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Student loan debt advice...

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Bixby
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I live in Australia, and I'm looking to go to the UK as an international student to study for post-grad this year. I have English parents, and they have English bank accounts, as well as granting me UK citizenship/passport, but I do not qualify for the government loans program or local tuition I believe, because while I'm a British citizen, I haven't fulfilled the residency requirement by living there for 3 consecutive years. This has led me to believe that I will need to take out a private loan in the region of about 16,000 to cover tuition and part of my accommodation costs. I'm hoping to have about 8000 saved between now and September from the job I have while at university finishing my undergrad, and I'll be applying for every under the sun to try and offset some costs.
Post Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:43 am
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x3Harvey
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oldguy, not sure if you're still around as this thread is quite old now, but I stumbled across the link to it in my browser favorites and thought you might appreciate an update.

My husband and I did manage to pay off the 8.25% loan at the end of July.

I found another job that pays more and has a decent 401k option. They match the first 3% of contributions 100% and then match the next 2% at 50%. I do not get that benefit until I've been there for 6 months, but I will be contributing 5% as soon as I am able.

We are also in the process of buying a home. Closing is in less than 2 weeks on a lovely 2000 square ft (2600 sq ft of living space with the finished basement), 4 bedroom home with 2 separately deeded agricultural lots, totaling a little over 1 acre. Our mortgage was approved and we locked in at an interest rate of 3.875%. This is a phenomenal rate!

We got a great deal on this house. The seller was motivated and we paid much lower than average market value in the neighborhood. It's a well-built, historic home, in great condition, with modern updates. It has beautiful, original trim, and hardwood floors. It's a solid brick structure, and the roof is in good shape. It comes with a detached, oversize 2 car garage. There is an outbuilding that has been used to house agricultural animals since the late 1800's, but was originally a house. The old kitchen and a primitive stone basement remain. It is still separately deeded and has it's own address, though it is no longer habitable by people. If we wanted, we would be able to sell this property to developers for a profit, or change the zoning and put storage units on it for a bit of extra income. For now, we are leaving it in its original state. We have time to decide how we want to utilize that land and structure.

We still have a lot of student debt hanging over our heads, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel now, and we are finding ways to live our lives without having all of them paid off.

My tip to all students, is to apply for scholarships (whether you qualify for financial aid or not)! Apply for as many as you can. Don't balk at the number of silly essays you'll have to write. It will be worth it later!

My tips to all recent graduates: Stay organized. Spend smart. Come up with a plan of attack based on the big picture, and remain focused. Never give up!
Post Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:38 am
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oldguy
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quote:
Our mortgage was approved and we locked in at an interest rate of 3.875%. This is a phenomenal rate!


Funny you should say that! About an hour ago we were driving home from church, the radio ad says 30-year, 3.875% fixed rate. I told DW - if we were young I'd be all over that, what an opportunity fro young folks. There will be a dozen times in the next 30 yrs when folks are paying 5%, 8%, yada, for capital - and you'll be very happy to have 3.875% money locked in for 30 yrs.

Yes, still around, thank you for the update, it' fun to hear that.

Sounds like a nice place. Reminds me of a business trip I made years ago, the engineer took me home for supper one nite - a few acres about 5 or 10 miles outside Lancaster - he had an old stone tobacco shed, maybe 200 yrs old. And a flock of sheep, they slept in the shed, they were 4H projects for his kids. Do you have enough property to bring the horses? And use building for winter shelter and hay storage? (As for selling - I'm guessing that the extra property will add plenty to your NW over the next 30 yrs, plus you'll have control of the area around your home - someday kids will romp and play in that old bldg, I'd keep it!)

Congratulations!!
Post Sun Sep 13, 2015 3:55 pm
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x3Harvey
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Thanks!

The old building was used as a run-in shed for a horse at one point. An old woman showed up at one of the open houses just to look. She said she grew up in the house in the 30's and her horse lived in the backyard, with the old building used as shelter for her horse. It has also been used as a chicken coop, and for storage. The wooden remnants of the structure are piece-meal and in terrible condition from years of repurpose and neglect. In recent years, it has not been used for much. The fence has since been taken out. At one point in recent history, the land was used for football practice for the local high school.

My husband and I have debated a lot of possibilities. My husband is considering getting a small forge and getting into some farrier and metal work. That shelter would be perfect for such hobby. We have also debated getting a few alpacas or sheep to keep as pets and sell small quantities of fiber. We have also discussed having a family cow, or raising our own chickens. We could have one horse there. The land is borderline big enough for one horse, and right now we have two horses. Space to ride would be limited. For now, both horses will stay at a commercial boarding stable. Someday, when the older horse has passed, and the younger horse is older and retired, I may move her home, so I can spend more time with her off her back. We will just have to see what the future brings. The land is not big enough to accommodate all of those dreams all at once, but it is full of potential. Our more immediate plans include starting a vegetable garden and planting some fruit trees.

This interest rate is just unbelievable. I still can't get over how lucky we are.

It's also funny that you mention Lancaster. This home is about 5 miles north of Lancaster city.
Post Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:40 am
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oldguy
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We still have a lot of student debt hanging over our heads, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel now, and we are finding ways to live our lives without having all of them paid off.



lol - that concept seems hard for people. The conventional wisdom is "debt is bad" - so people struggle to pay it off w/o thinking about the math (or maybe it's our failing K12 system?).

Here's an example - when one of our rental houses gets paid-down a ways, I refi and take out maybe $50,000. That adds $270/m to the payment ($97,000). I place the $50k cash into the SP500 Index Fund (~11%/yr) where it grows to $1,100,000 in 30 yrs.

The point is - I don't mind being in debt for 30 yrs and paying an extra $47,000 for a house when the use of that capital provides the opportunity to earn over a million with a good probability of success. Over the past 40 years I've done that w/ 5 houses. Many years ago people would ask 'why on earth are you mortgaging houses that you have already paid-off?" Apparently it is totally counter-intuitive to most people. Keep your "low,long" loans and apply your income stream to its highest and best use, no to prepaying cheap debt.

The sheep idea is good, 4 or 5 sheep will keep the yard trimmed - not much fuss in the winter, toss them a couple flakes of hay. And lambs are cute, quite a few twins. Cows, not so much. 730 times per year you get to go out at 5:00 AM & 6:00P and milk the cow. And every year you call the inseminater so she''ll be fresh for another year - and you have to decide what to do with the calf. OTOH, you can make really good ice cream Very Happy
Post Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:56 pm
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