In our Money Mic series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.
Today, one man explains why he and his wife have had to shelve their dreams of home ownership, thanks to being saddled with more than $260,000 in joint student loan debt.
As I was earning my master’s in environmental management from Duke University, I knew that a large student loan bill loomed ahead. After all, I had borrowed a lot of money to cover tuition and other costs in graduate school, plus I still had undergraduate loans to pay off.
But I’d always been told that I should try to get the best education possible—even if it came at a hefty price tag—to set myself up for the future. I wanted to pursue a career in a highly specialized field, and Duke offered one of the best programs for it.
To me, it seemed worth the cost. So by the time I graduated, I had accumulated about $160,000 in undergraduate and graduate student loans.
It was a lot of money, but I knew a lot of people who were in the same boat, including my now wife, Kelly, who was in the same grad program and left Duke with about $108,000 in student loans.
We knew that paying those amounts back would be a challenge, but neither one of us carried much “bad” debt—I graduated with only about $1,000 in credit card debt, and Kelly had none—so it wouldn’t prevent us from meeting our future goals, right?
Wrong. And I didn’t realize just how much of an impact that debt would have until we attempted to buy our first home.