The University of Michigan School of Law just ruined our morning. Though not a day goes by without us considering our crushing debt, Michigan had to go and create a calculator to show us just how hopeless it actually is. The Debt Wizard combines practice area, cost of living for a selected geographic area, and salary to spit out your chances at repaying your student loans. The news, surprisingly enough, wasn't pretty.
Since there is no hope, and the financial aspects of our lives will continue to suck in perpetuity, we figured that there has to be a way out of this situation. Obviously bankruptcy isn't an option -- student loans generally can't be discharged, except in cases of undue hardship. Nabbing a $160,000-a-year BigLaw gig isn't likely. That leaves us with three options:
1. Flee the Scene.
Maybe we should call this the Saverin Method. Remember that guy from "The Social Network" who was double-crossed by Mark Zuckerburg? He eventually won his lawsuit and cashed out his stock after the Facebook IPO. Then he relocated to Singapore and renounced his citizenship.
(Several politicians have accused Saverin of fleeing the U.S. to avoid a massive tax bill. He claims that he left solely on his interest of living and working in Singapore, Mashable reports.)
While you probably won't strike it rich before fleeing, (if you had, you wouldn't be reading this), you might still consider a permanent move to another country, especially if you have family abroad. With a crushing load of debt stateside and minimal, if any, job prospects, your land of opportunity might just be a foreign country. We nominate Ireland. They have Guinness.
2. Beg, Beg, and Beg.
Though estimated income varies from person to person and city to city, some beggars are making as much as $400 per day, tax free. One man claimed that he made $60,000, according to The Huffington Post. Compare that with the crappy entry-level gig you'd find on Craigslist (if you're lucky) and begging might be the more lucrative venture.
3. Wait for a Windfall.
You never liked Aunt Mable anyway, right? Start sucking up now. Maybe in another 10 years or so, she'll kick the bucket and leave you her house. In fact, don't just stop with Aunt Mable. Reconnect with all of your long-lost relatives, from absentee parents to estranged siblings. The more bridges you build, the more likely one of 'em is to keel over and leave you something of value.
Besides playing the grim reaper, there's also the lottery. Oh, who are we kidding? Play the odds on this one. Your relatives are certain to die, while the lottery's odds are astronomical.
Editor's Note, March 5, 2015: This post was first published in March 2013. It has since been updated.
- 10 Ways to Get Rid of Your Student Loan Debt Faster (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Student Loans 101: Consolidating Your Public, Private Loans (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Student Loans 102: Making Monthly Payments Affordable (IBR, PAYE) (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Student Loans 103: Prioritizing Payments (or Which to Pay First) (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)