Monday, June 23, 2008

THE ENEMY, PART FOUR: DEBT

Given the crazy materialism of the past couple of years I’m actually in relatively good shape on the consumer debt front. I currently have $18K in debt parked in a 0% APR credit card. To give you some context, at some point, I probably had double or triple that amount in consumer debt. I’ve been setting aside a certain amount of $ a month to pay that down, even as I maintain a savings target every month.

Things are more dire on the student loan front. After 5 years undergrad at one of the most expensive universities in the country and 3 in an Ivy League law school I still have a ton of student debt to pay off. I’m actually way better off than some of my law school buddies, but this is just unacceptable for someone who wants to make it on a limited amount of interest a year.

Simplicity Meets the Enemy
The current plan calls for continuing to pay a certain amount every month toward my last remaining credit card until it is paid off. And as for the student loans, I have a big lifeline that I can rely on. As it turns out, my law school will pay down my student loans to the extent I have a public interest law-related job. I want to treat this in a later post, but basically I want to find a law-related job for a nonprofit that focuses on sustainability and/or environmental protection issues. It looks like I can kill two birds with one stone: transition to a job that I love and pay down my school debt, all at the same time. :)

Timeline
If all goes well, I should be done paying down my consumer debt by September of 2009. I can probably have my law school pay down my school debt starting in January 2010, hopefully right after I leave my current job.

10 comments:

LiveWorkDream said...

Try reading Dave Ramsey's book, Money Makeover. It's a little simplistic, but it will get you motivated to pay off that consumer debt a lot faster.

Jack said...

Thanks! Will check it out. Have a ton of ideas on how to accelerate the process. I'm sure I can add to the list.

J

Miles To Go Before I Sleep...... said...

I stumbled across your blog VIA three moons and the sea.... Interesting reading so far :-) I wish you a lot of luck in your mission to find simplicity.... we're trying to do the same thing only with kids (it may not be furniture but toys are just as easy to accumulate....). I can't wait to see how your journey unfolds in your blog :-)

I like the way you lay it out too... very simple :-)

Jack said...

Miles to go,

Thanks for the encouragement. Just checked out your own blog and was super impressed. You guys have been doing vol simpl. for a while now. Keep it up!

J

3 moons and the sea said...

I am really enjoying your blog :-)

I am currently unemployed. I officially quit my job working as an RN a few months ago and decided against going back to school(at least for now). I sometimes struggle with this decision, though. I have other Nurse friends working full time, making 1,000 a week. Not lawyer wages, but for me that's a nice salary. I sometimes imagine what our life would be like if my husband and I were both working full time jobs. We certainly could afford all the "stuff" if we were. Sometimes that lifestyle seems appealing and I'll fantasize about getting a new vehicle, jewelry, or some new gadget. Luckily it doesn't last long and I remember why we've made the choices we have made. I remember why I cut the puppet strings that were attached to my back and once again I feel content living below my means.

I look forward to reading about your journey!

(also, it's a good reminder that I don't *really* want to be back in school accruing all that student loan debt, lol)

Jack said...

3 moons,


Thanks! It is sooo early on in this process, but I'm glad it makes sense to people.

Yeah, you probably described perfectly. They are, indeed, puppet strings. Believe me, they can proved a lot of nice stuff, but at what cost? Getting stuff (and accruing student debt) only makes sense if they are a means to get you to the next step of your own journey. If they do that, then so be it. But it is not the stuff that matters, it is the journey that is paramount.

J

Sharon J said...

A 0% credit card? I didn't even know such things existed.

Good luck with your debt repayment plan. I'm working on mine at the moment and it feels so good to actually be freeing myself of all that consumer crap that go me into this mess in the first place.

Jack said...

Sharon,

Yeah, there are plenty of credit card companies that will offer that 0% on balance transfers for a certain period of time. Been playing that game for a while and hope to end it soon enough! Let me know how your plan goes. Good luck!

J

Anonymous said...

This blog reads like a viral marketing device. I keep waiting for a window to open, inviting me to to sign up for the very 0% interest rate credit card you eschew. If not that product, some other.

A friend sent me the link to your ~revolutionary blog~ and she'd highlighted this key line quote from you:
"Ok, now I will move to the second step of the decluttering process: sell, sell, sell! I just love Craigslist!!"

She said you sound just like a chick.

Jack said...

Anonymous,

Not sure what to say, primarily because I’m not sure whether your comment is being said in jest or just intended to be negative. If the former, no worries. Not everyone has a gift for writing interesting and/or worthwhile narrative. I certainly don’t.

If the latter, all I can say is that I respect your opinion and, short of being outright offensive, I fully support your right to comment on what is a decidedly difficult and emotional time in my life. I invite you to continue your posts, even if they remain anonymous.

Thanks,

J