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Twin Update

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Several BAD readers have asked for a twin update. This is more of a personal update than a money update, so please skip if not interested.

Back Story

For new readers, my twins are 19 years old. They were placed with me from the US Foster Care system two weeks before their 13th birthday. After a tumultuous couple of years waiting to see if they would go home, they became my boys legally just before their 15th birthday. They were already children of my heart.

History Buff

History Buff decided not to move to Georgia with us. He ended up not completing high school and moving back in with his biological mom. Unfortunately, that did not end well and he’s moved around a lot.

It was a really rough year and a half for him. We have kept the lines of communication open and continually offer to move him down.

For a while he worked for a family friend in construction. He is now living with some friend’s and working at a local movie theater. He just purchased a “new to him” car with his tax refund. A proud moment in his life!

history buff

Sea Cadet

When Sea Cadet arrived he was at the 3rd grade level of math, and was considered special needs in the public schools. Their goal for him (which I learned at the first ISP meeting) was that he ride the public bus alone. I was shocked and horrified, and knew he would do so much more!

You can imagine my pride when he graduated high school this year with 28 college credits. He graduated with a regular diploma! He put in the work, he didn’t give up and he never let what others said keep him down.

Sea Cadet was certified for a 504 Plan when we left for Virginia (facilitates accommodations for school and work for his special needs.) But we agreed that we wanted to give it a go here without them.

He worked part time at a local coffee shop here in Georgia. And has now returned to Virginia to work at the Christian summer camp. He has worked there for the last three summers and loves it!

College Bound

When he returns in the fall he is registered to complete a EMT certification program. It requires three consecutive semesters, so he will not be able to return to the summer camp next year. After that…who knows!

I am unbelievably proud of Sea Cadet. He has blossomed here in Georgia. Begun to take on adult responsibilities, managed his schedule, registered for his college courses and followed up on his financial aid.

Financially, because he was a special needs adoption his college expenses are paid for with government aid (grants not loans.) Our goal is to get through his college years with no debt. He and I have talked extensively about what that will require.

He is also saving toward a new car since he totaled his car last fall. Thusfar, we have done okay sharing our one car. For graduation, my parents and four siblings are giving him money towards the car. We are hoping he can afford a “new to him” car in the fall.

sea cadet with graduation cake


Student Loan Eradication Plan

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Thanks for your comments on my last post about potentially reconsolidating my student loans in order to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). I read all your comments, thought it over, and decided that ultimately you guys are right (you’re always right!).

It doesn’t make sense to try to fix a short-term problem by making major long-term changes.

I don’t want a higher interest rate. I don’t want to be locked into stringent terms and criteria. I don’t want to feel the stress that the program could disappear or be discontinued and I’d be stuck with this boat-load of debt (even higher at that point, given the higher APR). In fact, when mulling it over, really there were two things about the program that appealed to me most: (1) locking in a lower monthly payment, and (2) having a definitive “end date” for when the student loans would be GONE!

Are lower payments really that important long-term???

As readers pointed out, the monthly payment problem is a short-term thing. Hubs has started working again (albeit part-time – he’s a personal trainer), but his income is already picking up as he’s gaining clients. If he stays at his current place of employment, he will enjoy a nice bump in his hourly rate at the 6-month mark. For new readers, hubs recently returned to school full-time so he can switch careers. In only a few more years he’ll be graduating and entering into the full-time work force again.

Meanwhile, this is our last year of paying for childcare (our twins are in kindergarten and although they’re in a state-funded charter school, the state only subsidizes half-day kindergarten so we still pay out-of-pocket for “full day” kinder.). We will have to get through the Spring semester and summer, but by Fall of next year (and “Fall” starts in early August at their school) we’ll only have childcare expenses for after-care, which is really negligible. We are currently paying about $30-40/week for after-care. That’s practically nothing compared to the full-time care we’ve been paying the past….oh….since they were born! (side note: they did childcare part-time from birth through age 3, and have been full-time from age 4-5. But even at only part-time, childcare from the time they were born up until this year has been our #1 largest monthly expense – even outranking our rent/mortgage).

Definitive Student Loans End Date

I decided to do a little investigating with my student loans in their current repayment plan (we’re in income-driven repayment). The plan is subject-to-change since it’s based on our income, but with things as-is, I figured out the “Paid in Full” date for each of my outstanding student loan balances. I have 7 loans in total, and their current “pain in full” dates range from December 2023 to August 2028! Now, I know that’s a very long ways off…..but remember half of the “pull” for me to do the PSLF was that it guaranteed an “end date” for my student loans. The end date would be 10-years. Well……as it turns out, my student loans are set to be fully paid within 10 years anyway! And that’s if I don’t get crazy and start paying way extra to get them gone sooner!!!

Long Road Ahead

I know the road ahead will be a long one. We still have a LOT of debt to get through. But, for some reason, seeing these end-dates made me feel hopeful. If they’re being projected at 10-years as-is, there’s NO WAY they’ll actually be around that long! ¬†We’ve got probably another tough 2-3-years ahead while hubs is in school. Hopefully we’ll feel a bit of a relief once our childcare costs go down and his income goes up from his personal-training raise. But once he graduates and re-enters full-time employment we should really start making some headway. If I look out another 7-ish years, well, all our personal debts (credit cards, student loans) should be gone and our mortgage will be low enough that we should be able to knock it out easily (we’re already in a 15-year fixed, as is, with 14 to go at this point). I’m 34 now. With a little luck and some hard work, by the time I’m 40 we’ll be totally DEBT-FREE and able to kick fully into savings-mode. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

What’s your Debt-Free date? Are you already debt-free? How long did the journey take you?


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