According to Wikipedia (the source of all my knowledge), it will take the average Canadian student 10 years after graduation to pay of his/her student loans.
How’s that for a fun Tuesday morning fact?
When I first saw this statistic I scoffed and thought “I’m serious about paying off my debt, no way will it take me a decade to pay off my student loans!”
Then I really thought about it…
I graduated November 2007. My income was so low that I had no interest accruing on my loans and was never required to make any minimum payment. Basically it was really easy to pretend my student debt did not exist and that was exactly what I did.
Sure I made a few hundred dollars payment here and there thinking it would all be paid off “one day” but I foolishly wasted years not paying down my student loan while I was in my 20s.
I only became serious about paying off my debt when I started this blog in December 2012. Even then, I was concentrating all my efforts on the credit card debt and only making required minimum payments towards the student loan because thank my lucky stars, I still didn’t have interest accruing on it.
I’m hanging my head in shame thinking it took me 5 years to finally realize, “hey this debt isn’t going to be paid off one day unless I take action NOW.” Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. NOW.
The thing is, I still have over $40,000 in student loan debt and with a spring 2015 wedding to plan for and other grown up things I’m sure will come my way, I know realistically my debt won’t be paid off in another 3 years or so. 4 at the latest. My dream debt pay-off date is December 8, 2016 (4 years exactly when I started the blog) but rationally I know I won’t be debt-free until August 2, 2017 (my 34th birthday). That’s 10 years. A decade long affair with student loans. If I live to 100, that will be 1/10 of my life. Another statistic. UGH.
This post isn’t meant to be depressing though. I want to encourage all my readers that even if it does take you 10 years or longer to pay off your debt, don’t get discourage and give up. I have already had many readers emailing me and telling me about their own debt situation and it’s funny how similar our stories are. I suspect there are even more people out there with similar stories. Just remember that you are not alone.
Debt sucks but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. One of my main blog missions is to write about debt in a manner that is personal and realistic while trying to crack a smile or two in the process. I consider myself lucky to have so many people cheering me on to the debt-free finish line and I just hope this blog will continue to inspire others to cross their finish line sooner than later as well.