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What if Your Son Marries a $149,000 Student Debt?

Written by Gary North on July 20, 2012

These stories are becoming common. A woman borrowed $100,00 to get a college degree. She stopped paying interest. Now she owes $142,000.

Some guy married her. Now he owes $142,000. Combined, their after-tax income is $42,000.

They cannot write off interest payments from gross income. The law was changed.

Will they be able to buy a home? Not from a conventional lender?

Will they be able to afford children? No.

Will they ever get out of debt? Under hyperinflation, yes.

Her story is worth reading.

Like so many others of my generation I was raised to believe that college was a necessity in order to secure a good job and to have a bright future.

This myth is fading, but not fast enough. Parents are still sending their children into a swamp of debt.

So senior year came and I began looking at colleges and of course their expense. Both parents were living paycheck to paycheck and had no resources to help fund my education. But when all hope seemed lost I found what I thought was my salvation in student loans, which offered low interest rates, consolidation, and flexible payment option. Unsure of what to do I consulted my parents, school, and loan advisors who did not hesitate to tell me that while my college education would be expensive I would have a degree which would guarantee me a good job with a nice income and thus I would have no trouble paying my debt off. I was told it was an investment in my future. Like so may other naive students with no other options I signed on the dotted line.

These poor kids are being hustled by shameless colleges and shameless lenders. They are trapped for life at age 21.

It took her five years to graduate — typical these days.

Then she tried to get a job with her useless $100,000 degree.

I naively assumed that finding a job even in an economic recession was going to be no problem after all I finally had that degree. I was wrong. After six months of trying to look for a job in my degree field and working two full-time jobs that paid only eight dollars and hour just to get by the student loans came due. I had accumulated $100,000 in student loan debt from two companies, Sallie Mae and Mohela, with a combined monthly payment of around $900.

If she had gone into the work force at age 18, she would be earning at least $12 an hour. She would have no debt. She would have had five years of savings.

She could not pay the debt.

. . . I decided to attempt to pay Sallie Mae what I could. Then the non-stop harassing phone calls began. I would receive around half a dozen phone calls a day because my account was past due always speaking to someone I could barely understand in another country. I once again naively believed that because I was doing my best all would be right with the world however I quickly was threatened with delinquency and default. After several months of paying what I could and Sallie Mae’s relentless phone calls I did the only thing I knew to do to escape the horrors of default and I went back to school part-time at a community college, which was inexpensive and that I paid for out of pocket, to put all my loans in deferment.

She went back to a junior college!

Then she got married. They earn $42,000 a year, combined.

Then she checked what she owed — years later. It was $149,000.

Interest had accrued.

Here is her future, and his. It is bleak.

We are living practically paycheck to paycheck and are nowhere near close to being able to afford over $1000 payments every month. Together after taxes and health insurance we bring home around $42,000 a year. I am literally accruing more interest every month then I can afford to pay let alone anything going to the principle.

She is despoerate. She wants a bailout. She thinks she is a New York bank. She isn’t.

Desperate not to accrue even more debt I am left with questions…what do I do? And where are all those thing that were promised to me at the beginning? Why is there no relief for the college graduates who are in over their heads? It appears that default is inevitable. And because these debts can not be bankrupted, there is no statue of limitations to pursue these debts, and wages can be garnished there is no incentive for these lenders to work with their clients thus creating a predatory lending system that is creating indentured servants out of an entire generation. As of now our dreams of owning a home and having a family are gone which I have read in my research is the case for many people. Something has to be done. An entire generation is drowning in debt. A generation that will not be able to afford to buy houses, buy goods and services like the last generation, and will have smaller or no families because they can not afford to. Further our generation will not be able to send their kids to college and certainly with the horrifying lessons we have learned in dealing with these private lending companies we won’t want to. This will impact the economy for years to come.

All true.

Warn your kids. Now.

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13 thoughts on “What if Your Son Marries a $149,000 Student Debt?

  1. You need to run a credit check on your future spouse. I use to sell real estate and there were many new husbands that discovered that they could not buy a home or a car due to their wife's credit history. When you marry someone, you also marry their debts.

  2. "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7

    "Christian parents send their children into the judicially and self-consciously pagan environment of the public schools. Parents are not acting faithfully as representatives [of Yahweh] when they do this. They are tithing their children to the State." (Gary North, "Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism" (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989) p. 601.)

    "The law requires education in terms of the law [Deuteronomy 6:7-9, 20-25]. Anything other than a Biblically grounded schooling is thus an act of apostasy for a believer: it involves having another god and bowing down before him to learn from him." (Rousas John Rushdoony, "The Institutes of Biblical Law" (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1973) , pp. 21-22.

  3. POOR kids??? At what point will "kids" be responsible for themselves, or parents just say NO? I put myself through school. It took me longer because I could only go part time since I had a FULL TIME JOB and took the time to see what the interest rates were…and the age of 19!!

    Too many kids want to go to glamorous, overrated, out of state schools that cost triple what it would cost for residents. Parents have to say know, kids need a dose of reality at a younger age and before you get married to anyone, make sure you know what their financial situation is. Their debt becomes YOUR debt.

    I don't feel sorry for these students anymore than the people that bought houses they couldnt afford.If you're too stupid to know what your income is minus a house payment, then rent.

  4. Bill in NC says:

    These loans will never be repaid.

    Already, IIRC, almost half are not being fully serviced – either deferred, or in default.

  5. lilbear68 says:

    so true, stepson is 250,000 in debt for a calif. law degree and hooked up with a girl with the same degree and debt amt. hes waiten tables and shes got nothin except expensive tastes.

  6. James C. Harrison says:

    Thank you Ted. My prayer is that more Christians will be awakened from the pipe dreams they've been followiing. God is not mocked. The blessings and cursings of Deuteronomy 28 are real. It is God's law or chaos–the crown rights of the LORD Jesus Christ or tyranny. And the tyranny of debt is a part of the curse

  7. I have a Problem with this, she took five years to do a four year degree! Ok, what did she major it, I would bet it was not in one of the hard subjects like Chemistry or Engineering. Dose not say, why is that? My guess she got her degree in Women's studies or some other PC BS. I am tired of hearing about how its not my fault. Guess what go into the Army I guess that is not an Option since the Nation is in a shooting war! Its like when kids tell me I want to go to flight school and be an airline pilot, they don't know a dam thing about the industry or what the jobs are and where they are and what you are really going to make, they go borrow 65K to go to flight school and are shocked when they get out with there wet inked Certificates that there is not going to be that 200 K pilot job with United, but you get to be a flight instructor for around 12K a year for the next 2 to 8 years then maybe a shot at one of the regionals for 19K a year. All the while you got a 65K note to service. Moral of all of this is education is a good thing in and of itself, but buy what you can afford not what somebody else says you will be able to afford. The next big bail out is going to be student loans, I'm debt free I'm 57 years old, Been this way for over 25 years now. Guess what I am going to be working and paying all kinds of taxes to fund the bail outs for stupid kids who never learned to grow up.

  8. They should do what the older generation did when they were not given the same as single people on taxes. Get a divorice, live together. If he is stable with income and credit have him buy the home. College sucks, mainly because of Professor's like the idiot in the White House. I want my kids to be very smart, but I sure don't want them to go to college. Once the Professors get tenure they teach their way not the correct way. Even public schools suck. Heck, if he makes good enough monies she could stay home and raise the kids. Can't get blood out of a turnip, lol. In America we find ways around are very poor Goverment. It's an idea anyway.

  9. Steelerdude says:

    this is one of the major reasons housing will never come back….the govt got our children good on this one….fortunately, my two are fully paid and are debt free….they cant come back and point the finger at me and my wife….

  10. Texas Chris says:

    Okay, I'll be the tough love guy.

    What was her degree in? I'll bet it's not in engineering, chemistry, biology, architecture, or some other math / science. We're working. We're looking for MORE people with advanced science degrees. Heaven forbid you got a nursing degree!

    Liberal arts…? Where are you going to work with a literaure degree? Art hisory? Post-modern feminist studies…?

    Get a science degree. It's boring. Tedious. Secure. And you'll make more than $42k by yourself, let alone household.

    Oh, and go to a cheap college, pay cash, no loans. NO LOANS. Then, when you get your degree, save up for your KID to go to college (if they still have colleges) and get a MATH / SCIENCE based degree. And don't save in cash, either. Buy gold, buy silver. Buy guns and bullets.

  11. True That, was just wondering that if banks are borrowing from the Fed @ 0% interest,how come student loans aren't interest free? Students are basically just paying for Professors incomes ,so why aren't those incomes coming down instead of going up ?/ Democrats want to tax the rich,why not just impose usury laws controlling greed? Why should an i-pad cost $800 while it cost just $30 to manufacture? Greed…….

  12. You pay for the morons I'm not… Barter System is looking good… 😛