Let’s talk about debt, bay-bee

October 27, 2010 at 11:34 AM | Posted in Economista, Education | 8 Comments

Debt is a choice. Yes, a choice. I went to college. I accumulated lots of it. That was my choice. The average student debt is 25K. Ha! I WISH that was all I had, but I made my bed and now I’m laying in it. With coupons.

My parents cringe when I tell them how much I pay out in loan repayments every month. They don’t want to see me suffer like this. They wouldn’t have made this choice for me. But I made the decision and looking back, I would probably feign orphanage to get more financial aid do it again. Definitely with a few smarter adjustments but those were growing pains. My stubborn nature ignored all the parental forewarning about debt upon embarking on my college career. Now I have to deal with it. And I am. My reward was a degree from a kick-ass university, and experiences that have invaluably shaped my perspective on life. I am lucky enough to have found a job in my major, that I love, in a city I love, that allows me to live independently, not even look at Ramen noodles as a food choice and pays all my bills and then some. I don’t go a day without counting my blessings. I appreciate it greatly!!! Now were there alternatives that I could have taken to avoid all this debt? Absolutely! Go to a local college, live at home, or go to a community college for two years and then go to a university the last two years. Or just do community college/cheaper college all four years. I didn’t want to. I wanted to go big and not stay home.

My initial list consisted of VERY expensive out of state schools. My parents looked at it, blinked and laughed. “YOU WANNA GO WHERE??? ROFL” (If they knew what “ROFL” meant they would have said it 5 billion times) They said ‘that list better have ALL in-state schools and fast.’  They said one year at one of my out-of-state schools was two years at a state school that is just as good in my major. I thought about it and agreed. I got accepted to college, got little financial aid, a rinky dink scholarship and TONS of loan debt. I can’t complain though. I technically didn’t have to get a degree. But I did, I lived the dream and continue to do so. I experienced college life and I learned. Oh I learned, the hard way at that. I can proudly say I grew a hell of a lot more responsible with money. Oh believe that. I have long term and short term pay down plans, I consolidate, I cut out waste, I look for other streams of revenue, I have a 401K, I have a few savings accounts, I am on my bank account statements like white on rice, I pay down balances.

I can no longer be called the overdraft queen as my father called me in college. Every time I called him with another overdraft sob story he chastised me but still helped me out. But the last time he refused, he didn’t help me. “I’m not doing it, you are giving away all your money to the bank, just giving away your money.” I’ll tell you one thing. I didn’t overdraft after that day. I referred to all my father’s fiscal advice and applied it.  The smartest thing I’ve ever done to date, was listen to Daddy SaveBucks. Yea, I made some mistakes but I am SO GLAD I made those mistakes sooner rather than later. It’s no one’s fault but my own.


But some do blame others for debt. This is HIGHLY problematic….because oh I don’t know…maybe because YOU signed on the dotted line. Take ‘Neighbor’ for example. ‘Neighbor’ is a woman who blames the president for her unique predicament. Neighbor was out of work for a year, she’s a carpenter and it’s hard finding work when you’re a female carpenter. She said there’s gender discrimination. Fair enough.  Maybe there is. So to this end, Neighbor has been out of work for over a year. Her husband gets sporadic work. But not nearly enough to cover their expenses. They can’t pay them. The mortgage is one of them, which hasn’t been paid in over a year.

Neighbor could not conceive. She wanted a child. Very badly. She wants invitro. Invitro treatments are very expensive. So she takes out a $180,000 loan to cover these expenses. Neighbor does have a baby. Now the baby has no health care. Neither does Neighbor, and neither does her husband. Who does she blame? Obama. It’s his fault she cannot pay her mortgage and the reason why her family doesn’t have health care.  Now, let’s just do a bit of critical thinking here.

Was it Neighbor’s fault she couldn’t get carpenter work ? No

Was it Neighbor’s fault she didn’t look for other forms of work? Yes

Was it Neighbor’s fault her job didn’t offer health care coverage? Nope

Was it Neighbor’s fault she didn’t look into alternatives for health coverage? Yup

If Neighbor didn’t qualify for any of these options, was it wise to bring a child into the situation? Nu-uh

Was it Neighbor’s fault she couldn’t conceive? No way!

Was it Neighbor’s fault she is now saddled with a 180K loan, a child (which is an EXTREMELY expensive responsibility, her expenses continue LONG after conception) in addition to a mortgage? You betcha!

Now I’m not saying Neighbor is at fault for wanting a baby, an expensive baby I might add. But let’s not be fooled here, if I were to spend that much cash on a kid, he’d better be a prodigy or close to one. Maybe she will be. Now Neighbor is in a pretty pickle. But how did she get there? She put herself there. It was her choices, her debt but her mea culpa is non-existent. Debt is acquired. Debt is an agreement between the creditor and debtor. Key word “agreement.”  You can opt to have it or opt to not have it. It is purely up to the individual. There are circumstances that arise that make debt a hell of a burden. But that’s the cross you have to bear. And millions of people are bearing it. I don’t believe all debt is bad. It is all about how you handle it, and I firmly believe in handling your business. Whether it is consolidating, negotiating or rearranging, you gotta do what you gotta do. It is important to educate yourself and make wise decisions when choosing the debt you want to bear. Weigh your options, consider the pros and cons, the benefits, the rewards of this debt. You just have to be sure the pros will be worth its weight in the end.

How do you handle your debt? Do you think it’s a choice or necessity? What has your debt taught you, if anything?

Related: To be honest, you gotta live honestly
Related: Five reasons why my father RUINED my dating life

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  1. I couldn’t even come back with a witty response because I was too busy dying at these lines:

    “Now I’m not saying Neighbor is at fault for wanting a baby, an expensive baby I might add. But let’s not be fooled here, if I were to spend that much cash on a kid, he’d better be a prodigy or close to one.”

    Well if she is as poor as she claims her child could qualify for health insurance. Now I love and want children but not sure if I want an $180,000 child because if this kid doesnt listen I will be feel like I should’ve saved my money. Like damn I broke for you??

    • LMAO “Damn I’m broke for you” YOU???!! YOUU!! Why me lawd!!!!! LOL

  2. I think college debt is a mix between necessity and choice. The choice is that you can chose a cheaper option for school, but in the end, even the cheapest school is going to require loans for most people.

  3. […] a better question is: will you ever be ready?  Kids are expensive, in case you didn’t know.  Statistics keep changing, but people generally seem to agree that the […]

  4. Hi, I agree with you when it comes to “neighbors” particular situation but I have to disagree when it comes to college debt. Everybody that goes to college does not graduate and get a job in their major, which is a problem that I am dealing with right now and its not that I blame the gov or my college but I feel that my choice to go to college was influenced by this culture and our society before I graduated high school. My parents told me I had to go college to get a great job but lets be honest everyone who goes to college doesn’t get a great job. Anyway I was 17 and signing for 10,000 loans and not even old enough to drink. I just think that college is advertised to us just like products in stores, they want you to buy their product saying its going to do this and that and honestly college does not = success for everyone that goes. Why isn’t starting a small business after college something that they try to get us into or being an entrepreneur? When we are young just graduating high school we are easily influenced we expect our parents to tell us whats best and if they say go to college we think we should but can we be successful without college? Yes! I have a degree and to me its just a piece of paper. I feel like college was something sold to me and I paid/ and am still paying a whole lot of money but what did I really get? At least when you buy a product in a store the end result is you take the product home and use it. With college you’re buying an “Education” so that you can get a “Great Job”. The end result being the “Great Job”, the product in the store you are guaranteed after you pay the money but the “Great Job” is not. One last thing..lol All we’re doing is paying teachers to teach us out of books but the books are available to us without college and most of the time once you finish school its more about who you know and connect with that gets you places. My main point is if our parents and advisers from high school didn’t mention anything about college but instead really talked about doing what you love and starting your own business and being self employed then we’d see more young entrepreneurs! I know we sign for all our loans and we make that choice but do we understand the choice at such a young age? What about being influenced to go to college? I love your blog by the way! ~Peace & Love

    • I think we’re on the same page with the college debt. I know I am extremely lucky to have figured out what I loved and found a career within that field. I definitely agree that college is sold as a neccesity when in fact most of the “skills” I acquired were from my internships and job experience, yes the professors do teach you out of textbooks and it’s not until you’re out there doing it that you know how the text applies. I think college serves not only as an educational institution but, for me at least, it served as a life experience. I gained a lot more wisdom outside of the classroom through organizations, clubs, meeting new people, fostering relationships with professors and mentors, studying abroad and discovering a new city and other cities during my time in college. Could I have gained all of this without college? Sure but as you said not going to college is not really a choice that is recommended for young people and we are brainwashed to believe that is the only route to take to achieve any success in this world. I think with such a huge decision one makes there should be comprehensive dialogue on a myriad of options post high school. Serious talks about debt should happen early on because really at 18 we’re considered “adults” but debt sometimes is a concept not even most grown adults understand. *side-eyes the housing crisis and the recession* Thanks for reading and your compelling comment!!! Keep ’em coming 😉

  5. […] Related: Let’s talk about debt bay-bee […]

  6. […] Saving is the best thing you can do for yourself Save. Save. Save. I assessed just how much frivolous spending I used to do and still do and it’s a lot. I have […]


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