As part of his 33 Days and 33 Ways to Reduce Debt and Save Money series, NCN says, “Before you make a personal finance-related decision, be sure that you understand the full impact of the decision you are about to make.” When I read this, I immediately thought back to my recent post about how my student loans were worth it and SAHMmy‘s comment about how own her loans weren’t worth it since she didn’t even graduate (though she’s already paid off all of her loans, which is impressive!).
I’m simply lucky that my student loans were worth it and that I’ll be making a lot more because of them than I would have otherwise. I certainly didn’t think things through and understand the impact of my decision when I took the loans out to pay for law school. At the time, I simply knew that I wanted to go to law school because I thought I’d make a good lawyer, and I figured lawyers make good money so paying off the loans wouldn’t be a problem. Luckily, that’s how things have worked out, but when I first graduated from law school, I took stock of my substantial student loan debt and felt a little panicky. In fact, that’s when I fortuitously discovered The Dollar Stretcher and learned about the importance of living beneath my means.
As I mentioned in my original post, I wish I had known more about personal finance when I was in law school. If I’d thought through the impact of my student loans and truly understood what they meant, I still would have taken them out to pay for school, but I would have lived more frugally. I wouldn’t have taken trips with friends, or gone out to eat so often, or bought new clothes whenever something caught my eye. Instead, I would have tried to spend as little as I could, and perhaps taken out fewer loans. I’m postive that if I’d been more knowledgeable about personal finance, I would have had money left over by the time I graduated from school – money that I could have paid back immediately, thereby reducing my student loan debt. Oh well. I’ve certainly learned from my mistakes. Now maybe you can too.