Sigh…..

I know I sounded upbeat yesterday and I really felt it. I even felt upbeat this morning as I thought about how I could really kill my debt. I know….I will take money out of my 403(b) account, and even if I end up paying penalties and taxes, it’ll be worth it to beat that Big Daddy loan to debt! Right!! Right??! Right? (This last one was said with a questioning tone.)

I called Vanguard who handles my 403(b) account, and nope, what I want to do – take out my own money, to pay off my own debt, is not allowed by the plan. I understand the reasons why, but what a way to take the wind out of my sails…

Yes, I was willing to take such desperate measures. As anyone knows who has ever tried to get out of debt, of whatever source, at times, it feels hopeless. Like it’s never going to end. I think to myself, “I’m 41, I’m working 2 jobs plus a freelance job and I still feel like this debt will ALWAYS be hanging over my head. ALWAYS.” If I were to add up all the payments I have made over the years, I would get really depressed. Probably to the point of being catatonic. When you have a loan that was $71K in 2001, and after paying about $500-760 a month on it for years and years and years, and still seeing that it now has a balance of (and I mean, NOW), over $75K, well it gets a bit freaking depressing.

One person has said to me, “well, we all signed the promissory notes and didn’t have guns to our heads.”  Yes, this is true. I just wish I hadn’t been such a moron back then. Or that I would have liked the career enough, on which I spent all that money, to stay in it so I would actually (hopefully) be making a bigger salary that would have allowed me to pay off the loans faster. But you can’t force yourself to love a job which makes you miserable. And you can’t force an employer to pay you more money for a job that requires you to have more degrees than just a lawyer, because it requires less hours. So it’s a tradeoff. I make less money than the big hotshot lawyers, but I have a life. Or at least, I try to. In between working three jobs, that is.

And, I have learned, you can realize you don’t have to do what everyone else does in life just because it’s what you are supposed to do. But you do have to pay back those damn blasted  loans, because guess what? They are the ONLY type of debt you can’t get rid of in bankruptcy. (Thank you, Congress. And thank you, President Obama, for trying to put a cap of $57,000 on the amount of student loans that can be forgiven because of working in a public service position. That’s like a drop in the bucket to most students graduating from school these days. And yes, the jury is still out on whether or not my loans qualify for forgiveness, even after ten years, which wouldn’t be until 2017 anyway.)

Ok, my ranting is done. I know I usually try to be more positive than this. But it’s been a very gray and dreary day out, and the weather forecast is looking like it is much more of the same for the rest of the week. The grayness and cold are just getting old.

Thanks for reading, folks, if you have gotten this far.

11 thoughts on “Sigh…..

    • Yeah, I think it will too. When things get like this, I get out pen and paper and a calculator and start doing some calculations to try and make myself feel better. LIke “if I put less into savings, how can I get this to go away faster?”

    • Jan, thanks. I think it’s because of the morality reasons behind why we have 403(B) accounts. You know, because the government will screw you anyway when it comes to social security existing (yeah, right) by the time I graduate.

      It depends on who is the company that is overseeing your TDA account. TIAA-Cref will allow you to take a “loan” but Vanguard won’t. Vanguard only allows you to take the money if you are terminated from your job, or for an economic hardship (of which there are 6 limited reasons) or a health or medical hardship (you know, you get really sick, etc.)

    • Thanks, Ginny. Yeah, you would probably understand the most. We just don’t get paid as if we have law degrees. Even though in my case, they pretty much wanted it when they hired me. I mean, how did they think I paid for the degree?

  1. I think its criminal that our gov’t puts students in this position. The interest rates are ridiculous. This is the next big bubble, I agree there should be some responsibility. You took out a loan, and your direction in life is your decision. However, the cost of education, then and now is outrageous with little to know opportunity for equivalent payback, unless you are willing to sacrifice your life to a firm and are lucky (Ha!) enough to secure a job through the right connections. I see nothing wrong with hard, work. Just that there needs to be avenues of relief. In reference to gov’t, I mean reasonable interest rate programs, forgiveness, and assistance (the interest you pay on loans, and the amount you get on your 403B, what is the net?) And why these programs don’t allow you to access them? A recent post from a friend in FB sated that if we paid for every kid in college next year, it would be less than the amount we spend in Afghanistan. And yes Terri, I read your blog occasionally. I sure hope no jerk is tapping into this info, as I’ll be labeled something and put on BHO’s dislike list.

    • I had no idea you read my blog! :-) I know J does occasionally, though. I think what is criminal is the way the interest is handled on student loans vs. other types of debt, like a mortgage. Even when you are just starting out with a mortgage, as we were a few years ago, we still had at least 25% of our payment go toward principal. That was the way the interest was set up. With student loans, I would be lucky if even 15% went to principal. It’s quite depressing to know that in the next three years, I will pay over $20,000 in interest, just interest to keep a loan from growing. Can you imagine?

      The 403(b) – well the idea behind those accounts, as you know, is to help you save for retirement. I do well on my 403(b) (or have lately) but it’s the penalties that would kill me if I did take the money out of my own 403(B). It would end up being like 40% of the amount I would try to take out of my own $ that I would lose to taxes and penalties. It’s so ridiculous.

      God, that’s so sad – how much we spend on a country where most don’t want us to even be there, vs. how little we spend on our kids at home. Makes me sick.

      Don’t worry, I am sure I’m probably already on the dislike list. :-)

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