Was Our $420,000 In Student Loans Worth It ?!?

Was Our $420,000 In Student Loans Worth It ?!?

August 24, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


hey guys it’s Joseph and Tasha from one
big happy life today we are going to talk about how we amassed over $400,000
in student loan debt and whether it was worth it and what we would do
differently if anything as many of you know we’re both attorneys which means we
went to law school and we racked up some debt there
we also racked up some undergrad debt before that in this video we’re walking
through our decision-making process at the time and whether we still think it’s
worth it now and it’s especially pertinent because we have Alexis getting
ready to go to college in just two years so we’re actually going through this
process with her now because she’s starting to get college mail so we’re
gonna do a separate video specifically targeted at kind of you know the
decisions that we would make now with our own child so stay tuned for that and
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yeah so make sure you sign up for those as well alright so let’s talk about
where we were kind of before undergrad so I was in the Marine Corps and I
wanted to get out of the Marine Corps so I initially chose a major I also already
had Alexis and I was married so I needed something practical that was
going to make me money like right out of undergrad so I decided to go to nursing
school I got my associates degree in general studies and then transferred to
a which and I came away from that with no debt which I highly recommend and
then I transferred to a BSN program but then decided I wanted to go to law
school and so then I switched my major to economics and American Studies
because I read that that would look good for law school admissions I now know
that it really doesn’t matter I on the other hand did not have a job out of
high school I graduated pretty high in my class so I had pretty good
applications but I kind of flounder didn’t really know exactly what I wanted
to do and so it’s just well you just kind of
go to college and so I went to college and I majored in accounting economics
and finance and just kind of racked up as much information as I could and in
doing so I had to take out the kind of the maximum loans that you’re allowed to
for undergrad and my parents paid for the remainder oh I guess I should also
specify that I used my GI Bill to help me pay for undergrad also I was married
and my husband at the time worked so I ended up coming out of undergrad with
$20,000 in subsidized loans that honestly I did not absolutely have to
take out and if me now if I was in that position I would not take out that debt
because obviously I’m better at not just completely spending money willy-nilly I
have nothing to show for that $20,000 of debt so yeah I did not need it to
actually get my degree so that was kind of bad yeah I think so mine were 15,000
now was it worth it undergrad well coming out I did have job offers and I
did have expectations for what I would have been able to make somewhere between
fifty and sixty thousand starting and so so that’s I mean that’s pretty good
coming out of undergrad I mean I did didn’t have a triple major and and so
there’s that and Finance business majors tend to be pretty lucrative right out so
yeah but it also it depends whether or not is worth it depends on what you
actually want to do so if you want to be a lawyer you can’t be a lawyer right out
of undergrad you have to keep going and get your law degree so that’s exactly
what we did now I think a lot of people got the impression from our million
dollars in that video that you know we did not actually put some thought into
the amassing of our debt especially our law school debt and so in this video I
want to make sure to clear the air and explain just how much planning went into
especially me in particular deciding where to go to law school and how much
debt I was going to take out so I you know I went to Yale for Law School
and part of the reason why I went there was because of the job prospects after
Yale which is something that you should always be considering when you’re taking
out loans for school the loan repayment program that Yale
offers for people who go into less lucrative legal fields and then also how
Yale compared to the other law schools that I got into so I did budgets based
on whether I took advantage of public service work between public service loan
forgiveness and Yale’s loan repayment assistance program or if I ended up
going to a law firm which at the time the starting salary for a first-year
associate was a hundred and sixty thousand dollars so I compared both
budgets before deciding where I wanted to go and how much I wanted to spend on
law school so I did similar kind of decisions but not to the detail that she
did for sure so I I got in to several different schools and looked at some
that were much more expensive and at first I was going to go to this the very
best school whatever it was and do whatever it took to go there but I
backed out of that and right at the last second and I tried to look for the best
value and so I decided on Ohio State because it was it was a state school so
it wasn’t as expensive as a private school yeah in comparison
Yale’s tuition was twenty thousand dollars more a year than Ohio State’s
right and so that that was a big factor to me
I had a little bit of scholarship there actually not a little bit I mean I have
a substantial scholarship there and so that really helped out I only graduated
with a hundred and twenty-one thousand from law school and that includes me
going to some summer sessions and I also was able to study abroad at Oxford by
the time I graduated from law school I had a total of a hundred and ninety
thousand dollars worth of debt from law school and undergrad and as of tomorrow
because I have a big payment going through I’m going to have a total of a
hundred and ninety five thousand dollars and I graduated from law school in 2011
and I’m currently repaying my law student loans and I always have been
using income based repayment so I don’t actually pay
the full interest or even any of the principal in my regular monthly payment
after law school my loans totaled a hundred and sixty four thousand dollars
now that was a hundred and forty nine thousand from law school and then
fifteen thousand from undergrad now that was a lot and because I am also on
income based repayment it has grown to two hundred and seven thousand dollars
yeah the reason why mine has not grown the way Joseph’s has is because of
Yale’s loan repayment assistance program and so for me let’s talk about whether
or not it was worth it I’ll go first so when I took out my loans I did it
expecting to repay in either one of two ways so when you take out your student
loans if you read the documents that you actually get it’s it’s the call the
master promissory note and explain it explains the different ways that you can
repay your student loans we only have public federal student loans we don’t
have any private loans so in the master promissory notice it lists the different
repayment plans including public service loan forgiveness combined with income
based repayment so I knew that that was an option
when I was taking out my loan so I calculated two budgets one if I decided
to go into private practice and another if I decided to go into public service
and so after law school I decided to go into public service after trying private
practice and just like hating everything about my life for me like I I know that
going to Yale has made it a lot easier for me to find jobs whenever I need to
change jobs like when I had that horrible loss there was no problem
whatsoever with me changing jobs and because I knew what my repayment terms
were because I was familiar with it I knew what I was getting into in terms of
repayment after after law school it basically turned out exactly the way
that I expected it to this was my plan that I would work in ten… for ten
years in public service and then have the remainder of my loans
discharged per the terms of my loan agreement similarly I think that me
going to Ohio State just going to law school generally it was definitely worth
it for me to and it’s out for a little bit different reasons but I mean law
school is a versatile degree it’s not exactly about just always becoming an
attorney that practices but it’s also a versatile thinking degree and that
coupled with my undergrad business majors that really made me eligible for
the jobs that I do now and so it’s really the combination that I needed
both and so would it still be worth it for you like this is like off script
would it still be worth it for you without public service loan forgiveness
so an income based repayment so income based repayment or public service loan
forgiveness either one so I still think that it would be the math still works out
that my my job prospects after law school so they started about the same
honestly because I started in public the public sector and and so it was about
60,000 where I started but the prospects for going forward were much much higher
even if I had started before and just after undergrad and then going up I
probably would have had to go and get an MBA anyway at some point to then reach
the higher levels you mean the level where you are right
now and your income and stuff yes right which I mean so we’re certainly
comfortable now and I’m really happy where we are yeah I mean the one of the
things that we have while our jobs are you know we still get paid very well
because we both make six figures but we also have incredible job flexibility
jobs with great benefit jobs with great retirement plans matching you know that
allows us to just work a 40-hour week so we have excellent work-life balance if
something happens to one of our kids we can be home in a heartbeat all of those
things those are very there’s non-monetary
compensation that those jobs are harder to get if you don’t you know either
advance yourself through education or you know somehow like just work hard on
the job and slowly get promoted within you know your particular organization so
it’s not to say that we necessarily couldn’t have gotten here without the
degrees but it certainly would be a toss-up
without the degrees well so I would say that for for where I work and what I do
I would not have been able to follow the same path oh that’s true I completely
ineligible yeah well not have our jobs at all like I’m an attorney obviously I
couldn’t be doing this job if I didn’t have my law degree another thing that I
want to say so I asked Joseph the question if he would do it without
public service loan forgiveness and without income based repayment and so
I’m gonna answer that question for me and the answer is no I wouldn’t I would
be at a law firm making probably by now somewhere around three hundred thousand
dollars a year I’d be miserable Alexis would barely know me but my law school
debt would be gone and you know so I don’t know that life doesn’t sound much
more appealing to me I’ve enjoyed this life a lot better and
so I’m so happy that these programs exist that allow people to not just go
to the not just chase after the money but to be able to do fulfilling public
interest work while also being able to you know build wealth you know and and
provide for their family so I’m glad that these programs exist because if
they didn’t we wouldn’t be having this conversation because I would be at a law
firm right now billing some hours not making a youtube video well I think in
conclusion we would both do it given the same circumstances that we experienced
kind of for different reasons though because of course Tasha practices law
and I don’t actually practice I just use the skills that that I have but would it
still be worth it if things change and obviously maybe not and so it’s a very
careful consideration that you have to go through because not everybody is
going to have the the exact same trajectory that we had
like if I didn’t have a business undergrad well maybe my law school
wouldn’t have helped me as much for doing to doing the things that I want to
do now yeah and if I didn’t have you know a child and a family to consider
I may have opted for going with a lower ranked school for less money but where
my job prospects as an attorney might have been less certain but because I had
a child I didn’t want to run the risk of not being able to find a job that could
provide for my family after law school so I chose to go to yes the a more
expensive law school but also the law school that offered me the best jobs
prospects alright we hope you all enjoyed the video don’t forget to thumbs
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