Money Talks

In Sept. Homie started a new job. He freaking loves it. But his salary is pathetic. And I don’t say that jokingly. I have been the one encouraging him not to worry about the salary range but to pursue something he will love. I know the difference non-profit vs. private sector salaries have. But this is lower than a low non-profit salary. This is a token amount and taking advantage of skilled individuals who want to serve.

And at some level, that’s still cool. We knew going into it. What we didn’t know though was that I would have my job offer fall through due to politics and the use of prohibited hiring practices.

That means instead of being just above where we need to be to pay our bills and have a place to live we have been far below the poverty line.

Comically far below it actually. Up until January our average income per week since September has been about $135 dollars. Da eff is that?!

We are considered legally homeless. We don’t even make the minimum income to qualify for Section 8 housing in this area. But ya know, I got my diploma for my MA sitting on my dresser.

I was supposed to start a job in November, but they took so long doing my paperwork that I wasn’t actually able to start until January.

The crappy part is that the job is only part-time. But the pay is just enough that it puts us exactly where we were with me killing myself 40 hours a week at a job that paid $8.50 (which is what most of the jobs in this suburb pay).

We’re still stuck though in this limbo of making too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to pay for health insurance.

Making enough that it feels crappy to continue staying with my parents, but not enough to meet the minimum income requirements of any apartment complex.

We can afford rent, but not all the extras of utilities and groceries, and random household items that come with running a household.

Or we could afford those things if I didn’t have student loans…

I actually have very little considering I have two degrees and six years of school under my belt. I have right around $20,000 in loans, $11,500 of that from graduate school.

When I made the decision to get my MA it was partly based off of the fact that my starting salary with an MA would be about $10,000 higher a year than with just a BA. I thought that was a great choice! Two more years in school would give me $10,000 more a year in earning potential and would allow me to pay off my loans in two years!

I’ve been agonizing over whether or not I should have my payment plan changed for my loans. Right now I just have the standard 10 year repayment plan. I didn’t want to change that because I thought my lack of reasonable employment would be short-lived.

But now, I’m only two months away from having been done with school for a year and I have fewer career potential job prospects than I did when I graduated, or even in September.

So now I’m wondering if I should switch to some kind of income based repayment plan. My student loan payment is 25% of my monthly income right now.

It’s frustrating because on paper I did everything right. In high school I worked full-time during summer and part-time during the school year to save for college. In college, I worked 18 hours a week to pay for my living expenses and tuition.

I did two internships in the field I want to be in, I got a Master’s degree, I earned good grades. I saved and paid cash for my car. I only took out exactly what I needed in student loans. I saved money, spent cash, and always made myself wait to purchase things to make sure I wasn’t making an impulse buy.

And yet despite all of those good choices, I still don’t have a job. And I suspect that I’m not the only one in this situation.

There was an article in the Washington Post yesterday about how student loan debt is affecting first-time homebuyers. I shouldn’t read the comments, but I did.

It’s frustrating to say the least to constantly be criticized as having made poor choices or as lazy because of where I am. I’m not living with my parents because I’m lazy. I didn’t take out student loans to live the high life in college. I didn’t get a “degree in beer pong” as one asshole characterized it.

I worked my ass off working two jobs to get a degree that at the time was marketable in the field I wanted to go into. I took a reasonable amount of debt given the potential returns for it. Right after I made those choices the market bombed. And it still hasn’t recovered.

So called “entry-level” positions are asking for two-five years of experience of potential candidates. How can I get experience if no one will give me a chance to work? How am I supposed to pay off my student loans if I can’t work. How am I supposed to pay rent when I have to pay off my student loans with a job that I could have gotten straight out of high school?

Even my fil made some crack about “the liberals” wanting to support people who live in their parent’s basements. Yeah… you can imagine how well that went over.

I want to buy a home. I want to pay off my student loans. I want to save for retirement. I want to get my own place. I want to work. But in the meantime, it would be really awesome if people could stop telling me how this is all my fault.