Living With Student Debt

My morning post yesterday about what our student debt loads are preventing us from doing may have been a depressing way to start the day, so I wanted to start today by talking a little bit about what my student loans haven’t prevented me from doing.

They have not prevented me from pursuing jobs that I am interested in and think I would enjoy. This website’s existence is proof of this.

They have not prevented me from being able to travel, or take vacations. For the majority of my twenties, travel was limited to flying across the country to visit family during the holidays, or when I happened upon incredible deals, like this one time when I found a $250 ticket to Madrid. But I was also able to have affordable getaways like: driving a few hours away from the city and renting a house in the woods with a group of friends where we’d spend a long weekend drinking a case of wine we bought on discount, cook elaborate meals, go on hikes, and pretend to go antiquing. And now that I’m further along in my career and earning more, I can afford to save and plan for bigger trips.

And speaking of which, they have not prevented me from saving. I saved nothing in my early twenties because I didn’t have enough income to do so. But that’s changed with age and career advancement: I’m able contribute 10 percent of my pay into a 401(k) and contribute to a Roth IRA. I may not have a house when I’m old, but I’ll have a cushion.

My student loans have not prevented me from helping my family, or friends when they’re in need, or making donations to my favorite charitable organizations.

Essentially, they’re not preventing me from living a good life.

Photo: Cabin in woods by Klearchos Kapoutsis

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