A $52000 Education

School is not for everyone and I truly believe a person can be successful regardless of their educational background.  Sure for the most part it helps, but it’s not always the right answer.  For me however, it was the always going to be my answer.  All my life my plan was to get my degree, travel the world, and settle down with a family of my own.

Didn’t that get knocked right out of orbit!

Then life became very shitty.  I’ll not delve into to it now but slowly and surely higher education became my ticket to freedom and the beginning of what I thought was a better life.

A time to learn

The problem with having a ticket to freedom was when I arrived, I had no clue what I wanted to do.  My sole focus up until this point was to get a degree, any degree without further thought as to where it would take me in my career.

Being indecisive on this matter meant every semester I was changing direction, working on vastly different papers (to which none them could  be cross credited) for my constantly changing majors.

For two years I did this, toiling away trying to find my niche in the learning world, all the while racking up thousands in student loan dollars.

$22,000 to not get educated

For the price above I barely got a quarter of a degree and I couldn’t even put it on my resume.  What type of example would that look like to a prospective employer?

Feeling there was no other choice but to give up studying, I promised to return once I had made up my damn mind.

And I began to pay back my loan to the NZ government via the New Zealand tax system.

All was well in the world

Until a planned girls weekend ended with me moving to Australia, the land of gigantic insects, and stifling hot summers.

There were also a few side effects that accompanied this move, namely memory loss when it came to my student loan obligations.

The New Zealand government most certainly did not forget however.  Fines were added, interest and penalties accrued resulting in my loan more than doubling to approximately $48,000.

My quarter education had become quite the expensive endeavour indeed.

Then a bout of luck struck and my student loan woes were answered.  

The New Zealand government made a realisation.  Penalising NON-PAYERS of student loans was not incentivising them to pay it back.

So to entice these errant student loan debtors (myself being one of them), they introduced an amnesty period where one could apply to have all their penalties waived as long as they stuck to a set repayment schedule.

Just like magic $12,000 was written off

One would think given this fortune I would’ve capitalised on this! Not exactly, but I did agree to paying only the minimum required (and not a single cent more) which was a paltry $3000 a year.  Paltry because I could’ve easily doubled this with my wages and no other financial responsibilities.

However I was too busy having a social life here in Sydney to worry about my pithy obligation to my government, and laughed at the suckers who chose to pay off their loan.

My firm resolve being the government would get their money back when I ‘won’ lotto.

Sound financial advice this is not

As you can imagine I got nowhere fast, though my loan didn’t get any bigger it sure as hell didn’t get smaller.

 Life continued on, I get a credit card and a personal loan for the car I bought having recently learned how to drive.  Thus being indebted became a part of living a normal life.

Until the time I needed money and had no credit left, no money even to buy me a packet of smokes.

To top it off my student loan remained the heaviest burden sitting like a black reaper on top of that very big debt pile!

My financial health was at critical mass until I made the decision to pay it off one crucial cent at a time.  A whopping 18 years later my student loan was finally paid bringing the grand total of my education in it’s entirety to $52,000 plus a few cents.

For what surmounted to zilch in the way of a formal education!

But I did get an education

The impact of how having debt, whether it be a loan, credit card or line of credit I learned was a constant noose around my financial progress.

It also affected my future dearly.  When I am reading blogs of how people retired at my age or even younger.  I am only just beginning that stage of my life thanks to my delayed payback of my loan.

On occasion it causes me to suffer bouts of regret, the could’ve, would’ve, should’ve kind.  That amount of money will do that to you.

A harsh lesson to have learned

When looking at it in black and white $52,000 hell yes!  It stings to no end, but dwelling on it does me no good.  Instead I encourage anyone else not to learn this way, for your own financial peace of mind.

Has anyone else out there had this kind of education?

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