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Is it just buyers remorse or am I really in a tough situation?

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    Is it just buyers remorse or am I really in a tough situation?

    Quick back story. I'm 23 and I recently graduated from a State University and got a job within a month (good for me). I received a Bachelors Degree in History but now I'm working as a Grants Manager for a Federally Funded Non-Profit Company.

    Salary: 33,000
    Loans: 60,000 with a high interest rate due to my parents being unable to co-sign my loans so I had to sign my own.

    With an apartment and the average bills that come along with living on my own I am only able to pay off the minimum on my loans at the moment and I am currently looking for a second job.

    Is this a situation a lot of recent college grads are in? Or did I make a really foolish mistake going to college for a degree that doesnt matter unless I wanted to teach.

    Also, if anyone here has experience with a similar situation I would love some advice on how to manage it and not be in debt until my own kids go to college.

    #2
    I would start by calling the loan companies and seeing how to get your interest rate reduced.

    How much will your payments be if the current loan stands (with current interest rate?)

    Dawn

    Comment


      #3
      Well, whether or not you made a poor choice in degrees is irrelevant at this point, but yes, students should give more thought to future employment before picking a field of study. It is just pretty tough for most 17 or 18 year olds to make decisions like that. Ultimately, your problem wasn't due to your degree choice but your decision to borrow 60K to get that degree. Had you gone to a less costly school or worked more during your school years, you could have borrowed less, but again, that is irrelevant now. You're done. You've got the degree. You've got the debt.

      What to do now? Boost your income. That's the only way to clean up the mess. Find a private sector job where incomes are probably higher than at the non-profits. Get a second job. Deliver pizzas or papers. Mow lawns. Walk dogs. Whatever it takes. And slash expenses to the bare minimum. Get a roommate. Move to a cheaper apartment. Don't go out to eat. Cook all meals from scratch. All the usual advice.
      Steve

      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

      Comment


        #4
        Get second job but I would also work at getting a better paying job or getting a promotion. You are starting out at least and it would seem that your potential earnings is there. If you stick to a budget and keep living the same until you pay off debt and putting extra income to debt, then you're good to go.
        LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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          #5
          It depends. How hard are you willing to work and how much are you willing to cut expenses? At 23, how many expenses do you really need? I could easily see cleaning up that debt in just a few years, but it will take some hard work and sacrifice.

          I don't even necessarily believe you have to do the extreme sacrificing until you are *out of debt.* If you can get it *under control/reasonable* is what is really important. But, you won't be able to do much else until you get to that point.

          Comment


            #6
            have you thought of getting a roommate? Part time job? The last is consider getting a better paying job in the near future.

            Comment


              #7
              Well, I went to college for 5.5 years and obtained two pretty much useless BAs. Both are in Lib Arts fields. Neither one of them are (highly...or at all - lol) employable in the area where I live. From my perspective, you are doing well even if you are not happy with your salary. Having a job only one month out of school (if I read that correctly) is EXCELLENT!! EXCELLENT. EXCELLENT!! You should be encouraged, because the important thing is you HAVE a job right out of school, even if it's not one where you can pay off your debt right away. No one paid off their student loan debt overnight that either wasn't A) Rich or B) had rich parents helping them.

              It took me three months after graduation (and I had been applying for one year in advance of graduation or so) to find work. My first job paid OK, like yours, but a little higher...and I was laid off in a month and a half after they lost a contract at the company. I managed to pay off some of my loans, but I still came out of school with a stupidly high loan amount of $19,000 roughly (high for me, because I scavenged and saved and scrimped my way through and hated debt. I was still forced to take out loans to graduate, however, despite working during college).

              My life over the next three-four years was a series of searching really hard, sending out thousands of resumes, and here and there finding odd jobs that lasted 3-4 months max before I got laid off three more times due to the economy. I am currently still laid off. I am just trying to say, if I have never had steady employment with my degree and managed to make some headway on paying down my loan by saving, it is possible for anybody!

              You are pretty well off, even if you can only make minimum payments. The bottom line is your loan will get paid off eventually. Don't be depressed if you can't make much more than a minimum payment. That was all I could do when I made minimum wage at terrible retail jobs after getting laid off. However, gradually my loans have been paid down anyway. Why? Because I learned to use coupons, save money in a myriad of ways, and try really really hard to cut any unnecessary expenses to pay down debt. Trust me, you can do it on a salary that is even below 15 or 20 k. Sometimes, you just have to read up on financial books, figure out a budget on your salary that is REALISTIC, and find ways to save by talking to other people, both in real life, and on this forum.

              My own younger sister just graduated recently like you and she is working an unpaid internship and part-time making food. Don't worry! Things work out for new grads, just not right away!

              p.s. I have to go against the flow and say I wouldn't worry too much about a second job if I were you right now. It might distract you from excelling at your first real job out of college, and I am sure you want to succeed. I have worked two jobs, and it is hard to focus on one at times. Plus, the loan issue will work itself out in time, not overnight, as I said earlier...
              Last edited by Frugal; 07-23-2011, 11:13 AM. Reason: Addition

              Comment


                #8
                It's pretty normal to be in the situation you are in. For extra income I got a job tutoring high school students. Try finding a company which tutors in your area so you can start somewhere. Or post on craigslist for gigs. I did it with math and science and it helped with extra income. History and English tutors are common too so i'd recommend doing that. The nice thing is that you can tutor in the evenings or at night so it won't interfere with your day job.

                Start thinking of ways to cut expenses, spending and such. Disneysteve gave great examples which also helped me when I first started.

                Comment


                  #9
                  There's a human resources economics model out there that pretty much says a college degree is a signal to employers that you are able to learn, follow instructions, and are responsible enough to show up to work on time everyday. Your degree doesn't actually matter.

                  Obviously different degrees have different earnings potential (lots of statistics on this), but there is merit to the degree = signal to employers idea too. Employers won't even look at your resume if you don't have a degree, for example.

                  So, the degree is a reasonable investment. Maybe not the best, but it is good.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Your general situation is fairly standard although imo the student loan amount is fairly high (particularly for undergrad degrees).

                    I graduated from a University with approximately $18,000 in student loans and I thought that amount was particularly high. I was able to pay it off in minimal increments at first and then received a significant raise at my job during my 5th year working that allowed me to pay off the rest in one lump sum.

                    For a fresh college grad such as yourself, here's my advice:

                    -Don't get a car loan. Buy a beater car or try to get one from an older relative (hi Mom/Dad).

                    -Don't buy the best Smart phone on the block. Use a phone for two things: talking and texting. I won't suggest cutting out texting because most people can't live without it. I'm trying to be realistic here.

                    -Cut out at least one party, bar trip, hangout a week. Fresh graduates love hitting up happy hours because let's face it, young, single and horny are conducive to those scenes. So I'm not suggeting you become a hermit...just cut out one.

                    -If you do plan to go drinking out somewhere, consider pre-purchasing alcohol at the liquor store so you save some money when you go out.

                    -If you're anywhere near the possibility of marriage, discuss finances with your fiancee. Do NOT have a big, flashy wedding that you'll regret spending money on. It's just one day. If you're the guy who has to purchase an engagement ring, do not fall for the cultural trap of spending so much that both you and wifey are paying off HER ring over the next several years. Your present to your fiancee should be a debt free, money free life.

                    Don't discount your college degree and college experience. Too many adults like to quantify these experiences particularly if their own experiences aren't covered in gold. The person you are right now was influenced by the college you went to, the degree you earned and the people you met. If you consider yourself a more mature, more learned, happier person, then everything you've done before is great.

                    I'm a liberal arts major with a degree most people would categorize as "low income future". But I've channeled those skills to the industry I'm in (not liberal arts related) and my interpersonal skills, communication skills and ability to assess people/situations has made me financially independent. I make 6 figures a year and am lucky/skilled enough to be ok through these economic times.

                    Your two best bets are not having any kind of car loan and cutting down on partying especially in the post-college years. After only a few years, you'll be financially flush. Wouldn't you rather be around 30 years old and thinking "Man, I have no student loans, no car loans and I've got money in my bank. Time to conquer the world and have a little fun with my money" as opposed to "Wow, where did the last 7 years go? I'm still paying my student loans, would love to get rid of this once flashy car that I still owe money on, and I spent thousands on Jager bombs at the local pub"?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I agree with Frugal, the fact you have work in this economy and a decent livable wage (considering you are single and no kids) is great.

                      You have work and flexibility on where to cut corners without worrying how it would affect loved ones.

                      Make the payments on your student loan and be glad you have work.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Make sure that your public loans (Stafford, etc) are all on income-based repayment. That will hopefully lower your overall bill. Then throw all of your extra money at the highest interest loan. Make sure you mark all extra payments to go toward the principal. Watch out for lifestyle inflation especially from eating out, dating/relationships, alcohol/tobacco/partying, friends with higher income or less financial savvy, etc. Live like a college kid for as long as you possibly can, except learn to cook.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Shewillbemine View Post
                          I'm a liberal arts major with a degree most people would categorize as "low income future". But I've channeled those skills to the industry I'm in (not liberal arts related) and my interpersonal skills, communication skills and ability to assess people/situations has made me financially independent. I make 6 figures a year and am lucky/skilled enough to be ok through these economic times.
                          First, Shewillbemine, your post is excellent.

                          What is quoted above is really the critical part. A genuinely resourceful person will always find a way to succeed. Scott Adams wrote an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago, essentially saying the same thing. The generalizations that philosophy and history majors are not good employment choices is true -- for the average student.

                          Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are college drop-outs. True, most of us won't be as successful as they, but frankly, there is so much mediocrity today that anyone who rises just a bit above can do pretty well.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jbrother View Post
                            Quick back story. I'm 23 and I recently graduated from a State University and got a job within a month (good for me). I received a Bachelors Degree in History but now I'm working as a Grants Manager for a Federally Funded Non-Profit Company.

                            Salary: 33,000
                            Loans: 60,000 with a high interest rate due to my parents being unable to co-sign my loans so I had to sign my own.

                            With an apartment and the average bills that come along with living on my own I am only able to pay off the minimum on my loans at the moment and I am currently looking for a second job.

                            Is this a situation a lot of recent college grads are in? Or did I make a really foolish mistake going to college for a degree that doesnt matter unless I wanted to teach.

                            Also, if anyone here has experience with a similar situation I would love some advice on how to manage it and not be in debt until my own kids go to college.
                            Your situation is probably quite common. Doesn't make it right or good, it's just common.

                            I agree with the others. Usual advice here. Boost income, and slash expenses until you get your debt paid down.
                            Brian

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It can be so hard and I completely sympathise with you! I went to a debt management company and they designed a bespoke re-payment plan for me. They were able to look at all my finance and give me something realistic to look forward to! It wasn't easy but i'm finally getting there.

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