An introduction to our $320K debt

Welcome!  You are probably here because you have a lot of debt and need to be reassured that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  Well, you have come to the right place!  My husband and I have a lot of debt.

Our educational debt is primarily in the form of student loans, the result of 2 undergraduate degrees, 1 masters, and 2 JDs all earned over 8 years, which amounts to a whooping $289,000.  Within a year after graduating from law school we went on a trip to Europe, after taking the bar, married, and honey-mooned, which all cost about $31,000 all “responsibly” financing through credit cards.  If you haven’t done the math already, our total unpaid debt was $320,000 between the two of us.

Needless to say by the end of 2016 we were newly-weds facing the number one issue that tends to end marriages:  Money.  We kept asking ourselves, how are we going to pay off our debt while trying to live at the same time?

Our position was not atypical of most couples, we went to professional school for goodness sake, and like so many millennials, had literally bought into the idea that “investing” in your education was the proper path toward to a sound financial future.  And like so many millennials we were only “counseled” about our debt and the true implications of it after it was too late to turn back and the loans officially became due.  For my husband that was when he was pursuing his masters degree in 2009 after the market crashed.  For myself, fortunately counseling occurred after I graduated from law school and mustered enough courage to face the aftermath of compounding interest.  Which sucks.

So where do we go from here?

The trick with having to solve a long-term problem is that you must have a long-term plan.  The problem with long-term debt (because I’m assuming you’re not reading this after winning the lottery and spending your winnings in a semi-reasonably way) there is no one-size fits all plan.  And that’s okay.  This truth provides flexibility when life demands it, forgiveness when plans are derailed, and encouragement to carve out your own path even when others successfully complete theirs before you.  This is how my husband and I approached our debt and curated our own unique 22 month plan to not only knock out our debt, but to also build a comfortable savings, while continuing to give generously to honor the blessing of our careers.