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Just Sharing my Story.

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Julius View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26/January/2006 at 3:14pm
    Where to begin?  Let me first start by saying finding this website was a breath of fresh air.  When one carries the heavy load of massive student debt finding other people going through the same hardships is consoling.

    I'm 26 years old and $50,000 dollars in debt.  My life is utterly miserable.  With a year left before I graduate I can barely bring myself to attend classes.  Although the landscape and architecture of my campus use to bring a sense of ease, even accomplishment, for having had what it took to succeed there, now I can barely mask my contempt for the whole system.  What makes it worse is that I don't really know what benefits, if any, my degree will have in concrete financial terms.

    The debt confines my whole life.  While I was once outgoing and incredibly social, now talking to a woman seems almost pointless.  The fear of having to tell someone I care about that a life with me will almost undoubtedly bring a life of economic hardship is too much to bare.  I won't do it.  Depression has now become a permanent fixture of my emotional make up. 

    To think that I went to school to escape the economic plight of my parents, only to be bound by the same fate because of it, seems to be the cruelest irony of all.   Everyone keeps congratulating me on my progress, and tell me how happy they are I will be graduating soon.
Yet, I can't bring myself to tell them that I will be close to 28 years of age, with fifty thousand dollars hanging over my head, with no real opportunity in the private world. 

    Like most people at that age I will want to move out.  How will I ever be able to stand on my own two feet when I have to pay rent, car bills, electricity, food and clothing, and at the same time contend with this massive student loan?  I really screwed myself with this one. 

    A friend of mine suggested I drop out of school now, learn a trade, and begin to pay my loans off.  With luck, by the time I'm thirty I may be in the clear.  Options like this one are exactly why I went to school, so hard labor wouldn't have to be an option.  However, at this moment it is starting to look like my only saving grace.

    This whole situation is keeping me up nights.  I have absolutely no faith in the future.  I dread the future.  Thanks for hearing me out.  Until now I hadn't found anywhere else to really vent. 

All the Best to You and Yours,

Julius.
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Johnny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27/January/2006 at 10:19am

You are certainly not alone. Many people coming out of schoola re faced with a debt that is high.

Who is is that you owe? Let'sa look at this and work out what can be done to cushion you and ease the worry.

Johnny

www.cfwgroup.ca/forum

 

Solve Student Debt specializes in solutions for students and graduates in student loan default, and those at risk of defaulting.

solvestudentdebt.com
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Julius View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Julius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27/January/2006 at 2:26pm
When I check my Osap records online, the record states that I have recieved both Canadian and Ontario Student loans.  The bank I believe all my loans came through was CIBC.
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old hippy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote old hippy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29/January/2006 at 11:20am

It's seems strange to me now - how people who are so young, consider themselves to be so old.  Almost 30?  You have many years ahead of you and things change.  Enjoy your learning experience and make the most of it while you're still there...

You're ahead of the game because you've found this site already and can ease yourself into it...and there's always our shining light Johnny to take the edge off.  Reality bites I know, but it will become less terrifying.  I also have OSAP and federal loans with CIBC and owe even more than you do.  This is my experience so far....

1.  Consolidation agreement is mailed right after you graduate.  The loans are added up with mthly payments over 10 years.  You sign and return them (Fed and Ontario).  It may be a little bit of a shock when you see how much the interest is.  Then, no payments for the first six months.  Well..you can pay if you want to, but there's no interest accumulating.

2.  After 6 mths. if you haven't found work or the payments are too high, you can apply for Interest Relief at 6 mth. intervals and for as long as 4 1/2 - 5 years I think it is.  Apply separately for Ontario and Federal Interest Relief.  They will first spread loan payments out over 15 years to bring down the mthly payments.  That sure increases the interest though. During this time, no payments are required on the principal and the interest is paid by the government.  You can make payments if you are able to.

3.  Well, this is where I'm at now.  After the Interest Relief is maxed out there is Debt Reduction.  Lots of info is posted here about that, and the income tables as well.  They will knock $10,000 off the Federal the first year depending on your financial situation.   But by the time you get to this point, maybe things will be different and hopefully better.

Cheer up....there's way more to life than money and status.  Money sure does help though.  Status - that keeping up with the Jones's thing...forget about it, it's just b.s. and means nothing.

Good luck

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FinallyFree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/February/2006 at 5:10pm

Julius,

I know exactly what you mean.  The reason I know exactly what you mean is that, not too long ago, I was 28 years old with two degrees and over $50,000 in debt.  I'm now 33 and, as of this February, I am debt-free, except for a mortgage.  I don't say this to brag, I say this because I want to let you know that it is possible to dig yourself out of the hole you now find yourself in.  The good news is that you can do it in five years or less.  The bad news is that you're going to have to make some sacrifices, but it can be done.

When I graduated in 2000 with my second degree, I remember feeling just like you described in your letter.  I would log onto my internet banking account and look at the $30,000 Canada Student Loan, $13,000 Ontario Student Loan, $5,000 maxed-out credit line, and over $4,000 in credit card debt I had managed to rack up during the decade of the 1990s.  I remember thinking that, even with a decent starting salary, I would still be paying back student debt at the age of 40.  That thought made me quite depressed.  I probably felt much the same way then that you do now.

I just want to share a few things with you that, I hope, you will apply yourself when you graduate.  They really made the difference for me.

1.  Swallow Your Pride

I know it's tough watching other people your age driving around in shiny new post-graduation cars and bragging about the houses they just bought, etc, but it is absolutely imparative to your financial future that you live as cheaply as possible and make debt-reduction your number-one priority.  For me, that meant, among other things, living like a student well into my thirties.  Instead of taking on a mortgage or renting an apartment for $800+ per month, I lived in a room in someone else's house for $350 per month, all inclusive.  Heat, hydro, cable, internet, etc.. were all included, I just needed to buy my own food.  That translated into a savings of about $500 per month.  Yes, it can be tough living like that as you get older, particularly if you insist on pursuing a relationship while you pay your debts, but it's not as bad as you might think.

Also, do you really need a car and the maintenance, repair and insurance costs that come with it?  If it's possible, do without the vehicle and take public transit, as I did (yes, I realize that may not be possible, but at least consider it).

If it helps, you should keep in mind that many of the people your age with the house and car are also upto their eyeballs in debt.  The $250,000 house?  Probably carries a $240,000 mortgage.  The $45,000 sport utility?  It's probably leased.  Resist the temptation to finance the illusion of material wealth.  If interest rates rise or they find themselves in need of emergency funds, these people are all screwed!

2.  Watch your spending

Okay, this seems patronizingly obvious, but you're going to have to do without the expensive vacations and toys (plasma TVs, season ski resort tickets, etc, etc...) for awhile.  These rewards will come in time though.  As "old hippie" said, at 26 years old, you've got decades of life ahead of you, and taking just a few of those years to pay your debts will pay dividends in the near future.  Even the small things, like trading a coffee maker and supermarket coffee for your daily Tim Hortons fix could save you hundreds each year.  All the little things add up, sometimes to a shockingly-large monthly expenditure.

3.  Be disciplined

You've got to find the strength to take all that money you're going to diligently save and apply it to your loans rather than spend it.  As soon as the money is in your account, transfer it to an internet bank account like ING direct where you can't immediately get at it (unless you get an ATM card), or better yet, immediately transfer as much as you can to your student loans before you even have time to think about spending it.  These payments go directly to your loan principal and will shave months off the total time you need to repay everything.

These suggestions might seem simple, but they are most certainly not simplistic!  Start paying back your loans immediately after graduation (don't take "advantage" of the six month grace period, the interest is piling up during this time), and within a few months you'll start to see some real progress.  Success breed success.

Yes, I agree that our student loan model needs a serious overhaul, but that's not going to change the fact that you've got debt that needs to be paid back.  Don't let the shortsightedness of our politicians prevent you from paying your loans as fast as you can and getting on with your life.  We can't all be blessed with supportive and wealthy parents, we just have to play the hand we're dealt as best we can.  My boss' four kids were all put though university by their parents, and they have (or will soon) benefit from cash payouts for downpayments on houses, weddings, etc...  But I can tell you that there is nothing more satisfying than doing something for yourself, by yourself.  And I'll tell you something else, the life-experience you will pick up along the way will prepare you to deal with the curve-balls life will throw your way in the future, unlike my boss' kids, for example, who are all emotionally (and to a lesser extent, financially) dependent on their parents.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step Julius, so hang in there and before you know it you'll be debt-free and rewarding yourself for a job well-done.

Good luck!

 

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old hippy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote old hippy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27/February/2006 at 4:24pm

Wow...I've been living like a student for years and years and years and still haven't been able to pay off my student loan debt.  Must have something to do with finding a job immediately upon graduation...a good paying job. Maybe winning the lottery.  And stranger things have happened Julius.  You are kind of jumping the gun a bit...

Wouldn't that be about $850-900 mth. for 5 years?  If not more...you'd have to have benefits too - dentist, optometrist, medication and who knows what else could come up.  Who knows...

That was quite inspirational really....I remember having a dream like that once. 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Agent004 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24/July/2006 at 6:24pm
Perfect. Just perfect.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scortpus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/August/2006 at 10:33am

This is an old topic but the first posting sounded much like me.  I am 30ish years old, 1 university diploma and 2 degrees and almost $50000 in debt.  Almost an equal amount to CIBC (Federal Loan) and to NSLSC (Federal and Provincial combined loan).

When I first started university I thought too that it would be a great way to better myself and when leaving school that I'd could get a reasonable job and work myself up to something better.   And like the first poster I really found the university atmosphere stimulating and a place to make my dreams happen.

I haven't given up of course but the dreams haven't presented themselves.  The reason for 2 degrees instead of only one is because I spent a summer looking for good and gainful employment and when I couldn't find it I just went back to school. Back to school partly for the degree and wholy so I wouldn't have to pay back the student loans.  Happy to say though that I DIDN'T take out loans for the whole second degree.  Just $5000 for the first year of it and worked for the rest.  I can't imagine being an extra 20-30k in debt.

It has been 2 years now since finishing up and aside from crappy jobs nothing has come my way.  Again, like the first poster, I am thinking a trade should have been the way to go.  Not that I regret my education but at the moment it seems pretty useless.

So far I haven't had any real problems with the student loan people.  I think it might be becasue I did my best to keep in contact with them even when in school.  And now that I am on interest relief I still contact them quite often to keep tabs on my info and to make sure things are being paid. 

But I feel really bad for the people here on this forum who have had such horrible issues with their loans.  And it indeed seems that almost all could have been avoided with a system that thinks of the students first instead of the loan dollars and payments.  I have to admit that it all makes me nervous and is part of the reason why I keep in contact with the loan people.

I've tried to do a few things to prepare myself for the time when the loans entered repayment.  First thing was to close the accounts I used to have my loan funds deposited.  And then set up a couple separate accounts, one for each loan at a completely different bank.  I have made a few payments and made sure that I wasn't set up on preauthorised payments.  I pay only by cheque, make sure I mark the cheque with my account number and other info in the memo section and ordered cheque return on my accounts (as well as a monthly statement).

I have also set up a couple notebooks and mark down each and every contact I have had with CIBC and NSLSC.  I find this quite important expecially with CIBC who don't send out any statements.  I mark down any conversations I have and if an interest relief or other payment was made as well as my balance to make sure everything meshes with the info from a previous call. 

I am actually quite pleased with the fact you can log on to the NSLSC website and check balances and payments and the odd time there is an "important" message waiting for me as well.

I was quite happy a few years ago when my provincial loan with CIBC was merged with my post-2000(?) Federal loan.  Made things much easier having to deal with 2 loans instead of 3.   I doubt it'll happen but it'd be great to see the Federal CIBC loan added to the NSLSC loan.  Be nice to have everything under one umbrella.

But at any rate, just the size of my debt is an all consuming worry for me.  I still have Extended Interest Relief to use if I still have problems paying when my current IR ends.  Then debt reduction if I still have problems in the future.  But I hate the idea that I'll have all this debt hanging over me when I am well into my 40s.  It has been said here before but the whole repayment process needs a complete readjustment.  Even at the very least to have these loans as NO Interest or LOW interest.  I think we are at 8.5% right now and $50000 over 15 years at that level of interest is outragous.  Particularly on something which was sold as an investment in our future.  My math sucks but I am pretty sure that is almost an extra $40000 in interest.

Anyway, just rambling a bit but thought I'd add my 2 cents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kct76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/September/2006 at 5:31pm
Julius,

don't despair. When I left university I was $40 000 in debt and now I'm down to $7000. I agree with another poster on here who said you kinda have to swallow your pride. I have been able to pay off so much by doing a few things....

I worked in Japan for 3 years (and had a great time too)
I have lived at home for the past 2 years
I drive a really crappy car
I sacrifice fancy dinners, vacations etc until I can afford them

The way things are looking, the debt should be paid off in 6 months.    Sure, its really embarassing living at home, but hey...you do what you have to do. Who the hell cares what people think....the feeling of paying it off is going to be worth way more, than sucking it up for a couple of years.

Kerry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hunter2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13/September/2006 at 8:42am
kct76
Good for you!
You are very lucky that your parents let you live at home while you pay off the debt. There is absolutely no shame in the fact that they are helping you to pay this back by ensuring you do not have living expenses.
The reality is that many students are not able to move back home or work out of country for a variety of reasons. How does the government expect people to have to provide a roof over their head, pay loans, and feed themselves and their families with such huge debt loads? I myself have no car and do not do vacations or fancy dinners, we do not even have cable!
Anyway I am rambling you should be very proud of yourself great work!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kct76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15/September/2006 at 4:51am
Hunter2,

Thanks so much! I know I'm really lucky...I can't imagine doing this without their help...it would be so much harder. I sympathize with people who are in the same position as we are. I do find, however, that I meet a lot of people with student loans who seem to whine about how hard up they are and then go out all the time. Go on vacations, go shopping...basically, they aren't really serious. I have little sympathy for people like this. They need to get their act together and come up with a workable plan. Let me tell you though, Hunter, I never thought I would see an end in sight, but if you keep plugging away at it, you do and it feels soooo good.

kct76 :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SusanfromAB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15/September/2006 at 1:06pm

Kerry;

Congratulations on the progress you've made.  I agree 100% about the people who complain about their debts, but don't implement a plan to get rid of them!

I graduated in 2003 with over $50,000 of debt (most student loan, plus lines of credit and credit cards).  When I couldn't find a job for 8 months, things got tight, really quickly!  My husband and I attended a budget course that changed our lives!  It was all about living within our means - it's an expense problem, not an income problem.  We hunkered down and began living a very spartan lifestyle.  We have managed to pay off over $40,000 since February 2003 and we contintue to maintain our spartan lifestyle to make ALL the debt go away! 

Good work & keep it up!

Susan

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hunter2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15/September/2006 at 7:58pm
kct76
I have met very few like that, maybe because I am older and most of the people I know who got out loans were already not very well off and sought education to improve lifestyle?
I guess it goes in line with what the board motto " if you have the means to pay it back then you should" and obviously yourself and SusanfromAb do so good on both of you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote studentadult Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23/May/2011 at 4:25pm
just saying about living in a room... to save money. .maybe you save money but your health is in trouble not living in good conditions...

health or save wealth to pay back ur loan.

omg

you have to live somewhere with some standard. 


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