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.