My daughter and her husband, both 27, are expecting their first child next year. My daughter has nearly $100,000 of student loan debt including several private loans. She is a nurse but has been unable to get the hospital-based job she hoped for when she started school, and she is making about $20,000 less a year than she expected to make. She also spent two years working retail at minimum wage because she was unable to get a nursing job at all. Underserved areas turned her down because she was not a minority and/or did not have two years hospital experience and/or did not have specialized advanced training. The military turned her down because she has asthma and carries an emergency inhaler.
Her husband also has multiple student loans. He has a Masters Degree in Music Performance and is teaching music at a grade school two days a week. He also works almost full-time at a sporting goods store to help make ends meet.
Their student debt is killing them, and that is with IBR and some deferred loans. They spent a year living in one room in his parent’s basement and finally were able to move to a one-bedroom apartment in a sketchy area and buy a small car several months ago.
Can you offer any advice or even hope for them? Healthcare and education seemed like fairly safe bets when they entered school, but by the time they graduated there were no jobs. I’d love to help them out; but my husband has been out of work for two years, and we’re barely scraping by ourselves. (BTW we both have college degrees, too.) A college education and hard work used to be the keys to upward mobility in this country, but not any more. Is there hope for any of us?
Is there hope? Absolutely. But hope and ease of solution are often two different things.
If jobs are in sort supply for your expertise you may have to move to a different part of the country and land a job. Some parts are booming and can’t hire people fast enough. Look at Bismarck, North Dakota as an example of a boomtown. Others are just plain dead.
If they are on the IBR at this point and there are other federal loans hanging out there, then consolidating all the federal loans might be worth looking into here.
As far as the private student loans go, there are no good solutions for them. It’s just a bad situation.
I feel the pain your family is under with the loans. But it’s a gamble. Student loans are one of the worst debts you can owe but people get buried in them trying to get an education. The bottom line is you have to gamble that the education is going to result in suitable employment to service the loans. If it doesn’t, well, that’s not a good place to be.
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