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Home > Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts > I Want to Kill Myself Because of My Student Loans. I Dream of Dying.

I Want to Kill Myself Because of My Student Loans. I Dream of Dying.

“Dear Steve,

I have seen that there are others who have posted that they have contemplated suicide in order to get out of student loan debt and I can tell you that they aren’t alone.

I was laid off twice since I graduated and I can’t afford to pay my loans back. I couldn’t even if I found a job. I pay $280/month (that is WITH IBR) in my Federal loans and over $600/month in private.

I haven’t defaulted yet because I have managed to borrow money from parents and sell off any belongings that I have.

Keep in mind, I can’t find a job in this economy. I have zero dollars income, so they are using my husbands income for IBR, I assume.

I apply for every job I can find and I am told that I am either over-qualified or under-qualified. My husband contributes what he can in order to pay the loans, which leaves us with nothing.

One used car was repossessed. We have a baby, who needs food and diapers, so now we have $1,000s in credit card debt on top of it all.

We would be homeless and living on the street if my parents didn’t give us a room in their house. Every penny we have goes to student loans, so any need we have goes on a credit card and I can’t breathe!

There are plenty of nights where I close my eyes and imagine dying and how I wouldn’t have to feel this weight on my anymore if I died.

I have wished that I would die in my sleep on several occasions. I believe that the only reason I am still here is my baby. She needs me but at the same time, what kind of life will she have with me as a mother?

I can’t provide her with anything. We struggle just to buy diapers and there is no end in sight. I will never be able to buy a home. If something were to happen to my parents, we’d live under a bridge.

My credit is destroyed. I won’t be able to send her to college and if you can’t get a job with a college degree now, imagine 18 years from now. The problem is, I don’t know if that will solve the problem either.

My father co-signed for the loan, so if I were to die, would they go after him for the money?

I know I sound dramatic, but this is what I live with every day. Every day is a struggle to get through. I sit in front of a computer applying for jobs that I won’t get and even if I do the income won’t cover my bills. (Don’t forget that when I am employed, the IBR goes up).

I am missing the best years of my baby’s life trying to make sure she can have a life some day and I can’t help myself, so how can I help her. I am usually a much better writer but I had no idea so many emotions were going to come flooding out. I apologize. Most of this information is irrelevant to you.

Is there any way out? How do I get out? Will my dad be stuck with the loans no matter what?

J”

The Answer

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Dear J,

Get Out of Debt Free Hotline

I understand how the hopeless feelings you are having about the student loans debt naturally lead you to some conclusion that killing yourself is a better way to deal with the situation.

I’m not judging you for thinking that but I hope you realize that’s just fucked up. It’s not a representation of what reality is. It’s a representation of what your emotional state is.

You are you and your debt is your debt. Debt is just math wrapped in emotion. It is not moral and does not judge you. It’s a number.

So let’s say you kill yourself over this number. That doesn’t make the debt go away. That just leaves your baby without a mother, your husband alone and your father holding the bag for the debt.

Let’s look at the worst that can happen here with your debt. If you can’t pay the debt then the collectors will tack on a collection penalty and might go after your father for the balance due. He’s on the hook anyway so committing suicide doesn’t solve a thing except let you think you are running away.

Let’s stop trying to live your life in fear.

fear is a prison

Let’s start living in hope and seek out kindness and gratitude. I know that’s trite advice but you how what, it really works. The more you put out positive energy, the more positive energy you attract.

If you can’t find a job, let’s find some benefits you qualify for. That’s the same as income. I want you to go to Benefits.gov and use the online calculator to find out what help you are eligible for. Help with diapers and baby food is better than no help with diapers and baby food.

How much other debt do you have on top of the student loan debt?

Why not turn to some other avenues of applying for some kind of income. What about SnagaJob.com or even Craigslist.org for local job openings. All the people I know are finding jobs that way instead of the big employment boards.

Let’s start making some positive moves towards a better future. If you’ve applied for 400 jobs, I want you to apply for 400 more. If you have not tried those other resources I gave you, try them.

Go around to your local businesses and ask them if they are hiring. Jobs are often available before they are advertised.

If you’ve given up on yourself and your future, then that is a self-fullfiling prophecy.

Take a day off for a pity festival and then get the hell back to making a job out of getting a job. Oh yes, and applying for all the benefits you are qualified for.

If you kill yourself over this I will personally hunt you down and kick your ass.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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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.
  • Basically Bass

    Steve,
    I really hope that nobody commits suicide for any reason, but I don’t think your advice really takes into account the writer’s situation. For some of us, simply hanging in there and making minimum payments for 25 years will lead to a life of abject misery. No ability to ever own a home. No ability to start a family. If your loans are ever forgiven, the loan forgiveness is counted as income. For most, that tax bill will force them into bankruptcy – further delaying the ability to ever buy a home or retire. Most people don’t want to subsist and merely exist for their entire life. Stripped of all hope. No options to alleviate the burden and help them move on in a responsible way. The representative government of the people codified into law the rules that govern student loan debtors. When your society is telling you that the only viable way out of debt is through death, it’s no wonder people want to commit suicide. I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg and we’re going to see a lot of people looking at suicide in a rational way given the options.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org/ Steve Rhode

      I agree with you. There are no good options and I find it entirely ironic that the law allows for a fresh start through bankruptcy but Congress excluded most student loans from that protection. Heck, even IRS debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy.

  • truth

    This advice is completely shitty and this entire site is utter shit, people with debt trouble don’t need a bunch of scam capital one cards(the worst out there) or scam debt management consolidation crap.

    If you aren’t at the point that says this system is predatory and cannot be worked ‘with’ only against, then you are an idiot. Student loans are a scam to make the young pay for the privilege to work for the old. Just like all gambling, it uses the advertising of the success cases to lure in millions of people who have no chance of succeeding with it. It lets the people with all the advantages feel self-made when their parents gave them most of what they needed.

    If indeed what you say is true, although I doubt people like you believe it, and that debt is not a moral thing, or that it is abstract and not real, then they should just be dissolved like all evil fantasies, not used to scrap 20% out of the wages of people already in poverty.

    Student loans are a scam and this site is idiotic, don’t pay back your student loans at all, ever, they are just small business loans that some evil people made not endable by bankrupcy and we live in the window where idiots like the guy who runs this site haven’t figured that out yet.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org/ Steve Rhode

      This seems more like a rant than a solution to the readers question. Did I miss something?

  • Jason

    Steve, very good advise. You have to be able to work the system and find the best way out of dept. Don’t panic over student loans. Not going to jail or anything like that. Take it a day at a time and work out a solution to your problem.

  • M.L.H. Javert

    No offense, but Craigslist and Snagajob are about as helpful as asking the neighbor’s 12 year old deaf and blind dog for job leads. I’m $40,000 in debt in student loans, and am currently working for $8 an hour at Menards (a hardware chain in the Midwest, for those of you who have no clue what Menards is). When I was still unemployed, Snagajob only had jobs for minimum wage (my state sits directly at the Federal Minimum – $7.25/hr.). I am not even close to making it on $8/hr. My rent, groceries, fuel for my car (car is paid off, as my parents gave me my mom’s old car – paid none of my 4 year college, but at least gave me a car that was paid off), credit card, and student loan make it where I’m lucky to skirt by. I can’t save, I’m uncomfortable, and I’m trapped. I only make minimum payments, and have to use the extended payment plan on my student loans. Now imagine trying to live on a wage 75¢ less than the wage I currently receive. It couldn’t be done. You wouldn’t think 75¢ extra an hour would make that big of a difference, but it does. I see no way I could work for the direct federal minimum, and still even pay the bare minimum payments on all of my debts. Snagajob is designed to advertise minimum wage work (the kind of work that works best for students, not graduates). It is ill advised to use it!

    And like most other things on Craigslist, 90% of the jobs are scams. They don’t tell you who their company is, what they’ll pay, and many times, what the full job is. Many of them I believe are phishing for financial information from gullible victims.

    In America today, what you know no longer matters – it’s who you know that matters. If you’re like me and weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, and don’t know anyone in a position of power to get you hired, you are in effect screwed! I, like the original question-author “J”, have considered suicide. My loving fiancée and my religious beliefs are the main reason I don’t. I could never bear to hurt her, and I do believe that God would not approve of my taking the life he bestowed upon myself. But the reality is, that doesn’t stop the thought from crossing one’s mind. We are a generation enslaved by debts we cannot pay, that we acquired due to the false promises of our Baby Boomer and Gen X parents, who said we’d be trapped flipping burgers or working shitty retail jobs if we didn’t go to college. Guess what? We went to college and yet we’re still stuck working as burger flippers and retail drones, and at that for less money than if we’d have not gone to college at all, and with far more debt than if we’d never had gone. We’ve been duped!

    All I want is a fucking job that I can pay more than the bare minimum on my debts. I want to be able to pay the normal payment instead of the extended plan payment on my loan. How does someone with no connections get a job that allows one to live comfortably?

  • http://twitter.com/b423_mary Mary Barson

    When I went on disability, I wrote the governor of our state and told him I no longer could work so I had no means to pay my student loans. He sent me a letter back, with his deepest sympathies for my illness and he “forgave” all my student loans. Worth a shot.

    • M.L.H. Javert

      I find this post flawed. No Governor of any state has the authority to pardon, or “forgive” loans granted by the Feds or the private sector. Care to elaborate how he managed to do that when the law doesn’t seem to allow for him to?

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