I grew up believing the lie that having a college education would make you more financially successful. I am here to tell you it didn’t help me. Instead I owe around $78,000 for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I made the mistake of following my passion for teaching and because of that, I will die in debt.
I went through almost a year of unemployment in 2011-2012 (11 months to be exact). During that time I applied for over 50 positions- some in education, many in the business world. I worked with the WorkForce Center and tried to make my resume more “business world applicable”. No bites. I applied at Walmart and Target but couldn’t even get an interview. Finally, I had an interview and was offered a teaching position in my local district- it was a huge blessing and a curse. A Blessing, because finally I was employed and in my home district where my children go to school. A Curse, because my district is one of the LOWEST, if not THE lowest, paying districts in the state. Even with a master’s degree I am barely making ends meet.
My ex-husband has taken me to court multiple times over the last 5 years claiming I “SHOULD” be making more because I have a Master’s Degree. How am I supposed to pay off my gigantic student loan debt when my take home pay (which is where my student loan payments and living expenses comes from) is about $2230 a month?
2230×12= $26,760 a year.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I have 2 college degrees. I have to pay for ongoing license renewal and upkeep. I make more on paper than I get to actually use to live on. I don’t qualify for economic hardship.
That amount has not been sufficient to keep my house (I am letting it go into foreclosure). I will be paying rent for a 3 bedroom apartment because if I do not have a bedroom for each child I will end up in court again, which I can’t afford. a 3 bedroom costs between $1000-1200 a month in my rural community. Boom, half my take home right there.
I am driving a 17 year old vehicle. I continually have to struggle to pay my utilities and any unexpected expenses that come my way don’t get paid. I have a lawyer bill for my ongoing divorce stuff, I owe her $7000. I owe on my state and federal taxes because of being unemployed and then not claiming enough in deductions for 2 years in a row.
I owe back child support because my children’s father thinks I make so much more money than him. And his attorney knows how to play the system and screw hardworking people over. Because I am behind, he gets to claim both kids for tax purposes, again. Since our divorce 5 years ago, I haven’t been able to claim either child.
I have already filed bankruptcy due to credit card debt and outstanding utilities. But I was told student loans could not be discharged and could not be included in the solvency. So I avoid the phone calls. I put my head in the sand. I wish I had decided to be a truck driver instead. My brother makes more money driving truck than I do. It is ridiculous that I make so little.
So would refinancing help me? Who knows. As it is right now, I do not have enough each month to put food on the table and clothes or shoes and heaven forbid something were to happen to my vehicle. I do not have a cushion. I do not have any liquid assets.
I have 2 pieces of paper that are not worth the $78k I am paying for them.