Tackling massive student loans - advice much appreciated

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ssarah
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Re: Tackling massive student loans - advice much appreciated

Postby ssarah » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:56 am

I was also going to say the situation doesn't seem that severe, but then I realized we don't know the husband's debt or if he's willing for some of his money to go toward your loans. The thing that stands out to me is the incredibly large mortgage payment, but you say that's not negotiable.

If you divide your salary and debt by 2 or 3, I have friends who are there. Making around $30-40k and with student loans over $100k... if it makes you feel any better.

Love Street
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Re: Tackling massive student loans - advice much appreciated

Postby Love Street » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:52 pm

Doing Homework - thanks again - I essentially redid our budget over the weekend and determined that with some focus, we can apply $6k monthly toward our loan/credit card debt, as well as save a sufficient amount for an emergency fund. I will be able to start saving for retirement after the end of the year, when our $16k credit card and the $9k 10% student loan is paid off. Keeping on this plan, we should be able to pay off my loans and our cars in about 6 years, as you said, while still saving for retirement. I feel a lot better having a plan of attack that is more focused than I initially thought possible.

But you are right - in the past we have been living above our means, especially considering that up until January, our combined salary was between $50k-$60k lower than it is right now. So when we pay off this last credit card, we're finally committed to NOT using it anymore. The beginning of this loan repayment is definitely a financial awakening for both of us - and I'm ready to hold myself accountable).

Flinch13 - thanks for weighing in. I hadn't thought of borrowing against the 401(k); however, my husband's company does offer the option of a loan up to around $30k which is on a low but variable interest rate.
You also mention refinancing loans - do you have any more info about this? That would of course be the ideal thing to do as I start to pay these back, but as far as I can tell there is no way to do that with these federally consolidated loans. These interest rates are fixed, and I am not finding any program or other option that would change the interest rate. Because of our income, we cannot deduct any of this interest (which is basically $2k/month right now) so reducing the rate would be amazing - I just honestly don't see how to do it.

Ssarah - thanks for your perspective. It does help - although the student loan "bubble" is seriously disturbing. Re the house, we do live in a part of the country with high home prices, even after the housing crash - it's just not as inflated as previously. That said, we will probably just address the house issue when the loan payoff is well underway (perhaps a FHA Short refinance, if we're eligible).

Thanks again.

DoingHomework
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Re: Tackling massive student loans - advice much appreciated

Postby DoingHomework » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:10 pm

Love Street wrote:I essentially redid our budget over the weekend and determined that with some focus, we can apply $6k monthly toward our loan/credit card debt, as well as save a sufficient amount for an emergency fund. I will be able to start saving for retirement after the end of the year, when our $16k credit card and the $9k 10% student loan is paid off. Keeping on this plan, we should be able to pay off my loans and our cars in about 6 years, as you said, while still saving for retirement. I feel a lot better having a plan of attack that is more focused than I initially thought possible...


That's the important thing - having a plan and sticking with it. If you are like most people, it will seem like drudgery at times but once you see yourself making significant progress you will become more motivated. The savings rate you are targeting is great...and very aggressive! Good for you.

Regarding refinancing or borrowing against your husband's 401(k)...normally I do not like the idea of refinancing debt because it becomes a shell game. People will pay high fees for marginal rate reductions that often do not make sense. In your case though, given your high rates and the fact that you make too much to deduct the interest, I'd continue to research what you might be able to do. But from what you said there might be nothing available. In that case I think I would try to get as much equity out of your house as possible (which I know you said is probably near zero) and apply it to the student loans. Mortgage interest is deductible so you might benefit.

And just one additional thought...there are programs for debt reduction for teaching in poor neighborhoods and so forth. I don't know if there are programs like that for lawyers but, depending on your specialty, you might be able find similar programs where you do some number of hours of pro bono work or something and have some of your loans forgiven. Maybe that's not possible but it's an idea.

flinch13
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Re: Tackling massive student loans - advice much appreciated

Postby flinch13 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:04 pm

Hmm... I guess this is a bit more complicated than I thought. Probably not going to be possible to refinance, or worth it to borrow against the 401k.

Still, you're making great strides. It won't be easy to get rid of the debt, but at least you'll be systematically attacking it now, and watching the balance drop will be slow going but rewarding in the long run.

I suggest joining our "Assassinate your student loan here!" forum. Lots of people there with a similar situation - you are not alone!


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