Observations on life

Bail out student loans …

I am sixty-eight years old and still have a $59,000 mortgage on a house I purchased in 1976. How is that possible you say? I know, he took home equity loans to buy nice cars, remodel kitchens, etc., vacations and stuff. Well my car is eleven years old and besides that I won it. No that’s not it.

In fact, I re-mortgaged my house for one thing, college costs for four children and I don’t regret it for one minute. To my way of thinking that is part of a parents responsibility. My kids all paid their share working and graduating with modest loans, but even twenty years ago $500,000 was a lot of money.

Now I see the Occupy Wall Street gang carrying signs reading “Bail out student loans”. Then I read things like this as reported in the Huffington Post:

John Smith, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y., works part-time at Trader Joe’s because he hasn’t been able to find work in his field for over a year, despite having a master’s degree. He has about $45,000 in student loan debt. His girlfriend, Meropi Peponides, 27, a graduate student at Columbia University, will have about $50,000 by the time she graduates.

“I don’t know in the end what exactly this will achieve, if anything. But if it makes people wake up just a little bit, it’s worth it,” Peponides said. “The potential is huge. That’s why I’m here. I felt the potential somehow.”

Smith said he has sent out about 200 resumes in his search. He’s looking mainly for work with non-profit organizations. “The jobs that I’ve been applying for are all entry-level jobs in my career field. I don’t think I’m shooting for the stars trying to get those jobs.” Smith said, noting that five years ago, before grad school, he was able to get work at that level.

Tracy Blevins, 41-year-old Manhattan resident, has a doctorate in biomedical science but lost her job as an adjunct professor at Touro College this spring. She’s since been getting by on odd jobs; most recently, she acted as a cross-country driver for $2,000.

“I’m earning money off a license I got when I was 16, and still paying off the loans I had to take out to get my degree,” she said.

Even after nine years of paying down her loans, Blevins said she owes $10,000. She’s current on payments now, but said the loans have crippled her credit score and even prevented her from getting work in the past.

“I have paid and paid and paid and I still owe $10,000. It’s the interest that keeps me in debt,” she said.

Joe Foley, a 48-year-old freelance cinematographer living in Manhattan, finished paying off his $45,000 in student loans just five years ago. His girlfriend has $120,000 in student loans.

Let’s see, Columbia University, (not exactly your typical state college), looking for work in a non-profit (not the greatest paying field), a graduate student, a doctorate and an adjunct professor-the interest keeps me in debt (you need a doctorate to figure that out?), $120,000 in student loans (that ain’t your average BA)

Here we seem to have a collection of bright, albeit naive people, who made the choice to go to top schools and obtain advance degrees and perhaps chose noble but less productive careers and they are the type of people who resent other people who made other choices? These are the people who see it unfair to carry student loans and would rather have loan forgiveness?

Why doesn’t all this resonate with me?  Hey, who am I to criticize, my nine years of night school in two different community colleges and one state college to get a BA was partially subsidized by benefits I earned from two years in the army. I’m making my own sign.

Stop Whining!

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Categories: Observations on life

5 replies »

  1. This recession and its aftermath will change the future borrowing behavior of the generation now in high school and those younger. Amid all the bad news, we have to accept the good news whenever we can get it.

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  2. Life is not easy. I worked the entire time I was in college getting my BA. Did it in 4 years also but I never once enjoyed spring break at the beach or a summer off just taking it easy. I worked because I had bills to pay and knew that my tuition would be due. I then earned my MBA later in life the same way. Going to school while I worked. I have no sympathy for any OWS people who believe that a cushy existence is owed to them.

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  3. You are correct. The pen is mightier than the sword. You signed those papers – now find the ways and means to pay those debts. Nobody bailed me out either. When I had to work two and three jobs, I stopped going beyond my BS. Something some of us learned early…. If you can’t afford it you don’t get it.

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  4. Unfortunately we live in a “they owe me” society. I know folks that had to take on night work and weekends just to pay off their school loans. Not look for a hand out.

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