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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:33 pm 
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---why--- wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:
---why--- wrote:
For what its worth, I'm not sure that it is so easy to go from government to biglaw. I also tend to think that the old model will never come back. Things will get better, but the structure was just silly.

Also, this whole idea that "once you get the biglaw blinders off, things will be better" idea is just wrong. Frankly, it is biglaw or bust. There isn't this big middle ground of options that some people seem to think. I went to career services today and asked every possible question about alternatives to government and biglaw. There really isn't anything out there. I have nothing against government work (I work for legal aid now), but I don't want to do that forever.

One last point. For those whose backup plan is legal aid, the two people I work with both went to Harvard and one worked for S&C.


If it is biglaw or bust, you've answered your own question. I think you should talk to reasonable man about smaller firms, though. It should also be noted that right now =/= forever, with the exception of biglaw.

Before people freak out, my roommate used to work at a very well known legal nonprofit here in the city. She said they routinely hire from NYU down to Brooklyn, and they even took someone from CUNY. I'm sure Harvard students take precedence, but there really aren't enough of them to take every single job in existence.

EDIT: You are at CLS. Do you really feel that there are not enough legal jobs for all your classmates? I'm not speaking of biglaw here, but of some minimally interesting position in which a JD is required. I mean, Columbia is not known for dumping a bunch of unemployed people out into Morningside Heights. If things have changed to the point that you will never find such a job as a CLS grad, we should all kill ourselves now, lol.

Several people I admire very much are 1Ls at CLS now. (Columbians are lovely people, FTR. They were so welcoming when I went drinking up there.) They're worried, but they're not on the verge of dropping out.

I hope you stay, but if biglaw is truly what you wanted, I can understand why you made this thread. What you've said is certainly true at this very moment (absent the existence of boutiques, and firms like reasonable man's.)


Where do I find these smaller firms? from my understanding, most small firms dont have summer classes. I asked the OCS about this and they didn't have any ideas.


It depends on the size of the firm. Truly smaller firms don't have summer classes, "mid-size" firms often do (usually around 100 attorneys). But keep in mind these are the shit jobs that where you might end up making $60K a year, and that $140K+ debt you will be accumulating will never be paid off. You can look the up on martindales if you are really interested.

Also, I'm not sure why anyone would take reasonable_man seriously, he sounds like a bum that stole someone's computer so he can sit on TLS and respond to posts after graduating from Cooley.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:37 pm 
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tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
But keep in mind these are the shit jobs that where you might end up making $60K a year, and that $140K+ debt you will be accumulating will never be paid off.



lies lies lies lies lies lies lies. I won't attack you personally, but that statement is just 20 times over false. It will be a struggle, no doubt, but a 25 year old grad who starts at 60K will earn almost 2.5 million dollars before retiring even if they never get a raise. It'll get paid off. You have to put these things in perspective.

Is it easy to pay off debt with a six figure salary? Yes.

Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


Last edited by thesealocust on Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:37 pm 
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tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
But keep in mind these are the shit jobs that where you might end up making $60K a year, and that $140K+ debt you will be accumulating will never be paid off. You can look the up on martindales if you are really interested.


This is... Not right.

And the idea that the debt will never be paid off requires that you assume that the $60K you make on graduation remains your salary for the entire course of your career. That's tough to believe when the name on the diploma is 'Columbia.'

And 'shit job' is relative. $60K per year doing moderatley interesting work beats unemployed or $50K to do doc review or paralegal.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:37 pm 
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tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
Also, I'm not sure why anyone would take reasonable_man seriously, he sounds like a bum that stole someone's computer so he can sit on TLS and respond to posts after graduating from Cooley.


TITCR.

BTW I think his username is actually Unreasonable_Girl (guess no one told that idiot that you can just use the space bar instead of underscore on forums made after the 1970s).


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:38 pm 
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Could we please, for once in the history of TLS, stay on topic?


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:40 pm 
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thesealocust wrote:
tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
But keep in mind these are the shit jobs that where you might end up making $60K a year, and that $140K+ debt you will be accumulating will never be paid off.



lies lies lies lies lies lies lies. I won't attack you personally, but that statement is just 20 times over false. It will be a struggle, no doubt, but a 25 year old grad who starts at 60K and doesn't get laid off earn almost 2.5 million dollars even if they never get a raise before retiring. It'll get paid off.

Is it easy to pay off debt with a six figure salary? Yes.

Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


You are now officially awesome.

Re: Reasonable Man. I also know him in a non TLS context. He has the kind of job many people on here would love, and he's happy at it. His school wasn't exactly highly ranked, but it wasn't Cooley.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:42 pm 
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USAIRS wrote:
I don't really post that much in these forums, mostly because they are full of people who "know" so much that it generally feels like an exercise in futility to provide useful guidance. You first need to recognize that you don't know that much and swallow your pride, and it is quite surprising that your OCI experience hasn't taught you that many of your assumptions were wrong already.


This is so true. TLS can become a big echo-chamber because 99% of the folks on here are very young - under 30 and often under 22 - and as such, frankly, know NOTHING of the world. (I don't mean this condescendingly; I'm 20something myself.) Most of our careers will be 30+ years long, cover many different positions and companies/firms, and NOT look like what we currently envision. I wouldn't throw away a 30-year legal career because you didn't get to start it with the job you wanted. You're on the path to get a Columbia JD: it's value will follow you throughout your career... not just getting that first job.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:43 pm 
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If you're alternative is 40k you'd be stupid to drop out. Even if you miss biglaw I'd imagine you can get at least a 60k job at a small firm and try to work upward. Those firms might not be hiring now, but they don't hire in the 2L SA cycle anyway and will definitely be hiring 2 years from now when you graduate. An extra 140k sounds like a lot, but it basically works out to 17k/year for 10 years after LS, which means that even with a 60k job you'll come out ahead almost immediately. And that's even if you can manage to wrangle somethngthat better before you graduate.

If your alternative was something better, I'd say drop out, but it's not.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:43 pm 
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thesealocust wrote:
tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
But keep in mind these are the shit jobs that where you might end up making $60K a year, and that $140K+ debt you will be accumulating will never be paid off.



lies lies lies lies lies lies lies. I won't attack you personally, but that statement is just 20 times over false. It will be a struggle, no doubt, but a 25 year old grad who starts at 60K will earn almost 2.5 million dollars before retiring even if they never get a raise. It'll get paid off. You have to put these things in perspective.

Is it easy to pay off debt with a six figure salary? Yes.

Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


Umm. OK, well post tax that 60K is about $40K, and 8.5% interest on $170K (let's assume OP paid $30K for his first year and there was no interest accrual across the three years for simplicity sake) is $14.5K a year. So you would need to pay more then $14.5K a year just to pay down your loans. So OP paid $20K each year and lived off the remaining $20K, then all that would be paid off is about $5K off the principle of $170K. So do that for another 8 billion year and live like a homeless person (or actually be homeless), then yes, his loans may eventually get paid off.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm 
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It's still way to early ... Keep in mind that OCI hasn't gone well for a lot of people and that it will just require a lot more of yourself down the stretch!


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:45 pm 
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thesealocust wrote:
Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


Almost. Let's say you make 50k before taxes. For simplicities sake, we'll be conservative and say you take home 36k. If you have 160k in debt at 7% interest, if you paid 1k a month, you'd never touch the principle, but only be covering the interest. 1/3 of your post-tax income just to not fall deeper in the hole.

Even paying off 160k when you make 90 is not exactly fun.


Last edited by Oblomov on Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:48 pm 
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Oblomov wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


Almost. Let's say you make 50k before taxes. For simplicities sake, we'll be conservative and say you take home 36k. If you have 160k in debt at 7% interest, if you paid 1k a month, you'd never touch the principle, but only be covering the interest. 1/3 of your post-tax income just to not fall deeper in the hole.

Even paying it off 160k when you make 90 is not exactly fun.


+1.

EDIT- It's easy to assume that paying off the debt isn't bad when you don't figure in taxes or interest, but those are both what truly make paying off student loans difficult.


Last edited by tetrahydrocannabinol on Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:48 pm 
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Oblomov wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


Almost. Let's say you make 50k before taxes. For simplicities sake, we'll be conservative and say you take home 36k. If you have 160k in debt at 7% interest, if you paid 1k a month, you'd never touch the principle, but only be covering the interest. 1/3 of your post-tax income just to not fall deeper in the hole.

Even paying it off 160k when you make 90 is not exactly fun.


True, but still assumes that an individual's starting salary is carved in stone, world without end, amen.

People get raises, people get new jobs, people change careers.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:53 pm 
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teaadntoast wrote:
Oblomov wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


Almost. Let's say you make 50k before taxes. For simplicities sake, we'll be conservative and say you take home 36k. If you have 160k in debt at 7% interest, if you paid 1k a month, you'd never touch the principle, but only be covering the interest. 1/3 of your post-tax income just to not fall deeper in the hole.

Even paying it off 160k when you make 90 is not exactly fun.


True, but still assumes that an individual's starting salary is carved in stone, world without end, amen.

People get raises, people get new jobs, people change careers.


While that is generally true, it is exceptionally rare for someone to start in a small firm and lateral over to a large firm. You just don't get the interesting and complex work you do in a large firm in a small firm. I would imagine you raises are limited as well at a small firm because they simply don't have the money to pay you a ton. While there are some really small firms that pay a ton of money, (e.g. my LRW prof's friend was a Michigan grad and my prof said she cleared over $300K last year doing criminal defense work) that is really about luck. I wouldn't want to rely on luck after dumping $170K in loans.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:53 pm 
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teaadntoast wrote:
People get raises, people get new jobs, people change careers.


That kind of just begs the question.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:54 pm 
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Oblomov wrote:
teaadntoast wrote:
People get raises, people get new jobs, people change careers.


That kind of just begs the question.


LOL... maybe OP wants to be a medical doctor a few years down the road, and that's his plan on repaying his loans.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:58 pm 
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tetrahydrocannabinol's math isn't great.

First, whatever he spent for 1L is a sunk cost. It doesn't matter to the calculation here. What matters is the extra $140k he's taking on. Is it worth it? The math is simple. On a 10 year plan, payments on $140k are $1700/month, or $20k/year. Convert that to pre-tax dollars, and you're looking at about $25k/year. So if he lands a $65k job after school, he's not living any worse than if he'd taken that $40k job, even after accounting for his debt. The difference is that he's got a CLS degree, and his long-term career prospects are greatly improved.

If OP were deciding between going back to his $70k/year finance or engineering job and staying in law school, the calculus would be pretty different. That doesn't seem to be the case, however. That $40k job he can get with his BA in basket weaving is likely going to top out at $70-80k or whatever. Over his lifetime, he's going to make a lot more money even in small-law (even if that CLS degree can't let him make the jump to mid-law once he has some experience). Yeah, initially life will be tough, but no tougher than it would be with that original $40k/year job!


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:01 pm 
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Oblomov wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


Almost. Let's say you make 50k before taxes. For simplicities sake, we'll be conservative and say you take home 36k. If you have 160k in debt at 7% interest, if you paid 1k a month, you'd never touch the principle, but only be covering the interest. 1/3 of your post-tax income just to not fall deeper in the hole.

Even paying off 160k when you make 90 is not exactly fun.


tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
Umm. OK, well post tax that 60K is about $40K, and 8.5% interest on $170K (let's assume OP paid $30K for his first year and there was no interest accrual across the three years for simplicity sake) is $14.5K a year. So you would need to pay more then $14.5K a year just to pay down your loans. So OP paid $20K each year and lived off the remaining $20K, then all that would be paid off is about $5K off the principle of $170K. So do that for another 8 billion year and live like a homeless person (or actually be homeless), then yes, his loans may eventually get paid off.


Fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail.

First, major caveat: under the new federal IBR program, the burden becomes even easier.

Second, let's Do some Math: You just graduated from Columbia and are dead last in the class. Bummer! But you score a 60K job anyway. Inflation and raises mysteriously grind to a halt.

Assumption: $180,000 in accumulated debt, 8% interest rate (since some will be lower rate stafford loans)

Let's assume throw CoL to the wind and live in New York City, shall we?

Salary Paycheck Calculator (http://www.paycheckcity.com/NetPayCalc/ ... Result.asp )

Weekly Gross Pay $1,153.85 = 60K/year
Net Pay after all federal, NYS, and NYC taxes: $771.07 = $40K/year, 3,341/month.

Now let's toss 180K at 8% into a loan calculator and try to pay this bad boy down in 30 years. Monthly payment? 1320.78

Subtract it from our net pay above and we get after taxes and loans actual, spendable income of *drum roll* 2020.22 per month for living, eating, and shopping

ZOMG YOU'RE LOANZ WILL NEVAR BE PAID OFF AND U WILL STARTVE

NOBODY IN AMERICA NOW OR EVER HAS EVER SURVIVED ON SUCH A PALTRY SUM!11!11!! LOANZ WILL NEVER EVER BE PAID OFF.

Look, I understand you might not like math... but try it sometimes before you make yourself look /too/ stupid on the internet.

[OS, do I get a gold star?]


Last edited by thesealocust on Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:02 pm 
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Oblomov wrote:
teaadntoast wrote:
People get raises, people get new jobs, people change careers.


That kind of just begs the question.


Sorry.

I didn't mean something so enormous as law to medicine.

I meant movement along a gradient. I don't think it's nearly as uncommon as people are suggesting for folks to move from firm to government to in house counsel and back. Granted, I work in a fairly esoteric branch of law, but that describes s fair chunk of people with whom I work. And these aren't all T14 grads, either.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:05 pm 
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rayiner wrote:
tetrahydrocannabinol's math isn't great.

First, whatever he spent for 1L is a sunk cost. It doesn't matter to the calculation here. What matters is the extra $140k he's taking on. Is it worth it? The math is simple. On a 10 year plan, payments on $140k are $1700/month, or $20k/year. Convert that to pre-tax dollars, and you're looking at about $25k/year. So if he lands a $65k job after school, he's not living any worse than if he'd taken that $40k job, even after accounting for his debt. The difference is that he's got a CLS degree, and his long-term career prospects are greatly improved.

If OP were deciding between going back to his $70k/year finance or engineering job and staying in law school, the calculus would be pretty different. That doesn't seem to be the case, however. That $40k job he can get with his BA in basket weaving is likely going to top out at $70-80k or whatever. Over his lifetime, he's going to make a lot more money even in small-law (even if that CLS degree can't let him make the jump to mid-law once he has some experience). Yeah, initially life will be tough, but no tougher than it would be with that original $40k/year job!


Well I'm no rocket scientist (unlike you) but doesn't OP have to pay tax, which would be another $20K a year (about a 1/3 of his $60K salary)?

Also, it odd to say whatever OP spent for 1L is a sunk cost and just not consider it at all because you are arguing that post loans it would be like having a $40K a year job. But that's not true because even if it is a sunk cost OP still has to pay it (meaning his loans aren't just $20K a year, but more then that). The reason that should be considered is because if his loans are actually $24K /year and he is making $40K a year post-tax, then that leaves him with $16K a year to live off. That's poverty if you ask me.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:06 pm 
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tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
While that is generally true, it is exceptionally rare for someone to start in a small firm and lateral over to a large firm.


Maybe.

tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
You just don't get the interesting and complex work you do in a large firm in a small firm.


Wrong. Hugely, hugely wrong.

Smaller firms are more likely to give you actual work to do, rather than glorified scut. You're kidding yourself if you think that Biglaw associates get to engage in high level legal reasoning on complex cases in their first year.

tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
I would imagine you raises are limited as well at a small firm because they simply don't have the money to pay you a ton.


Also wrong. The type of law in which a small firm specializes, its billing practices and the nature of its clients matter a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:06 pm 
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Also, that $1,300 above becomes $550 under the new federal IBR rules, and is forgiven after 25 years instead of being paid for 30.

Epic standard of living win!

Yes, you won't be a prince, and you won't have models and bottles and boats. But as I mentioned in my first reply - if you WANT to be a lawyer, you can make a living at 60K / year with 180K in debt. Kids in my high school used to do it all the time, it was no big deal.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:08 pm 
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thesealocust wrote:
Oblomov wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Is it impossible to pay off debt without a six figure salary? No.


Almost. Let's say you make 50k before taxes. For simplicities sake, we'll be conservative and say you take home 36k. If you have 160k in debt at 7% interest, if you paid 1k a month, you'd never touch the principle, but only be covering the interest. 1/3 of your post-tax income just to not fall deeper in the hole.

Even paying off 160k when you make 90 is not exactly fun.


tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
Umm. OK, well post tax that 60K is about $40K, and 8.5% interest on $170K (let's assume OP paid $30K for his first year and there was no interest accrual across the three years for simplicity sake) is $14.5K a year. So you would need to pay more then $14.5K a year just to pay down your loans. So OP paid $20K each year and lived off the remaining $20K, then all that would be paid off is about $5K off the principle of $170K. So do that for another 8 billion year and live like a homeless person (or actually be homeless), then yes, his loans may eventually get paid off.


Fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail.

First, major caveat: under the new federal IBR program, the burden becomes even easier.

Second, let's Do some Math: You just graduated from Columbia and are dead last in the class. Bummer! But you score a 60K job anyway. Inflation and raises mysteriously grind to a halt.

Assumption: $180,000 in accumulated debt, 8% interest rate (since some will be lower rate stafford loans)

Let's assume throw CoL to the wind and live in New York City, shall we?

Salary Paycheck Calculator (http://www.paycheckcity.com/NetPayCalc/ ... Result.asp )

Weekly Gross Pay $1,153.85 = 60K/year
Net Pay after all federal, NYS, and NYC taxes: $771.07 = $40K/year, 3,341/month.

Now let's toss 180K at 8% into a loan calculator and try to pay this bad boy down in 30 years. Monthly payment? 1320.78

Subtract it from our net pay above and we get after taxes and loans actual, spendable income of *drum roll* 2020.22 per month for living, eating, and shopping

ZOMG YOU'RE LOANZ WILL NEVAR BE PAID OFF AND U WILL STARTVE

NOBODY IN AMERICA NOW OR EVER HAS EVER SURVIVED ON SUCH A PALTRY SUM!11!11!! LOANZ WILL NEVER EVER BE PAID OFF.

Look, I understand you might not like math... but try it sometimes before you make yourself look /too/ stupid on the internet.

[OS, do I get a gold star?]


This is the dumbest post I have ever read. WHO THE FUCK PLANS ON PAYING OFF STUDENT LOANS FOR 30 YEARS?!!?!??!?!? I mean seriously, forget about getting a house, having kids and everything else because you take home a pitiful $2K a month to live off prior to paying additional loans on your home mortgage and other things you need to buy in life. I guess if you plan on being homeless and living out of a cardboard box, like reasonable_man probably does, then it is all good, but otherwise hell no this isn't a good deal.


Last edited by tetrahydrocannabinol on Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:08 pm 
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sounds like you don't want to be a lawyer, you just want to be rich.

i'd drop out.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about dropping out
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:10 pm 
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tetrahydrocannabinol wrote:
This is the dumbest post I have ever read. WHO THE FUCK PLANS ON PAYING OFF STUDENT LOANS FOR 30 YEARS?!!?!??!?!?


Well, since you asked, me.

And, yeah, there are compromises. No is saying there aren't.


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