Let me tell you a story. This story is about me and my friend and co-worker, Jason (names may been changed). We are the both the same age, and we both have our graduate degrees. Mine is a Masters in Biology, while his is in Engineering. We both do almost the same work. I am a Product Manager for one of the largest companies in Canada, and he is the lead designer for said product. I have $18000 in student debt. He has $120,000.
For the record, I am not comparing our degrees because there is no comparison, I do sometimes get the urge to compare our lifestyles and spending patterns though. Because I was the team lead, I had to hire him. This gave me insight and access into his income.
For the first 8 months that we worked together, I judged him, not because he was doing something wrong, but because I couldn’t understand why someone who owes 1/8 of million dollars drives a $65,000 car, goes out 3 times a week for drinks, vacations every few months. These actions made me question his priorities.
I had no right to and I still don’t.
After joining the blogging world, I have come to learn about some amazing stories of debt and how to conquer it. I have also learned that different people deal with it differently. This leads me to ask – why do we judge others’ lifestyles? I have recently seen some rather mean attacks on other bloggers about how they handle their lives. The truth of the matter is that we have no say, no right to tell anyone what to do or how to handle their finances.
Paying off my student debt loans is a really big priority. I hate having them, and I am extremely motivated to get rid of them. Living his life and having fun is something that is important to him. I can’t say that I blame him for that. Getting a Graduate degree in Engineering is not a easy or a fun feat, so I can imagine him not having a lot of free time earlier. I think part of me was jealous. The cars, the watches, the parties got to me. Seeing my debt compared to his made me feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I do some really irresponsible things right now with my money- Ipads, expensive cars, eating out at times etc. All of which could be planned better, but I refuse to feel shackled by a repayment plan, when I work as hard as I do.
I have done some really stupid things with my money in life, I am sure some of you have too. Just because our perspective and motivations have changed doesn’t mean that I/we are experts in personal finance. I really wish people would get off their high horses. Life is short and paying off debt is boring. There needs to be fun involved. This is what motivates students in school- get good grades, get a great job, buy things that you want. No one questions having to live on strict debt diets for years to pay off their student debts. No one would want to go through 8 years of post secondary schooling for that.
I know this may sound like a rant, and maybe it is, but I just wanted to share some thoughts.