I’m 31, I Make $60K & I Was Counting On Loan Forgiveness

I’m 31, I Make $60K & I Was Counting On Loan Forgiveness

Occupation: Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 31
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $60,000
Net Worth: -$14,655 ($3,345 in a savings account; $15,000 in a teacher’s pension, minus debt)
Debt: $33,000 (student loans)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,400
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,450 (My husband, P., and I share our apartment. He’s currently unemployed, so I’m covering our rent and most expenses.)
Water: $70
Electricity: $60
Internet: $65
Phone: $120
Student Loans: $500 (This includes payments for myself and P.)
Credit Card: $55
Health & Dental Insurance: $0 (P. and I are both fully covered by my work plan.)
Car Insurance: $150
Gym: $40
Netflix & Max: $15

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes and no. My parents didn’t attend college and neither did most of their siblings. I always loved learning and went to college immediately after high school. During COVID-19, I realized how unhappy I was at my office job and went back to school to get a master’s degree in elementary education. I also earned my license to teach special education. I paid for school with student loans and a Pell Grant.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My family didn’t talk about money much. My mom had me when she was really young and spent most of my childhood working two jobs. My stepdad spent most of my childhood working full time while taking night classes at a trade school. We moved around a lot when I was young and lived with my grandparents for a while. My parents are in a much better place now, and I know how hard they’ve both worked to get to this point.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at a Walmart and a fast food restaurant throughout high school. I got the jobs to help out at home and to have a cushion once I finished high school.

Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes and no. I remember other kids getting new clothes and making comments about how my parents couldn’t afford to shop at those stores, but otherwise I wasn’t aware of how much or how little we may have had. If my parents were ever worried about money, they never showed it in front of me.

Do you worry about money now?
All the time. P. and I live in LA, and it’s an incredibly expensive city. P. was laid off right before Christmas, which has increased the stress about finances. We were both really counting on having most of our student loans forgiven and naively believed it was something that would actually happen. We went through the bulk of our savings over the last winter, spring, and summer when I was finishing up student teaching (and after he had been laid off).

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially independent at age 18, when I moved out for college. I have some money in my savings account but, as I already mentioned, we used lots of savings in the previous year.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.

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