Living with student loans
“Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ... . ”
— From the First Amendment to Constitution
I’m a 34-year-old man and like millions of others in this country, I live with student loan debt. I have other debt, of course. I have a car note and a couple of credit cards that I’ve had to use over the years and they need to be paid off as well.
However, I’m also on an income-sensitive repayment plan when it comes to the student loans. Therefore, my loan payments are lower than they should be to effectively kill the principle of said loans. Most of my payments go straight to the interest while the principle remains largely unchanged after having paid on time and without any late payments for the past 10 years.
When it comes to my other debt, I can at least see a reasonable outcome. Every time I make a car payment, a certain amount goes to both the principle and interest and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. When I pay on my credit cards, I also see that principle going down and can see that will also be paid off sooner rather than later.
Yet, when I look at my student loan total, it barely budges because the only way to get the payment down was to take a lower repayment plan. When you talk about this with someone who doesn’t have student loan debt, they love to bring up that maybe the government will do something to ease the burden. After all, most student loans go directly through the government and Congress actually controls whether your interest rates goes up or down.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most ineffective group of idiots ever assembled at the moment. Depending on Congress, the Senate and Donald Trump to do anything about student loans is like waiting for that one drunken uncle that no one likes to swoop in and save the day. It just isn’t going to happen.
You also have more cynical people telling you that you shouldn’t have taken those loans in the first place if you knew you couldn’t pay them back. The problem with this argument is that they forget what we were promised. Go to school and you’ll get a good paying job that will help you pay those loans off quicker than expected.
The problem is that for most of the people who have student loan debt, they either have jobs that don’t match the current cost of living and/or the thing they were going to school for is no longer a viable option financially.
We all know that there is a problem because recent reports show that student loan debt in the country has reached over $1.6 trillion, more than any other type of debt in the country, including credit cards.
Yet, while we’re able to acknowledge that there is a problem, it seems that no one wants to do anything about it. Sure, the occasional politician does step up to say that we need better programs to help people pay down the debt, but those politicians usually end up not doing anything or they’re completely ignored by everyone else in Congress.
There are entire generations that will never be able to do much beyond working because they have to pay off their student loan debt.
There are even reports of senior citizens today that are still paying off their student loan debt. These are retired people who state that they are having their social security earnings garnished because they can’t afford to pay off their remaining student loan debt. That’s a frightening reality for those out there that already dread looking forward into the future and seeing a principle balance that doesn’t seem to ever want to budge.
Before I leave, I’ll say this — I actually don’t have a huge balance when compared to other students, but it is enough to frustrate me from time to time. I even had a dream recently where I had someone leave me a check that could cover my student loans. I was so extremely happy in this dream and, more importantly, relieved because I saw a future where things didn’t look so financially bleak.
When I woke up and realized that it wasn’t real, I entered into a genuinely depressing state for the day.
It’s times like this where I wish I didn’t have to wake up from my dreams.