Please punch me in the face… ($105,889)

…if I start whining that my student loans aren’t fair!

I’m all for complaining.  Paying student loans sucks!  Okay, it’s a little unfair that some people don’t have to have them in the first place,  and some do, but guess what? LIFE. ISN’T. FAIR.  I apologize if I come off as super…asshole-ish? in this post.  I realize I’m not perfect, but I really want to vent on this.

I read a blog post today that had a few points that left me screaming internally.

1. I’m mad that my grace period is over, and now I have to start paying back student loans.

Did you not know that you had to pay them back when you signed on the dotted line?  Was the language in your loan documents somehow unclear on this issue?

2. The amount I have to pay back per month is too high.

For (at least most) federal loans, if you owe more than $30,000 you can drag your repayment out over a longer period of time.  If you’re not willing to look into this then I think you lose any right to complain.  My federal loans are currently on a 30 year repayment plan, but I’d rather pay the higher amount per month than pay three times over in interest. If you have X amount to pay back at Y interest rate over 10 years this is a mathematical calculation.  I’m sorry that you don’t like math?

3. The contract I signed stated the terms of my loans,  but I didn’t care at the time.

If you don’t read your contract, I’m not going to give you sympathy here.  

4. I needed to take out the loans at any terms…I went to private school.

I went to a private school for my law degree.  I had originally planned on going to a state school as an out-of-state student for the first year, then establishing residency after a year.  The reason why I didn’t do that is because with the financial aid package I received, the costs would have been more comparable over the three years, and the school I chose had a better reputation in the northeast (vs. none for the other school).  Staying in the area also allowed me to continue to work part-time in my professional job, earning way more per hour than I would in, for instance, a work study position.  

For undergraduate I went to my home state school.  I’ll be honest–I didn’t want to.  I didn’t even want to apply, because I figured I’d end up having to go there.  I applied, got a scholarship, and got offered little to nothing at the out-of-state schools I applied. Did I want to go to another school?  Yes.  Was my seventeen-year-old self mature enough to make the decision that it was a bad idea?  Also yes.  Decisions have consequences, people!

5. I’ll never be as financially secure as my parents.

Maybe I’m an optimist (I’m not), but I think that’s a pretty defeatist attitude.  And you’re probably never going to get there if that’s your attitude.

6. I can think of all the wonderful vacations I could take with this money, and now I can’t.

You know who else can’t take exotic vacations?  MOST PEOPLE.

7. I didn’t learn about real life in college.  I learned about [insert non-practical major here].

Again, this was your choice.  

8. Student loan companies don’t care about how tough it is for people to make their payments, or how bad the economy is.

I could not agree with you more.  I can’t really say I blame them here.  The whole “contract” thing.

9. I got financial aid, but needed a few thousand dollars each year.

If you needed another $3,000 per year, and you’re just starting repayment after graduating in the spring, I’m guessing you have less than $20,000 in debt [Full disclosure: I didn’t do any math on that whatsoever].  Sure, that sucks, as does any debt, but it’s manageable (and is actually about what I graduated from undergrad with*).  If you have $50,000 in loans–you didn’t take “a few thousand” a year.  I received a financial aid package for law school that included loans, scholarship, and work study, but that package still didn’t meet the “cost of attendance.”  So I found a cheaper place to live (I couldn’t walk to any bars from my place–the horror!), didn’t use my loan money to buy drinks at said bars (since I was often the DD, due to my aforementioned inability to walk to the bar), worked a job while in school (I think I knew one other person that did any kind of work outside of work study my first year), and generally tried to live as cheaply as possible.  Basically I tried to treat my loan money as though I would have to eventually pay back that money someday…because I do.  It was possible to get other loans outside of my financial aid package, but I made it my mission to live $3,000 or so below the “cost of attendance” each year, and did so successfully.  If your concern was really only “a few thousand more” each year, you should have made choices to minimize that.  And if you didn’t make any effort to do that…because you didn’t care about the terms and conditions of your loans at the time…well…

I’m $110,000 in debt.  My net worth is approximately ($105,889) (but who’s keeping track?).  Does it suck that no one paid for me to go to college or law school? Yup. You bet it does.  Is it unfair that some people have these things paid for for them, by parents, etc.?  Yeah. Life’s not fair sometimes.  Is it unfair that I have to pay back the $130,000 in loans I took out?  Not even a little bit.

End of rant.  Sorry for being so anger-filled and high-and-mighty today.  I just don’t get the “wahhhh….it’s not fair” attitude.

* My student loan balances were about $20,000 out of college.  All private loans with no possibility of forgiveness or income-based repayment, and a maximum in-school deferment for three years (conveniently how long I was in law school).  My balance on these is about $14,000 these days.  In the three years I worked before law school I should have paid more than the minimums, because my balance in 2011 was higher than it was in 2008–it was as though I’d never made a payment at all.  Perhaps I can find someone to blame for this…oh wait, I have to take complete responsibility for my choice to pay only the minimums, and the results of that choice.