House Hunt Update: I’ve Become a Statistic

As part of my day job, I’ve reviewed and analyzed tons of think-tanky reports claiming that the ginormous student loan debt problem is preventing our young people from contributing positively to society. The typical scenario, these reports assert, is that a hefty student loan debt discourages talented grads from pursuing high-fuzzy, but low-income professions (e.g., teaching); prevents them from stimulating the economy (e.g., buying a car or a home); and inhibits their ability to populate the earth (e.g., having a family).

Cut to Archie reviewing his finances in order to figure out his absolute maximum monthly payment on a mortgage.

Yeeeeeeeah.

For the record, if I had to do it all over again, I would have done it entirely differently. I would have opted to work for GW and used tuition remission benefits to fund my fake doctorate. And I would have sucked up the seven years it would have taken me to complete the degree while attending part-time.

As the grace period for repaying my student loans quickly winds down, I’ve been reminded that my student loan debt is $138,273. I know that’s chicken feed, considering that I do have a terminal degree. But, unlike doctors or lawyers, I’m not as easily able to make money with my doctorate.

The novelty of a “Woe-is-me-I-have-tons-of-student-loans” spiel wears off pretty easily when you realize that you’re going to have to make some major changes in your lifestyle (an extra $640/month’s worth under the Income Contingent repayment plan) to pay off those student loans.

More sobering is the realization that my $138,273 debt load significantly impacts the amount of money I can borrow for a mortgage. I’m supposed to hear back from Sophany from Bank of America later this week to find out the absolute maximum price I can play with. I already have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. What’s that thing again about lowered expectations?

So for now, my student loan debt isn’t preventing me from pursuing something I’m passionate about (e.g., education), stimulating the economy (e.g., enjoying my daily Starbucks runs that I imagine will be phased out shortly), or starting a family (e.g., Brian). But every once in a while I feel it – I’m constantly reminded every time I see my diploma on the wall – a tinge of regret at smarter choices not taken.

But it is what it is. And it’ll only take 30 years to pay off my student loans. Add a 30-year mortgage to that and I may just be completely debt-free by the time I’m 60. Score!

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6 thoughts on “House Hunt Update: I’ve Become a Statistic

  1. $138,273…yikes. But lets not blame the doctorate, its just too easy!

    Assuming a constant 09-10 tuition rate of $1118 per graduate student credit hour, and 63 credit requirement, let’s give you a total Ed.D cost of $70,434. (which will be high since we both know tuition has increased since you started but you get my point) .

    The REAL question then becomes whether the housing loan options would be markedly different if you only had $67,839 in student debt ($138,273 – 70,434) and assumed a similar salary (though since you would be still at GWU and have no degree at this time with your “if I had to do it over again plan” that is a questionable assumption). Would you be able to live somewhere different, or just live in the same place and still afford an overpriced milk and coffee?

    I say all this simply to ask you to blame someone/something other than our doctoral program for your personal credit score crisis! Let’s blame it on the M.Ed you don’t need and should have gotten at GWU :p Good luck in the house hunting, I hope it goes well. – B

  2. You’re also actually “stimulating the economy” when you pay the student loan bill you know? The loan company doesn’t just bury your check in a mayonnaise jar- they deposit it into a bank and said bank lends it out to some other poor sucker who wants to buy a car or a house. So fear not. Pretty much any time you give another person dollars in exchange for goods or services, you are stimulating the economy.

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