I know of so many people that refuse to tackle their student loan debt because they don’t feel that it’s their responsibility to do so. Some of the reasons, include:
- “I never got to work in the field that I studied so why should I pay back the debt?” (you and 70% of the population…welcome to LIFE)
- “They should have never lent me that much money. Nobody told me it would be this hard. So why should I pay it back?” (you are an adult so start acting like one)
- “I’ll just earn the bare minimum so the government can pay for my interest while I reduce my principal.” (so you’re going to let student loans dictate your career plans as well…)
- “I’ll just wait 6 or 7 years then apply for bankruptcy.” (bankruptcy is not your answer, work is)
I know I am coming off as snarky but it bugs me when capable, able people are not taking responsibility for their own past decisions. When did our society become so entitled? Having a lot of student debt can make you feel like you are drowning and hoping for a rescue boat to come and save you. Unfortunately, you may be waiting for a long time, or die before then. You need to rescue yourself. I will admit that our school system & societal upbringing does a terrible job at teaching the youth about personal finance (managing their money well) and in preparing kids for the cost of university/college and how to manage their freedom and loans responsibly. The majority of people (including myself) start their post-secondary education with little to no skills of managing money well and end up graduating in a financial mess. Indebted and full of bloated expectation of what the job market has to offer, just to be given a rude awaking at times when they make their first “real job” pay. This may not be the case for some, but I am sure it is a very real reality for most millennials.
Ok. So you made some stupid mistakes with money in the past. Who hasn’t? Congratulations, you’re human. But the real question is what are you going to do about it now? Are you going to stick to the principle of the matter and commit to doing one of the 4 things listed above? Or are you going to take responsibility for the mess that YOU created and start cleaning it up? You can blame the government, the school system, your parents, your loved one etc., but it won’t change a thing.
Would I have done things differently back then with the information that I know now about money. Double Yes. But this experience has taught me so much more and now I can pass it on to my kids and hopefully they can pass it on to theirs. Repayment assistance and interest relief on student loans can be a great help when used sparingly, but some people can use these options as a crush to avoid dealing with their massive debt. Ignoring the problem will not fix it, and hoping the government will take care of you won’t either.
Get a second job, move back into your parent’s basement if you have to, and DON’T “live like a student” because many post-secondary students have a lot more disposable income from loans than they know what to do with. Instead, live like a responsible adult that is trying to get out of debt.
I end with this. If you managed your money responsibly throughout your life and graduated with no debt (student loan and other debts), then good for you. You are a rarity and your prudence will take you far in life. But for the rest of us (including myself), it’s time to buckle down and get serious about our money.
For 2016 I plan on sharing my financial savings goals for this year on my blog and tracking my progress online. Now that I am debt free, I plan on increasing my savings substantially.