Tag Archives: loan debt

Marriage Before Cars

I miss my Honda Civic. It was a 2007 Honda Coupe, and when I took it for a test drive it only had 18 miles on it. The picture above is similar to the one I owned.

But now I am a graduate student, and my wife and I share a 1998 Oldsmobile.

My wife takes me to school in the 1998 Oldsmobile. We had to get rid of my Honda because it had a car payment, and we would not be able to afford it with me in grad school.

I can bike to school, but I live 5 miles from the campus… and there have been car to bike accidents in town which makes biking to school, especially five miles, feel unsafe. So my wife drives me. Most of the time I do not even think about the Honda Civic (aka, the best car I ever owned). It feels better to know the only debt we have is my college loans. And for our marriage it was financially responsible to get rid of the car payments, which I was falling behind on because they were so big.

Occasionally I got stuck on campus for a few extra hours, or had to go in early. But in general, I have not really thought about the Civic. And in general I have not thought as much about even having a second car.

So what prompted this sense of car loss? Last week, my wife and I went to Seattle for a bucket list event… we saw the Irish Rovers. She has wanted to see the Irish Rovers her entire life. Not only did we have front row center seats, we were able to get autographs and our pictures taken with them. It was amazing! And we rented a car for the drive because of the age of our car… and the car we rented was a Toyota Camry. It was similar to my Honda Civic, and I enjoyed driving it. That reminded me how much I miss my Honda Civic.

I am sure in a few days the sense of car loss will dissipate. But for now, I miss the independence of having my own vehicle, I miss how new the Honda Civic felt… and I miss how nice it felt to drive. Dear Honda Civic, whoever is driving you now… I hope they appreciate you as much as I did. Miss you!

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Student Loan Debts reach 1-Trillion Dollars

Last year, I asked students in my class a question which made a lot of them uncomfortable: “Why are you in college?” Some of them said to get a better job, some said to find a career, some said because they didn’t have anything else to do after high school, and some said because their parents told them to go to college.

But does college education bring a better job? It’s a little unfair to ask an 18-year-old to understand the intricacies of the job market and how a college degree will help them(approximately half of all recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed). But for many of these kids they did not understand the student debt aspect of it either. And now, many of them are paying for it.

Colleges across the United States are struggling to pay bills which results in  increasing tuition rates. The rate increases impact student debt, and for students to be entering college with such a low understanding of that debt is bothersome. Should an 18-year-old understand everything they are signing when it comes to money? Yes. Of course yes they SHOULD. But they don’t. Should students who want a college education finish college with student loan debt of $100,000 or more? No. Of course no. But they do.

What is the best answer? I don’t know. I don’t think college education is a “ponzi scheme,” but I do believe the costs that students pay for tuition is way too high… which leads to student loan debts of $100,000 or more. Personally as a graduate student I have over $60K in student loan debt, and it is a struggle to keep it lower while getting my PhD. When I hear about how much undergraduates pay for their tuition in California and Oregon it makes me cringe, especially when I hear they are paying with loans. Here are some other stories about debt struggles: Stories on Student Debt.

Today, the national student loan debt reached 1-Trillion Dollars. As a future college professor this saddens me. What do you think about  college student Debt?