Massive Student Loan Debt: $235k and I’ll Never Pay It Back | Money Makeovers | MONEY
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Massive Student Loan Debt: $235k and I’ll Never Pay It Back | Money Makeovers | MONEY

I am doing the best that I can under the circumstances. You’re paying about 3 percent towards your debt. Yeah. I think you could do better. But why? Here I am at Simon’s apartment, excited to go upstairs and meet him. I’ve heard some numbers being tossed around, like $235,000 in student loan debt. That’s a lot but there’s always a way to pay debt off. So first I’m going to talk to him, then he’s going to meet Doug. All right, let’s go. My name is Simon Galperin. I’m 29 years old and my problem is that I have $235,000 worth of student debt from my public education that I see no way of paying off. This is the first year, last year, that I’ve made $65,000 in a year. The year before that I made $27,000. My partner and I have been together for over eleven years now. We just don’t know what marriage looks like with student debt. I don’t want to be focused on paying off my debt. I want to be focused on building a life for myself. I know that I’m facing some sort of decision in the next couple of years. We want to buy a house. We want to get married. So I need to get informed. All right. I am so curious to hear about your financial situation. How much have you paid off for your student loans? A negligible amount. OK. So right now are you paying the minimum payment each month. Yes I pay $35 dollars a month. How does that make you feel, $35 a month? My goal is to pay $35 a month until I die. You can’t begin to grapple with paying more. Why? If I began to think about what does it look like to pay down $235,000 in debt, knowing what that looked like for my parents when they bought their house 30 years ago. I need to make decisions about my life right now. So to me that means building a life for myself that doesn’t focus on paying down my debt. You could pay an extra 100 bucks a month, and you could cut that loan term down to 25 years. You could pay more and cut that loan term down to 16 years. Suddenly it becomes very manageable. And that’s just paying a little bit more. Now how do you do that? Obviously there’s two or three ways I call CEO: cut costs. Earn more. We can talk about that, you’ve already gone up 30k in a year which is amazing. And then optimize your spending. So there are certain areas that you are probably spending on right now that you could shave off 100 bucks a month, 200 bucks a month. I believe that if I chase an income, I’m not going to live a life that I think is worth living for me. I am really oriented on mission and making sure that my work has a positive impact. I’m not interested in seeking more income for the sake of seeking more income. And I’m I am taking back my power and I will not participate in that system. And maybe what that looks like is my parents passing and I do not want that to happen. It is a cost that I will bear that we immigrated from the Soviet Union and my parents bought a home and they lived their whole lives for their son. And then at the end of the day, he has to sell a house to a bank because he was intended to fulfill this dream that they had for him. I’m fulfilling the dream. My goal is not paying off debt to some company whose CEO can buy himself a private golf course. My goal is to change the world, leave it better than I found it, chasing income is not the way to do that. Simon, you only have three ways that you can approach this financially. If you want to pay your debt off, which is a big if, if you want to pay it off faster than 30 years, then there are three ways to do it. You can cut costs, which you told me you don’t want to do. Or it might not be possible. OK. You can earn more which you told me you don’t want to do. And you can optimize your expenses by calling up and negotiating 100 bucks here in there. So there’s no magic solutions here. All of those though would work very well and would allow you to cut that debt down dramatically. What is the benefit of me paying an extra $500 a month? What if your debt was paid off a year from now? What changes in your life? Not much. If you don’t see any change yet when your debt is paid off. If you haven’t internalized that then why — But what’s the change? Your parents will have to pay 600 bucks a month towards your debt. That’s true. And maybe the conversation with your girlfriend changes as well, and maybe the conversation about saving for a house, or whatever else you want to do, changes as well. If you don’t see that then it’s no surprise that this conversation is stuck. I want to make my life today not worry about what my life is going to look like 40 years from now. Listen, Simon I appreciate your time. I wish you the best. This is like useful though. I’m really grateful for your time. Simon, it’s good to see you. I heard you had a conversation with our friend Ramit. Has anything changed in your financial life since then? Sure, so since my conversation with Ramit I’ve gone to halftime at the company I was previously working full-time for. OK. So things that were previously difficult may be even more difficult right now? Certainly. Tell me a little bit about what your financial goals are. What I really think is important to me is a savings account of three to six months and beginning to save money to put a down payment on a mortgage on a home. So it sounds like these more short term goals are more important to you than perhaps paying off student loan debt or some longer term goals that you have. Yes I think so. OK. Tell me a little bit about how you’ve come to terms with the fact that there might be consequences to not paying back your debt. You know, it’s possible that I will die with debt, that I won’t be able to retire because of my debt. I know that all of these things are going to happen. So I’m playing my cards. Right. So you think you’re making a
calculated decision as to, okay, this is what I’m going to do because again, life is either too short or there are things I want to do today I’m not going to be, you know, denied. Now I still think you should pay back your debt. I still think that obligation needs to be paid. Yeah. But how you go about doing that might not be as conventional as people think it is. But still I’ll throw it out there. How much time is being spent doing things not related to work? Could you take on a job that maybe you don’t want to? The answer is yes, you’re choosing not to. But you know why it is you’re doing that. I think hands down one of most fascinating things about the conversation we had in the context of Money Makeovers is we typically look for that solution at the end of it, that easy answer and if there’s anything I can say here is there is no easy answer. There’s you, your life, and the decisions that you’re going to make. And I admire that you’re taking ownership over your situation, whatever that may bring you. So for that you have my respect and I wish you the best of luck with everything you do. Thank you, Doug. I appreciate it.

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100 thoughts on “Massive Student Loan Debt: $235k and I’ll Never Pay It Back | Money Makeovers | MONEY

  1. He owes 235K in non dischargeble debt and he went to half time? He is fine with his elderly parents who are in their 60s and 70s paying $600 a month while he pays $35. This is not a good look. He comes off as selfish and entitled.

  2. That was a rabbit hole he went down…life meaning, Soviet Union, what?!?!?! Nothing that happened to him made him take out these loans. WTF is wrong with this guy????

  3. this guy is a moron….he does not want to participate in the system but gladly took the loan money…

  4. this is ridiculous he makes his parents to pay 600$ for the rest of their life just bacuse he does not want to pay HIS OWN DEBT WITH HIS OWN MONEY!

  5. Hi, a few pple have ready mentioned but follow Dave Ramsey's plan.

    My husband and I graduated during the housing crisis in 08/09. My husband couldn't get a career job for a few years (literally working whatever job he could find in the meantime). Thankfully I had an offer before I graduated. We took out 100k of debt. I started my career making 45k. We couldn't pay our debt because we had rent, car payments, etc….no longer living on student loans meant everything was coming out of our paychecks. We put our loans on forbearance for over 3 years and the princpal went up to 120k (due to capitalized interest). I finally had it 19 months ago of just paying minimum payments. I quit being a victim because I realized NOONE is going to clean this mess up. I did my version of Dave Ramsey. When I started to do a zero dollar budget, our outstanding student loan balance was 83k (8/9 years after graduation!). This month, we paid off the last payment. 83k paid in 19 months. Sacrifice!!!! We can FINALLY begin to start our family we've wanted for a decade! We can finally start to buy a house with a decent size down payment because NOW we have EARN it.

    If we can do it, SO CAN YOU!!!

  6. Just checked his LinkedIn and he got a Bachelors in Journalism and Media from Rutgers University and a Masters in Social Journalism from CUNY. He went to Community College for 2 years but it wasn’t worth it. Worthless degrees!!!!

  7. Anybody stupid enough to take out a student loan, is too stupid for college anyway, so save yourself some time and money.

  8. He borrowed $190,000 to have an extended vacation from reality at one of the nation's adult daycare centers, and now he's whining because reality is here and he has to pay it back.

    He's a spokesman for the millennial generation the way he so freely lies and plays the role of the victim. He has a freakin' Masters and wants us to believe he couldn't use 4th grade arithmetic to see the problem heading his way? C'mon. He's a millennial who feels entitled to shovel this problem off onto the public.

    Anyone else notice that he doesn't even blame the school for this debt and that it's all the "corporation" and "CEO wanting a golf course"? These lemmings also have been instructed to believe that the schools can do no wrong.

  9. Total scumbag. Refuses to pay his loans but lets his parent pay? Wants to take on more debt for a house? And he dropped to part time?

  10. He's gonna lose everything then go rally with Elizabeth Warren to cancel all student debts. Wow! Crazy. Bat-shit crazy person!

  11. i have no degrees and no student debt. in 5 years i wont have any cost of living other than water power and insurance bills. THANK YOU DAVE RAMSEY.

  12. lol so this guy doesn't want to chase income to pay off debt. I guess in all of the education he received, there was never a discussion on creating assets that will cover your liabilities. Once the liability is paid off you still have that high income to generate you cash to invest with . What a walking asshat. oh and a house is generally not an asset.

  13. Hey Dude….when you barrowed money from the government, you signed note and agreed to pay for your loan…they will garnish your income and sequester your property…worst case is you will loose everything.

  14. Really feel like Douglas had no guts in this interview. Simon needs to hear educated experts tell him he's completely fucked – not praise him for "owning his decisions". What the hell is this safe zone bs? Simon, listen here. You took a loan. You SIGNED a promise to repay. If you don't, the government will garnish your wage and bleed you dry sooner than you can say "New house! Lovin' it!!!!". Absolute moron. Stop living off of your parent's bread. You're 29. Grow the hell up and start cleaning your shit – you're making our generation look like entitled morons.

  15. Simon, dude, you're a joke. You keep crying about your parents and how much they had to struggle yet you don't want to take care of your debt thus putting the burden on your parents. Seems to me like you're crying crocodile tears. I believe that debt is daunting and that it's hard but shame on you for not taking responsibility and relying on your parents to take care of it. If you truly care about your parents you would take care of your debt yourself and relieve them of 600$ monthly payments. You're 29 years old, grow up!

  16. He already bought a house with no walls and no roof! Good luck qualifying for anything else with that debt to income ratio and (presumably) plummeting credit score.

  17. Are those federal student loans? If so, your social security will be garnished to pay your student loan debt.
    Hope behaving like a toddler was worth it.

  18. This guy acts like the world runs off rainbows and cotton candy… you don’t want to pay into a system that you directly benefitted from? GTFO this freeloader wants someone else to pay his debt so he can then take on more debt with a mortgage, or does he want that paid off as well?? Can you imagine paying that much for school and still being this stupid?

  19. So… This video is pure garbage. Here's a guy who's in debt and clearly doesn't have his debt screwed on straight. No one in the video mentions how he asked for the money and is therefore obligated to pay it back. If he does otherwise, he's untrustworthy. No one mentions that now that he's not considered trustworthy financially and he has a massive amount of debt, he most likely won't be able to get a house without putting down a massive down payment. No one mentions how his job prospects may be effected by having bad credit. This video. HOT GARBAGE.

  20. I cannot stress this enough FUuUuUck thisss guy😓 get your money up, stop stupid spending and clear your debt 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

  21. I am debt free and refuse to borrow even a cent. I probably will never own a house unless I start earning six-figure and I can pay cash for the house. But I do see this guy's point of view. Whenever I graduated with a degree, I had about $25k in debt. I didn't thought I will ever pay and planned to just pay minimum. Until I got lucky with a high paying job soon after graduation and paid all my debt in one year. I couldn't perceive how I will able to pay $235k if it is not a house. It seems as worthless paying it off. Nothing to gain from it. I still haven't seen any benefit to my degree besides it look good on resume. Hopefully banks learn lesson and stop loaning that much money to teenagers.

  22. Imagine loaning this guy money and then when you ask to you own money back he tells you “I need to make decisions about my life right now, to me that means making a life for myself that doesn’t include paying down my debt.”😂

  23. Why did you take on the loans? Who forced you to go into debt? The girl should never marry such an irresponsible man. Home loan? Who will give him another loan?

  24. So he cried about his immigrant parents having to bear the burden of his student loan debts, yet he plans on doing nothing about it? What a joke.

  25. Borrowing money and don’t plan on paying it off. Sorry but he’s a thief in my opinion. I talked to a classmate about this and he said he would live a life like this guy and there’s nothing wrong with that. And He will graduate in 2 years with 350k in student loan debt 🙁 He needs a kick in the head.

  26. Seriously no one is going to feel sorry for this guy. He has his parents pay off a large part of his debt. But he is not willing to pay off anything

  27. This kind of moron is the reason why i disagree with forgiving student debt. He just refuses to pay back the money he borrowed. Idiot.

  28. Occupation: Postdoctoral Fellow in Cancer Research
    Salary: $47,800 per year

    May 2016 Balance: $51,000
    October 2019 Balance: $9,629

    Earliest Zero Balance Date: July 1, 2020

  29. This dude took out 190k in loans and don't want to pay it back. Now he wants to take out another loan for a house. So if he don't feel like it he won't pay that either or let his girl pay for it.

  30. Does he realize that by him not paying the loan off, he is ripping off of all tax-payers in the U.S. including myself?! Wtf?? I'm working super hard and living frugally so that he can remain lazy? Making a world a better place? Does he realize that the debt money has been 'spent', paid by tax payers bloood and sweat?

  31. I'd be curious to see him five years from now. Funny part is, he says he's mission-focused, but not being responsible for a debt you created is NOT leaving the world better than you found it. Plus, debt can even affect your ability to get jobs. Some employers check your credit. Hope he gets his life together.

  32. OK, this guy's parents fled the soviet union, the oldest he could have been was 1. "you're paying about 3% towards your debt, I think you could do better" "But why?!?" because apparently your parents are paying 600 a month for you, THE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY FLED SOVIET RUSSIA!!! This guy sounds like the Bernie Sanders worshiping millennial that make me hate my own generation. He thinks the fact that a CEO can but his own golf course means that the doesn't need to pay back money he borrowed. I hope this is staged (never seen this show before) because if people like him actually exist then I just lost a lot of faith in humanity.

  33. Why would you borrow $235 K in student loans and now you don’t want to pay it back , who will pay for it ? Why everyone else manage finances to be on top of their student loans payment and live tight so you can pay $35 a month , you may got a college education but they didn’t teach you to be held accountable for your’s your sole responsibility to pay this money back 🧐🧐🧐

  34. If he feels so strongly about this, then why the HECK did he take out that much in student loans in the first place?!?! You can 100% get a cheaper education than that, people!

  35. This guy is crazy!
    He owes that money!
    Pay it back!
    Now he's part time?!
    His poor parents!
    Who ever was planning on marrying him, RUN!

  36. I'm sorry dude. Totally understand you… You are not alone. The fact is the US population owes ton of money on student loan debts. I support you man! The education system doesn't take responsibility for the debts they are creating. The teachers don't take responsibility for the content they are teaching…. Why are we taking ours? We are used! We are just playing our cards the way they play theirs. Too trusting…. No business survives years without profits… But thousands of students are trolled into taking out ton of debts. We are told it's an investment and the risk was never mentioned. Even if it is, it was downplayed. Sure if college is a compulsory requirement now a day, we should be told that what it is. NOONE would have thought that he/she would spend that much energy, effort and money for a useless degree. A CEO can file bankruptcy, but trusting motivated students will be doomed for life financially…. Don't be trolled…. Ton of students are default on their loan debts. This is very very low… They want us to fill another positions that lead others to the same freaking path….

  37. The moment he took out the loans was the moment he partook of the system. You gotta pay your debt man.


    It’s ironic. The man wants to change the world and leave it better than the way he found it. When he passes away with all of that debt, it falls upon us to pick up the slack. By doing so, he leaves the world worse than how he found it.

  38. What a douche. How is his girlfriend even attracted to someone who thinks like this. He’s “me me me” and so smug. His parents made their decision and so did he. No one forced him to go to school. So ignorant. Yuck.

  39. 250k in debt to only make 65k a year. 30 payments a month while ur parents pay 600 is not only irresponsible its a slap in the face to ur parents. I spend 90 a month on Dumb subscriptions…its easy to cut off the dumb stuff. Come on man…..this is ridiculous. Not interested in seeking more income but u didnt mind seeking unnecessary endless education. What a load of crap.

  40. Classic liberal crap…I wanna leave the world a better place , I'm not interested in chasing income….. Omg!!!! Everyone needs money….he's selfish to have others pay for his education and have no responsibility in his mess. User

  41. Who wants to bet that this guy got a worthless degree?

    Sorry, I checked his LinkedIn profile, worthless degree confirmed.

  42. Hears rational, evidence based argument for being financially responsible

    "Yeah but I wanna, I wanna, I wanna!"

    This guy is going to be 9 years old his whole life. How dare he use his parent's immigration and hard work as an excuse to be a terrible son and citizen. The marriage situation has nothing to do with money – his girlfriend wants to marry a man.

  43. This guy is pretty infuriating. It's hard to tell if this guy is genuine about avoiding debt repayment, or if he is putting on a character to be satirical.

    Nothing but stress and frustration will be in this man's future, unless he changes.

  44. What a thoroughly loathsome human being.
    It's also really funny that they're both pretending that debt is the reason he's not marrying his "girlfriend." Needless to say I think there's another big reason he's not marrying her…

  45. This dude doesn’t realize that he doesn’t have to drink the blood of sacrificed immigrants to earn more money. Dude you don’t have to be an evil banker to make more $$$$ just deliver pizza on the weekend or teach a college course. Sounds like lazy whiny crap

  46. This guy is a joke. You weren’t born into 235K of debt! Having the intention of not paying that back is fraud. You’re cheating other people who actually do things right and pay back what they borrowed. There are choices in life and you made a poor one. Very poor thinking in your end.

  47. If this guy wants to “not participate in the system “ den his only choose is to move and live in some deep jungle in Amazon or some isolated island in the Pacific

  48. If he lives minimally for next 3 years he could pay back a significant percentage of it.All he can hope for now is Bernie Sanders to win lol

  49. This guy is stupid and irresponsible and narcissistic. I don't think his level of IQ and selfishness will make the world a better place. He should work on his own responsibility first. He will cause the Taxpayer to pay off his childish selfish behavior.

  50. I dont get it. He tears up about the hardship his parents went through but at the same time he doesn't mind making them pay most of the student loan?

  51. @ 5:01 Im sure all the old people who didn't save for retirement and now work at walmart had the same mentality as you " I don't want to think of tomorrow"

  52. Ok, this guy is not even making any mathematical sense. He keeps saying that he would have to pay half of his wage to pay off his debt by 2042, but that is simply not true. To pay it by 2042 with a 6% interest rate (just using what I'm paying for my loans), he would have to pay about $1572 a month. Since his parents are paying $600 a month, he would just have to pay $972, a month, WAY below half of his wage. There's also a lot of tax benefits from paying student loans, so he would even recoup part of his expense that way. This guy just needs to be sit down like a child and speak numbers with him.

  53. 235? Well I got 450K and I aint paying shit!I am glad I took em out too cause I experienced hella discrimination due to sexual orientation and race so far as i am concerned society we can call it a balanced cheque.I aint paying shit back.

  54. These stories make me think the student loan debt crisis is going to be the leading reason of our next economic slow down like the real estate bubble was in the 2000s. Its a lot of people in similar situations to this guy and it seems to only be getting worse.
    Also maybe i missed it but did they ever mention what his degree was in? A huge part of this student debt problem is people are going into student debt over ridiculous and non lucrative fields. 100k in debt for an engineering degree sounds a lot better than 100k in debt for a women’s study, english literature, sociology, psych or any liberal arts degree. Focus on STEM fields! They pay more and contribute more to society as a whole

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