I'm back to where I started

Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
I'm back to where I started
Fri, 01-11-2013 - 9:14pm

Well, almost back to where I started. In October 2011, I was $60,517 in debt. I knocked the debt down to $53.254 by July, 2012. Now I'm back up to $59.181. This is my fault. I am not feeling very good right now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 7:02pm
Error in posting.  Still having problem with this site!  Yell
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 7:01pm

PB, I have a sibling in research (whose finance is less than rosy), so in a way I can relate to what you are going through.  I often hear "working till the day I die" and other similar sentiments.  Even though I am only a few years older (and not any wiser), I hope you don't find what I write patronizing - consider it as something coming from an older sister. 

Definitely spend the money on dental work, even if it makes you go further into debt.  From a purely financial standpoint (completely ignore the health aspect), preventive care is always less expensive than treatment, and early treatment is always less expensive than letting the problem drag on. 

On paper, taking a pay cut, moving across the country, getting a new(er) car, etc. may not appear to be practical.  I do, however, support your move 100% if it will put you in a more positive environment.  Some of your health issues could possibly be caused by you being in a toxic work place and lack of social life.  I may even venture to say your debt and reckless sexual liaison are somewhat related to being unhappy.  (Been there, done that.  My debt was not that bad, but I went through some very unsuitable men and occasional bouts of eating issues).

I also understand that good academic jobs are hard to come by.  If you wait till your debt situation improves, you may not be offered a similar position in a nice city. 

What I am trying to say may go against the consensus here.  Yes, it makes sense to pay off debt instead of incurring more debt and taking a pay cut.  But your current environment is so toxic that I am afraid your emotional and physical health will continue to suffer.  And despite the relatively higher pay, you still won't be able to tackle your debt, because your debt has more to do with emotions (I still remember your intro when you first came on board) than actual numbers.

Perhaps you should give yourself a break and focus your energy on getting this job.  Spend what you must, such as dental work and surgery, and try to be frugal as much as possible in other ways but don't beat yourself up on your debt. 

Strict budgeting, moonlighting for more money, selling valuable stuff on ebay, etc. are all good for treating the SYMPTOMS.  The underlying causes run deeper than that.  I don't know exactly what they are, but I have a strong suspicion that your work environment has something to do with it.

Lastly, while I don't want to encourage irresponsible behavior, I want to give you one more reason not to touch your retirement:  it is protected from bankruptcy.

Please take good care of yourself.  I am sending good thoughts your way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 6:47pm

Ah, I had always pictured you as good looking so that comes as no surpise to me.

But I was highlighting the fact that your MENTAL health needs to be protected bc it is clear that your environment is toxic. And facing all these issues, you are going to need to be in excellent shape :)

I'm in fantastic shape as well. But more importantly, I have a Mr Stormydancer. I firmly believe that having a fantastic marriage is one of the healthiest parts of my life. Yes, we have that fairytale of romantic poetry. I didn't want to go there though as it sounds like you live in a limited pool of potentials. Not much you can do about that except move - and you are gonig to do that.

I know what you mean about eduction - have you seen this?


Sad situation but I still wish I had finished my degree almost 2 decades ago. Because this wasn't the situation then and I'm tired of having supervisors and bosses who are younger and have that piece of paper. Yet I have even more skills and abilities to accomplish the work then they do.


Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 6:09pm

stormydancer wrote:
<p>PB,</p><p>You are 38 years old, start taking care of yourself! Eat healthy and exercise.

For your information, I am in very good shape. I eat and exercise accordingly. I don't just eat healthy; I eat for performance, which means I do not even indulge in the sort of little pleasures that healthy eaters can avail themselves. But I have a lot of medical problems, some of which are genetic. For an analogy, I'm like a high performance car that breaks down a lot between races.

I am also very good looking (also genetic), but that's neither here nor there, I suppose. 

Professors at my rank don't get second jobs. That's partly a matter of status, but it's mostly time. I have considered supplementing my income, but there is no way. I already have more work I can handle at one job. My profession requires a lot of education, and pays little. There isn't much else I can do with my degree, so don't be jealous. (You can be jealous of my looks, if you want to. Oh, I also look 10 years younger than my age.)

@Turtlemom: I don't get a choice as to when and where to move to. I have to live by the academic calendar, and I have to move where there is a job. And since there are so few jobs in academia, you move when you have an offer, not when you can afford it financially.  

But, yeah, I have to figure out how not to spend. It's hard. I am hoping that a new location will make a difference.

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 3:52pm

A huge part of paying off debt is learning not to acrue more debt.  Debt just doesn't just happen.  It comes from a bunch of choices.  While paying it off you should be learning how to make those better choices, if it be holding off on impulses, seeing the big picture, being realistic with curent money coming in and out NOT potential money, the difference between wants and needs.  If you haven't learned these things, the result will likely be the accumlation of more debt. 

You paid some off and then racked it backup.  What is to say that you won't take out of retirement and be debt free for a few months and then be back in the hole again with sunstantally less retirement funds?   Moving across country will require a few thousand dollars- movers, scouting trip out, security deposit, add in surgery, a new car and a pay cut and the debt starts again.  I think you are being unrealistic.  I would save up $4000-$6000 so you have the money to move after the surgery and dental work is paid off.   Then you can afford to move, and your debt is no worse off than it is now.  One you get settled you can continue on paying down the current debt and working towards your envisioned life with retirement intact.      

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 3:11pm


You are 38 years old, start taking care of yourself! Eat healthy and exercise. Not just for your physical health but also your mental health. You owe it to yourself. You need to give yourself some TLC bc it sounds like you are facing a toxic work environment and some stressful issues. A lot of ppl have success with mediation too. Your health is so much more important than money.

Can you get a second job? A paper route? Can you turn a hobby into a money maker? How about mystery shopping...anything to feel like you are getting ahead...or save up money for this upcoming move.

The reality is that if you did not make any changes from Oct/11-Jul/12, you would have a LOT more debt that you have now. So you did accomplish something and you are making some progress.

How about you start posting on the weekend expenses/accountability threads? I'll keep you in line ;-)

A note about retirement taxes - I'm not sure how it works in USA but didn't you save the taxes upfront when the money went in there? So you are not really losing...you just deferred the tax bill? If your new job pays less, then wouldn't your marginal tax rate be LESS that next year with the move & lower paying job? (moves for work are tax deductible here)

I am currently moving my money out of my personal retirement savings to pay for school (the school deductions will offset the taxes on the retirement money, I've done the calculations). I have a seperate work pension that requires more than 5% of my gross earnings. Right now, I have so many deductions that my marginal tax rate is low. It is likely that with my pension & DH's income, I would have a higher marginal tax rate & pay higher taxes if I wait and pull the money out at 65. Remember, tax rates will probably go up :)

Please take this as the tough love it is indeed. You live in a very prosperous nation with an education (I'm jealous there) and you can thrive if you find your path. Right now you are just surviving and that is no way to live.



Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 11:51am

A few factors to consider --

1. If I succeed in getting a new job, I'll probably be taking a pay cut, up to $10,000. 

2. I'll need to move halfway across the country. That will include a scouting trip to find a place, and the cost of hiring a moving company. I guess I'll find out how much my employer will pay for relocation.

3. My car won't be able to make it across the country. I'll need a new car.

4. I may need surgery.

In the next few months, I'll probably be spending $1,200-$1,800 on dental work.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2008
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 11:48am

Hi Poorboy,

I cashed in my retirement from another job in another state a few months ago.  I used it pay down most of my debt.  I still have some retirement in my new job, but we plan on really working on that.  They took like 20% away but it was still a huge amount.  My husband is interviewing for a new job (more money!) and I will have our debt paid off by summer.  Then we plan on putting a large amount in a retirement account every month.  Hang in there!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2010
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 7:43am

Hi PB!

I'm kind of quick on time here but I wanted to say, please don't give in and drain your retirement! You managed to knock out 6k before without touching it and you can do it again! Set backs happen but I know you can do it!


Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Sat, 01-12-2013 - 6:30pm

demontespan wrote:
<div><div><div><div><p>Another possiblity is, without cashing in your retirement, borrow from it which would avoid the penalty and tax hit.  If you were to get a new job, you could roll your current retirement plan into the new plan.  Depends on the rules of the new plan, you could then "borrow" from yourself.  

I looked into this possibility more than a year ago with my current job, and my plan does not permit it. If I get a new job, I'll have to look into the policy regarding borrowing against my retirement funds. That is a better plan than losing 30% outright. I am not optimistic, since my employer will be a university. But let me get a job offer first.

As for the retirement lifestyle question, I'll have to think about it. I suppose the way I envision my future probably has to do with feeling like I have nothing to live for. This is not exactly debt-related; I'd still feel the same even if I were a millionaire.