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Student loans and this country's health care system are crap

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#1
I'm poor and you want to know why? It's not because I don't have a job or I buy too many clothes or eat out too often. No. It's because I'm up to my eye balls in student debt.

I'm married. No kids. Both of us work full time plus overtime and have health insurance through our employers. We both graduated with 4 year degrees and had full time jobs using said degrees since graduation.

We shop almost exclusively at good will and grocery outlet. I'm still wearing free t-shirts I've had since high school and my sneakers have holes in them. We don't have cable and our internet goes through the phone line (welcome back to the early 2000's). I got my off brand cell phone off Amazon for $45 many years ago and use a cheap, 3rd party carrier. We each drive a high mileage, compact car, purchased used.

We are doing everything we're supposed to be doing to make/save money according to society and it's not fucking working.

Our student loan payments are higher than our mortgage. Granted we did buy a fixer upper and proceed to live in it as is without actually fixing it so our mortgage isn't that high, but maybe be could have afforded a normal middle class house without said student loans?

Right after we bought a house and thought we might actually be getting somewhere financially I got pregnant, had pregnancy complications and lost the pregnancy. It cost over $8k out of pocket, WITH INSURANCE, to NOT have a baby.

My 79 year old grandfather had to bail us out so we could afford to keep our house through that.

Now that the hubby is in his 30's and I'll be 30 this year, we'd really like to start a family, but forget that. With how much health care costs even with insurance and how much we struggle as is, to just pay bills with student debt eating a large portion of our income, I don't think having kids is going to happen. We're going to spend the rest of our lives working 60 hr work weeks and living off expired pasta from the grocery outlet and have nothing to show for it.

Oh and everyone always says to just consolidate or sign up for student load forgiveness! Yeah. Been there. Tried that. What we have left can't be consolidated further than it already is due to the types of loans they are and the fact that they're not all under the same name. We don't qualify for forgiveness either.

I quit.

Everything.

I'm just gonna default on all the debt and buy enough alcohol to forget about it.
 

Crazizniac

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#2
It sucks that our public education system brainwashes everybody into thinking that higher education will be their savior. It results in a glut of students who might have been better off learning a trade or starting a service business or working there way up in the local industry - without student loans to pay off; the glut makes education a sellers market and obvious price gouging occurs.

Your situation is bad, you got a hole to dig out of - make a plan then implement it, change it if you need to but continue analyzing your position and changing the plan to fit your life, you'll get to the top one day and will be able to educate your kids better and keep them from falling into the same hole.
 

CoprophagousCop

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#3
We both graduated with 4 year degrees and had full time jobs using said degrees since graduation.
I am curious as to what degrees you and your husband have that do not lead to descent paying jobs. A lot of people who graduate from college never get jobs that actually use their degree. They end up being assistant manager at someplace like Walmart, a job that does not need a college education. For these people, it is understandable why they cannot pay off their student loans. Other college graduates land good jobs but then immediately get themselves into all other kinds of debt, buying new cars, houses, boats, entertainment systems, vacations, ... It is also understandable why these people cannot pay off their student loans, but in this latter case it is their own fault.

Insurance is basically a pre-approved loan. If you use it, you eventually end up paying it back. (If you do not use it, you lose too.) If you have lots of extra money just sitting in a bank, you do not need insurance. If something happens, your bank account covers it and you still come out ahead compared to having insurance. So why then would the very wealthy want taxpayer funded health insurance? Obviously, they do not want it and since the very wealthy control the government, we have what we have. Also, doctors are like lawyers. They know you have no choice so they can charge whatever they want.
 

ThisIsBananas

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#4
I am curious as to what degrees you and your husband have that do not lead to descent paying jobs. A lot of people who graduate from college never get jobs that actually use their degree. They end up being assistant manager at someplace like Walmart, a job that does not need a college education. For these people, it is understandable why they cannot pay off their student loans. Other college graduates land good jobs but then immediately get themselves into all other kinds of debt, buying new cars, houses, boats, entertainment systems, vacations, ... It is also understandable why these people cannot pay off their student loans, but in this latter case it is their own fault.

Insurance is basically a pre-approved loan. If you use it, you eventually end up paying it back. (If you do not use it, you lose too.) If you have lots of extra money just sitting in a bank, you do not need insurance. If something happens, your bank account covers it and you still come out ahead compared to having insurance. So why then would the very wealthy want taxpayer funded health insurance? Obviously, they do not want it and since the very wealthy control the government, we have what we have. Also, doctors are like lawyers. They know you have no choice so they can charge whatever they want.
That's not how insurance works. You don't have to pay insurance back if they give you the money.
 

BrIONwoshMunky

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#5
That's not how insurance works. You don't have to pay insurance back if they give you the money.
His point is that whenever you file a claim, typically your premium increases, or, you file so many claims as to render yourself 'uninsurable' and you get dropped.

Insurance only works if more people buy insurance than make claims on insurance. It is farcical to imagine that you are getting something more than what you have paid for.
 

Jung

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#6
If your degree won't pay for itself in the first 3-5 yrs of working in your career field, you didn't need a degree.
 

Crazizniac

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#8
You are aware that children of members of Congress are forgiven their student loans, right?
 
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#11
For those who asked, we both have biology degrees. I'm a microbiologist and my husband is a chemist. He does QA on pharmaceuticals and I do large animal veterinary diagnostics. Both jobs require a degree just to get your foot in the door, but don't pay well.

Science jobs pay about as well or less than jobs that don't require degrees at all. I have a friend who got a job in a warehouse packing and loading trucks. Her job does not require a degree, and she makes about the same amount of money as I do. I briefly did some work in food production QA. QA techs made less money than machine operators but QA techs need degrees and machine operators don't. In the company I work for now, samplers and van drivers make more than I do. They might need certifications from the state to sample, but no degree required. There is just NO money in science, unless you go for a temp job. There are a lot of temporary jobs around for people with bio and chem degrees and those pay very well, but don't come with benefits, and then what do you do when your 1-2 year contract is up?

I love what I do, but it just doesn't pay. I almost regret going to college at all. I feel like we would both be doing so much better if we didn't go to college. Why has society shoved college down our throats so hard? I felt like that was my only option coming out of high school. I thought I'd be flipping burgers for $8/hr if I didn't get a degree, and living comfortably with a degree. What a lie that was!

And what ass hats are going around lending enough money to buy a small house to 18 year olds anyway? Teenagers are the ones making the choices to take out these loans before they have any idea what the job market is like, what the value of a dollar really is, and what it means to have to pay this shit off. This is like some cruel joke colleges and banks have played on the millennial generation, and the consequences of such will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

idk about children of members of congress, but I do know that people with public service jobs themselves can have their debt forgiven, but they still have to make minimum payments for 10 years. There aren't any forgiveness programs that just forgive everything right off the bat. Most of them require you to make income based payments of about 20% of your income for as long as 25 years, and then they nail you with a huge tax bill at the end because whatever gets forgiven is considered taxable income. Sometimes forgiveness programs are worse than just paying the debt you have. Forgiveness programs usually only work if you can consolidate everything, and student loans are hard to consolidate because there are so many different kinds. Parent plus loans suck extra hard. Being married makes things more difficult too because they count both incomes as your income when coming up with income based repayment plans. Being married can essentially double income based payments.

Basically, if your parents can't pay your way through college for you, you're fucked upside down and sideways and there's no way around it.
 

BRiT

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#12
Wrong Science Degree then. Computer Science degrees pay is lucrative, as long as its not the bullshit sides like "Information Technology" or other business aspects like from an MBA style.
 
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Computer science isn't as great as it used to be either. A friend of mine thought he hit the jackpot with a computer science degree, got a really high paying job, but then they made him move to a city with a really high cost of living and he can barely afford to feed himself now. Computer science has become quite the competitive field. You can do well, but finding the right position to do so can be very difficult.

That's the shit of this. It's nearly impossible to predict what the job market will be like by the time you finish a degree. I went in and the job market was good. I came out and we were in a recession. You pick a degree that's in high demand going in, so does everyone else, and then you come out the other end facing mega competition. And when applicants with qualifying degrees are so numerous, they become a dime a dozen to employers. Why pay a living wage when you can just hire another if they quit?

Older employees in my field swear it used to pay well. Apparently wages have just gone stagnant over the last decade while cost of living and the cost of education continues to rise.

Hind sight is 20/20. As a 17 year old applying for college in a strong economy, I saw none of this coming. Now that I'm in the situation, what do I do? I certainly can't afford to go back to school and change things now. :(
 

ThisIsBananas

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#14
Wrong Science Degree then. Computer Science degrees pay is lucrative, as long as its not the bullshit sides like "Information Technology" or other business aspects like from an MBA style.
IT can be a career. All you need to do is get the proper certifications instead of getting a degree.
 

BRiT

CRaZY
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#15
IT can be a career. All you need to do is get the proper certifications instead of getting a degree.
Right, but it is easier tomake good money in the software and networking engineering aspects than the typical "IT" aspects. By that I mean "IT" Information Technology aspects such as managing reports or data imports or exports, third party vendor installations, or keeping business systems running. That's what IT typically means in corporate America.

Yes, it can and should be a competative field, but if you can solve problems, communicate with people, and manage expectations then there is solid career to be had.

As to salary stagnation, I will agree that it has halted because of the financial crisis in 2008 spurred on by WallStreet Greed and Republican political ideology for lack of oversites.
 

Jung

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#16
Do you work in academia? Sounds like that may be the case. I have friends in private sector molecular bio and they seem to do well. All my chemist friends work in the plants here or off-shore as polymer or petro scientists, so I'm guessing wages are fairly skewed, but they're pulling in close to 6 figures or more probably.

CompSci is super easy to pull in 6 figures if you specialize and know your stuff. General IT is basically customer service these days, but if you're skilled you can make good money in networking, voice, storage, virtualization etc. Same goes for software eng, especially for low level languages and embedded stuff.
IT can be a career. All you need to do is get the proper certifications instead of getting a degree.
Most certifications are a joke.... might get you in the door at entry level, but that's about it.
 

CoprophagousCop

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#17
Computer science isn't as great as it used to be either. ... Computer science has become quite the competitive field. You can do well, but finding the right position to do so can be very difficult.
Without any recent experience in Computer Science, getting a job in the field can be very difficult. Most employers will not even look at you if do not have at least five years of experience using some specific software / programming language or combination thereof. There are very few entry level positions to be had. (The only ones I ever see are for government agencies.) Employers do not want to take the risk of training someone only to have that person jump ship to a higher paying job. What employers want is to get already employed people to jump ship and come to their company. So if you do not have lots of experience, then you have better have good connections. It should also be noted that hundreds of thousands of Computer Science type jobs are outsourced to overseas job markets where the cost of living is lower than in the United States and employees are happy to work for less.

Employers are always complaining that there are not enough qualified workers, but their qualifications are not realistic. Having a college education no longer guarantees you a job, let alone a good paying one.

It's nearly impossible to predict what the job market will be like by the time you finish a degree.
I enrolled in a residential design degree program when the housing market was booming in the early 2000s. Shortly after graduating the housing bubble burst. :bomb:
 
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Nope, I don't work in academia.

I actually used to work for the state. I got that job right out of college and thought I had it made. Spent 5 years working for the state, but due to budget cuts I didn't get a raise the whole 5 years I worked there. I was on a starting salary that entire time. I started out renting a nice apartment in a ritzy tourist trap town. Of course, my rent started to creep up, but my salary didn't. I had to move farther away from my job, into a cheaper apartment, start budgeting groceries, and downsizing on my hobbies to afford to live. Eventually I was forced to find another job because my cost of living had gotten too high and I just couldn't pay the bills. On more than one occasion the state's inability to pass a budget on time meant I didn't get paid at all. That job was union too. As far as I know, all the union did was take dues out of my paycheck. Maybe things would have been worse without the union, but idk, I still felt like I was getting the short straw.

After that I went into private sector, food production quality control. That actually paid well. It was a fun job. Great benefits. Great pay. That job helped us pay off two student loans, and buy a house. Unfortunately it was graveyard shift and weekends. I never saw my husband or the rest of my family and friends. I had no life outside of work. The place was like a revolving door it had such high turnover. I ended up being a work leader on my shift in less than a year and I didn't feel like I had adequate experience or training to take that on. It was high stress. I never took a single vacation day the entire time I worked there because we were so busy and short handed they kept getting denied. I worked as many as 14 days in a row without a weekend, and my shifts were frequently 12+ hours long. My feet and back were killing me from all the walking on concrete floors. I couldn't handle that on the long term.

I now work in private sector doing things very similar to what I was doing for department of ag. I like this job a lot. It pays better than the state, though not as good as the food manufacturer I worked for. I think there might be potential to get some good raises and move up in the company if I stick with it.

My poor hubby is in a tough spot now though. He got his job as a chemist right out of college, 8 years ago. He's been in the same entry level position and has gotten no significant raises, despite glowing reviews every year. He makes a lot less money than I do. It's kind of pathetic. He does have really good benefits and a lot of vacation, which is excellent. He only has a 10 minute commute too, so that's tough to give up. He works for a really large international company and I think he just gets lost in the shuffle. He does a lot of contract work for major pharmaceutical companies, and he makes a lot of money for his company, but unfortunately the company is held hostage by investors who only care about the bottom line and not about the employees. He has applied for other jobs on and off, but thus far hasn't found anything better.

I actually keep pushing him to make a total career change. He's been into photography as a hobby for a while, and has made a little side business out of it. He's done events, and portrait shoots for money already, and he's good at it. People like his work. He was recently offered an opportunity to work with a local premier wedding photographer, and I want him to take it, but he's hesitating because it's not a safe 9-5. I think he'd be a lot happier and would make a lot more money doing that. Forget the degree. If not using the degree is the best way to pay it off, I'm all for it!