Student Debt; Neither A Borrower, Nor A Lender Be

We need to start raising children to avoid debt, and if they have it, understand the loan must be paid back.

Like millions, my wife and I were happy to have a pause in her student loan repayments. A little help with the bills is always welcome. But it never occurred to us that this was permanent. Like any loan, we knew it would come due at some point in the future. But how to take advantage of this newfound, if temporary, monthly income (as I type this, our first student loan payment in over three years is being taken from the bank).

New car? No, our vehicles are in good shape. Vacation? No. We already plan those far in advance, including how/when to pay for them. Other debt? Actually, yes. I can use this money to pay down, or completely pay off, other debt we have. Or this radical thought. Save the extra income so there is a cushion if you need one.

Not that it’s unconstitutional or otherwise illegal, President Joe Biden attempted to buy more Democratic votes by simply transferring the debt of people who borrlowed to those who had no idea they were responsible. Really ironic from someone who calls himself a “friend of the working man,” wanting to pass the debt of college graduates (1/3 of American adults) onto the Americans who don’t have a college degree (2/3rds of the population). Rarely do I agree with the House Majority Drunk Nancy Pelosi, but she was right when she said Biden cannot obligate the US for hundreds of billions of dollars without an act of Congress. I guess Joe forgot to read the Constitution during law school.

Earlier this year fellow AFNN author Sam Pearson posted on how the US has raised one or two generations who think things should just be handed to them. I thought of his comments when I read this article from The Texas Tribune, an online daily newspaper.

Texas borrowers face hard financial choices after student loan pause ends

Payments resumed this month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan is unconstitutional. For many, the pause meant the difference between saving and making ends meet.

by Caroline Wilburn

Payments resumed this month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan is unconstitutional. For many, the pause meant the difference between saving and making ends meet.

As a first-generation college graduate from South Texas, Priscilla Lugo believed a degree was the key to financial stability and independence.…

…But her undergraduate degree and two master’s degrees from The University of Texas at Austin came with a high price tag — despite receiving financial aid and scholarships, Lugo ended up with $30,000 in student loan debt.

Now, as payments on her student loans resumed this month and she braces for the financial adjustments she’ll have to make, Lugo said she’s “really feeling lied to and misled.”

Lied to and misled? To paraphrase The Godfather, did anyone put a gun to your head and say, “that either you brains or your signature would be on the contract.” And three degrees (two master’s degrees) with only $30,000 debt is not extravagant. I know a pharmacist who’s college debt is well over $100,000 (bachelor’s and doctorate in pharmacology). A lot of money, but they walked into a six-figure income.

A few years back on a heated Facebook discussion, a man from San Francisco recounted how he was “misled” into signing a variable rate mortgage. Soon after closing on the house, his wife left him. He had to sell the house at a loss but over several years he paid off the debt. Again, he believed he should not be made to pay the mortgage company. I don’t question his wife left him in bind, but that does not relieve him from the obligation to the lender. You sign the promissory note, you’re liable. I think that’s what adults are responsible for. Well…

The Texas Tribune asked readers to share their stories of how they benefited from the student loan repayment pause, and how resuming payments will impact their finances. Some said the pause allowed them to contribute funds to their retirement and savings accounts for the first time; others said resuming payments means they will need to get a second job to be able to afford rent, utilities and groceries.

Having to resume payments on her loans worries Lugo, who works in Austin at a Latino civil rights nonprofit. She said her already limited savings will likely diminish to make ends meet and she worries she’ll never be able to afford a home or have enough money in the bank for an emergency.

OK, it seems some people were wise with the newfound monthly income, using it to build up retirement funding or savings in general, or paying other debt. But being concerned you may need to get a second job to make ends meet? Excuse me! For a good hunk of my adult life I had 3-4 jobs at a time. My primary job (police), my big extra job (Army Reserve), and until the last few years, I would have one or two police extra jobs (security at a bar or a hospital emergency room, occasionally at a McDonald’s or Sam’s Warehouse). And I have a master of arts degree (the cost is all paid off).

Is getting a second job so radical? When I was a teenager, my mother worked at a telemarketing office at nights to make ends meet. I remember talking with a similar subject with a full-time staffer at my reserve unit. During the week, he was a GS-9 (decent money), on the weekend he was a lieutenant colonel. And for several months 2-3 nights a week this man was delivering pizza for Dominos. A nasty divorce left him deeply in debt and he did what he needed to do to get out of debt. The man was the last to complain of being in debt (he did have a few unkind words about his former spouse, but that is to be expected.) or being expected to pay his bills back.

Another officer from my reserve unit was a unique man. When I reviewed his security clearance paperwork, I noticed he only had one credit reference, his mortgage. I explained he had to list three, and he said he never borrowed money except for his house. No credit cards (paid everything cash), no auto loans (paid cash for used cars), gas cards (gas for that), no other lines of credit. Sounds like he didn’t like debt. And no question, debt is not to be entered into lightly.

Are you concerned about having to pay for a loan, the solution is simple. Don’t borrow the money. Problem solved.

Michael A. Thiac is a retired Army intelligence officer, with over 23 years experience, including serving in the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the Middle East. He is also a retired police patrol sergeant, with over 22 years’ service, and over ten year’s experience in field training of newly assigned officers. He has been published at The American Thinker,, and on his personal blog, A Cop’s Watch.

Opinions expressed are his alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers.

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2 thoughts on “Student Debt; Neither A Borrower, Nor A Lender Be”

  1. Michael, great post!
    every eighth grader, 10th grader and senior should have to read it. I’ve got a masters plus, retired merchant mariner, vocational educator, and had 100 mini/ side jobs here in there, digging ditches, bartending, whatever it took… I don’t wanna hear whiny crap about “2 jobs” I also worked two or three jobs most of my life, Great “life-skills” post. 🇺🇸

    • Thank you very much. Have you ever heard of Bruce Williams? He passed on a few years back, but he hosted a nightly radio show on financial matters, budgeting, investing, etc. One person called in and asked for advice. He worked 40 hours a week and just couldn’t make ends meet, “What should I do?”

      His answer, “Get a second job! If your current employment doesn’t pay enough, and moving to a better paying job is not an option, you need a second source of employment. And you must be disciplined with it, it’s not there to pay for the new car, it’s there to pay off the other bills so you don’t need the extra job.”

      Sounds logical to me

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