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 Post subject: Saro's journal - or my road out of debt...
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 2:01 am 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
Posts: 132
Hi everyone,

It's taking alot of courage for me to post this, as it's hard for me to deal with. Here's my financial picture.

Debt:


I'm not sure what my long term goals are, to be honest. I would like to be debt-free as soon as possible. We're not planning on having children for another 2-3 years so I'd like to put myself in the best position for this.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. My initial plan is to build up my emergency/moving fund and then plan to pay off my credit card off first and then Loan #2. Third on the list is to pay off the huge student loan with the variable rate ($100K). I don't know how I should go about with the savings, should I only focus on getting rid of the debt for the next 2 years? Should I have a plan to fund our savings also?


Last edited by saro on Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 6:37 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 am
Posts: 1088
Location: Sunny Florida
Saro, Welcome.

Re: the 4 student loans at 4 different interest rates, can you consolidate to 1 lower interest rate?

I think your current plan, increasing savings for the move makes sense. As for a financial plan for the next 2 years I think its hard to plan when you don't know what kind of job (and what kind of pay/benefits you'll have) when you move back to the USA. Considering your debt load I would try to get the highest paying job possible so you can focus on paying down debt.

Good luck!!

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Sam

http://adventures-of-sam.blogspot.com
(Follow Sam's financial and real estate adventures.)


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 7:36 am 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
Posts: 132
Hi Sam,

Thanks for the welcome. I did actually consolidate student loans, these were not eligible for consolidation in one lump sum (one is a PLUS loan that my parents took out for me, the big one is a private loan and the $66k is consolidated).

Yes, part of the stress is not knowing what type of work is available. I've made some preliminary contacts and will try to get temp/contract legal work. That should pay between $25-$35 an hour


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 9:22 am 

Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 12:30 am
Posts: 19
Location: Cali, of course!
Congrats on getting engaged saro! :D

On that credit card with a horrible 31.49%, you could probably give them a call and threaten to cancel the card so as to get a lower % or else apply for a new one. This way, in case you need to use the card and can't pay it off at the end of the month, you won't have to pay nearly 1/3rd of your balance as interest to them.

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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 1:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:20 am
Posts: 515
Location: Birmingham, AL
$220k in student loans = what income? What's your degree in, law? Sorry if I missed those details.

What is your expected income? Expected expenses? Build up that emergency fund and then start tackling that debt...

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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:25 pm 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
Posts: 132
Caligirl: Thanks for the congrats & also for the advice. I've put it on my to-do list for when I get back to the states (in 3 months). I think I will also research whether I can switch it out to a better card (with some sort of benefit). I don't think I'm at the point (mentally) where I can charge all of our bills on the card and then pay it off, but it's something I'd consider later.

kmull: Yes, i have a degree in law and a master's in international politics.


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 Post subject: me too
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 9:36 am 

Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 9:55 am
Posts: 3
Hi, I just read your journal and can understand your situation completely (except for the fiance part, I'm single).

I have over $160k in student loans, $3k in credit card debt and am only making $43k a year despite my law degree. It's really daunting thinking about how I'm going to pay it back and I lack the retirement and emergency funds you have built up (though I do have a pension).

I started blogging about my experiences at http://www.salliesniece.blogspot.com - feel free to check it out.

I am certaintly not qualified to give advice as my finances are a total mess but definitely would like to read about your journey. Best of luck to you and your fiance!

If you are unable to find work after your move you will most likely qualify for an Unemployment/Hardship deferment, correct?


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 11:02 am 

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 10:49 am
Posts: 3
I feel your pain - I worked in international development, and racked up $175,000 in law school loans. It has helped me to look at each private and public loan as an individual loan and I've been working on eliminating them in order of highest interest to lowest interest. Just keep dealing with them one at a time, and it gets better....

Nice thing about working in a developing country - you should be used to getting by on not very much. Don't get trapped into buying tons of furniture, gadgets, clothes etc. when you're setting up back in the States even though it might seem like your friends have a lot of possessions. Remember how little you needed to get by wherever you were, try to stick by that and ignore the glut of consumerism around you.


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 2:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 am
Posts: 1088
Location: Sunny Florida
Can you get any of your law school loans paid if you go into public service when you return to the states?

http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml

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Sam

http://adventures-of-sam.blogspot.com
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 11:19 pm 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
Posts: 132
Thanks for the tips everyone. I'll check them out. I hope that I won't have to go into hardship deferral but I'll keep it in mind. I'm willing to work as a paralegal or whatever, at least the first few months. So we'll see.

Betty_b: I'm really worried about the spending that's coming up. I've given up on reigning my parents in for the party they are throwing in the U.S. My fiance will have to pay an obscene amount for the wedding (the groom pays for the wedding here). The good thing is that he's not a big spender and is willing to furnish our apt with thrift store finds & etc (http://www.curbly.com is a good resource)...but I hope I don't somehow lose my mind and spend all of our money on stupid stuff.

I've tried to keep the registry to things we actually need (one set of 'normal' dishes and the sort of every-day stuff one needs for a kitchen) so hopefully we'll be in good shape. I've had quite a few people say that they expected my registry to be more extravagant...which just seems odd to me. We really are setting up house for the first time. I don't need silver plates, I need a blender!

Even though I don't usually spend alot here, I had a friend come into my city and we did alot of shopping. I bought stuff that I plan to take back to the U.S. but I spent more than I wanted to spend. One trick that was helpful to me was putting all of my extra money into my savings account and not keeping it in my checking. since I did spend more than I was planning on spending, so I'm going to transfer all my 'extra' money into my savings account. I also created a little ledger in my planner so I balance my checkbook, just like the good ole days...


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 8:18 pm 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
Posts: 132
Mid-May Update:

Well, just got my April Salary now (yay!), so I balanced my checkbook last night.

~ I subtracted all of the monthly payments for loans & etc. The money will actually be deducted in early June but a close accounting is a good idea so I don't spend any more money.
~ subtracted the cost of my housing & board (I'll just go ahead and pay that early)
~Paid off my crappy credit card (I don't carry the 2nd one with me) which had a balance of $264.74. I spent it on paypal: beads, tripod, disposable cameras - which is stuff for the party in the U.S.; baby shower gift for a close friend; flowers for my mom; rosetta stone*; travelocity fee. *I got the rosetta stone purchase refunded since I don't use it.

I'm really getting hit hard by monthly fees. There isn't much I can do about it now, but ugh, it's frustrating now that I'm adding it up. I go to the ATM and get charged about $9 each time when I add up the overseas charges & etc (I have pay for my rent & other expenses in cash). I'm also getting charged $12 when they wire my salary in each month. I can't do anything about it now (since it's the last month of my contract) but I will definitely make sure this doesn't happen in the future! I'm losing about $30 a month!!

I am only $400 of my August savings goal of $4,000. So now I'm increasing my goal to $7,000 by August. I have some short-term consulting options for the next 2 months - so if at least one works out, I should be in good shape for the big move in mid-August.

I'm moving to another city at the end of this month and I'm worried about my spending there. It's definitely not on the U.S. scale but I have more friends there, more opportunities to go out and etc. I'll also be giving money to old family friends (it's part of the culture here). I will have my plane ticket to the city reimbursed and will have a final paycheck in June where I can save alot (hopefully!).


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 10:31 pm 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
Posts: 132
I realized that I took $500 out the other day (ouch, service charge) but that's for work expenses. I won't use it all for work expenses. So I have no reason at all to dip into my checking account for the next 2 weeks...I feel guilty for the amount of money I've wasted just by not being aware of my money...

Okay, looking ahead - I can do better in the future.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 8:37 pm 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
Posts: 132
Is it still a budget trip if I didn't budget for it?

My fiance has to go to -insert expensive European city here- for work, he has two meetings with a 3 day gap in between so his office suggested that he stay there rather than pay for 2 round-trip plane tickets. He suggested I meet up with him since I have a 2 week gap of unemployment, the hotel is free, gets a per diem for 1/2 of the days and we won't have time for a honeymoon after we get married (for at least 2 years).

I thought it was a great idea, since it's during 2 weeks that I'll be unemployed and I'm really tired (all the other justifying reasons for wanting to go on the trip)...But now I feel guilty. I could've spent the money on paying off debt. But I'll be honest, I'm looking forward to spending time with my fiance because the long-distance thing is hard! How do I make a budget though? The smart choice would've been not to go at all, so I'm having trouble setting aside $$ for the trip. I was already planning on going to Dubai for a few days (ticket cost $400 round-trip) and found a ticket from DBX for about $600. So total on tickets so far: $1065. I know there will be more expenses though...I'm just worried about blowing all of my great plans for frugality with this trip.

And this is stupid, but I am having a hard time with my girlfriends saying, "You're going to LOVE the shopping there!" Umm, no, I'm not. I'm already worried about excess baggage costs for when we move back to the states...So I've allowed myself to feel a little pressured and I feel like a stupid teenager.

Others' thoughts are very welcome...


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:45 pm 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
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So, i went on vacation. It ended up costing between $700- $1000 because I didn't shop very much, the hotels were covered and my fiance' insisted on paying for our train tickets. We also bought food for breakfast so that saved quite a bit of money (by not going out for all meals).

I'm back in the 3rd world country and preparing for the wedding. As I expected, the cost of a driver and money gifts to family friends, renovating the family living space is costing quite a bit of money = $1,500. I hit my $4000 savings goal for August so that's good.

My wedding dress will cost about $250 (waaaay more than I expected but the wedding industry here is a scam, just like in the U.S.), the other 2 dresses for the actual ceremony (which are green), will cost about $50 each. I'm worried about the tailor screwing up so I have two green dresses. I'll wear them again for the New Year and etc, so I am fine with that cost.

Just a little over a week to go for the wedding!

I have a short-term job, which will be good for my savings and it'll cover my plane ticket home. Yay!

My fiance' and I discussed our plans and budget for when we get to the U.S. We'll plan on living off of his stipend and I'll dedicate all (or most) of my salary to pay off debt. I really want to pay it off in 2-3 years. I wonder if that is possible...

I'm still balancing my checkbook and making the payments on all of my loans/credit card. I have the July payment already deducted from my records. When I get back to the U.S., I will research how to get a lower rate on my crappy card. Or I'll just stick it in my parents' safe and not use it at all. I think my game-plan will be the aim for the variable rates first:
$6k student loan (#2) and then the $9K credit card. And then the $100k...

This will all depend on my job situation, of course! Wish me luck!!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:09 am
Posts: 466
Elope. No seriously do not spend a crap load of money on your wedding or you will face extreme frustration in your marriage.

I only say this because you have 220k in student which is the most I have ever heard reported. What is his debt; will he bring any debt to the marriage? What will be your yearly income?

Do you plan on having kids? You may want to hold off having them until you get almost all of that debt knocked out.

220k!!!! Is your degree from Harvard?


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