A couple months back, we called for stories from college grads in the area who live in Boston with student debt.
The gist of the idea: We know student debt is mounting. It’s developing more and more momentum as a public policy issue. The average student to graduate with debt does so about $30,000 in the hole, and those who have significant debt see it to have a serious negative effect on their overall net worth. And Congress doesn’t seem all that interested in doing much to help.
And yet! Plenty of borrowers graduate with that debt, find ways to manage it, and live their lives. With a whole new batch of borrowers set to start making payments soon, we figured we’d tap in to some existing borrowers to see how student debt affects their lives.
We spoke with and vetted 10 borrowers who told us their stories.
Our goal wasn’t to have a pity party. Instead, we wanted to figure out how the burden is managed. Two of the 10 borrowers we spoke with have already paid off the entirety of their bills, one in less than a year after graduating. Others, they’d be quick to admit, see the debt as a big burden, but have found ways to make their finances work.
There were some common themes. For a few, the idea of buying a house seemed like a distant dream. Some offered different takes on how they find ways to use discretionary income. Many of them have earned multiple degrees. Anxieties about marriage and children abound, though that hasn’t stopped several of them from starting their families.
None of the borrowers fit the millennial stereotype of the entitled and lazy adult-child hybrid. Most have advanced degrees. The only one still living with her parents did so to pay the debt off—and succeeded, relatively quickly.
That’s probably not too surprising. We knew that in asking for the stories of those who might be struggling but are still getting by, we wouldn’t hear from the graduates feeling the most pressure from the burden.
But the stories of these borrowers should offer some insights into how new debtors can learn to manage the obligation, and put a local face on the issue for those who aren’t struggling with student loans themselves.
Graduated: 2012 (Master’s)
Studied: Health Education
Debt upon graduating: $45,000
Debt today: $42,500
I moved to Boston in 2010 after finishing my undergraduate degree with around $30,000 debt. I went to grad school here and finished my master’s in 2013. I was able to get my grad school tuition waived due to an assistantship; however I still had to take out loans to eat and live.
After I finished grad school my debt was more than $45,000 and rapidly climbing due to some loans that had very high interest rates and were still accruing on top of the undergrad loans.
This time last year I was applying for jobs and heard that I was over-qualified and under-experienced. I was not hired full-time until September 2013. In December I started paying back my loans after my six-month graduation deferment ended. I already had a budget and have done a great job sticking to it, but when your student loans are more than your rent your priorities change drastically. My beginning salary at my job was not much, but it was more than what I would be making working a part-time job somewhere else. And it has benefits, which is great.
I began taking on part-time jobs on top of my full-time job to make sure I made ends meet. But with more than $1,500 of my paycheck going to loans and rent combined, it was difficult to get by many months. I had to limit the amount I ate out to once a week, I only drove my car on the weekends, and I looked into every tax deduction I could find. Uncle Sam does offer many tax incentives, and my refund was larger than ever this year due to my claiming student loan interest, rent, MBTA passes, job interview expenses, tuition and education related expenses, and more. I’m lucky and blessed to say that I’ve adjusted well and never have missed a payment or over-drafted by some miracle.
Now a year removed from school I finally have a more flexible budget, but I’ve become an expert penny pincher. I’ve come to the realization I will be paying student loans until the age of at least 45. When I tell my friends I don’t have the money to take weekend trips we go to Sam Adams for free beer instead. And they like it. Being cheap is still tons of fun, and I’ve had the chance to see lots of things in Boston for free and using my own two feet.
My advice to new grads: Be savvy and educate yourself. Save and pay off your debt as much as you can before venturing into other financial endeavors. You want make sure you can at least tread water before you jump into an ocean.
Graduated: 2011 (Master’s)
Studied: Civil Engineering
Debt upon graduating: $29,000
Debt today: $24,000
While getting my bachelors in civil engineering, I accumulated about $29,000 in student loan debt. My masters was paid for by a research grant, and at this point I’m down to $24,000 in remaining debt. I could certainly be worse-off, but I’m currently working for a relatively modest $55,000 salary doing basic policy work for a federal contractor located in Kendall Square. My income is easily 20 percent below my peers from my graduate program, and definitely more if I adjust for cost-of-living.
So finances are often on my mind. And while I don’t have a strict budget, I have some rules-of-thumb that I follow.
After taxes, each month I pay approximately 25 percent of my income to rent and utilities—I rent with three roommates—and 10 percent to student loan payments. I don’t track my groceries or incidental expenses, but I live pretty frugally, bringing my lunch to work and cooking for myself most days. My wardrobe is pretty basic.
Groceries, eating out, and other incidental expenses amount to 20 to 30 percent of my monthly income. The remaining third goes to savings—both personal savings for any larger expenses in the near future and saving for retirement through a Roth IRA.
I’ve chosen not to have a car, as transit is decent in Boston, I enjoy bike commuting, and driving is stressful, expensive, and particularly bad for the environment. It’s telling that the two most valuable things I own are my laptop and my bike, both bought gently-used from Craigslist.
What little furniture I have is either hand-me-downs from my parents or cheap stuff from Craigslist. I do tend to travel a fair amount, which affects my budget. Multiple out-of-state weddings per year and visiting my parents in California can get expensive.
Student debt doesn’t overwhelm my budget, though it is holding me back. Without it, I’d have the freedom to pursue more intriguing work, education, or volunteer opportunities in the US and abroad that just aren’t in my required salary range right now. Obviously there’s no way to know what the future holds, but if I’m even thinking about a car loan before age 30 or a mortgage before 35, I’ll be very surprised. Marriage and children aren’t even on the radar at this point.
The whole system has frequently shifting goalposts, diminishing the value of the work I’ve completed at any given point: “Finish near the top of your high school class? Of course you should go to a four-year college and take on student debt! But, be sure your major will pay off. Engineering, you say? Oh, you’ll be in great shape since the salaries are so high right out of school! Just kidding, there’s a recession, so no one’s hiring. Go to graduate school to focus your skills and wait out the worst of the recession; you’ll be worth even more. Just kidding, entry-level salaries are depressed and you don’t have the exact skills we want. We don’t want to train people any more and only hire local candidates.’’ And then I hear, “Jeez, kids these days are so lazy. All they want is instant gratification!’’ Maybe so, but you’d complain too if you had negative net worth and two desirable STEM degrees to your name, yet no clear prospect for financial security and flexibility despite playing by the rules and “working hard’’ (whatever that means).
I’m optimistic that my two degrees will pay off in the long-run, but at the present, the cost-benefit analysis is pretty bad. Normally I’d say higher education is an economic bubble, but it’s tough to see where it pops; everyone knows that a typical person with a college degree is more likely to be employed and will have substantially higher income over a lifetime, so as long as that continues to be true, I can’t imagine this trajectory changing.
That’s kind of depressing. But that’s why I live in Somerville: if life has to be a little depressing, I might as well live in an exciting part of the Boston area with lots to do and lots of young people to socialize with. Life is too short to be unhappy.
Graduated: 2004 (Bachelor’s)
Studied: Russian Language and Literature
Debt upon graduating: $38,000
Debt today: $39,000
I graduated from a lovely liberal arts college in New York State in 2004, having studied Russian Language and Literature. This may not sound very recent, but it is still affecting my life. I have around $15,000 in federal loan debt and around $23,000 in private loan debt.
I got married in 2006 and two years later became pregnant, which meant I had to take a leave of absence from my graduate studies in mental health counseling. My husband was in a Ph.D. program at the time, and thankfully because of the program he was in, he received generous financial aid, so he did not need to take out loans. But while he made out far better than the average grad student, it did mean he wasn’t making as much as he could have had he simply chosen to get a job of some kind.
Three months after my son was born, I went back to work, meaning we had to pay for daycare. The cost was equal to our cost in rent. I placed my loans in forbearance to cover it. About a year later, my forbearance options had been used up and the only way we stayed afloat was by my parents generously providing us around $200 per month to cover daycare and child expenses.
When my son was just shy of two years old, my husband opted out of his Ph.D. program and became a high school teacher. We moved to the North Shore from Allston and now live in Salem. But what we saved in rent was made up for in the more expensive T pass I needed for my commute into Boston.
I was looking to go back to finish my degree to advance my career when I became pregnant very unexpectedly with my second child. She was born in 2011. Suddenly we were paying for two kids in daycare, plus rent. Thankfully my parents and my husband’s parents continued to help us with a couple of hundred each month so we could stay afloat.
Things took a real turn when my son was diagnosed with autism a few months after his third birthday. This was not completely unexpected, as he had been showing some signs from an early age. But his diagnosis meant he qualified for the full-day public preschool and because he was on an Individualized Education Plan, it also meant we didn’t have to pay the tuition. So we saw our daycare bill cut by nearly $1,000 per month. We’ve been able to get back to a little better than breaking even. And we couldn’t be more pleased with the progress our son has made. He is living proof that early interventions work and are worth every last penny. But I can’t shake that it’s a bit theater of the absurd that one of my children had to have autism, a very expensive diagnosis in terms of treatment options, for us to start putting our finances back in order.
Now it’s 2014 and I have JUST paid back all the interest that my principal debt on my private loans is around $1,000 beneath the original, and my federal loans are about $2,000 below the principle. I have a ton of credit card debt that is slowly getting paid off, too. But with the significant need for my really excellent health insurance, I can’t go back to school. And my husband and I haven’t been able to save very much because everything we make goes to paying off the debt. We were looking into eventually buying a home, but it seems unlikely that will ever happen for us.
We’re chipping away, so maybe eventually we’ll be out of debt. I have my eyes set on 2021 when all my private student loans will be paid off. Then I can really begin to work on the credit card debt. But in 2021, I’ll also be 40. I suppose many people don’t reach their shining moment or make the biggest difference they’re going to make until then, either.
Once every six months or so, I buy a lottery ticket for the hell of it. I give myself that night to dream about what I would do if I won even a million dollars, which after taxes would be, what, $600,000 or so. But it’s one night around twice a year I dream this. And by the next morning when I check the numbers and not a single one is on the list, I think, “Well, it was only a dream.’’
Graduated: 2013 (Bachelor’s)
Studied: English/Political Science
Debt upon graduating: $14,000
Debt today: $0
I was able to pay off my debt in less than a year.
My strategy broke down into three parts:
1. I knew the details of my financial aid and loan package.
2. My family and I came up with a repayment strategy at the beginning of freshman year.
3. I was willing to sacrifice some short-term fun for long-term gains.
When I started Boston University, my parents and I sat down together, reviewed my loans, and calculated how much I would owe when I graduated. It came out to about $14,000. We also rejected any loans whose interest accrued immediately at signing. I also decided then and there that I wasn’t going to pay any interest, which meant everything had to be paid within the six month post-graduation grace period.
I worked part time and saved half of each paycheck in a club account, which I couldn’t access until I graduated. I saved half of any financial gifts—birthdays and Christmas money, mostly. And all of my graduation gift money went straight into my loan savings account. By the time I graduated in 2013, I had saved $8,000.
A month before graduation, I sat down with my parents again, showed them my bank statements, and made a deal with them. I would move back home after graduation and they would cover my living expenses if I put my entire paycheck each month towards my loans. I also met with a student loan adviser, who recommended I pay in installments over six months, so that my loan repayment would positively impact my credit score. Loan providers, according to the adviser, interpret lump-sum repayment as a “gift,’’ and do not report that to a credit score provider.
The next six months was all work and no play. However, moving back home after four years on my own was a great motivator to pay off debt. Even though I couldn’t enjoy going out with my friends for drinks, dinner, or movies, it was 100% worth it. I’m the only one of my friends who is debt free and there is no greater feeling. I was probably more excited the day I paid my final installment than I was when I graduated.
I am still living with my parents now. I am working at an architecture firm, designing marketing materials and writing proposals. I also plan to get my PhD. Since I’m no longer putting my entire paycheck to my student loans, I can now save for that.
Although there is, in my opinion rightfully, pressure on the government to decrease the interest rates on student debt, students who have loans need to take responsibility for planning for and actively paying off debt. It is very hard and will take extreme effort to pay off thousands of dollars, but it isn’t impossible by any means. A plan, determination, and a little sacrifice in the short term make debt repayment manageable and tangible. My “paid in full’’ letter is framed right next to my diploma.
Graduated: 2013 (Master’s)
Studied: Education, Concentrations in Mental Health and Addictions
Debt upon graduating: $71,600
Debt today: $63,000
Like many high school grads from my area, I went straight to UMass Lowell after high school. Having no idea what I was doing, I majored in Psychology which is a fancy way of admitting: “I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do after college.’’ About two years in, I realized this and decided to add a second major, in criminal justice. That major is equally as vague but looks slightly more impressive on a resume.
I found a full-time job doing direct care work, but it only paid $11.14 an hour before taxes and benefits and came with hellish hours. After a year of that I realized it wouldn’t pay my rent, car payment, car insurance, cell phone, gas, student loans and food, so I picked up more shifts waitressing. I found myself working seven days a week doing jobs that had little to do with my degree. I decided to move home and went back to waitressing. And I made a lot more money.
But it felt weird not to use the degrees I went to school for. So I got a job as an outreach counselor working with people in the community with substance abuse histories, mental health issues, and more. It only paid about $25,000 a year, so needless to say, I kept my waitress job. But at least I was doing something I loved.
Still, I was barely skating by. And if I had a dollar for everyone who said “You will never make money in this field with your bachelors degree, go back to school for your master’s,’’ I’d be rich. But it’s true, so I went back to school full time nights while continuing to work full-time weekdays and weekends at my waitressing job, while squeezing in internship hours wherever I could.
I don’t think I slept for two years but I graduated and got my master’s in education with concentrations in mental health and addictions. I stayed at my outreach job for six years and was lucky enough to land a job when I graduated as a clinician.
I’m still working full-time, and still waitressing on Saturdays. I still have a year to go before I’m eligible for my mental health care license, and while I like to think being licensed will give me more job opportunities or more opportunities for growth, it would take winning the lottery to get ahead of my student loan debt.
I have deferred my student loans three times and I’m over $60,000 in debt. Finding an apartment is hard, paying bills is hard, going on vacations is hard, and days off are pretty much impossible.
And I know I’m one of the lucky ones because I’ve had a helpful father and very, very kind employers who have been more than generous in terms of work hours and being flexible to my chaotic and unfortunate schedule. I have also been fortunate in that I love what I do and debt or not, there is no other line of work I’d rather be in.
But I also really wonder whether higher education is the way to go. My boyfriend is an assistant manager and butcher for a successful supermarket chain, didn’t finish college, and he makes over twice a year what I ever will. And he owes nothing. So, I mean, can you blame me for encouraging kids to seek out and refine their vocational interests and skills? Trades will always be needed. Mental health professionals will always be needed as well, but mechanics probably make more money. I’m just being honest.
If you’re graduating with debt, don’t expect to live comfortably for a while. Especially if you had to pay for college yourself with loans. Learn to budget. A second job doesn’t hurt. The truth is you really, really need to love what you do. And it’s worth it to take the financial hit to do something that you love.
Graduated: 2012 (Bachelor’s)
Studied: Education, History
Debt upon graduating: $45,000
Debt today: $43,400
Living in Boston is a dream come true. The great night life, the Sox, and the jobs that come along with moving to one of the great cities of America are enticing for any recent graduate to want to move here. But it can be a financial challenge—especially if you’re carrying student debt. Rent is skyrocketing, the jobs feel super scarce and cost of living here can be outrageous.
I currently reside in Brighton. The rent where I live is manageable, but that’s only because I split it five ways with roommates. The average rent for a 4 bedroom apartment in Boston is well over $3,000 and is only getting worse as the landlords in the city raise the rents. My roommates and I are all young professionals, working our ways through our various jobs in order to get to where we want to be. More and more, I am realizing that Boston might not be that place to become successful.
As a licensed educator, the job market here is so flooded that I not only do not have a full time position teaching, I have to work three or four different jobs just to stay above water. I work as a teacher’s aid, do some tutoring, and have also taken on some odd jobs here and there. Making close to $2,500 dollars a month, before taxes, my bills come to much more than half of what I make—and most of that falls on my $45,000 dollars in student loan debt.
When you graduate college, if you have the option, you have to make the choice: Do I move back home and live with my parents to save money or do I work my tail off until I am 30 and pray that I catch the break I am looking for? I obviously made the choice to do things on my own, and sometimes it feels like a constant uphill battle.
Living in Boston with tight budget constraints is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Along with my student loan debt, I have a car payment, parking costs, and bills for rent, electricity, oil, cable, internet and food. That does not include that fact that as a young professional, sometimes I enjoy a night out. But going out in Boston is expensive. Bars downtown charge $10 covers to get into places that sell $5 Bud Lights. An average night out on a weekend, with a cab, totals out to at least $75. Unless you make good money, this is a luxury.
My debt, with the cost of living in Boston, has held me back from doing things that I see others my age doing¬, like traveling and starting a family. I have no savings to show for my hard work and it is becoming a huge burden.
The best way a recent grad can budget in Boston is to get roommates, avoid the bars downtown, and get out while you’re young, unless you get that coveted job looking out to the Boston Common from your skyscraper. If you get that job, hold on to it for dear life.
Graduated: 2011 (Juris Doctorate)
Debt upon graduating: $195,000
Debt today: $220,000
After I finished my undergraduate degree, for me, the logical next step was to further my education and get a graduate degree. I worked at a law firm in high school and as an undergraduate, thus law school seemed like the right choice for me. I began law school in 2008 with no prior student loan debt and the promise that although I would need to take out student loans, the value of the education I would be receiving and the career I would have would be worth every penny. We were provided with student loan counseling, but what I didn’t realize was that my loans were given at almost 8 percent interest. This is the most important thing and what most people do not understand about student loans—they cannot be refinanced. (A Senate bill that would have allowed for student loan refinancing did not get enough support to move last month.) I have approximately $25,000 of unpaid interest on my loans.
Unlike many of the law school graduates from the class of 2011, I was extremely fortunate go get a job within 6 months of passing the Massachusetts Bar. While I was trying to find a job, I took the Colorado bar in the event that I would need to move home to live with my parents. Immediately after passing the Mass. bar I moved in with my boyfriend so that my living expenses—rent and utilities—would be cut in half. In addition, we do not own a car, as we cannot afford one. I commute on my bike during the summer and as much of the fall and winter as possible so I don’t have to pay for an MBTA LinkPass. We don’t have gym memberships, always pack lunch and rarely eat out during the week.
My monthly student loan payments are calculated based on my income, which is frustrating because none of my payments touch the principal amount due. We are in a position that with my salary and my boyfriend’s income we can pay the bills, but we will not be able to buy a house or have a family for a very long time, and we have no room for extra expenditures or we break our budget. Once my boyfriend finishes his post-doctoral fellowship and has a salary we hope to be able to put more money toward my loans, but that is still two years away. I truly fear that I will spend the rest of my life paying off my student loans with an astronomical interest rate.
People my age should be boosting the economy, buying houses and having families, not considering moving in with their parents just so they can afford their student loan payments. I am sure I speak for anyone with student loans with an astronomical interest rate when I say it feels like a punishment.
Studied: Economics and Accountancy
Debt upon graduating: $31,000
Debt today: $0
I grew up in a middle class family in India where it wasn’t always easy to make ends meet. I realized early on that in order to be better off in the future, I had to maintain solid financial discipline along with a steady source of income.
With over $32,000 of student loans—plus credit card debt—when I graduated from Emmanuel College in 2005, I devised what I call a 25-25-50 budget. With it, I erased my student debt before my five-year college reunion.
I spent less than 25 percent of my after-tax income on rent, paid personal expenses and other bills with the other 25 percent, and saved the remainder 50 percent of the income to build savings. On a monthly basis, rent and car payments are the two big recurring expenditures for recent graduates. Rather than renting an entire place by myself, I had sublet a room from a family for a couple of years after college to save on the rent. Also, I needed a car to get to work. Instead of buying a new car, I bought a used car as my first car which helped keep monthly car payments low and it didn’t require any down payment.
Being under budget with the rent and car payments allowed me to have some disposable income, so I was still able to have a social life. You don’t always need to spend a ton to have a good time with your friends.
My biggest challenges came during the great recession of 2008-2009. The biggest setback occurred when I lost my job and was unemployed for a few months. That’s where that savings came in handy, though. It was able to get me through the tough times. Once I found a new job, it took me just a year to become debt-free. I set aside $5,000 as savings in case of emergencies and accelerated my debt repayment schedule.
I started paying off the debt with 50% of the monthly income I was saving. I became debt-free in 2010, and it was a good feeling. I continued to live on the 25-25-50 budget even after becoming debt free and also never carried any credit card balances. A year later, I had saved enough for a down payment on mortgage and purchased my first home. And my student debt was gone.
Graduated: 2012 (Master’s)
Studied: Corporate and Organizational Communication
Debt upon graduating: $77,000
Debt today: $115,000
I graduated with a bachelor’s from Nichols College and a master’s from Northeastern University in 2012. In the fall of 2013 I enrolled in my second master’s program paid for by my employer. I have a very good job at Boston Children’s Hospital that I love and could not be more thankful to have. And because I’m in school now, I’m currently deferring my payments. My bill, before returning to school, was $1,200 a month—accounting for over 50 percent of my take home pay.
But even with a good job, and the deferral, the debt affects me. I just got married this May and I would love to buy a home with my wife, but with the cloud of student loans it makes it very difficult to apply for a mortgage. I have been meticulous about my finances since I was a young kid, never missing a payment on a bill and maintaining a very high credit score. Still, a house seems like a distant dream at this point.
When I was making payments, I asked Sallie Mae to help lower my monthly payments, and for a while they weren’t responsive. I recently was able to extend my payments from a 10-year plan to a 25-year plan, but it didn’t knock the monthly payment down all that much, due to interest. And even in deferral, the interest continues to grow.
I have been able to make my payments. But it’s a lot of money—and it cuts into the rest of my finances. The hard part is that it is impossible to refinance these loans. You can’t do it privately through a bank or credit union, and you can’t do it through the government, even though interest rates are lower now than they were when I earned my degrees.
The other thing that worries me, though, is the opportunity cost. I launched a charity in 2011called Minutes for Memories, which raises funds to help make a dream come true for children who have sustained a long-term injury. We have partnerships with Boston College, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Regis College. I’m proud of what we’ve done.
But my decision to return to school for a second masters was partly a financial decision. It allows me to defer loans a little longer while also growing my career opportunities—hopefully resulting in more pay, and an easier time making payments. But taking classes while working full-time keeps me extremely busy. The time I spend working on assignments is time I would have spent trying to grow Minutes for Memories. The charity often has to take a back seat.
Graduated: 2012 (Master’s)
Debt upon graduating: $92,000
Debt today: $90,000
I graduated from Lesley University with a master’s in counseling in 2012, along with $92k in debt—the heavy majority from my graduate work. In order to be a counselor, you need at least a Master’s degree if not a license, so my graduate education wasn’t much of a choice. It took me four years to graduate from a 3 year program because I was also working part- to full-time at Starbucks, and had to do two full-year, 20-hour-per-week unpaid internships for my degree. Financially, I couldn’t afford my rent if I didn’t push back my credit hours so I could take fewer classes while interning. So, I had to focus on short-term rent bills and ignore my long-term extra year of tuition bill as something I’d worry about after graduation when I had a job that paid me more than $9.50 per hour.
Unfortunately, the reality for counseling or social work graduates is that the entry-level positions don’t really pay much. I got a job as a fee-for-service in-home therapist, where I got paid $30 hourly for session time but absolutely nothing else. That means no mileage reimbursement, no gas reimbursement, no reimbursement for required use of my personal cell phone, no payment for appointments that didn’t show up, and no payment for paperwork time.
After doing the math, I realized I got paid more working at Starbucks full-time than I had working 60-hour weeks as a counselor. I was making about $1,400 per month with an expectation to pay $1,200 of that to Sallie Mae. Since no one can live on $200 per month, especially in Boston, I applied for the Income-Based Repayment program and—after Sallie Mae lost my application twice—I got it, knocking my monthly payments down to $400 per month.
About a year after graduating, I got engaged and my fiancé bought a house. I was very lucky to fall in love with an engineer, because if I hadn’t I would probably be living off of pasta trying to pay my bills. As it is, I ultimately left my job after bringing home a flea infestation (which is apparently an “accepted risk’’ of in-home therapy and makes me ineligible for unemployment) and have been out of work for 6 months.
Right now, I’m terrified. I’m terrified because my fiancé is paying all the bills, the wedding is in 4 months, I don’t have a job, I’m out of savings, my loans are building up $800 per month in interest, and the government makes it difficult to understand what happens to income-based loan repayments once you get married. It’s been a whirlwind: I have no idea how I’m supposed to handle all my debt, or how my debt built up so fast, or why I was allowed to go that far into debt for a career that will maybe get me $45,000 per year if I’m lucky.
I’m terrified I’m going to ruin my fiancé’s careful life planning with my expensive education. I’m worried we’re going to lose the house.
No one seems to be able to give me straight answers about what’s going to happen to my debt when we get married, even at Sallie Mae, and that scares me.
Catch up with The Boston Globe for free.
Get The Globe's free newsletter, Today's Headlines, every morning.