be enough to pay for your current obligations plus you new student loans.

Of all the debts you can incur in life, student loans and IRS debt are among the nastiest.

Big Hug!

Im Thinking of Suicide Because of My Student Loans.   John
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • barbara

    I am so depressed I owe $19, 000 in student lones and it became too much its been over a year and I cant find a job no matter how hard I try and to make things wors I got into alcohol quite heavy cuz of the depression and I picked up a DWI charge so now I owe the court $700 I owe probation $400 and I owe $ 49, 000 in restitution. Its too much for me I really wanna just kill myself so bad. I ruined mine and my kids lives what do I do. I cant ever see this ending

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      The student loan debt is easy to manage. See http://getoutofdebt.org/51013/the-ultimate-guide-to-dealing-with-student-loans-you-cant-afford

      The DWI thing I can’t help you with. But here is the bottom line, you can dig yourself out of this hole, it’s not all hopeless. But you’ve got to start making better choices. There is help and assistance out there. Don’t get lost in depression, get help for it and you will see a clearer future.

  • thewheel

    I think of my loans as “the wheel that breaks the butterfly”. It’s a slow unnecessary painful death but eventually it kills.

  • patty

    I got notice that I owed a loan from the mid 1970s. I did attend a few classes at a college back then but never received a student loan. I did get a pell grant though. I didnt have a HS diploma or a GED but was told it didnt matter. How can I prove that I didnt get a loan? It aid I received one for 2,700 and now the balance is over 10,000. How can I get proof that I never received a check for a student loan? This is very strange. I did later get my GED in the late 90s and went to tech but paid in cash.

    • whome

      Are you sure it is not some kind of a scam? possibly your identity was stolen?

  • Critical_thot

    Suicide is the option. They tell you it isn’t so you will keep chasing that carrot.  I’m 46 and I am in the same boat.  I couldn’t bankrupt the suckers.  Add to the fact I pay $500 in child support and it’s based on me being willfully underemployed since I have a teaching degree.  There are few teaching jobs and hell, Indianapolis just laid off over 90 teachers this week.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      While many will say that suicide is never an option, I suppose that since it exists as a possibility it is always an option.

      Are these private or government backed student loans. Let’s explore this a bit more and see if there are any possibilities.

  • Mystikast

    It is a horrible injustice what is happening to the youth in this country today.  The lenders & the government officials ‘public servants’ should be thrown in jail!

  • Tedwood

    I know that this is going to seem insensitive, but you can’t honestly say that suicide won’t solve at least PART of the problem.

  • David Carlton Anderson

    Dear John,

    If it makes you feel any better, my debt is about 4 times that size. I know it is hard, but just keep on going. Debt may fee like it won’t go away, but you still have a great life.

    • Laurellango

      Dear john, I pray that God will pour out His spirit on u and fill your heart with His everlasting joy in Jesus name I pray. With God all things are possible.

  • tio

    student loans are not forgiveable with bankruptcy no matter what

  • Dolphin_unique

    Well i adopted 2 children out of foster care and am due a little chunk of a adoption tax credit… just found out that i have a huge student loan amt in default can they take my tax credit for the boys?

  • Dolphin_unique

    Well i adopted 2 children out of foster care and am due a little chunk of a adoption tax credit… just found out that i have a huge student loan amt in default can they take my tax credit for the boys?

  • Notme

    I went to a foreign medical school. Ross University and graduated and passed all the board exams, but have not gotten a residency for 5 years in a row. I owe hundreds of thousands and have no way to be able to pay it. Some loans are private loans and have a judgement against me and more to follow. The suicide idea sounds better and better, as I realize I will be left with barely enough to live in a slum room of a bad area of town. Then I will have no car, no anything, but get up and work for low pay, which I will have barely enough to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat everyday. 

    Suicide sounds better and better.

  • Anonymous

    Steve, great tips.

    Suicide, if you really think about it, is not the easy way out  think of all the pain it will cause.

    Far better to knuckle down and get out of it through hard work and determination, it will make you a bigger, better, stronger person.

  • mbl

    First, why are you telling people they can declare bankruptcy? Student loan debt cannot be eliminated via bankruptcy. It is also extremely rare–extremely–that people can even get out of paying their loans due to disability.

    Second, the solutions are to either: leave the country (difficult to do if you have no money) and/or to get involved in activism. We need to get together and start supporting each other and start protesting. The govt & Wall St want us to blame ourselves, to attack each other for being “stupid” enough to have taken out the loans. Don’t fall for it. We went to college because we aren’t stupid. We admitted we were poor and needed help by applying for financial aid. We were told the “loans” were a part of our financial aid package. That was a lie. The loans were a form of indentured servitude.

    People, let’s get together and start protesting this thing. Find others who are like-minded and organize protests in your town or city.  Americans need to be educated as to what is going on.

    Check out http://www.StudentLoanJustice.org and AllEducationMatters.Blogspot.com
    Instead of committing suicide (i.e., giving up) get together w/others who are in pain and get organized. We can fight this but we need to start supporting each other!

  • NEW

    My wages have just been garnished because of student loans.  I tried making a payment plan and one time they took evrything out of my account, which has lead to this ganishmnent.  I feel so depressed I can barely get out of bed in the morning to go to work.  I am constantly trying to think of ways to resolve this matter.  I do nothing but work and I have nothing to show for it..I didnt even get my degree.

    Life is getting unbearable each and everyday..I’m running out of options..Any suggetions

  • Guest

    No I do believe it does solve it. In my sallie mae paper
    work it does say the debt is forgiven if I am deceased. So yes killing yourself
    does get rid of the debt. Of course it doesn’t for any cosigners you may have.
    Actually I was lied to by my financial aid rep. She told me my mom was
    cosigning a loan for me which I found out later was a loan in her name as to
    principle holder for my education.

    I went to a school that supposes to have a 80 percent job placement, was that
    ever a lie. They sell you the moon and then in my last quarter my department
    head comes to my class and suggests addition school by entering into a master
    program so it postpones the student loans. HA! Out of my entire graduation
    class I know of 2 who work in my field fulltime. My school in now counting any
    job you get as a “in the field job.” I am have to file for
    unemployment deferment. And if I cant find anything by then “several
    months” maybe I will just head down to the capital building and light myself
    on fire,
    following the tunisia mans lead.

  • Guest

    No I do believe it does solve it. In my sallie mae paper
    work it does say the debt is forgiven if I am deceased. So yes killing yourself
    does get rid of the debt. Of course it doesn’t for any cosigners you may have.
    Actually I was lied to by my financial aid rep. She told me my mom was
    cosigning a loan for me which I found out later was a loan in her name as to
    principle holder for my education.

    I went to a school that supposes to have a 80 percent job placement, was that
    ever a lie. They sell you the moon and then in my last quarter my department
    head comes to my class and suggests addition school by entering into a master
    program so it postpones the student loans. HA! Out of my entire graduation
    class I know of 2 who work in my field fulltime. My school in now counting any
    job you get as a “in the field job.” I am have to file for
    unemployment deferment. And if I cant find anything by then “several
    months” maybe I will just head down to the capital building and light myself
    on fire,
    following the tunisia mans lead.

  • Steve Rhode

    Why does selling on eBay push you closer to suicide?

  • I AM NOT A DEADBEAT!

    SELLING ON EBAY ONLY PUSHES ONE CLOSER TO SUICIDE – TWELVE YEARS WASTED ON EBAY, 17 YEARS WASTED PAYING SALLIE MAE

  • skarrlette

    I want to know why someone who purchased a student loan to get an education cannot hold the government accountable for no being able to provide a decent job that will pay enough to pay off the loans.

    The government did not keep up there end of the bargain did they, how come that is ok?

    After all it is the government who pushes this secondary education crap but then when the unemployment is almost 10% and can’t get a job because there are none and they are all over seas the person is STILL Expected to pay there loans.

    Jeeze how does that work exactly??? Does that seem fair?

    This is why I have no respect for debt in this country NO RESPECT–NO MORE do i feel the shame that everyone tries to make someone feel when they can’t afford to pay of there debt. Does the government feel any shame for screwing up the financial situation in this country????? There is NO accountability anymore. After what has happened with wall street the bank bailouts and everything else.

    The American people didn’t get any bailouts in fact I find these loans to be a form of slavery.

    I am disgusted with all of it and the shame everyone puts on you when you can’t pay your debt but yet its ok to give millions to car companies and banks.

    Why can’t we sue the government for not providing jobs to the American people?

    After all isn’t that what a goverment is suppose to do, provide health care, jobs, and security. Well I am waiting for the answer but no one wants to talk about that part of the agreement. Its taboo, really its taboo not for me it isn’t I am not going to pretend this hypocritical bs doesn’t go on!

    The American people are expected to keep there end of the agreement up by taking all there money and paying of what should be illegal repayment terms. WITH OR WITHOUT JOBS ITS DOESN’T MATTER, EVEN FINANCIAL HARDSHIP THEY WILL ONLY DO FOR SO LONG ITS LIES!!!!!

    I am disgusted with the whole process and have no respect for these institutions anymore!!!!

    Its time everyone got a dose of reality and lost all to it then maybe people will get back to being smart instead of stupid sheep.
    !!!

  • Anonymous

    I want to know why someone who purchased a student loan to get an education cannot hold the government accountable for no being able to provide a decent job that will pay enough to pay off the loans. The government did not keep up there end of the bargain did they, how come that is ok?After all it is the government who pushes this secondary education crap but then when the unemployment is almost 10% and can’t get a job because there are none and they are all over seas the person is STILL Expected to pay there loans.Jeeze how does that work exactly??? Does that seem fair?This is why I have no respect for debt in this country NO RESPECT–NO MORE do i feel the shame that everyone tries to make someone feel when they can’t afford to pay of there debt. Does the government feel any shame for screwing up the financial situation in this country????? There is NO accountability anymore. After what has happened with wall street the bank bailouts and everything else.The American people didn’t get any bailouts in fact I find these loans to be a form of slavery.I am disgusted with all of it and the shame everyone puts on you when you can’t pay your debt but yet its ok to give millions to car companies and banks.

    Why can’t we sue the government for not providing jobs to the American people?

    After all isn’t that what a goverment is suppose to do, provide health care, jobs, and security. Well I am waiting for the answer but no one wants to talk about that part of the agreement. Its taboo, really its taboo not for me it isn’t I am not going to pretend this hypocritical bs doesn’t go on!

    The American people are expected to keep there end of the agreement up by taking all there money and paying of what should be illegal repayment terms. WITH OR WITHOUT JOBS ITS DOESN’T MATTER, EVEN FINANCIAL HARDSHIP THEY WILL ONLY DO FOR SO LONG ITS LIES!!!!!

    I am disgusted with the whole process and have no respect for these institutions anymore!!!!

    Its time everyone got a dose of reality and lost all to it then maybe people will get back to being smart instead of stupid sheep.
    !!!

  • Anonymous

    John is not the only one in this boat. There are thousands of us out here. I am full time staff at the school I graduated from. I am in default with Federal loans ($400/mo taken from my paycheck) and on interest only payments with Sallie-Mae ($600/mo They will not lower the interest). I have a 15yr old car which I cannot afford to repair. Right now death seems the only way my debts will be resolved ($150,000 in life insurance); however, suicide negates the payout. This and my death would severely impact my parents and siblings (who are cosigners) emotionally and financially. So with the current economic situation, my only available recourse is to struggle through my depression every day while clinging to the last shreds of hope that something/anything will improve.

  • Anonymous

    John is not the only one in this boat. There are thousands of us out here. I am full time staff at the school I graduated from. I am in default with Federal loans ($400/mo taken from my paycheck) and on interest only payments with Sallie-Mae ($600/mo They will not lower the interest). I have a 15yr old car which I cannot afford to repair. Right now death seems the only way my debts will be resolved ($150,000 in life insurance); however, suicide negates the payout. This and my death would severely impact my parents and siblings (who are cosigners) emotionally and financially. So with the current economic situation, my only available recourse is to struggle through my depression every day while clinging to the last shreds of hope that something/anything will improve.

    • Chris

      My parents are co-signers as well. At one point, Sallie Mae was calling my parents’ friends from college trying to collect information on me. They were calling my grandparents ten times a day. If it weren’t for my co-signers, I would have just run from it for the rest of my life or until I had even the slightest means to pay it back. I’ve thought about getting into drug-dealing, but if I go to prison, my parents are screwed which is what I am trying to avoid. Right now I am working full-time, sleeping on couches of friends, subway cars, etc. because I can’t afford my own apartment. If I were to kill myself (which enters my mind daily, without fail), I would sell everything I own and just travel around the country until I had seen it all, then leap into the Grand Canyon. What’s sickening is that I never wanted to go to college. I thought it was something I was just supposed to do. It’s what everyone did and it was (wait for it) suicide NOT to go to college. Beautiful. All I want, the only thing I ever wanted, was freedom from debt and for my parents to be okay. So far, I have completely ruined my life and am now responsible for my parents’ inability to retire… ever. I am lost. I am completely and utterly lost. My whole existence right now is entirely dictated by a faceless mega-company that, with a single phone call, can ruin the lives of my parents simply because I don’t make enough money. Going to college, America, was the worst mistake I have ever made and will ever make in my entire life. I can see the age in my face when I look in the mirror. People used to guess I was a teenager. Now, three years later, when people guess my age, they predict in the thirties. Options? I don’t have options. Bankruptcy isn’t an option. Disability isn’t an option. Death isn’t an option. And payment, for God’s sake, isn’t an option. So what do I do? I keep working full time and homeless until disability or death happen on their own. Hopefully by that time my parents will have passed on. I would hate for them to see what horrible thoughts I have every single day. But I’m keeping it secret because they’ve had their own lives without the smoldering ruins of my life interfering. The feeling of helplessness is indescribable. Lost. Completely lost.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I entirely agree that the situation sucks. No doubt about that.

        If it is any consolation it feels like things are moving towards some hope for solutions in the future.

        Private students loans were “sold” to students as a way to achieve a goal but without any transparency and information on which people could have made an informed decision to take on the liability.

        Did the school you attend make any promises or claims to you when you attended that when you graduated you’d be able to earn x amount or be able to service the loans without any problem?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046344197 Will N Van

        Mr. Rhode, respectfully, does the fact that the school didn’t promise that the person would earn x amount or be able to service the loans without any problem negate any responsibility on these institutions for offering worthless educations to vulnerable people at insane amounts of money?  Can you tell me that there is nothing wrong with a society that says “well, if they are dumb enough to incur that much debt for a worthless product, so be it!”  Should the tenet of Darwinian stupidity be at the core of American values? Personal responsibility is a wonderful idea when you are dealing with a financial system that has checks and balances in terms of what is moral.  I would submit that there is a reason Jesus beat the hell out of the moneylenders.  Your advice, sir, is rather useless.    

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        In our present system, the school bears no responsibility for the eventual employment of the student or income.

        There have been some recent actions against law schools for claiming higher employment numbers than were really true but those actions have not yet completed.

        While you may not like my advice or the current way things work, it is what it is. As with many other aspects of financial life it is buyer beware.

  • http://magoosh.com GRE Practice Questions

    This is so disturbing. I hope anyone and everyone will be able to gracefully handle and pay-off their loans.

  • Ron

    “The irony is that they were only dark because I emotionally made them so”

    Well people just so happen to be emotional creatures, we aren’t robots (Al Gore excluded). I really feel for John, he was probably suckered into one of these for-profit schools as I was. Biggest mistake of my life. Problem is, I don’t even feel obligated to pay my loan back- the DoE ought to have done its job in disqualifying this sham institution. Or maybe I was too stupid to have realized that sooner.

  • Shanasta

    Over a year has passed since John originally posted his question, and if you are reading this John, how are things going now?

    I also took out a pile of student loan money I couldn’t afford – but I didn’t find out I couldn’t afford it until after I graduated of course. I graduated in engineering during the recession of the early 90s. Even experienced engineers couldn’t find work. Contrary to popular belief, just because you have degree in engineering, doesn’t mean you will have a job waiting for you upon graduation or that you will immediately be pulling in the big bucks. About half of my friends who graduated with me are not engineers now because they couldn’t find work upon graduating.

    Anyway, after a year of searching for work, I went back to grad school to avoid paying the loans and thought that the advanced degree would make me more marketable. That was a big mistake. Advanced degrees don’t make you more marketable … experience does. And a $900 minimum monthly payment awaited me in my future to pay off my $75k student loan balance.

    By the time I left grad school, I was very depressed. The student loan debt felt like a huge weight around my neck. I was very stressed over money – had panic attacks, cried a lot. Never thought about suicide though … don’t know why; it just never crossed my mind. “How the hell will I repay all this debt PLUS interest?” constantly raced through my mind. I also had $8k in credit card debt because the loans didn’t pay all my expenses. And I worked 35 hours or more during the entire time I went to school. Still it wasn’t enough.

    I felt lied to, cheated and very angry – so many people advised me to goto school and borrow for it. They said that my education would provide opportunities to me. That I would easily pay my loans off because I was going to be an engineer. That I would be free to pursue any direction I wanted, but ironically it all led to my enslavement. I was mostly angry with myself for being so naive and a dumbass for believing all this garbage. I signed for my first student loan at age 17 – what does a 17 year old know about the world of finance … or about how the world works? Still, I haven’t forgiven myself.

    So, when I left grad school, I started a little business for less than $100. I used it as a vehicle to “create” experience for myself. I had no intention of sustaining it – I just used it to put on my resume. It worked. However, half of my take home salary went to student loan payments.

    I started job hopping in order to increase my salary. I found I could make more money going from job to job than staying at the same place since each new job bumped me up in pay. Work has never been a labor of love, but a means to re-pay my “masters” … the holders of my student loans. I’ve been a money whore – something I never wanted to be.

    Unfortunately, I had a bout with life threatening illness in the middle of repaying my loans. But I worked during treatment – I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have those loans.

    That was several years ago now, and I just recently sent in my final student loan payment – ironically on the 20th anniversary of when I signed my first promissory note. I still can’t believe it. It feels like I’ve been in prison for 20 years. The shackles have been removed, the cage door opened, and I’m looking around hesitantly … not believing I can really leave. Freedom – finally, I feel that my life can begin.

  • kedone

    I have been working in warehouses for 14 years because it is a pretty good paying job for a man without any skills or college degree. I currently gross $40,000. I decided to go to college in November 2008. I figured that I would get an AAS in accounting, so that I could start working in that field, and then go on to get a Bachelor’s, and maybe even a Master’s, if I want to eventually become a CPA. Now, my work schedule at the time was 8:15am – 5:00pm. The only school that could guarantee me every course I needed after work (because I was not and will not quit my job) was a private school called Briarcliffe College in Bethpage, NY. I started classes in January of 2009. They accepted 15 credits from prior course work when I majored in Chemistry at Queens College from 1993-1995. It costs over $600/ credit hour, so a 3 credit course costs me $1800. My first semester I took 18 credits, so I paid for a full time tuition instead. I was able to take every class from 6-10pm. I thought my job would reimburse me, but they have a $5,000 limit per calendar year. After that, I figured that I would go part time at 6 credits per semester, so with fees just under $8,000 per year. I figured that way I would only be out of pocket $3000 per year. Guess what just happened last month! My work schedule is now from 7:15am – 4:00pm, with the occasional 4:30 every other day that my supervisor is off (about 20 days a year). Now had I known this would happen, I could have went to Queensborough Community College which charges under $200/ credit hour! GRRRRR! Now I have a 4.0 average in Briarcliffe, and am 4 classes shy of an AAS. I want advise. This is what I am planning, I will continue at this rediculously expensive school until I get my AAS. Then I can start working in my company’s accounting department and get experience. Then I will transfer to Queens College in Flushing, NY, which also charges under $200/credit hour for my BS, and possibly MS. I will continue to go to school after work and just refuse to work after 4pm when I change departments. I received my first $5000 check in mid-2009, and one in January 2010, and I just applied for another one that I will get in January 2011. I used the ten grand that I received so far on credit cards, not student loans, because they are higher interest. Once I get my AAS in accounting, I will have paid off my credit cards and my Toyota, but will owe $30,000 in student loans. When this finally sunk in, I thought about suicide, and googled it, which is how I found this web page. Is it worth transfering to Queensborogh now? I would have to re-take a lot of classes, only to have a Community College dimploma, instead of one from a career school. I would love advise from anyone. I feel so stupid and sad.

  • verse99

    i feel everyones pain here.
    me and my wife both went to school, and between us incurred about 55,000 in debt total…to date the total after interest stands at 83,000
    we have two children and daycare totals 1500 per month And, thanks to the sky rocketing costs of energy, our electric bill averages 160 per month. credit card debt of about 220 per, and 200 in gas for getting back and forth to work(we cant afford to drive elsewhere). toss in 160 forcar insurance, 1150 for rent, and enough food to survive and we have just about nothing at the end of the month. Basically we cant pay back these loans. not until our kids go to public school. but i dont think i can hang in there the 4-6 years thats gonna take.
    im 30 years old and not sure ill be able to give my wife the house she has always wanted
    this is the AMERICAN NIGHTMARE.
    And why does our own country forsake us when it relies so heavily upon us? The saddest part is little bobby who everyone said would be a screw up, you know the straight D student? well he got some low level position and has been making money the whole time you were at school, has no student loans, a beautiful girlfriend and money put away…did i miss something here?

    and then they dont allow a disharge through bankruptcy, as if they dont control the rules? bailout the rich, probe the middle/lower class.

    but seriously, can you move to another country to escape being a modern day indentured servant?

  • Tony DS

    It depends how long you’ve been feeling this helpless about your “shit-uation”. If you haven’t tried counseling (with professional psychiatrist, NOT talking to a buddy over drinks at the bar), then do it. He/she could provide much needed help. And don’t be one of those people that say “Oh I know that wont work for me, forget that!” If you haven’t done it, DO it. If you cant afford it, then visit your regular doctor and tell him/her that you’re depressed. About 30 million people in the US alone suffer from depression, so you’re definitely not alone. Now, if professional counseling DOESN’T work (after you’ve gone for about 6 months- you cant make any fair and informed decision that you like it or not after just one or two visits cuz it’s not fair for you OR your son)…IF it really DOESN’T work, then drop what you’re doing, and join the Peace Core- the government slashes a lot of money from your debts (or in some cases can alltogether forgive your entire college debt), if you work for a government job like Peace Core. It would be your only chance since you’re too old for Army, Navy, Air Force, etc..

    If you CAN’T get into Peace Core, or it doesnt work out, and counseling doesnt work out either, then pack up, and move you and your kid to somewhere where the cost of living is cheaper. Dallas, Texas is one place, so is Phoenix, so is Georgia, so is Orlando and Tampa, Florida (not Miami- its expensive), and so are a lot of islands in the Caribbean (they speak english there too, just in case). I’m writing to you from there right now. Any of those places have a lower cost of living but PAY THE SAME SALARIES as big cities like NY or LA or Washington, and have constant sunshine. And that makes a lot of difference in mood (people who live in constant sunshine are usually more cheerful than people who live in cold climates).

    Do ALL those things FIRST. If NONE of them still dont work, if the lower cost of living, the counseling, the Peace Core thing, DON’T work…….. THEN, THEN, you can go with suicide- but do that ONLY IF those other things fail first!

    Oh, but also, consider this:
    Ask yourself how old your son is. If you’re 47, then I’m betting he’s got to be pretty young. If you turn to drinking you become an alcoholic, if you turn to drugs you become a junkie, if you turn to stealing you become a crook, But those titles can be mended, or defended, maybe even justified, in your son’s eyes. But if you kill yourself, you become a quitter. If you kill, yourself, you become a loser- and that is a title, that can never be mended, or defended, in your son’s eyes, because you wont be around anymore, to justify that title to him, and no letter you leave behind can do it for you.

    I know this sounds like a corny Hallmark card, and maybe you’ve heard it before, but somebody once told me that while you think you are just ONE PERSON in the WHOLE WORLD, you are THE WHOLE WORLD, to just ONE PERSON.
    Who would that one person be?

    Good luck soldier-

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Tony,

      What an excellent comment and sage advice.

      Steve

    • Dan

      Cancellation of Student Loans in Peace Corps

      Only Volunteers with Perkins loans are eligible for a partial cancellation benefit. Fifteen percent of your Perkins loans can be cancelled upon the completion of each 365 days of service during your first two years of service, and 20 percent can be cancelled upon completion of each of the third and fourth years. Therefore, four full years of service would equal a 70 percent cancellation of your existing loan.

  • Mark S

    Universities should be forced to make students aware of the costs of their education in relation to the field(s) they are aspiring towards. The government should enforce colleges to hold mandatory “money management” classes prior to students beginning school so that they can examine their future expenses and determine if it would make sense to spend “x” amount of dollars on an education that only yields “y.” The information online regarding salaries is unreliable and irrelevant. I have researched my field rigorously through various “average salary” websites. The information is skewed, and is too vast to take any real understanding from. Universities should be forced to provide up-to-date salary information regarding every field of study they offer, and that information should be differentiated per region.

    I received a 1440 on my GREs, and later, a 720 on my GMATs. If I knew the truth about the field I was entering, I would have just gone for an MBA, which notably yields a higher salary. But that is one of the big problems we are all faced with. Do we go after our aspirations, or do we enter an already over-saturated field that makes bank? There is no choice anymore.

    I made the mistake of going from a “SUNY” (Public-State) Undergrad program into a top tier private Grad school in business(NYU). I have worked at least part-time through all of my schooling, but it was still not enough to supplement my living expenses and education costs.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to reply to the worries of people such as myself. Venting about the situation helps, as well as knowing that people are out there to listen, but it still doesn’t help the problem. Action needs to be taken from a governmental standpoint.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Mark,

      I’ve be criticized for years in my opinion that student loans can’t be assumed to be “good debt.” In fact nearly 75% of students that have student loans never complete their degree and have nothing to show for the debt.

      The more you can speak about about your opinion and what you’ve learned the more people might see the light. Your voice is much more valuable than your death.

      Steve

  • Mark S

    I have looked into this. I have looked into everything. I have a minor in Real Estate Finance. I have worked out the loan schedules rigorously, time in and time out. By using the IBR program, I am extending my loans at least an additional 8 years, adding more than $30,000 of interest to the loan, while only reducing my monthly payment by $280. The system doesn’t work. Someone can rack up $50,000 in credit card debt on items such as dinners at restaurants, beer and liquor at liquor retailers, cigarettes, expensive clothing and so forth, yet these people have the chance to dismiss this debt through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy court. The government relieves people of this horrible debt in many instances, yet refuses to relieve educational debt which is proving to make this country more reputable, profitable, competitive and intelligent. I do have an immediate plan, and it involves my credit cards. If it does not work, I will give up. I refuse to have all my hard work turn into me being a slave to the system for the next century or two.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Mark,

      Do you think that schools need to provide better awareness to students before they take out loans? If so, what do you think they should do to help make people more aware before signing for loans?

      Steve

  • Mark S

    I made the wrong decision of going to college, attaining a professional degree, and pretending that the field I would be in would pay dividends. After rent, utilities, and penny pinching at the grocery store for $40/week, I am left with $1250/month to save. But wait! My student loan payment on my $75,000 in debt is $1,000/month for 12 years. (Bachelor’s in Architecture; Master’s in Construction Management) So unless there are not any other expenses in life such as, well, traveling to work (subway/bus), clothing purchases for work attire, laundry, etc…..then I should be able to save $250/month. Mind you, I live in one of the crappiest neighborhoods in NYC. At this rate, I will not be able to start saving for a down payment on a house, or retirement for that matter, until after my loans are paid off. At that point, I may have descent enough credit to qualify for an FHA loan. So essentially, by going to school and paying back student loans, I have put life on hold and have become a slave to the system for 18 years. (4+2+12) I could have qualified for a cheap house with the dead end job I had coming out of high school. I will never have kids, but if I did, I would deter them from attending college. I will not succumb to the modern-day slavery that the financial world has induced on the middle/lower class through the education system’s loan programs. Suicide is imminent. But everyone threatens suicide, so don’t worry about it.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Mark,

      Have you looked into lowering your student loan payment using the Income Based Repayment Program (IBR)?

      Steve

  • kathy

    I am in the same situation I started school back in 2004 I had a ged from a school called cornerstone christian correspondence school which later found out after being 2 years in the school that it was worthless because they didn’t allowed me to finish I though that going back to college again will be a good idea biggest mistake of my life more debt and no degree that stupid school enrolled me without a ged or high school gave me no tests or anything and put in my papers that I had a high school from belford high school and I was stupid enough to sign it I belive them when they told me that I was not going to have any problems ,well 2 years late I am unemployed mother of 2 owe 40,000 in federal student loans and 37000 to no other than sallie f…. Mae,my husband is my co signer in the sallie mae loans and they are already messing up his credit,I can’t sleep at night can’t afford my payment which are close to 500 a month and since they are private I’m screwed .I don’t think there is any way out of this mess I send my loan holder a form called loan forgiveness false certification ability to benefit and I’m praying and hoping that they get approved because I am going crazy here if they garnish my husband salary I don’t know how we are going to pay all the bills and support 2 kids one which is a baby note he only makes 8 an hour the biggest mistake I ever made was going to school I have tried getting my ged but haven’t been able to pass so I guess I am either stupid or not smart enough and don’t waste ur time calling or writing to the government ,congress ,calling the dept of education,ombudsman,I have done that and more and non of those assh… Ever called or write
    So god bless america and all those f…. Corporations

  • Suzann

    I am six figures in debt and I value my education very highly. I do not value the debt. School had many purposes for me, one of which was self improvement. Another is that it is an important thing for anyone to have in a thriving democracy, but this is not a thriving democracy, and lastly, I love to learn. But unfortunately nobody these days values this kind of self-improvement. People are not falling over well educated women like Katie Couric. Clearly money is doled out like welfare to the most stupid idiotic women of American society like Anne Coulter and Sarah Palin. You can imagine what those kinds of results do to the suicidal feelings of well educated women all over America. My debt, because I am a woman especially, rendered me un-marriageble and therefore childless. I am now over 50, too old to bear children. I can not even being to describe the horrors of male abuses I suffered. I know that I will die suffering, childless, loveless, in poverty and alone. We women are required to borrow as much money as the men even when we know that even if 50 percent of women are studying in my field only 6 percent are represented in the work force. I can only guess that the professions for women are the worlds second largest pimps outside of religion – the point is not to employ them to pimp them off to rich husbands. Nothing has changed in the world. Prostitution is the only profession open to women. To add insult to injury when I went to graduate school at Harvard my eligibility for grant money was based on my father’s salary … I was 33 years old. My father had ceased to give me ANY support when I was 16. That is how, after ALL of those years of supporting myself and killing myself to make straight A’s in college, giving up everything for the hope of the future, I won admission to Harvard and at the same time was slapped a 150,000 dollar fine for being such a hard worker. I think about killing myself every single day. It is the first thought I wake up with in the morning and the last I go to bed with at night ad it nags me all day long. Right now the ONLY thing keeping me alive is my precious little dog who has given me more love than all of humanity ever could combined. There is no love in human kind. And of that I am sure because if there were any hope for humanity then I would have not lived a life in so selfish narrow-minded Nazi conservative society that could let their best talent end up in this kind of desperate suicidal debt prison. I watch Americans pathetic attempt at resolving their guilt by adopting the whole third world, like that stupid idiot Angelina Jolie who would never lift a finger to help an american student .. which is just another excuse for not dealing properly with the needs of america’s own population replacement stock. The fact of the matter is that in Conservative America we were bred like cattle for profit and to murder in their wars. We had the promise when we were young but they took over our country and turned it into Nazi imperial Germany and Angelina Jolie is the spokesman for that imperailism. Look at the suicide rate in Nazi Germany and compare it among other things with our own society. We are living under fascism and that is why we want to die. If we find the strength to throw away everything we hold on to here and try to escape we may still have time to make it. One thing is for certain, America is doomed to fascism. Suicide or run take your pick.

    • whome

      1) Having the opportunity to attend one of the finest universities in the world (and having the public loan you the money to do so) does not make you a victim…it makes you privileged as heck. I resent the implication that I (and the rest of the public) who never got to attend a university like that somehow owe it to you to pick up your bill for doing so.
      2) Your rant makes it clear that you see yourself as a victim of everything and everyone. Ever consider that you have some responsibility for your outcomes in life?
      3) What exactly is your claim on Angelina Jolie? Why do you think she should work to provide for you rather than spending the money she earns as she wants? Why is it her job to take care of you?
      4) I can assure you that you are not unmarried because of your debt. It probably has more to do with seeing the world and every one in it as victimizing you. Look at the rant you wrote. Debt is bad, but crazy entitled perpetual victim is worse.
      5) You should be married before having kids, but there is no law against having kids without being married… but that little fact does not fit your victimization model in which you have no responsibility for anything, so it is ignored.
      6) You did not really attend Harvard for grad school did you? A high school grad with any chance of admission to Harvard can write a well reasoned and grammatically correct admission essay. I would thing that if you earned a degree there you could manage better than a poorly written irrational rant.

  • indebtforever

    I’ve thought a lot about this too… Been clinically depressed and dealt with suicidal thoughts most of my life, and then I try to get an education for myself to maybe fulfill something, be somebody, and I end up with another facet of why I should just die and rid the world of my presence. I’m technically skilled and after doing real well in school (and coming away with 100k+ in debt so my payments are horrendous), no one will hire me in my field, and I can’t even seem to find much luck in getting decent retail work. I’ll be in debt until the day I die, which might not be that far off. If I could go back to when I graduated from HS I’d just tell myself to skip college entirely, it’s just not worth the added despair for so little return. I don’t have any kids, or a significant other, and very few friends, so probably not a lot would even miss me anyway…

    At least until then it’ll probably be wage garnishments or something for the rest of my life (of which I can’t even seem to find any real factual information out there on what they take, it’s all scaremonger stuff). Like Meghan, I’ve tried to look at my supposed “options” but they all seem pretty hopeless, depressing, or downright impossible.

  • http://www.thriftyapp.com/ Ben

    First, you’ve been paying for many years and while it seems like you haven’t gotten anywhere I would request an amortization schedule so that you know what you have paid off, how long you will continue to pay it off, and when how much interest versus principle you will pay for the rest of your loan.

    Second, call an attorney as Steve mentioned and perhaps an accountant. Clearly, personal finance isn’t your thing and perhaps paying a little bit of money to some ethical professionals isn’t a bad move for you. The attorney may be able to negotiate a better repayment plan.

    I am unsure where you work but if you aren’t already consider finding a legal or nursing job in a facility that would be eligible for the public service loan forgiveness program: http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml

    Basically you need 120 payments and 5 years with the loan serviced by the Dept of Education, so if you can end up managing two payment a months for five years you will be done. Relatedly, considering the amount of your debt you may eligible for an ICR that the government would pick up the interest for the first three years you are in repayment.

    Another work related option is to find employment that offers loan forgiveness such as Americorps, Peace Corps, and Vista. Also, if you are prior service military you are still eligible to enlist, which would reduce your student loans significantly with their forgiveness program.

    While Steve cautioned against going back to school the medical field is very lucrative. Do some research first but you might find that the return on becoming an LPN or RN is quick and with the Obama credit, etc. it might a good option for you.

    I’m unsure how much you are working but consider a part time job.

    Finally, consider moving. If you move to an area that has a lower cost of living then where you are presently you can sock some money away for the loan. Also, if you move to an area that really needs people in either the field you have training or experience you may be able to get a signing bonus. I know that many of the signing bonuses are gone for nurses but remain with some.

  • mj

    not an option for everyone. have you considered leaving the country? i’m thinking of trying this first and saving suicide for last.

  • Richard

    Enormous student debt, Clinical Depression now and hospitalized for while I was in grad school. Pending service connection disability for Depression (related to USMC 25 years ago). Suicide is an option. Era of bailouts and I have worked 2 jobs a great deal of my life before grad school and now I can barely hold on to one due to the economy and my mental illness, but yet I am burdened every waking moment for having believed that I could make a better life for my family. “Higher Education” is simply a faster way to Hell, here on earth and by suicide.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Richard,

      I’m not sure I can cobble together words properly to express to you how I feel about your situation. It is easy for me and others to say suicide is not an options. I guess technically it always is. But that doesn’t mean it is the logical option to money troubles.

      I would guess that as a result of the traumas and illness you have faced and dealt with that you may well experience financial misfortune in your life. But that money misery is not the problem, it is the symptom created by the other problems in your life.

      For example, the pain of deep debt from gambling is not the result of the debt, it is the result of the gambling. Treat the gambling and then treat the debt and a more permanent cure can be achieved. Treat the debt alone and well the problem will return.

      Can you tell me more about your loans? Are the government backed loans? Have you been declared disabled? How long ago were these loans?

      Steve

  • L. Armour

    What is IBR? I have never heard of it.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      IBR is an Income Based Repayment plan for government backed student loans. Follow the link for more details.

      Steve

  • Tanya

    People can’t get IBR or any payment plan until they are out of default and the government will not come up with reasonable payments to allow someone to get out of default. They send the amount owed to collection agencies over and over rather than allow a reasonable payment. Let’s say you are so poor that you qualify to pay zero under the IBR – which I qualify for paying zero – but I can’t do IBR because I am in default – and I can’t get out of default because I have no money to get out of default. The IBR is a new thing – just recently passed. Even programs they had before then – they fight tooth and nail to allow people to be on. It’s absurd. But keep in mind the government can help automakers and credit card companies and CEO’s of big corporations. Businesses declare bankruptcy all the time and then restructure and it is okay. Maybe Obama needs to come up with a plan for those of us in default to get into the IBR plan. I know all about the plans and ombudsman and all that – they simply will NOT work with people – they just garnish wages, put liens on bank accounts and send the debt to a collector to hound and pound people until they lose their minds.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Tanya,

      The only other chance to get out from under student loan debt is a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and to present to the court that the student loan payments create an undue hardship. In that case students loans have been discharged.

      Yes, student loans are a racket.

      Steve

  • anon-i-mouse

    IBR is baloney. We can’t afford even the income based one. . .I went online and checked.

    Our resources are stretched to the max. My husbands job (which we are worried everyday about) has not raised salaries. . .but the cost of food alone has gone up 50-100%. Then add on the cost of gas and one of our kids is now in college, community college so they do not have to take out loans.

    And why can we not get heard. 4 times the original loan, growing by 8% and no way to negotiate.

    Why the heck should we have to pay all of that money back.. .and you know what I would be okay with even paying the 400% increased amount. . .if every little bit we sent could start to bring down the mountain I would be jubilant. . . but why do they still need to charge interest. This is the thing that has broken me. . .the debt just grows and grows. . .we will never be free. never.

    Congress just keeps making asinine laws that screw us over. Debt consolidation. . .screwed us by making everything principle and they would not lower the interest rate. This was a program that was supposed to ‘help’. it did not.

    I have been trying to find a job, my teen in college has also been trying to find a job. I have applied to everything from graphic design to counter help at a coffee shop.

    My fear is for the kids who graduated with $100,000 in debt. ..you start multiplying that by 4 and the totals get really scary.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      This is why I have been saying for years that you can’t call student loans “good debt.” It is the worst type of debt to have.

      Steve

  • anon-i-mouse

    I am done with all of this.

    I am on a hungry strike. . . .I have not eaten in three days and intend to starve myself to death.

    Hopefully my kids will think I died of natural causes.

    I can’t take the debt. It has been hanging over our heads for 20+ yrs and it will be there until I die anyway.

    Now I am getting calls from a collection agency about one I swear is paid off(they kept tax refunds for over 15 yrs). . .but from what I have read it does not matter.. .they are the government and if they say you owe, you owe.

    My husband signed for his first loan at age 17. . .the original amount was $16,000 it is now over $60,000 and accruing 8% interest as we speak. We can’t afford the interest let alone touch the principle.

    When I signed for my student loans ($4,500) I thought federally guaranteed meant the government would be protecting me from excessive bank interest and fees. Not tying me and my family to an ever increasing amount which becomes a prison without walls.

    We don’t own a house and never will. I fear becoming a burden on my kids when I am older because there is no way to set aside any money.

    In the 90′s businesses were allowed bankruptcy for huge amounts of money they incurred shipping all the jobs over seas. . .in 2008 the banks/car manufacturers received billions of dollars because they were stupid with their money. One bank paid some interest which calculated out to be about .01%.

    Our politicians don’t hear us they offer us things like “pay for 10 yrs consistently and then come talk to us” well if I had enough money to pay consistently for 10 yrs I would not need to come and ask for help.

    The help I want is not forgive the whole loan, although that would be wicked awesome, but taking off of the fees and charges, ceasing the interest. After the first pound of flesh has been placed on the money STOP.

    Student loans should not be allowed to balloon to 400% the original if they insist on tying it to people for a lifetime. Where is the protection against excessive fines for us?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      So is your issue just student loans? Did you look into the IBR, income based repayment option?

      Steve

      • RM

        Tell me again… Why are you qualified to give advice? I don’t see any evidence of your skill, knowledge, training in the “shooting off at the hip” advice you give. You have a responsibility to deliver good, thorough, thoughtful advice to each question posted on this site. If you can’t do it because you are busy, abandon this site, because it’s making you look incompetent.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Did you already read the about me page?

      • Dan

        Steve,
        Your advice is just horrible and you should stop posting it. You don’t know what you’re talking about and it’s offensive to read what you write after someone pours their heart out in complete sincerity about the suffering they’re going through.

  • Cindy B.

    Hi John,
    First of all, I understand how debt can be overwhelming. My heart goes out to you and all of the people who commented here. Please take a deep, deep breath, and step back for a moment. Suicide might seem to be an easy out, but as you have already realized, the people left behind pay far more for that decision. Your son needs you. And there is always a way out of debt. It might seem impossible now, but I believe there are answers out there for you. You have to keep looking, researching, networking, and be flexible.

    My hubby and I own a dairy farm; right now, I think we owe hundreds of thousands of dollars and are eating into the land equity every day b/c of low milk prices. I have to accept that the debt exists, and we do what we can with the resources we have. I have seen articles of farmers committing suicide, and I have even asked my hubby if the thought has crossed his mind (it has). But something always halts that thought (a call from a friend, a call from me, a hug, a funny joke). And we refuse to give up.

    I hope that you will stay strong, especially for your son, and try different avenues until a solution is found. You’re in our prayers.

  • justanumber

    I thought my education, hard work and being a good person that paid his bills would help me towards my goals. Now I can’t even pay my bills, I make good money and my student loans basically leave me dry every paycheck.. I pay over 1500 a month and still just owe more than my original.. Nice 14% they stuck me with.. I worry that I’m going to probably kill myself, everyday I just work harder and try harder, but I’m just broke. I have to do a job that is something I hate, really hate because it is the only one that pays enough to pay my monthy bills. Everyday I go, man can I just die or something, its better than being in pain and anxiety everyday. If I do, I promise I’ll try to wait until the couple people that love me pass on so they don’t have to deal with it. But this is hopeless, I’ll never get out from this, and pretty much just leaves me worthless in this society. Thanks for the promises, I wish I never went to school now…. peace to all.. this sucks, I hate my life because of this… I really really do… f you sallie mae, you greedy a holes.

  • Meghan

    I just missed the opportunity to get deferment, which was my own fault, but would it matter as I have been continuously unable to find anything in my field that would actually earn me enough to repay these loans? It would just push things off for one year and then I would be back where I am now. Somehow, it seems silly to get onto public assistance in order to give back this money, but I am certain that is exactly what would have to happen. Oh goody! Hooray for ALL OF YOU who will be paying for my housing assistance and food stamps!

    Originally, my debt was in the neighborhood of $30,000. That was just fine, that was a debt I understood and accepted – with the notion of earning an income my diploma supposedly would provide for. Now that my account is in collections, the best I can do with one of their “options” for payment plans is 10 years at nearly $600 per month to pay off the new and improved figure totaling in nearly $70,000. OR my second “option” (there are three, so get excited about the next one now!) I can go for a 20 year plan at $350 per month for a total of… $106,500! Wow, they certainly are generous with those “options”! But wait, here’s that THIRD OPTION! Wage garnishment! I have no idea what kind of boost to my total bill there would be if they decide to garnish my wages, a weekly deduction which would hover somewhere around 15% of my gross “expendable” income (and by “hover around” I mean between 15% and 25%, I am still not fully clear about that calculation). I betcha that total bill would end up being a hell of a lot more than $106K!

    So here are MY “options”:

    1. Attempt to pay this.
    Yeah, okay. I do not have an “expendable” income (they sure as hell are going to try to prove I do!). Working my ass of at 60 hours a week with 3 different jobs has still not allowed me this. Hard to believe, right? Well, I marvel at the figures as well, but it is what it is. My diploma may as well be a piece of used toilet paper in this economy. As far as my “spending habits”, which I am sure you are all concerned about: I have a piece of crap car which need continual repair and will likely not pass inspection due to some minor issues which are not minor enough for me to be able to fix. I have an okay apartment which I can only afford because my boyfriend and I live together. We live in a town near where I grew up, considered to be the poverty zone for this area with rents no lower than $500/month for studios. I wear the same pair of jeans every day which are about 1 year old. Many of the other things I wear are at least 10 years old or sometimes I luck out with Christmas and birthday gifts. I do not have any addictions to pay for. We have minimal comforts, nearly everything we own is old or discarded from other people. I am not living the high life here, folks! So attempting to pay a minimum of $350 a month for 20 years? Yeah, sure.

    2. Bankruptcy
    Every website I go to says this is next to impossible with student loan debt. You have to prove that you would suffer extreme hardship. One woman had to stop working to care for her mother who was dying of cancer and she didn’t even qualify. Good luck to me with this one.

    3. Evade collection by changing jobs all of the time.
    I could probably attempt to evade collections by becoming completely unstable, switching jobs and possibly even residences. I could try to find work under the table and vanish off the radar. Yeah, I could dump the bank account and use grocery store service centers to cash checks. I’ve heard you can even pay your bills at those places. I can only imagine what kind of price my student loans would fetch after a few years of living underground. I bet the $106,500 would seem pretty sweet then!

    4. Become permanently disabled.
    Apparently, if I was so grossly disabled that I could not earn money in any way, I would be eligible to get my debt forgiven. I would assume this would mean total paralysis or coma, since if I could still talk I could be a telemarketer or sex call person or something like that. This is not really a desirable option for me.

    4. Die.
    Dying offers the nice bonus of never having to worry about any of this. EVER. And although it may bother my family and friends, they wouldn’t have to hear me whine and complain about my student loans and what a sham college is. As things are now, I have the same exact jobs I had before I went to school. It really sucks! I would love to work in my field. It just so happens that those jobs pay less than line cooking or working in factories. Back to the point, dying is a nice easy way to end all of that without the worrisome concerns that all of the other options bring. It’s not like I have kids I would be leaving behind motherless. And everyone always seemed to like my brother better, anyway. I can talk it out with everyone first so they’ll know what I’m doing and why so there wont be an unpleasant surprises. “Hey mom & dad, I really love you, but life on this planet is so miserable as a slave to debt that I can no longer enjoy my time here. Every day is filled with hardship and misery and self-loathing. Therefore, I am choosing to leave this world. Thanks for trying, sorry I let you down”. Maybe I could figure out something a little more upbeat, like inviting everyone I know to a sendoff celebration! They can all be happy for me that I will no longer have to be alive in my total and utter self-loathing I have acquired from being such a dumbass to think that it would be smart to go to college! Yay for Meghan! I could give a nice speech and pass on all of my totally worthless possessions like my crappy old clothes and all of my college books (how ironic!). I could maybe take some poison on a stage while lying in my casket full of colored streamers. I’m not sure if you make funny faces when you’re poisoned, I’ll have to look into that one. I have enough bad pictures out there! There would probably have to be a chocolate and white cake to please everyone, although personally I prefer white.

    Seriously though, this debt is ridiculous. I know I got myself into this, and would be VERY WILLING to pay back what I actually borrowed, back to that $30K. Now, mind you, there is another “option” – I could pay off the $45K ($30 original plus interest and penalties accumulated prior to this collections stuff) if I could afford to pay them RIGHT NOW. Silly me, how had I forgotten to mention this other totally realistic and achievable option! What was I thinking? Yes, so if I can give them $45K, this can all be settled now. Oh wait, let me pull out my SuperNovaPlatinumExcaliburPlus Card and take care of that… oh and there is that Great Aunt Mamie Rockefeller, this is pocket change to her! Oh, and I remember now, I just won the lottery last night! With all these “options”, I have NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.

    Right?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I think you did a really good job of summing up the hidden dangers and the realities many face when it comes to problem student loans.

      The irony, oh the irony. But you know what makes a bad situation worse, a health dose of sarcasm. LOL I’ve love your comment. Nicely written.

      Steve

    • socialmedic

      Of the ridiculous options I encountered, I knew of girls stripping and or becoming call girls to pay for their Harvard educations while I was attending there. I even had an offer from a very wealthy man to give me money for school … there are always implications with such offers. I thought I was correct in rejecting these possibilities. Interesting that we can not do honest work to pay this bill but many are willing to help us if we sell our bodies. The money is out there boys, but it has no class.

  • http://TheDebtDance.com Morgan at TheDebtDance.com

    Many of us who have been through difficult times have felt the need to escape, and one way is through suicide. I worked with a young woman whose mother killed herself because of money problems. She was a single mom with three kids and simply could no longer cope. The lessons from this are that just 13 days after her death the family came into a significant amount of money. The other lesson is that the children, as adults, are horribly psychologically scarred and often struggle with the same issues she did.

    One thing I would suggest is to earn more money. A part time job, doing something on the side that you really enjoy, learn about selling on ebay, etc. may help you tackle this problem until you can wipe it out and achieve more freedom.

    Remember–money is like the tide. Money comes in, money goes out. But there is so much out there, in the ocean, that you need ever feel want.
    Many blessings to you.
    Morgan

    Morgan at TheDebtDance.coms last blog post..Inch by Inch-How to Reach those Long Term Goals with Ease

    • DocinDebt

      I have been reading all the posts regarding suicide as an option and the responses that have been made.

      I have to say that some of the encouragement to keep on living, while well-intentioned, shows a complete lack of understanding of the psychological torment and emotional hell these individuals are in.

      Also, some of the suggestions on remedying the debt shows a complete lack of understanding of the immoral and predatory lending practices of agencies such as Sallie Mae.

      I would suggest you read “The Student Loan Scam” by Alan Collinge or check out studentloanjustice.org before offering advice on an issue which is extremely complicated.

      The fact that this conversation of suicide is increasingly brought up in a variety of forums as a way to get out of student debt should be a huge alarm that something is drastically wrong with our whole educational system.

      It is a very sad situation that education costs so much in this country, and schools keep selling their programs as a way to get ahead in life when the whole economy has changed and there are fewer, less high paying jobs available.

      We are moving into a new era beyond the technological age and the old institutions and old wisdom on how to make a meaningful, financially stable life no longer apply in the same way.

      While we took on student loans, perhaps unwisely, the system is set up to make a lot of money on defaulted loans and lenders have no desire to make reasonable payment plans.

      I hope with pending legislation and the ground swell of protest regarding the current student loan situation, that there will be reasonable remedies soon.

      However, that help may come to late for many, me included. While I have been in training for 8 years, the interest on my loans, especially private loans, has escalted the balance to nearly 100,000 greater than my original loan. At this rate I will never get out of debt.

      I understand the depression, self-loathing, regret, sense of betrayal, and hopelessness.

      And while psychotherapy, medication, and social support, as well as good financial advice, can go a long way, it is not inconceivable that some individuals may decide that suicide is their final choice.

      While I am willing to deal with the fallout should I ever default (revoked license, denial of being on insurance panels, garnished wages, getting fired, constant harrassment, and living in near total poverty despite 5 degrees and a fellowship behind me)- I am not willing to let my sister and brother be destroyed because of the loan they co-signed for.

      The horror stories of Sallie Mae’s tactics are chilling. You might just as well have stolen drug money from the Mafia, becuase they are going to take you out one way or another…and it won’t be quick and painless…

      So, in some cases for certain individuals, the choice may come down to choosing death over seeing the lives of co-signers destroyed.

      In my case, if it came to the ultimate choice, I would choose death for the sake of my brother and sister (as I have no children that simplifies the choice).

      I would do it willingly, up-front, let everyone know my intentions, write love letter to those I care about, put my affairs in order, have cremation plans paid for, procure the means, and choose the day. And hopefully I would have a courageous friend their to share my final moments.

      Some people are repulsed by the thought of suicide, and assume that only mentally unstable individuals would choose it.

      However, certain individuals may rationally plan their death as a way to have control over a situation that they view as hopeless, and a way to choose the manner and timing of their death, which they view as a solution that is within their right.

      While I am not advocating suicide for anyone over crushing student debt, I am also saying we need to listen and respect their feelings, and their choice if it comes down to that.

      Also, when people are given support, along with information on how to take their life painlessly and with certitude, it often empowers them to keep living because they know that if life ever got that unbearable, that they know what to do.

      I imagine that there are many who may be incensed at my reply. I am not advocating suicide, but I am saying we should listen with compassion and honor the deep pain these people are experiencing.

      Americans as a whole, abhor the notion of death…but there are certainly some things that are worse than death…and that is being alive in a hopeless situation (phsyical or psychological).

      Instead of offering platitudes and advice, perhaps we need to investigate what is wrong with our society that those who seek to better their lives through education can be condemned to a life-time of hell in a debtor’s prison.

      If Donald Trump, auto companies, mismanaged financial companies, gamblers, shopaholics and third world companies, can all have debt wiped out or significantly reduced when they make mistakes or times go bad (or they get bailed out by the government)…why should those who owe unpayable student loans (for whatever reason) be forced into poverty and disgrace to the point that suicide seems the only viable option???

      Something is very wrong with this picture…

      • Dan

        Doc: I really appreciate reading what you wrote. I just found out today from watching a 60 Minutes segment on student loans that the CEO (or former CEO, not sure) of Sallie Mae’s net worth is $250 million. Meanwhile, many people in America who went to college and now work very hard to make average salaries have unmanageable debt that’s compounding in interest and adding more money to this CEO’s $250 million. Enough is enough. It’s time to fight this corruption. Nobody in this situation should commit suicide. We have to fight against the system they have set up until it changes.

      • socialmedic

        First I want to say that Doc’s insightful compassionate comments made me cry; he has put the matter to words most eloquently. I think there should definitely be a support group and a collecting point. I am convinced they are trying to kill us; they have already robbed many of us of our human rights and many of our legal ones. Even if they lose us to suicide they have already gotten their money up front. They have nothing to lose by driving us to death by our own hand; it is the perfect social crime of genocide, no evidence is left behind. With the contracts of law in their favor they can wipe their bloody hands clean of it. What is going on here, if it IS not Nazi Germany, is just as bad. Fascism has learned to give itself a lot of phony PR to the extent that the public doesn’t give a damn about us. I am old and tired and burned out from slaving away at my studies and working to become more and more in the negative, unmarriagable, childless and alone. I would suggest an international appeal, to people who do have the capacity to care, if there is such a thing; we might try appealing to the Hague, for instance on the matter of human rights and the hideous way we have been treated by our own countrymen. We will all be dead before we see any justice given to us here.

    • I AM NOT A DEADBEAT!

      SELLING ON EBAY ONLY PUSHES ONE CLOSER TO SUICIDE – TWELVE YEARS WASTED ON EBAY, 17 YEARS WASTED PAYING SALLIE MAE

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Why does selling on eBay push you closer to suicide?

  • drk

    Was there any useful advice here? By gosh, you shouldn’t have done that. Now you’re stuck. But don’t kill yourself. That won’t help.

    In reality, the only way for most of us to get out of our loans is to do exactly that. My teeth are falling out, literally, and I don’t have the money to fix them. I’ve got a Ph.D. and a faculty position. What kind of retirement do I have to look forward to? What kind of life can my children expect to have? I certainly won’t be able to help them with their own higher ed expenses. So it’ll be loans for nothing for them, too. There’s something wrong here.

    The reality is that suicide WILL solve the problem. That or you can hang around hoping to win the lottery.

  • Johann Strathairn

    I wouldn’t say suicide doesn’t resolve the problem. It resolves it, it just adds another one of “You don’t get to live anymore, and you tick off and make miserable everyone you left behind.” But that’s one of the few solid ways to get a loan forgiven, is to die.

    Also, if it’s a government student loan, there is no bankruptcy declaration. It’s either an iron lung, death, or on occasion you can get part of it forgiven through being a teacher for a few years.

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    John,

    You should appeal the ICRP payment you were given with a supervisor or you may even have to contact a bankruptcy attorney and discuss discharging your student loan under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy as an undue hardship. It’s a bit of a long shot but it is technically possible in some situations.

    Steve

  • john

    This $260 per month is the income contingent plan! I need help!

  • Chris

    Awesome. Problem solved. Thanks.

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