When I made a call to my student loan processor last week – questioning the 100% increase in the amount of my payment – I became increasingly frustrated as the operator on the other end explained to me my options.
Let me give you a little background on my education before I explain what I decided to do:
So I called the loan processor because...well...I'm home all day and getting pissed at a custom service rep sometimes fills a good 30 minutes. While we can certainly afford the monthly minimum we're at a point in our lives where we are ready for more disposable money. We're ready to quit the sacrificing (see my book...coming out in June) and start living. We're ready to pay the 3% interest in trade for more fun!
Also, I believe that I shouldn't have to pay for my schooling (ending nearly a decade ago) while we're paying tuition for our children to get through school (public school at that). My husband has to go to work each and every day (ok, only 3 days/week) to pay for bills that we accrued on a bunk purchase.
The operator let me know that "certainly we can bring your payments back down. It will – however – extend your repayment by 22 years."
TWENTY TWO YEARS!
Why is there not a way for me to "return" my purchase? When we were broke (see book released in June) I would often return everything in my closet that still had a tag to buy groceries. My degree is much the same. It is hanging in my mind, still unused and I'd like a refund for it (at least for everything but what it cost to meet my husband). I think it's fair to assume that we'd pay about $5000 for each other. :)
My thought on the liberal arts education is this: why the HELL are kids still paying for Whole Foods prices when you can buy the same groceries at Target? Why are we continuing to support a "debt society" when financial stress is a leading trigger for psychological disorders, divorce and life-shortening stress?
While I'm certain that I will have my loans paid off long before the 22 years it is projected to take, each month that I submit hard earned dollars for a "name" that has yet to come through for me, I die a little inside. If I do decide to use the low interest money for the duration of the term, my oldest son will be 27 years old. I will be 52.
Just this morning a student from my alma mater called to ask me to donate to the "annual fund." He said he was a sophomore and wanted to tell me about some of the great things happening on campus.
I told him I was uninterested in hearing about it and asked that they do not solicit me anymore. I am still paying my dues.
What I refrained from advising him is this, "GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! IT IS NOT TOO LATE FOR YOU. Drive 10 miles down the road to a State University – save yourself 22 years of 'ball and chain'. It is NOT worth it. Some day you will want a vacation. Some day you won't feel like writing out a 'house payment' to a student loan processor. At some point you may think of a better way to spend your hard earned dollars (like maybe an ice cream cone or even shampoo...anything is better)."
Are you still paying for something you wish you could return? Or wish you could exchange for a cheaper model? Do the research. Advise your kids.
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