Mary Kay, Freelance Editing, And Working to Pay Student Loans But Feeling Like Suicide. – Briar

“Dear Steve,

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.

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Crushing student loan debt, suicide feelings.


Dear Briar,

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.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

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.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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.
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2 thoughts on “Mary Kay, Freelance Editing, And Working to Pay Student Loans But Feeling Like Suicide. – Briar”

  1. consolidate your fed loans to the fed government and get Income Based Repayment on those. Then consolidate all your private loans with a lender at low interest rates if possible. I’m doing mine with Wells Fargo and I can get my loans (most of which are private loans of 90k) down to just under 500$ a month. But once you consolidate you cannot xfer them to any other lender again and no forbearance avail.

  2. Briar…on behalf of others struggling with this debt, more hugs! 
    Steve has provided good resources that may provide you with some relief until more changes are made. 
    I want to tell you about one of those changes that is hot off the press!

    Yesterday Rep. Hansen Clarke (MI) just introduced H.R.4170 “Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012” which seeks to provide relief to both federal AND private loans through a responsible 10 year repayment plan and forgiving any remaining balance at the end of 10 years.  In a nutshell here’s how it works. 
    Qualifying private loans are essentially refinanced into federal loans making them eligible for this plan.  Payments are 10% of discretionary income (defined as earnings over 150% of poverty level).  At the end of 10 years of payments the remaining balance is forgiven and NOT treated as taxable income…in other words it is truly forgiven! 
    Here’s his announcement to Congress http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QEj-vIOIXk&feature=g-user-u&context=G20ceac8UCGXQYbcTJ33Z46VnSzMcpWMtjaC9EwjzCnflESS1tEjQ

    The full text version if this bill was just posted this morning, you can read it here http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.4170: (be sure to include the “:” at the end of the URL).

    This is an AMAZING and courageous step in the right direction! 
    Please call and write your representatives and urge them to co-sponsor and support the passage of H.R.4170.

    Also keep your eyes open for the “student borrowers bill of rights” which Rep. Clarke will introduce in the next few weeks.  It will include things such as the restoration of bankruptcy protection for student loans.

    Above all else Briar, please hang in their and realize you are not alone! 
    Turn your hopelessness into action by joining the fight to turn around this abusive system.  Connect with others who are fighting for change (check out http://forgivestudentloandebt.com), support this bill (find your reps here http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd), sign the above petition and as Steve said “don’t let the bastards get you down!!!


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