The youngest of my sons is about to graduate with $20,000 in student debt. In the fall he will be living in another city and going to another university and will probably incur another $20,000 in debt. When he finally finishes school he will be $40,000 in debt.
The elder of my sons will graduate at Christmas and he will owe about $40,000 too. So much debt.
Each of my sons will be $40,000 in debt and will start the next phase of their lives in a big hole of debt.
The oldest has a job lined up that will gross about $50,000 each year to start and that is a good starting wage but he is the expensive son who eats the paleo diet (lots of expensive meat) and likes to attend professional sporting events and big concerts. He will need a newer car when he graduates because his is falling apart and he has to have a car for his job. His employer pays mileage but the car has to be able to get him there reliably.
$20,000 of the elder’s debt is government loans but the other $20,000 is a student line of credit that I cosigned for. If he quits paying then I am on the hook for the payments. I am confident that he will pay and after he graduates I will encourage him to move the money to a regular line of credit so that my name is not on it.
The younger son will also owe approximately $40,000 upon graduation in 2 years. He is the overly social son who is always going out. He likes small concerts and hanging out at pubs with friends or meeting for wings. Beer is a big part of his budget. I am hoping that my youngest can get by on more government student loans and keep his student line of credit that I cosigned for to $10,000. He will have a bit of a struggle getting hired in his field of choice and may have to take other employment to pay his bills. He may have to work 2 jobs. 1 to live on and the other to pay his student debt. He thinks a good way to save money when he graduates in 2 years is to move back home with his mother.
It will take them both years to pay this debt off and will slow them from starting important parts of their financial futures like home purchases and retirement savings. They will both be in their early 30s before they can be student debt free. I have had lengthy discussions with both of them about student debt but I am not sure if young people can truly appreciate what a burden big monthly payments are. Most young people wear rose-coloured glasses.
Education is the only way to get ahead financially but better decisions on how the money was spent while getting those educations would have decreased the amount owing. “But you have already seen Kenny Chesney in concert. Why do you have to go again?” “Maybe you could go to wing night every other week instead of every week?” I have said it until I am blue in the face but who listens to their mother?
I have my own debt problems to deal with but I have always felt serious guilt about not being able to help them more with their school expenses. Trying to get through university with a low income mother is a tough struggle but it is what they are stuck with and they never whine and never complain.
I would like to offer them financial help in the future but the best thing I can do for their future is to get my own finances together and to always be able to take care of myself.