I don't know how it is for folks in other countries, but here in the United States, student loan debt is a crushing burden on many and a major source of economic stratification nationwide.
Which is why I'm elated to say that, as of 8:22am EDT this morning, I became certified debt-free. I sent in my last student loan payment to polish off the remaining $1,600 I had left on an initial $25,000 student loan. It took 12 years for me to pay it all off, encompassing four different jobs in three different career fields. For the past seven years, I've worked my way up the ladder in the non-profit arena (including one year as a volunteer receiving a stipend of about $800 a month). I am immensely proud of this (increasingly rare) accomplishment.
For those of you - wherever you are, but especially here in the 'States - make it a priority, and it will happen. Best of success to you all.
Hahaha! With all due respect to those who go for a car and a house and all that 'american dream' stuff: had I decided to go ahead and play those games, I doubt I'd be as well-off and happy as I am today.
In Australia, you don't have to pay back your student loan unless you earn over $47,000 a year, and even then you only pay 4% of your total yearly income. That is if you even declare your earnings. If you make your money playing music, making games or selling drugs, then you're all sweet.
Sounds like a fairly sweet deal out there in Australia, though I imagine there's an additional trade-off somewhere along the line. What's the tax structure like out there? Is there an annual income tax, for example?
As for what I studied, it was Theatre; I've been trained as an actor, director, and somewhat as a writer for stage and film. I spent a semester overseas in southern England at an arts conservatory as part of an exchange program, which I consider very nearly the most valuable portion of my time in college for a variety of reasons. People expect to hear that I have a social work degree or some sort of counseling/psychology education, but my credentials for my current day job came along many years later. The fact that it was a Bachelors of Science helped convince people it was worthwhile, I think.
Oh, and additionally, I think it's important to stay debt-free as much as possible so that you have increased flexibility. For example, having a house or car payment due every month means that most likely you'll need a steady job, which means you'll have to either work for someone else, or deal with running your own business. Raising children nearly requires a steady income as well.
I've resolved to never incur debts when I can help it, and deliberately choose to not have any more credit cards and outstanding loans, so that more options become available: living, working, following interests, etc. Of course my lifestyle could be considered much different from the "usual" in terms of 30-something Americans, but I certainly don't mind. I'm quite happy with how things have been and seem to be going, in terms of my personal life.
Congratulations SMR , I also hold a similar set of ideals. I hate the idea of buying things on "hire purchase" as it was traditionally known or via using loans. In fact I have never used HP or a loan to date. I lived at home to do my undergraduate studies, so I did not have a student loan. For my higher degrees I have been awarded full scholarships, and I work part time tutoring students (money I used to pay my parents back the course fees for UG).
I have always been brought up that if I can not afford it, I do not buy it (obviously a house is exempt out of such things ). I do have cars, but I do most maintenance and repair work on them myself. My main car is also getting rather old now with 140k miles on the clock, but until it fails an MOT for serious reasons (MOT is a yearly compulsory vehicle safety test in the UK) I will keep driving it.
I will generally use things until they break or become unfeasible for use. Some of my friends replace things at an alarming rate - just to keep in fashion or whatever.
Glad to see there is still people that to me act normal .
I absolutely hate debt. I think usury is probably one of the biggest sins out there, all those lenders voluntarily keeping people in debt are like modern slavers.
I think it's quite sad today that people are raised and brainwashed to think that spending money buys you happiness. I've got a lot of stuff and none of it has made me happy - it's the little things like not starving, having a roof, soap, toothbrush, and having family and friends around that buys happiness. I've gone to concerts, F1 races, lived in big houses, drove expensive cars.. and really, nobody around my household actually wants to drive the Audi around. And what excess I have, I spend on investments (with a little on cool things like external hard drive and nice shoes/clothes).
So, congrats. Debt's probably one of the hardest things to go through, and great to see someone dig out of that pit.
Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in my posts will not be mentioned as that would ruin the purpose. It is assumed that the reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between what is sarcasm and what is not.