Smart Money

Dear Shreck-

Being a college graduate yourself, what are some tips for dealing with debt from hefty student loans?

– Broke but Charming

Dear Broke,

College is expensive, and getting more so every year. When my wife and I graduated, we had over $160,000 in student loan debts!  That’s a big number to face. Here are some ways to help handle that debt:

1) Cry about it.  Tears won’t solve your problem, but it’s good for the soul. Helps you focus on the issue at hand.

2) Get a job.  It’s not as easy as it used to be, but there are plenty of jobs out there.  Too many graduates today think “I have a degree in advanced mathematics…I am way too important to manage a Family Video”. I have news for you: you’re not. In fact, that’s a great place to start. Brush up on your advanced math by adding up rental totals in your head instead of with the computer calculator. And when you cash your paycheck, pick up the local paper and check for other jobs. Myself, I have a couple advanced degrees in human resources and communication, but I managed a pizza joint for a good 8 months before finding a better career. And heck, I have a blog. I drive a Chevy Malibu. I’m a very important person, and WAY too good to make pizzas!

3) Be homeless. I mean this in a couple ways.  First, I mean if you can mooch off your parents for a couple of years, do it. It cuts back costs, and can help you make big dents in your student loan bills. Sure, there’s only one bathroom, and your little sister is in there for 3 hours at a time, because God forbid she have a split end showing for all those boys that don’t pay any attention to her…but that short time inconvenience could lead to a lifetime of relief later on.  Also, I mean take a tip from the homeless. Collect cans. Don’t be afraid to pick up nickels on the street. Hold a sign up at a major intersection saying that you’re hungry and lost a leg in ‘Nam.  That little bit of spare change adds up quickly.

4) Finally, marry up.  There is nothing more rewarding in life than to work hard and find success. But that takes time, and who wants to wait that long?!  So, go out and find yourself someone who is special, kind-hearted, precious, and rich as all get out.  If their parents have money, they have a will. Where there’s a will, there is a way out of debt faster than any job will get you there.  So find yourself a guy or girl with a silver spoon, and work that charm you brag of.

Hope that helps!  – Shreck