This morning, while catching up with the blogs I follow, I came across a guest post by Kevin on Making Sense of Cents, titled 12 Facts about Student Loan Debt that will make Your Hair Stand on End.
Although Kevin was writing about student loans in the U.S. and their crazy system, the stats are still disgusting. So is the amount I owe on my student loans…
I’ve known all along that I bit off way more than I could chew when it came to paying for university. I worked a few jobs throughout high school, but didn’t have anything saved. Therefore, I financed my education 100% with student loans.
I spent 5.5 years getting a 4-year degree (and a certificate), and then went back to school for another year to earn a post-degree diploma in the same field. Too bad that field is in the non-profits. The performing arts, to be specific. A job where my annual salary is less than half of my total student loan debt.
While commenting on the post, however, I came to a sudden realization:
“I’ve been out of school for 4 years, and have only paid off less than 4% of my debt. Yes – that means at this rate it will take me 100 years to pay off my debt!! WTF?!?!?! How am I just realizing this now!?!?!?!!??!”
Yes, despite feeling like I was aware of my financial situation, somehow my brain blocked me from making this connection until this morning.
In 4 years, I’ve only paid off 4% of my loan.
Actually, that’s not even true. I’ve only paid off 3.7% of my student loan, which is even worse (but we’ll round up to keep the math simple).
I had a fantastic part-time job throughout most of my university days, and saved over $10,000 by the end of my undergrad. But rather than putting any of that towards paying off my loan, it just sort of disappeared… and I have no idea what I spent it on.
If I had put $5,000 – just half of what I had saved – towards my debt, I’d have knocked off almost 10% right away. Instead of it taking me 100 years to pay off my student loan, I’d already have almost 15% of it paid off, and would be on track to be debt free in less than 30 years instead.
I can’t really say I regret it because I loved my life while in University, and the post-grad diploma taught me more and gave me more tangible skills then my undergrad degree did, but now that I’ve been working in the field for a few years, I’m not sure this was the right path to take. Which is an extra slap in the face.
Hopefully, I will land a better paying job in the (very) near future and I’ll be able to throw more money at this debt and pay off my student loan before my hypothetical future kids retire…
YOUR TURN: How long did it/will it take you to pay off your student loan? Was your education worth it?
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.