I need help. I graduated college in 2010 from a good school with a multidisciplinary BA. I was able to find a job within 4 months of graduating, before the student loan grace period ended. I have a federal loan of $122.44/month for 10 years. I also have 2 private loans that are killing me. My Sallie Mae loan is $617-$624/month for the max 15 year term (I didn’t extend it, this is just what was given to me). I also have a Chase loan that is around $296/month for the absolute max term of 24 years. It’s around $1,036-$1,042/month in student loan payments. I only make $34,000. And I have to pay $358/month in transportation. I literally work 35 hours a week to live on $530/month. I’ve called my lenders, and Chase gives no other options. Sallie Mae offers interest only payments for 2-3 years which take of $200, but will be more per month after the 3 years.
I have been trying to find a new job in a higher paying industry (my job, although with a great company, pays very modestly as it is a book publisher).
I have been trying to find supplemental income, by doing Mary Kay, freelance editing, writing, etc. I have looked into night and weekend jobs but in order to pay off that amount, I’d have to work 33 hours every week (that is, considering I could make $10/hour), on top of my 35 hours at my job, now, and my hour and 20 minute commute each way from work to home. I need a practical, sustainable solution. I can’t be working 68 hours a week for 15 years just to make ends meet.
My tax refund only amounts to 1 student loan payment.
I can’t even think about going back to school because I refuse to take out more loans.
This hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck existence is draining the lie out of me and I see no way out. I can barely get out of bed in the morning. I need to be able to make a life for myself, and move forward. I can’t do it with this crushing debt.
Crushing student loan debt, suicide feelings.
First off, let’s celebrate the things you are doing right. You deserve a real big hug for working hard and dealing with this situation.
The good news is that you might be able to get a bit more creating room with your government backed student loan payment. Please investigate the Income Based Repayment program (IBR) and look into lowering that payment. But you may also want to check into putting that one loan on a Direct Loan and then the IBR. It will extend the loan out further and lower the payment more.
The private student loans are a problem. And to be dead honest, no solutions exist for those. You will notice the above reference box contains a link to my petition to get Congress to pass a law to assist with private student loan debt. Until they do, the only options you have are what your private student loan servicer wants to extend to you. That’s it.
I feel some changes will come regarding private student loans. The crisis is building. As I reported recently, one out of every four student loans is currently in default. It’s a mess without a solution.
Ideally what will happen is Congress will put back the ability for people to discharge their private student loan debts in bankruptcy. That’s what they previously took away.
It sounds like you’ve got your withholdings adjusted properly so you break-even at the end of the year with taxes.
And I fully appreciate the feelings you are having that lead you to feel depressed and have suicidal feelings.
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If you have health insurance, I’d schedule an appointment with your medical doctor to talk to them about those feelings and emotional state.
It’s easy to wilt under the pressure you have but don’t let the bastards get you down. I want you to win this battle and the most important thing you can do is keep hanging on. It may take a few years but the student loan debt crisis will need to be dealt with by Congress.
I applaud your ability to pursue Mary Kay, the freelance editing, and other activities. And it seems you may have some positive things to value as well. It also appears you may at least be working in a field you love and pursuing what you studied in school. Potentially another silver lining as well. Many are not able to do that.
My gage if it’s a good day or not is if I’m on fire. I figure any day I’m not on fire means it could always be worse and I should be grateful for the day.
At least today you’re not on fire. Celebrate gratitude for that and it will make the day just a bit better while we wait for Congress to act.
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.
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