It is not easy being a single dad-being on as mom and dad 100% of the time is even tougher. Throw in work, school, kid activities, and home and there is barely any time left in the day to watch a TV show and pass out-unless you’re an overachiever. Nobody teaches the expectations of parenthood-you live, learn, and move on. I believe the same goes for student loans and higher education.
Most students finishing their high school careers are looking for scholarships, thinking about colleges, and aspiring to become who they want to be. What everyone forgets is the decision shelf-life…
“The factors you decide today will affect you for a lifetime…,” I bet you’ll hear something like that in a counselor’s office picking and choosing colleges. However, is the financial side explained appropriately?
You cannot back out of student loans; you cannot go bankrupt. You are stuck.
I personally have over $250,000 in student loan debt. Nobody told me about the burden I would bare after graduation. Because I could not pay for the first two degrees (Associate’s in audio engineering and Bachelor’s in entertainment business), I went back for a third (Master’s in entertainment business) and a fourth (Doctorate in information systems and technology management) in hopes of landing that big job to help erase my worries; it’s still a work in progress.
My loans are broken into two categories as I’m sure yours are too:
- Private – $96,000 at 9.75% – $10,000/year alone for interest.
- Federal – $170,000 at 7%
At one point my loan payments were $2,800/mo; that is more than many mortgages. Obviously, these were not getting paid so all of my forbearance is gone-for the rest of my life-so I work hard to ensure I don’t miss any payments. Outside of my career, I work on freelance gigs, writing assignments, and music – even releasing a Kickstarter Campaign – http://kck.st/1fRRNCf
My private loans are locked with a minimum payment of $850/mo. Thankfully, this little thing called Income-Based Repayment planning helped reduce the federal loan payments from $1,900 to just under $700/mo -an option I highly recommend if you have federal loans. After 25 years of payments, the remainder of the loan is forgiven. That will make me 53 by the time I pay-off this loan with a whopping 300 payments. At least I was able to save my single-income household $1,300/mo.
I believe our economy could use this type of funding to purchase goods and services instead of ridiculous interest rates. If it were not for these loans, I would not be educated or where I am today. However, I might be able to own a home or provide a worry-free income for my son.
It is and will continue to be a struggle, but with the right planning and hard work I will defeat the loans and move into the sunset. Every additional dollar I don’t need to save or spend on necessities goes directly into the loans. I’m hoping to be debt free by 2020!
If you’re struggling with student loans or other parenting issues, I’d love to hear about your story! Together maybe we can make a change to the direction of higher education before our children and their children embark on the journey.