Thursday, March 31, 2016


Danny's graduation just keeps getting closer and closer which means one excellent thing: we are getting closer and closer to having a real income. But it also means that we are getting closer and closer to having to make a decision on how we are going to tackle his MOUNTAIN of debt. So, I've gone through each of our options (or lack of options, but hopefully it is helpful for you). Without further adieu:

Lets start off by looking at this fancy chart. You should create your own HERE as it is helpful in reviewing what the best option is for you.

1. IBR

to qualify: must have FFEL, Stafford/Graudate Plus loans (can't have anything that contains Parent Plus loans)

  • Loan forgiveness. After 25 years, the remaining balance of your loans disappear.
  • Live better lifestyle immediately after graduation. This is as a result of the fact that you will  be making low monthly payments.This is appealing to people who have been students (and living like students) for more than 10 years.
  • Never have to pay more than what would be required under 10 year standard repayment plan. 
  • Payments change with income.This helps ensure that your payments are affordable- if you get a job that pays less, then your payments will decrease. 
  • Possibility for saving and investing money earlier
  • Doesn't incentivize you to make lots of money (since its based off percentage (15%) of income. The more I earn, the more I pay, while interest is accruing).
  • Pay FAT taxes the year that your loan is forgiven. You are taxed on the remaining balance of your loan (which, for medical and dental students, can easily be more than $1million). Meaning, you might be paying $100k - $400k JUST IN TAXES the year your loan is "forgiven"
  • You have debt hanging over your head for 25 years 
  • Your loans will earn more interest 
IN SUM: Good for people who have high debt compared to income and or family size. Or who want to live a more comfortable lifestyle and not concerned about lifetime value of the loan. 

2. PAYE:

To Qualify: Must have Stafford or Graduate Plus loans that were taken out ON OR AFTER Oct, 1, 2011, or have consolidaton loans that were made on or after Oct 1, 2011 OR direct loan borrowers can qualify if they have no loans made before Oct 1, 2007.

We don't qualify for this so I didn't research this too hard because its too depressing on what we are missing out on. If you qualify, really consider taking advantage of this!


- 10% of your income for twenty years and then it is forgiven.
- Allows you to live comfy-ish lifestyle immediately after graduation
- total balance of your loan that you end up paying will likely be less than what you would have paid under the conventional loan option (or any other option for that matter, see chart customized to our situation above)


- you  have debt hanging over your head for 20 years.
- You'll be taxed on the remaining balance that is forgiven plus whatever your income is that year, so that will HURT



- good option if your job is not reliable or you think for some reason you may earn LESS money in the future
- only pay 10% of whatever your income is. So if you went to school and then decided to become a SAHM for example, you would pay $0 (since your income is $0).
- good option if you don't qualify for PAYE


- Accrue WAY more interest than other repayment options
- Get taxed (as discussed above) when your loan is forgiven


The standard plan sets up your payments such that you'd pay off your loans within ten years.


- smallest amount of interest accruing
- gets rid of debt hanging over your head the fastest


- living like students for another 10 years (ideally less, since ideally you'd be throwing more money at these monthly than what is due)
- takes a lot of discipline to not spend the money you are making

So, our expenses could look something like this next year:

Yearly expenses based on $150,000 income (ps, we don't know what exactly our income we'll be, so this is just a random figure I chose out of the air) 
Taxes: $37,500 - 49,500 (25-33% depending on how we file) 
Tithing: $15,000
Housing: $9600
Food: $5000
Standard loan: $62,000 IBR: $17,976 PAYE: $15,000 REPAYE: $15,492
Car maintenance: $500
Clothes: $500

This factors in basically no discretionary income- gifts, vacations, etc. And this could change a lot because it depends quite a bit on what our actual income is.

Super appealing to only have to spend 15k on student loans next year instead of 60k! But super unappealing to think about getting taxed to death in 20-25 years. And super unappealing to STILL be paying loans in 20-25 years. In the end, its a personal choice, obviously. What do you think? What have I not considered? What are you doing for your student loans?? Or what are your plans?? HELP US DECIDE-- comment below! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Student Loans: March Debt Update

Progress is progress I guess! 
Kind of. Except that I looked at Danny's dental school loans and his masters degree loans this week. Its like looking after you squish a bug or blow your nose- you've gotta see it but you really really really don't want to. But you do. But really you don't. He's only accrued $60k in INTEREST so far. BAH. I just about passed out. 

At least he graduates in a couple of months and can start knocking those bad boys out. 


Friday, March 11, 2016

Tax Returns

This year, we are actually getting a tax return!:

1) because I (Amber) am actually working instead of in school
2) because I don't get paid that much as a law clerk and
3) because we had a baby last year! Thanks Max.

We are planning on just throwing our whole return at debt, but I like thinking of the future when we won't have debt. So, what do you do with your tax returns?? Comment below- we'd love to hear it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The best things in life are free

Starting a new series featuring the best things in life, that are free.

 First up: babies with puppies. Ok ok neither of those are actually free but the moment was.