It’s Going to Take Me 100 Years to Pay Off My Student Loan

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 itโ€™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.

14 thoughts on “It’s Going to Take Me 100 Years to Pay Off My Student Loan”

  1. I was extremely conservative when it came to my education and my loans. I went to the closest to home and didn’t go to a private school even though I got accepted to one. I also did not pursue a post grad degree. I just couldn’t bear taking out loans. I paid my 16k off in 10 years and that was that. That being said I missed out on the whole college experience thing I think. Also, without risk of getting a masters there are opportunities that I haven’t even allowed myself to discover. It’s a trade off. I have no regrets though and I am thankful that I don’t have student loan debt.

  2. 16k in 10 years?!!? That’s amazing!!

    You could always go back to school for your masters if you decided to. That’s what my sisters is doing right now – she’s able to keep her job, too.

  3. A better job in the “very” near future eh.. perhaps you’re hinting at something ๐Ÿ˜€ Student loans can be a big burden. I had about $15,000 coming out of school 5 years ago. It wasn’t a lot compared to some of my other friends, but it was enough to give me a negative net worth. I was lucky because my tuition wasn’t too expensive. I went into arts like you and graduated with a diploma in graphic design. And luckier still I found full time work plus a side hustle afterwards. The good thing about financing student loans is you pay back more of the principle over time, kind of like a mortgage so it gets exponentially easier with each additional payment ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m sure it won’t take you another 96 years to pay off the rest. If you’re still somehow carrying a student loan by then I’ll pay off the remaining balance for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Haha, I WISH I was hinting at something…!!

      I’m pretty lucky that OSAP has a repayment assistance program which I’ve been eligible for all 4 years. Basically they reduce my monthly payment, AND it’s all going towards the principle. The interest on the loan is “forgiven”. My monthly payments don’t even cover the interest, so my debt would actually be increasing if it weren’t for this program!

      I’m marking the year 2109 in my calendar right now ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. At least you have realised it and can now actively try to reduce that debt and focus on earning more income.

  5. Wow, that’s scary. I’ve got a friend in a similar situation. He’s only concerned with getting a higher paying job. I think playing offense on the salary front is important, but there’s also something to be said for playing defense by pursuing frugality and saving as much as possible to kill your debt earlier.

    • Both are important. The first thing I foolishly did when I got my first raise was run out and buy a car. Now, I needed a car, but I should have taken some time to save up for a bigger down-payment or perhaps shop around for a decent used car and pay with cash. Instead, I added $25,000 to my debt load a year out of school. Not smart….

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Oh God, this is a depressing scenario. I hate how student loan debt is ballooning and salaries are stagnant etc, etc, etc. It’s horrifying and makes me never want to look at the state of my bank accounts.

  7. I can sooo relate to this. My student loan debt is north of six figures. The amount of money I pay in interest is insane. I will be an indentured servant to the student loan people for the next 4-5 years, at minimum! Hang in there. You have a lot of company.

  8. And now I;m scared on taking up loans… But they say being scared is a good thing, cause it makes you more cautious.

    But thanks for the share. Pretty informative here.


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