As many of you know, when I got my doctorate, I had amassed just over $187,000 in student loan debt. Well, as of last week, my degree is fully paid for! It took a little over six years of pain, suffering, and anxiety, but I got there. I guess that means it’s time to go back to school. (KIDDING!)
I am not here to write one of those “I did it, so you can too” posts. I have a lot of privileges that went into my ability to get out of debt, and it involved choices on my part that are not an option for everyone.
My point here is: look how awful the student debt crisis is. Look at what goes into having the ability to pay off your loans in full. Look at what you have to luck into to make it happen, and look at what you have to give up for this goal to be attainable.
I am 1,000% in favor of student loan forgiveness (and medical loan forgiveness, and credit card debt forgiveness) for everyone else even though I’m now out of debt. See, you can care about things that don’t directly benefit you.
So, without further ado, here is what contributed to my ability to pay off my student loans:
- I never stop working. How many hours of work per week would literally kill you? That number is n. Now take n minus one. Work that many hours. Or if you’re a therapist, take n plus five because you’ll probably have some cancellations. What mental health?
- I have no children. Kids are expensive. Want to pay off your loans faster? Then no kids for you.
- I had no personal or family crises or medical issues that interfered with my income. Try to be super lucky, never get sick, and never have a family obligation that requires you to take time off work.
- My spouse didn’t have student loans. To pay of your student loans, you pretty much need dual income, and the person providing that second income can’t have any debt of their own.
- I am an essential worker in a pandemic. Though nobody gave me hazard pay, I was able to keep working through a time when my interest was frozen and I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything that cost money. (Seriously, why do student loans have such ridiculous interest rates?)
- I live in South Dakota, where there is no state income tax. If Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk don’t have to pay taxes, why should I? (For legal purposes, this is a joke.)
There you have it: be super lucky in a lot of ways, and go to unhealthy extremes, and you too can pay off your student loans.
Call your reps. Demand student loan forgiveness. That is all.