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What About My Educational Debt?
User: Admin
Date: 3/30/2012 7:20 pm
Views: 4783
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Your doctoral debt is a lot like having a big pimple pop out on your forehead when you are in high school. You constantly know it is there but you do not want to think about it or look at it. You for sure do not want to talk about it with anyone. You may use some of these techniques when you graduate and are ready to pay off the school related debt. Others might use some of these ideas if they decide to drop out of the doctoral process.

First Find Out Where You Are Exactly

It might be a good idea to set up an appointment and talk in person to one of the financial aid professionals at your college.  Ask them directly what options you have to pay off the educational debt and if there is a way to restructure or reduce the debt.  Get the exact amounts owed and when exactly it is due to be paid back. Look them in the eye and say “I have this amount of debt, what would you do if you were saddled with this?” Listen carefully to what they say. You need to deal with actual knowledge of what is expected of you, how much you have to pay and when it is due.
Most of you have a great amount of debt built up. When it comes down to deciding what to do about the debt, be careful of any guidance from a website (including this one), friend or fellow student.  Laws, grant guidelines and economic conditions change all the time and they are complex. If you decide to do something about your debt, work with a professional who has a fiduciary relationship with you to give you guidance.  Having a fiduciary relationship means that the professional must put your needs first and not just sell you a product or a solution. Be aware not every financial professional has a fiduciary relationship with you. If you pay for the services, keep the receipt and remind the professional of the fiduciary relationship. Keep notes of what is said to you, the date and let the professional see you taking notes.  Summarize from time to time with statements such as “So you are saying I can reduce my debts over time by doing X or Y?” If you are given advice to reduce your debt then run the ideas past another professional and ask them to critique the ideas. 
Bankers, CPA level accountants or financial planners should not care if you ask others about their ideas. Each can help you understand the debt and figure out how to pay it off either in an accelerated fashion or on time. Be very careful of anyone who promises to help the debt disappear if you buy their financial product or service. A number of people have had success using the Dave Ramsey techniques and most of these are found in his books. The solution will differ for various people, so talk to a lot of professionals and read as much as possible from high quality government websites. Start with your college financial aid office since they handle this type of debt all the time.

It might be a good idea to set up an appointment and talk in person to one of the financial aid professionals at your college.  Ask them directly what options you have to pay off the educational debt and if there is a way to restructure or reduce the debt.  Get the exact amounts owed and when exactly it is due to be paid back. Look them in the eye and say “I have this amount of debt, what would you do if you were saddled with this?” Listen carefully to what they say. You need to deal with actual knowledge of what is expected of you, how much you have to pay and when it is due.

Most of you have a great amount of debt built up. When it comes down to deciding what to do about the debt, be careful of any guidance from a website (including this one), friend or fellow student.  Laws, grant guidelines and economic conditions change all the time and they are complex. If you decide to do something about your debt, work with a professional who has a fiduciary relationship with you to give you guidance. Having a fiduciary relationship means that the professional must put your needs first and not just sell you a product or a solution. Be aware not every financial professional has a fiduciary relationship with you. If you pay for the services, keep the receipt and remind the professional of the fiduciary relationship. Keep notes of what is said to you, the date and let the professional see you taking notes.  Summarize from time to time with statements such as “So you are saying I can reduce my debts over time by doing X or Y?” If you are given advice to reduce your debt then run the ideas past another professional and ask them to critique the ideas.

Bankers, CPA level accountants or financial planners should not care if you ask others about their ideas. Each can help you understand the debt and figure out how to pay it off either in an accelerated fashion or on time. Be very careful of anyone who promises to help the debt disappear if you buy their financial product or service. A number of people have had success using the Dave Ramsey techniques and most of these are found in his books. The solution will differ for various people, so talk to a lot of professionals and read as much as possible from high quality government websites. Start with your college financial aid office since they handle this type of debt all the time.

Remember That You Are Not At Your Best At This Point In Time

The doctoral process is hard work and many of you also have a job at the same time you are going to college. Getting your doctorate is a process that has gone on for years and it leaves a mark on your brain and your body. Some of you will not complete the degree and you need to read my post on “What if I do not make it in the degree program?”  We do not need you carrying around a feeling of failure for the next 20 years. 

If you owe money understand that you have given so much energy and time for so long that your first desire will be to rest and avoid any stimulus, discussion or reminders of the degree program or your debt. When you graduate, circle the calendar two weeks out and do nothing for that time. If demanding or fear filled thoughts come in tell your brain to forget it, you have scheduled a problem solving response time in two weeks. Get lots of sleep, read, play video games and music. Eat really good comfort food and just rest. Some folks mentioned using a good multivitamin too. Different doctoral graduates talked about different regimes of vitamin, herbs and other things that they thought helped them. The internet is full of theories and products. The main thing is that they had belief in the method and it seemed to help them to heal.

Realizing that you are not at your best is important when you look for a solution to your debt. Financial services (sales) people will see your condition and could take advantage of this. Perhaps you do need to start up with a financial planner now and maybe not. Folks may suggest that you move your assets to their organization or sign up for some sort of services. These may or may not be good ideas but if you are aware of your present state of mind, you will not make a snap decision. The take away from this article is that you may be bone tired at a time when you need to carefully look at where you are at and make decisions. It is also a time when you emotionally really do not want to look at where you are at. Later when you are stronger and recharged all of this may be fun for you.

As mentioned earlier you first find out exactly where you are at and talk to the college financial aid professionals about your options.  Then nail down the exact payment schedule to make sure you do not miss any payments that start now that you are out of college. Lay it out (after your two week break) even if you do not want to look at it.  Make sure that you can make the payments and none are overlooked leading to more fees.  As time goes by, you can work out ways to accelerate payments. As you gather strength then you can ask family or professionals for advice. Do not make any quick decisions about debt consolidation, moving your assets to a new broker or bank until you are rested and have laid out the situation and payment schedules. You will also have to consider debt that you put on your credit cards. But first rest and give that large brain time to recharge along with your adrenal glands. Rest and you can master these tasks just like you have everything else. Remember that six months after graduation many people report a new well spring of energy, creativity and desire. Your body and brain will recharge and new goals/behaviors will emerge.

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