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Writer's Block: Occupy Wall-et
How much debt do you have?

Currently, none.

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We have very little. Our house is paid off, we bought our cars with cash, and we normally use debit cards or cash for our daily expenses. So it's just whatever is on the two credit cards, of which mine is fully paid off at the moment; he's still paying down the hit from last year's property taxes.

The only reason we're in such a fortunate position is that he used his share of his father's estate to pay off the mortgage. Most people don't have that option.

When you retire in the UK you get a lump sum payment. We used ours to pay off the rest of the mortgage. Our car is paid off. Currently, I have no debt on my credit card, which I pay off each month. (One month I forgot. My credit card company cancelled my credit card. I went and spoke to them. They said, "Sorry." They cancelled the interest charges. They said, "We've never seen anyone with a record like yours. Forty years of paying up on time...")

When you retire in the UK you get a lump sum payment.

Most public sector employees do so automatically; most private sector employees do not do so automatically, but have the option of giving up part of their pension in exchange for a lump sum.

/pensions pedant

Edited at 2011-11-22 07:57 pm (UTC)

Mortgage on the house, due to be paid off in a tad under five years' time. A nominal debt on the credit card, but we pay it off in full each month.

Bwahahaha! My graduate school is private, and therefore very expensive. The required 3 years cost about USD100k, and I pay for it entirely in student loans.

I'm not planning on ever buying a house or having children, which makes me feel less screwed.

As long as I find a job after I graduate, I will be fine. (It helps a lot that my husband works.)

Some of my classmates, though, also have a significant amount of debt from undergrad...

I am a lot older than you. The mortgage is paid off and this house is still worth about three times more than we paid for it in total. The current car is also paid off. When I went to college, in the 1960s, my fees were paid by the government and, as my parents were pretty poor, I got a grant for living expenses. However, a lot fewer people went into higher education.

I am lucky enough to have a decent (though not massive) pension, do I have any dependants - and I've shared a jointly owned house with a fannish friend for over thirty years. We're both retired and have to cut our living standards according to our cloth, and occasionally dip into capital.

I'm not sure how I would face the current situation in higher education as, like many working class people of my generation (and my parent's generation) I have a real fear of debt.

I'll be 31 when I graduate next year, so this is a bit of a second career for me, and I hope pay off my loans as soon as I can, so that I can finally start saving for my retirement. (The two-income thing should make things easier.)

Many of my classmates have gotten their bachelor's right before starting grad school (technically "post-graduate" school in British English?), and have more student loan debt than I do because paying for that bachelor's has gotten much more expensive, and getting scholarships has gotten more difficult.

I'm glad your home appreciated in value (and that you didn't get a new loan against the value of the house the way many Americans had).

I'm actually twice your age!

The situation over here is not directly comparable with the States - for instance, house prices here never crashed. People who are in negative equity often took out 120% mortgages with no deposit at 5 times their (often combined) salary. Now you need a 20% cash deposit and they'll only lend three times your salary - but house prices have remained fairly steady, so if you are paying off a student loan the chances are you can't save enough for a deposit and aren't earning enough to buy a house (and certainly not in London!)

A lot of the problem is with expectation. I am sure you always knew that you would have to pay for your higher education with a student loan. Here, after WW2, most of higher education was paid for by the state (including a - means tested - grant for living expenses.) However, this meant that, in my day, the percentage attending university or college was relatively small - nowhere near as large as on your side of the pond.

Over the years, the numbers on higher education courses have grown, particularly recently. As the numbers grew and the cost per individual went up, the government began to pass the cost to the students in the form of low interest loans. The credit crunch and a Tory government means that students will now pay their own fees for the first time. What wouldn't cause an American to blink resulted in big demonstrations with occasional added violence.

It is funny...

What Obama changed is that it is now possible to get all of your student loans through the government. There have "always" been Stafford federal loans, which have low interest rates, but you can only borrow so much in those per year (as well as cumulatively). Beyond that amount, you had to apply for loans from private lenders. Now you can get these "private" loans from the Department of Education, which appears to be more trusting than private lenders. (The private lenders would require someone with a steady income to co-sign your student loans--and to pay them off for you if you screw up at some point.)

He also made some changes that amount to partial student loan debt forgiveness for people who don't make a whole lot after graduation. Because he's a "socialist." :)

The loans over here are low interest and those on fees, at least, need not be repaid until you are earning a certain amount pa.

Well, I need to pay this month's credit card bill, but other than that, none. I paid off my house (instead of buying a new car) last October.

I consider myself very lucky.

As it happens, this month's credit card bill is zero and I'm not sure how that happened. However, next month's will have a lot of DVDs on it...

You've paid off your mortgage a lot earlier in your lifetime than we than did!

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