At Long Last- My Student Loans are Paid Off

I made my final student loan payment this morning. It feels pretty amazing.

It took a while to pay them off for a number of reasons, but chief of which was that I set a very low payment rate the first few years I was paying them off because my interest rate was so low I decided it would probably be better to defer them for a bit and invest the maximum into my retirement account. At the time I was living in a shithole two bedroom apartment that had not been remodeled and had… carpet on the walls in some rooms but was only 300 bucks a month (the next cheapest 2 bedroom was 700 bucks) and drove an 83 chevy celebrity until 2006 when it finally died.

After I had a bit of a nest egg, I then started paying in earnest- every month, 400 bucks. And now I am done.

Probably just start putting the money into the furnace fund, since I own a house and after replacing the water filter yesterday and the ac unit in September and all the plumbing and electrical wiring two years ago, I know that is next. Or maybe one of the animals will learn the loans are done and decide to get some debilitating and expensive protracted illness. But the god damned student loans are paid off.

119 replies
  1. 1
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Congratulations John! I have a girlfriend who is still paying off her grad school loan. We both graduated in 1998!!

  2. 2
    Betsy says:

    Age 52 here. Same, a few days ago.

  3. 3
    Emma says:

    Mazel tov, y felicitaciones, John. And yes, the house fund. I am restarting mine after using up everything I had to pay for the post-hurricane fixit. It never ends.

  4. 4

    That’s awesome. I think. I never had loans, so…

  5. 5
    bemused says:

    Gah, it just kills me that people are happy to get their student loans paid off EARLY when they are in their 40’s. Then I think of couples, both with student loans they are paying off and they have mortgages, kids. How do you ever finish paying off the loans or ever retire? Damn rightwing legislators who don’t believe in investing in education.

  6. 6

    Congrats! About the age Obama was when he did it, no?

  7. 7
    Original Lee says:

    Congratulations! I remember feeling as if I could breathe again after I finished paying everything off. Enjoy having that $400 back in your monthly cash flow!

  8. 8
    Matt Smith says:

    Congrats! That’s got to be a huge weight off your mind. So happy for you. And your furnace. And your pets.

  9. 9
    Heidi Mom says:

    Congratulations, John! I’m sure many of us, myself included, understand what an accomplishment this is.

  10. 10
    Betsy says:

    People sometimes claim that socialist Europe takes most of what you earn in taxes, but I’d gladly pay a 50-70% marginal rate (if that’s what it really is) — because here in the USA while working we have to fund our own retirement & higher education expenses. I’m sure that using the middle of our lives to fund the first and last parts of our lives (and child care, health care, etc) amounts to much more than a 50% tax rate.

    That’s for those who even are fortunate enough to think of getting education and training or having a retirement.

  11. 11
    zhena gogolia says:

    Congratulations, John. You obviously learned a lot!

  12. 12
    Daniel'sBob says:

    Cole, you know BJers are are always going to chip in if you need help keeping your animals healthy. Right? We love ’em too, especially when they aggravate the hell out of you.

  13. 13
    Raven says:

    I’m 69 and still owe about 8k. I want the last check I write to bounce!

  14. 14
    OzarkHillbilly says:


  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    drove an 83 chevy celebrity until 2006

    Here’s the lede, IMO. 23 years in a 80’s model Chevy? If this isn’t Big Sky Daddy granting you a miracle, I don’t know what is. I can only imagine the ocean-sized amounts of rust and corrosion on the undercarriage and body…did you Fred Flintstone this thing around town with your bare feet beneath the steering wheel?

  16. 16
    low-tech cyclist says:

    1) Congrats, John!

    2) My wife and I paid off our mortgage 4 years ago. Nyaah, nyaah!

    3) We really HAVE to make college inexpensive again. A 4-year degree shouldn’t mean a lifetime of debt.

  17. 17
    raven says:

    Oh, I just looked and it’s $5,736.59 out of 30k!

  18. 18
    Radiumgirl says:

    Good for you. That’s a great feeling.

  19. 19
  20. 20

    Congrats, John. And saving for that furnace is a good idea. We owned three houses and had to replace the furnace in two of them.

  21. 21
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Punchy: I once had a early 80s Ford Bronco with the floor board rotted out. Had to put a piece of plywood there so I didn’t get soaked every time I hit a deep puddle.

  22. 22
    Yarrow says:


  23. 23
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ever use POR 15? I rebuilt my rockers with it and it’s held for 10 years.

  24. 24
    oldster says:

    Glad to hear it, Cole.

    We have *got* to do something to make life affordable for the next generation.

    Fat boomers like me sitting around gloating about our houses appreciating in value. Who the hell are we going to sell them to, if our kids’ generation cannot afford a mortgage?

    We need to make college affordable. Build more housing. Make cities affordable.

    And tax the billionaires until they are mere millionaires. I’m with AOC!

  25. 25
    SFAW says:

    Congratulations, John!!

    Onward to your PhD!!!!

  26. 26
    JPL says:

    Supreme assholes voted to allow the military to ban transgender folks.

  27. 27
    Melkel says:

    @Betsy: I live in post-socialist hellhole of a country :-) (Czech Republic, and I love it here). Our combined tax quota (taxes, social and health insurance, VAT etc.) is just shy of 50% (we have the day of tax freedom mid June). I graduated fom one of the best universities in my country with exactly 0 debt. You will only pay if you exceed approved time of studies. As for healthcare – I pay 13,5% of my income as mandatory “health insurance”, in fact it is health tax. The health care is not 100% free – you pay for extra services, part of medicine costs etc., but any issue will be fixed for free. Just recently, my friend died of cancer. He underwent couple of chemos, surgery, and finally quite long stay in hospital. It did not cost anything, and I cannot imagine his wife to deal not only with his death, but also with the huge bill.

  28. 28
    Old School says:

    I just had to get a new furnace put in yesterday. The former one was 18 years old, so I guess it wasn’t too surprising, but it is still unpleasant news to receive.

  29. 29
    SFAW says:


    Who the hell are we going to sell them to, if our kids’ generation cannot afford a mortgage?

    That bit of wisdom gets (un)surprisingly little discussion.

    I guess if they all just worked harder, and had not made poor choices, those kids (after they got offa our lawns) would have become productive members of society, not the moochers they currently are.

  30. 30
    Phylllis says:

    Paid mine off about 20 years ago. Still one of the best feelings ever in my life.

  31. 31
    raven says:

    @Old School: What did you go with? Our is that old and we keep being told n to to replace it until we have to because the new ones suck.

  32. 32
    Blue Galangal says:

    Congratulations! The student loan situation is something that we (and by “we” I mean, sadly, the millennials and iGen) need to fix.

  33. 33
    raven says:

    @SFAW: I never even considered any of that stuff, mortgage, retirement and other long term planning for years. I got my doctorate when I was 50 and now look at retirement this year.

  34. 34
    MazeDancer says:

    Well done, John! Congratulations!

    Watching MLK clip yesterday about how only white people got land grants and gov support and slaves got freedom with no way to pay for it, so no building up wealth, reminds me of college loans. Those of us without them way ahead of those saddled with them.

    Also reminds me of how for eons I paid 5 to 6K a health insurance because I was self-employed. So did everyone else. Kept thinking of all that money being siphoned from the economy. Same for student loans.

  35. 35
    Nicole says:

    Congrats, John! That’s great news. Look at you, student loans paid off, homeowner. No one’s going to believe you’re a Gen-Xer.

    Although, according to CBS, I guess we don’t exist anyway.

  36. 36
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Just hearing that SCOTUS is allowing the transgender military ban to stand until it considers the matter next year. Just awful.

  37. 37
    eric says:

    just paid of law school loans 2 minutes ago! now i can buy a car and make car payments DOH

  38. 38
    SFAW says:


    I vaguely remember something about you getting your Doctorate, but can’t recall what field. But I think it’s great that you did.

    Mrs. SFAW went back for her Master’s, she started after 50, and having it helped her get the job she has today, which is a pretty decent job. (Although she probably makes less than if she had stayed in her old job.)

  39. 39
    dww44 says:

    @bemused: Well, once they did. My entire college education, room, board, and tuition, cost a total of $2,800.00 and I had a grant from the state that paid for that as long as I was willing to teach a year in a public school for each $1m in grant/scholarship monies.
    Of course, that was a very long time ago.

  40. 40
    chris says:

    Congratulations, Cole!

    Tenured full prof sibling paid off last loan at her 50th birthday. Family was amused that she went from social democratic grad student/bartender to complaining about taxes in less than 25 years. Please don’t do that.

  41. 41
    Fair Economist says:

    Fantastic! Although it’s very disturbing it takes so long…

  42. 42
    oldster says:


    Trump’s answer: sell them to Russian oligarchs. Our kids have no money, because the oligarchs took it all.

    Here are our options: the oligarchs enslave us. Or we raise their taxes a bit.

    I think the second route is a lot less violent and disruptive. You might even say, moderate.

  43. 43
    satby says:

    @Betsy: this!
    I’ll be paying for the PLUS loan on my son’s education at the fraudulent Wyotech for the rest of my life. My kid has paid off the smaller loan he took out, but is going to be paying on the larger one for a long time too.
    And because I put them into forbearance while we were both unemployed, of course now what we owe is mostly compounded interest.
    Republicans have always been behind the worst stuff that ever happened to me: educational loans run as a racket, non-existent child support enforcement, gig economy “freeing” me from the horror of benefits and pensions. And when you add it all up, we pay out more than Europeans do to get less and live worse.

  44. 44
    randy khan says:

    The day I paid off my last student loan was one of the better days of my life, so congratulations.

  45. 45
    Ruckus says:


    Who the hell are we going to sell them to, if our kids’ generation cannot afford a mortgage?

    Why think about the future, the end of time will be upon us and christ will save us in 20, no 30, no 40, no 100 yrs….. Hasn’t shown up in over 2000 years but you know tomorrow won’t always show up, so why worry about it. Besides they scam/grift/steal/inherit enough they don’t have to worry about it and if you were worthy you would do the same.

  46. 46
    Ruckus says:


    Who the hell are we going to sell them to, if our kids’ generation cannot afford a mortgage?

    Why think about the future, the end of time will be upon us and christ will save us in 20, no 30, no 40, no 100 yrs….. Hasn’t shown up in over 2000 years but you know tomorrow won’t always show up, so why worry about it. Besides they scam/grift/steal/inherit enough they don’t have to worry about it and if you were worthy you would do the same.

  47. 47
    lurker dean says:

    congrats, that must feel great. i’m a couple years older than you and still have a few years left to pay. damnit.

  48. 48
    germy says:

    Emin Agalarov, the Russian singer who initiated the Trump Tower meeting, canceled his U.S. tour after failing to reach a deal with Mueller and Congress. Looming over the tour was the prospect of him being on U.S. soil and subject to U.S. law enforcement.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 21, 2019

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Patricia Kayden: @JPL: What the actual fuck?

  50. 50
    Old School says:

    @raven: We put in a Goodman. Not sure of the model. It was the recommendation of the furnace guy rather than the result of any research on our part.

  51. 51
    narya says:

    I paid off three sets of loans: undergrad (double major in philosophy & government), grad (phd in political science), and . . . certificate from pastry school. The only one i’m using is the philosophy degree.

  52. 52
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Betsy: This is 100% right. There’s even a term for the general idea: “social insurance”. Instead of every person saving for their personal calamities and future giant-ticket items, we save together, and so those who don’t end up needing the money, subsidize those who do. We each contribute less to the pool, than if we’d saved individually&separately.

    And then one addresses the warping of life priorities, by saddling young people with debt right at the point where they make life choices. Forcing anybody that can, into lucrative fields, instead of socially-valuable fields. And then there’s “pay off your student loans around when you retire” bullshit.

    So many layers of lunacy to this. So many layers. College education needs to be substantively free. Even for DJTJ. Tax the fuck out of his poppa to pay for it. Don’t charge DJTJ up-front.

  53. 53
    catclub says:


    And tax the billionaires until they are mere millionaires. I’m with AOC!

    make taxes progressive ALL THE WAY UP.

    It is unfair to the person making $20k/yr to get taxed at the same rate as someone earning $200k/yr.
    Likewise, it is unfair to the person making $500k/yr to have the same tax rate on their last dollar as the person making $5M .. or $50M/yr.

  54. 54
    catclub says:

    @Old School:

    It was the recommendation of the furnace guy

    I hope it works out well. It might!

    But they say you should not ask a barber if you need a haircut. This seems along those lines.

  55. 55
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    I’m about 10 years older than Cole, and what a difference it made here. I was in the GSL program pre-Reagan, and between the non-predatory nature of the program in those days, and the relatively cheap tuition, I had mine paid off within a few years of graduation. Then I didn’t pay much attention to student loans until my kids were starting to be college-age, and holy shit how things changed.

  56. 56

    Congratulations! I don’t have any student loans. Thank Ceiling Cat!

  57. 57
    catclub says:

    Slate had a particularly stupid article on ‘What will a 70% tax rate [applied at $10M+] do to NBA salaries?’
    Naturally, it assumed the dumbest possible version of the tax ( which is not an impossible outcome, I admit) and worked from there,
    rather than assume that taxes on very high incomes become progressive all the way up. (including from the present top bracket that now starts at $500k)

  58. 58
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    Yeesh. On top of the disgusting bigotry and lives thrown in chaos, I’m sure the military is going to love the disruption to already existing practices and firing active troops.

  59. 59
    Ohio Mom says:

    Adding my Congratulations — glad to celebrate this milestone with you John!

    Unseen and uncounted are all the ways student loans undermine the lives people could have lived. I think back to the best speech-language student intern Ohio Son had — she was working under his regular therapist’s supervision.

    By that point, I’d seen a lot of SLPs in action and she was supremely gifted. When her graduation date neared, I told her that whatever school hired her would have very fortunate students, she would change the course of their education and their lives.

    “I can’t work in a school, they don’t pay enough and I have loans. I’m going to work in nursing homes.”

    Think of that multiplied over and over. Wasted talent as people look to how they can pay off their loans instead of how to best use their gifts.

  60. 60
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Birtherism is back, Baby!

    Jacob Wohl @ JacobAWohl
    Kamala Harris is NOT eligible to be President. Her father arrived from Jamaica in 1961—mother from India arrived in 1960
    Neither parent was a legal resident for 5 years prior to Harris’s birth, a requirement for naturalization
    Kamala was raised in Canada

  61. 61

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I knew it! I also predict illiterate comments about the caste system will follow shortly.

  62. 62
    catclub says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Hey lets just assume that the clear language of the 14th Amendment is waived in the case of presidential candidates! It worked for birthers last time – some.

    Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, to a Tamil Indian mother and a Jamaican father.

  63. 63
    SFAW says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Did Certified Moron Jacob Wohl pick up that “information” from the hipster coffee shop from which he has learned all things libtardy-ish?

    Because she was born in Oakland, which made her a citizen at birth, if I recall. Or are the RWMFs hoping to get Squi’s asshole buddy to decide birthright citizenship is no longer valid, and make it retroactive to one week before the birthdate of any PoC they hate?

  64. 64
    joel hanes says:

    I’m curious, Cole.

    One of the heinous things that the Rs have done is to greatly diminish veterans’ benefits, while making extraordinary demands of military personnel.

    I was among the last drafted, and when I got out in ’75, I went back to school on the Viet Nam era GI bill, which paid for 45 months of college at $550/month.
    Inflation-adjusted to 2000, that would have been $1550/ month.
    Inflation-adjusted to 2017, that’s over $2200/month.

    If you don’t mind saying, what kind of college money (if any) did you get from serving in the Desert Storm era ?

  65. 65

    @catclub: The Wall is just the beginning getting rid of birthright citizenship is their endgame. Giving in to the ransom demands right now are just going to make the next set of demands worse.

  66. 66
    The Moar You Know says:

    Birtherism is back, Baby!

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Never went away. Never will.

    ETA: as others have noticed, and the right is actually pretty upfront about this, the endgame is no more birthright citizenship, retroactive to 1860.

  67. 67
    SFAW says:


    One of the cute things the RWMFs were claiming was that the birth notice in the Honolulu Times (I think) was fake, having been changed ex post facto by Evil Negroes using the Obama Time Machine.

    ETA: Where “cute” == “more fucked up”

  68. 68

    OT from the morning thread.
    This is a Twitter thread about the sham “compromise” bill, by an immigration attorney about its various provisions.

  69. 69
    raven says:

    @SFAW: Adult Ed

  70. 70
    SFAW says:


    I knew it! I also predict illiterate comments about the caste system will follow shortly.

    Do you mean hear? Or on AssWohl’s twitter feed?

  71. 71
  72. 72

    @SFAW: Here, there, everywhere!

    ETA: With the caveat that the worst Balloon Juice comments are better than the best comments elsewhere on the intertoobz.

  73. 73
    bemused says:


    I’m old enough to remember that too. Sadly many retired rightwingers who got their higher education, went on to well paying jobs and are financially healthy in retirement have forgotten how much less expensive college was for them, etc. They prefer to believe they did it all themselves, no special breaks for them, pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and seem to have no empathy for people struggling to pay for college now.

  74. 74
    Quinerly says:

    Trump has weighed in twice on Twitter re Covington, name checking Sandmann. I’m thinking a WH visit is in this kid’s future. (Trump: “Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be. They have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good – maybe even to bring people together. It started off unpleasant, but can end in a dream!”)
    It’s a 9 tweet morning. Again, that Dr. Eugene Gu is slaying Trump with his Twitter response. I really want to meet Dr. Gu. I’ve become a fan in a very short time.

  75. 75
    chopper says:

    i paid my loans off pretty quick, but it was dumb. every time i ended up with an extra grand in the account i’d throw it at the loan, even if it meant i was eating ramen for a month. i mean, they were like 3% loans, i didn’t need to go so hardcore.

    so after i paid them off i was all chuffed i was, right after i got married to a woman with 50K in outstanding loans. you can’t fucking win.

  76. 76
    Origuy says:

    I graduated from Illinois in 1978. I don’t remember the exact amount, but I think I had under ten thousand in student loans. Simple interest, 3%. I remember that the payments were around $35 a month. I paid that off before I was 30 and was able to buy a townhouse in 1985.Impossible today.

  77. 77

    @SFAW: Some will come from the leftier-than-thou spectrum of second gen Indian kids.
    Her mother is an upper caste Indian woman so KH is so privileged that she can never represent the truly down trodden such themselves, who had to grow up with being compared to Simpson’s Appu or something to that effect.

  78. 78
    lurker dean says:

    @Quinerly: i used to follow gu but it came out he created fake accounts to defend himself against harassment charges. unfortunately, most links to the story are right wing hit jobs, but i found one that seems fairly factual. he says a lot of stuff i like but he showed himself to have some real issues with honesty and women.

  79. 79
    SFAW says:


    Here are our options: the oligarchs enslave us. Or we raise their taxes a bit.

    With a little tweaking, that could be a pretty good slogan/meme to help the Dems put things in perspective. The RWMFs will still burble about libtards being socialists blahblahblah, be the non-insane will see the value.

  80. 80
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Or maybe one of the animals will learn the loans are done and decide to get some debilitating and expensive protracted illness. But the god damned student loans are paid off.

    It’s going to be Thurston. That’s just how he rolls.

  81. 81
    SFAW says:


    “Hear”? What a fucking moron, you’d think I could spell correctly.

  82. 82

    @SFAW: Don’t take it to heart, it happens to the best of us!

  83. 83
    SFAW says:


    Any fucking excuse to trash a Dem, especially a woman or PoC.

  84. 84
    Skepticat says:


  85. 85
    catclub says:


    Giving in to the ransom demands right now are just going to make the next set of demands worse.

    and luckily, Pelosi et al show no signs of doing that.

  86. 86
    chris says:

    I think I can speak for most Canadians and say that Kamala will be welcomed when she asks for asylum at the border. Rafael “Ted” Cruz on the other hand… no, hell no!

  87. 87
    SFAW says:


    the best of us!

    The Venn diagram of “SFAW” and “the best of us”

  88. 88
    kindness says:

    I was paying $1000 a month at the end before I bit the bullet and paid it all off. It’s so nice not having that payment.

  89. 89
    chopper says:


    we don’t know for sure until she coughs up her long form birth certificate amirite?

  90. 90
    marklar says:

    Mazel Tov!

    Reminds me of the terrific Stephen Wright joke….

    “I got into an elevator at work and this man followed in after me. I pushed ‘1’ and he just stood there…I said, “Hi, where you going?” He said, “Phoenix.” So, I pushed ‘Phoenix’. A few seconds later,the doors opened, two tumbleweeds blew in…we were in downtown Phoenix. I looked at him and said, “You know, you’re the kind of guy I want to hang around with.” We got into his car and drove out to his shack in the desert. Then the phone rang. He said, “You get it.” I picked it up and said, “Hello?”…The other side said, “Is this Steven Wright?” I said, “Yes…” The guy said, “Hi, I’m Mr. Jones, the student loan director from your bank….”

  91. 91
    catclub says:


    i mean, they were like 3% loans, i didn’t need to go so hardcore.

    you might also believe (I have no idea if true or not, but I hope for true) that the faster you repay your loan, the more money is available in the pool for college loans for other people.

  92. 92

    @catclub: Thank Ceiling Cat for NP. She is the boss!

  93. 93
    Seanly says:

    I only had about $12k in student loans when I graduated in 1990. Went to Lehigh University & got lots of scholarships. Payment was just $151 a month for 10 years – rate was pretty good though I can’t remember what it was. When I went to grad school, the interest & payments were deferred. Since I was in engineering I was either teaching or had lab work. That meant I was covered for grad school tuition and got a small stipend so I didn’t need any additional loans. I had a fellow grad student & then coworker who was 3 years behind me in undergrad; similar family finances and scholarships and her loans were about 3 times what I had.
    I was very, very fortunate to have gotten out of a wannabe-Ivy (I love Lehigh U with all my heart & it is a great school, but yeah, it’s a wannabe) with so little debt. Yes, even an atheist like me can see when I’ve been blessed.
    With the deferments and such, I wasn’t paid off until sometime in 2005 IIRC. The payment was so low that I was never tempted to pay ahead. I look at loans this way – loan interest minus the inflation rate is the real interest rate.
    On the other hand, my wife cosigned for her stepsister’s student loans at an expensive trade school for graphic design after her asshole dad refused. If she misses payments we’re liable for it (though the stepsister’s mom [my wife’s stepmom] did tell my wife she would pay – she’s a sweet person & would be true to her word). After so many months of payments, the stepsister was supposed to take her off the loan, but she forgot (yeah, right). The stepsister & her husband got a big inheritance and blew it on house reno, guns, and paying off other debt, but not this loan. Luckily my wife learned the lesson & won’t get involved financially with her any further. To further pour salt in the wound the stepsister can’t hold a job down and hasn’t done more than occasional freelance stuff in years. Her husband lost his manufacturing job so they’re now mooching off the mom. But they were talking about what guns they’re getting during our Xmas call.
    Sorry for the rant there at the end…

  94. 94
    Mike in NC says:

    I’m a few months away from making the final bank loan payment on my Honda CR-V. A small thing to celebrate.

  95. 95
    low-tech cyclist says:


    make taxes progressive ALL THE WAY UP.

    If I had my way, there’d be a 90% bracket over $1B, going up to 95% at $5B, and 99% at $20B, or something along those lines.

    And similarly with the Federal estate tax. Create brackets there so that even Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Jeff Bezos can’t leave a billion to their kids.

  96. 96
    Quinerly says:

    @lurker dean: thanks for this. Much appreciated. I’m not on Twitter but check Trump’s tweets on line in the AM (just started that in the last two months). Just started paying attention to Gu about 5 days ago because he is everywhere attacking Trump. Multiple tweets and threads. Pithy, fact filled. Was beginning to wonder how he had time for medicine.

  97. 97
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    This shit just pisses me off. When I was an under graduate, I only had a part-time job. I did a few honest odds and ends, also shot a little stick, played some cards, made a few extra bones here and there. I was able to pay for tuition, books, room and board, and at the end of week, I still had a few bucks left over to go on a date, see a movie, or buy a couple of beers.

    One of my students, with the exact same degree plan, graduated ten years ago carrying over 30G in debt! He’s still paying it off!

    I call shenanigans!

  98. 98
    Hoodie says:

    @bemused: I see this all the time, another example of the time-honored American tradition of FYIGM. I went back to see what my tuition at Georgia Tech would be now compared to when I attended in the 80’s and it’s about three times higher, adjusted for inflation. I was able to pay most of my undergrad tuition myself with summer jobs and work during school. There’s no way that would be possible now.

  99. 99
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @low-tech cyclist: As has been noted elsewhere, this will require capital controls (to prevent flight). The machinery for this is already there (was always there) — just the will is lacking. I suspect that along with that, it would be good to convince the EU to join in, and to exclude tax havens from the international banking system. Yeah, na ga ha pen. Ah, well.

    A usually-unremarked-upon side-effect of confiscatorily high progressive rates is that businesses invest more. B/c when you can invest $1m in your business, or pay yourself $10k after-tax, it’s pretty damn appealing to invest in the business.

  100. 100
    MoxieM says:

    @Melkel: Hi there– I have a couple of questions about the Czech system, comparative to the German… I’ll just list a few things, and could I ask you to say how they line up? My kid is an American expat in Germany (long term work visa, no permanent residency-yet). They deduct ~20% of her salary for her retirement pension, but the State will match it 100% if she retires in Germany. (I don’t know what the rest of her social benefit paycheck % is, including healthcare etc).

    But university–tuition is so cheap it’s nill, but housing is something that students need to look out for themselves. I think a real point of confusion with American families is that everything at university is free. (In the US, typically the cost of university attendance includes tuition, housing and food, as well as extras like use of a gym, sports fields etc.). If (kid) were to go back to school in Germany she would pay almost nothing in tuition, but she would be responsible for the cost of housing and feeding herself. Also as a non-citizen she would have to buy a universal health policy (about $1200/year).

    Anyway, thoughts.

    Congrats to John for paying off that debt!

  101. 101
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    It is a GREAT feeling to get those paid off. And U R doin’ it right — keep in the habit of “paying off” that $400/month into savings/investment because now you’re “paying” yourself.

  102. 102
    Miss Bianca says:

    Congratulations, JC!

    I only had a small amount in student loans, so once I got my hands on some inheritance money I was able to pay them all off. Hell, I even paid off my ex-husband’s, which in retrospect, was probably not the wisest financial decision I ever made…

  103. 103
    Gelfling 545 says:

    My granddaughter is on the tuition free deal for NY residents at state colleges. It’s stillcosting her about$15k a year. We’ve all been doing our best to keep her from having to take loans but for a lot of families this is impossible.

  104. 104
    Kelly says:

    I graduated in 1980 with a debt of a few thousand dollars. Lucky birth year. Vietnam draft was gone, Oregon tuition and fees were low and grants were available. I found summer jobs that paid enough to get me through each year. I only took out the loan so I could skip some work and backpack the Oregon PCT the summer after my junior year. Majored in Computer Science kinda by accident. One of my buddies had to take CS101 for his business degree and talked me into taking it with him. Discovered I had knack for software and had a job nailed down in March of my Senior year.

    College should be free. Med school should be free.

  105. 105
    NY Robbin says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Yeah, they’re afraid of her!

  106. 106
    gene108 says:


    Fat boomers like me sitting around gloating about our houses appreciating in value.

    There’s a lot of folks, like me, who bought in the housing boom, who will never get back what they paid.

    The worst part, for me, is I could’ve refinanced to a 15 yr fixed, in 2012 or so, when rates were a bit above 2%, but housing prices hadn’t recovered much and therefore I didn’t have enough equity and couldn’t afford to bring 10K or more to close, to make up for the lack of equity.

    On a the bright side, place suits my needs and as cozy and comfy, so not a total drag.

  107. 107
    geg6 says:

    I feel you, Cole. I remember the giant relief when I paid mine off. Can’t remember the exact year, but I know I was in my late forties. If not for grad school, it would have been a bit sooner. Didn’t borrow as much in grad school, though because I already had a job in higher ed that allowed us to attend other institutions and get a grant for what 75% of our grad tuition would be. So the borrowing was not quite as harrowing as my undergrad loans were.

    It’s a big relief, though. Wait until you pay the mortgage off. Talk about a relief.

  108. 108
    catclub says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    Create brackets there so that even Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Jeff Bezos can’t leave a billion to their kids.

    INHERITANCE Tax BRACKETS. all the way up.

    Gates, Buffet and Bezos seem relatively unlikely to actually give those bIllions. The Kochs, the Walton Family, and the Adelsons, on the other hand.

    I agree.

  109. 109
    lurker dean says:

    @Quinerly: glad to help. it’s a shame because he’s otherwise a good voice for the left.

  110. 110
    catclub says:

    @SFAW: that is an adaptation of this:

    A quote from a four-year-old post by Jonathan Schwarz titled Global Warming: Why We’re Not 100% Doomed:

    Almost all political conflict, especially in the US, boils down to a fight between the Sane Billionaires and the Insane Billionaires. It generally follows this template:

    INSANE BILLIONAIRES: Let’s kill everyone and take their money!

    SANE BILLIONAIRES: I like the way you think. I really do. But if we keep everyone alive, and working for us, we’ll make even more money, in the long term.

    INSANE BILLIONAIRES: You communist!!!

    So from a progressive perspective, you always have to hope the Sane Billionaires win. Still, there’s generally a huge chasm between what the Sane Billionaires want and what progressives want.

    Sadly, Schwartz’s title notwithstanding, current indications are that we are, in fact, 100% doomed.

  111. 111
    raven says:

    @Origuy: Oskeewow! I started in 69 but didn’t graduate until 78!

  112. 112
    gene108 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Curious they exempted Donald Trump, whose mother was not a natural born US citizen, and only became a citizen in March 1942, around 4 years before Don was born.

    Also, she fled poverty in Scotland, and worked as a domestic, until marrying Fred. She stayed with an older sister, who had already come here.

    And English was her second language. First language was Scots-Gaelic.

  113. 113
    oldster says:


    Not an intentional adaption, no. But a similar sentiment.

    I should clarify that I am like the other boomers primarily in being fat, not so much in having made money on a house. We had to move around a lot, and it seemed that each time our house appreciated not at all, or enough to cover the agents’ fees and closing costs.

    I’m not complaining — we have a house, and I will have it paid off when I turn 75, so it could be worse. (Except my dad died when he was 74.)

    Anyhow — Chethan Murphy is right about the global regime needed to rein in the oligarchs. That’s another reason that Putin and his minions are so eager to destroy NATO, destroy the Hague, destroy all international systems of law.

    In the fight against global oligarchs, we’re going to need to band together across the globe.

  114. 114
    Kay says:


    People sometimes claim that socialist Europe takes most of what you earn in taxes, but I’d gladly pay a 50-70% marginal rate (if that’s what it really is) — because here in the USA while working we have to fund our own retirement & higher education expenses. I’m sure that using the middle of our lives to fund the first and last parts of our lives (and child care, health care, etc) amounts to much more than a 50% tax rate.

    My son is fairly high income and he says this- he wants to see real numbers- a real comparison. He’s open to a higher rate in return for “simplifying” health care, for example. He doesn’t want to shop for it, deal with insurance companies, change every year, etc. He wants stability and predictability.

    We always hear about the rates. We never hear about what they get for it, and that’s the question, right? What if their 50% is a much better deal than our 15%?

    Maybe AOC should make this argument, now that she’s introduced the idea.

  115. 115
    Kay says:

    I just took on one of my daughter’s grad school loans. The deal was we paid for their undergrad and they had to pay for grad but she’s the only one who went to grad school (my youngest might- he’s in high school) so we felt like we could afford to help one where we might not have been able to if they all went. We got kind of a freebie because my middle son chose apprenticeship, which is free (to him) so in that sense we up some and could pass “his” to her.

  116. 116
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:


    Also, the interest didn’t start until after you graduated, plus some grace period (I think it was 9 months for me).

    Bringing back the GSL from those days (with a few addenda to make ineligible those institutions whose “students” don’t graduate, or find jobs that needed the “education” they got there) would help Make America Great Again. Sadly, this would cut into the revenue streams of Republican donors.

  117. 117
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Indeed, confiscatory rates are not for raising revenue, they are pure social engineering, And they work, as was shown in the post WWII era, when robber baron mansions of the previous guilded age got turned into museums and apartment buildings, because the heirs couldn’t afford to staff them.

  118. 118
    Cermet says:

    Will finish my daughters loans (they were small) this coming March (She graduated this last August.) I was lucky in my day, even a high end state university wasn’t very expensive (compared to average incomes) so I was debt free shortly after college. Many people don’t realize is that many Ivy league schools can be a low cost education even compared to State schools – if they want you, and your not making well over $100 K (yeah, their idea of middle class is a good bit higher than what real people consider.) their actual tuition is a rather small fraction of their list price. If your child is smart these schools can be an absolute bargain – really. There is a program (for all schools) where the room and board cost is advanced, interest free for the year – you just pay a fee and then make monthly payments that pay off that advance in eight months. That too is a great deal.

  119. 119
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Hey John, have you already put a new roof on your house? If not, better start saving for that too. I speak from experience.

    ETA: Close to paying off the damned roof, thank goodness.

Comments are closed.