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Are you comfortable with the amount of debt you have?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on March 16, 2008

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Photo of Alex Henningsen

“I have some student loans and a little bit of credit card debt, probably about $4,000 all together. It’s not too bad, but it could definitely be better.”

Photo of Rachel Cottine

“Yeah, I don’t really have any.”

Photo of Craig Graves

“I’m completely uncomfortable. How could you be comfortable with any amount of debt? I don’t want to owe anyone anything - but I do.”

Photo of Tremenda Dillon

“Yeah, I don’t have much. I’m able to pay off my credit card every month.”


sgtwolverine 10 years, 3 months ago

I agree with Craig -- debt is uncomfortable. Perhaps a better question would be: can I handle the debt I have right now? Yes, I can handle it. But eventually I won't have that debt, and then I'll be getting closer to being comfortable.

Tanetti 10 years, 3 months ago

It's terrifying and saddening that a college junior thinks $4,000 in CC debt "isn't too bad." That amount is VERY BAD when you're earning virtually nothing (which most students are) and unless you're majoring in engineering or another high-paying field (hope he's not an English, journalism, teaching, or other liberal-arts major) you are NOT going to be making enough money to pay that sucker off any time soon. The hubby and I got in over our heads with credit cards at his age and now 12 years later we're STILL paying it off (thanks to our excellent credit and the resulting extremely low rates on the cards; otherwise we'd have no hope at all), and in the process we've had to sacrifice saving for our kids' college, new cars, new clothes, etc. I hope this guy reins in the spending and "sees the light," or he's headed for bankruptcy. But I didn't listen at his age either ...

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 3 months ago

well if he is combining the student loans and credit card debt and it is only 4000 then he is probably better than alot of kids that are not any where near paying off student loans. Or even care about the loan yet.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 3 months ago

also why does a jr at ku look like he should be in highschool? must be getting older:(

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 3 months ago

Student loans, the financial equivalent of herpes.

mom_of_three 10 years, 3 months ago

didn't have credit cards until recently, but have two which I am careful with. So yes, I have more debt than I would like (including a house and a car). But I am handling it right now.

black_butterfly 10 years, 3 months ago

I agree with Tanetti, $4,000 in credit card debt on top of student loans is not a good way to start your post college career off. If he is working like a lot of students are then maybe he can make the minimum and might be okay.
I also agree that unless he chooses a higher paying career, he's headed for financial trouble. Hopefully he has parents who will help him pay the loans off. I, like a lot of other people chose helping, social service, teaching fields and our country should be ashamed at what they pay teachers, social workers, police officers, etc. Getting a college degree does NOT equate financial freedom, no matter how much you plan ahead. People with Master's degrees are applying for and taking jobs that only require a Bachelor's. In 30-50 yrs from now a Bachelor's will probably be worth what a H.S. diploma is worth now. It is pitiful that a house cleaner can make more money than a teacher's assistant or a social worker. I heard that house cleaners in this area make around $15.00 an hour if they work independently and not let agencies take half the money.

They probably shoud have worded the question a little differently because a LOT of people are perfectly "comfortable" with being deep in debt. I've read those articles about how Doctors and Attorneys are default on over 100,000 in student loans and refuse to pay, College drop outs and people making $25,000 a year probably read those articles and say "Why should I pay off my loans when doctors and lawyers aren't even paying off theirs?"

It takes a mature well disciplined person to handle debt correctly, which is why so many people are so far in debt. Lenders, car dealerships and other credit companies are having to loosen their criteria for financing because so many people are have bad or slightly tainted credit that if they ONLY did business with the people with good credit, they wouldn't be able to stay in business! We are definitely headed for another depression, and soon. I LOVE Smitty's response. LOVE IT,

sunflower_sue 10 years, 3 months ago

Since all of the debt I have is a mortgage, at my age, I guess I should be comfortable with that...but I'd love for it to be paid off. I guess I somewhat agree with Craig. I still fund my IRA every year and I'd rather do that than pay off the mortgage that much earlier.

dajudge 10 years, 3 months ago

I, too, am an indentured servant working for "the man". I've paid off $20,000 in student loans. I've whittled down $35,000 in credit card debt to a manageable amount. I've paid off two car loans and still pay on one. I pay on a mortgage loan, and will for another 20 yrs. Ah, it's great to...oh, never mind. Who says this is a free country?

jystevens 10 years, 3 months ago

I have to agree with Informed. I started on Dave Ramsey's ( debt payoff plan a couple of months ago. It is working and it is a relief to have that debt gone and have a solid plan for getting rid of the rest of it. I have not paid any money to Dave Ramsey either. There is plenty of information on his website and in his online newsletter to get started on his plan.

jonny_quest 10 years, 3 months ago

To dajudge, Wow, that's a lot debt you've been able to pay-off. I suspect your income is well above average. Since this is an anonymous blog, could you please share additional information to help the rest of us that are in debt and working for the man. What is your age, annual income, do you have any savings, what's your credit card debt now and not counting your mortgage what is you total monthly credit card payment.

laika 10 years, 3 months ago

The quote from Mr. Henningsen says...

""I have some student loans and a little bit of credit card debt, probably about $4,000 all together. It's not too bad, but it could definitely be better."

I would think that would refer to $4,000 dollars of credit card and student loan debt combined, not just credit card debt like several other posters believed. The wording is a little confusing but that is the most obvious conclusion and the one that makes the most sense. Since it is a quote, it cannot be edited really, so that was not an option .

So before any other posters here goes off about how the "youth of today" are irresponsible debtors and liberal arts majors will end up in the poorhouse, please consider re-reading the statement and not making weak arguments with premises based entirely around poor wording.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 3 months ago

I'll be in tremendous debt if I live a bit longer. I owe nothing at all right now but soon will not be able to afford to live anything but this 'merican nightmare. I know the importance of continual growth and will not rebel, as its cancer is a miraculous cash crop of golden tears and necessary in forwarding our philosophy and control over...over...over...the life of those or we who would let the blood of capitalism spill without being captured in the essence of plutocratic bliss. Life is so short in its sweetly apocryphal reign. Eat. Drink. Be Merry...

hawklet21 10 years, 3 months ago

$4,000 in debt for a junior in college doesn't seem so bad. I'm assuming that the majority of that number is for student loans. Tuition is about 3 grand per semester. For a junior, that would mean that the total for all tuition thus far is about $18,000. Is he supposed to pay cash for his tuition and books?

gphawk89 10 years, 3 months ago

Very comfortable. No debts. Never been in debt. And hopefully never will be.

George_Braziller 10 years, 3 months ago

My financial debt is zero. House and vehicle paid off, credit cards = don't have any.

Cash in the bank = four years of living expenses.

GretchenJP 10 years, 3 months ago

George_Braziller (Anonymous) says:

"My financial debt is zero. House and vehicle paid off, credit cards = don't have any.

Cash in the bank = four years of living expenses."

Will you adopt me?

Godot 10 years, 3 months ago

May be that, very soon, new credit/debt will be out of reach for the ordinary American.

brownwallet 10 years, 3 months ago

I agree with Craig. He sounds like one smart guy who has it all together. I'm not comfortable unsless I have my prescriptions filled. Craig, I have a way for you to pay off that debt real quick, just look me up on

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