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.


Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Fri, 01-18-2013 - 2:48pm

Marie, this board is where I can talk about my problems. I don't really talk very much about the good things that happen to me, not because I don't see them, but because I don't use this board for that. So what I write here would provide an inaccurate picture of what I'd be like in person.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Fri, 01-18-2013 - 1:30pm
PB, you do know women generally are less enhanced by the physical and more the psychological? (Men are from Mars...) So the underwear - I would forego, but the positive attitude is a MUST in the wardrobe. People want to be with other positive people. My advice - Make a PROUD list. Take out a pen and write everything you are proud of about yourself - no brooding or pitty allowed. You have made amazing accomplishments in your life, so write them down and SMILE. Oh, and start with being a really great part of this board, who we all love to hear from. -Marie
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2010
Thu, 01-17-2013 - 9:09am

I have nothing of particular value to add other than to say I'll keep my fingers crossed for a new job for you.  Hopefully a change of scenery will help your debt and to find someone.

Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Wed, 01-16-2013 - 9:33pm

Thanks, Marie. I was thinking about the math as well. I'll have to wait until I actually have a job offer before I can get some numbers to calculate with. But I think other people in this thread are right: if I haven't learned to control my spending, I just might end up the same place, minus a retirement plan.

Demographics is one concern, for sure. But the university employees have plenty more to worry about. My career plan is to move into administration. 

I've been feeling really awful the whole day. I've been really stressed, lonely, and sick, and I feel like a kid who throws a tantrum because he's just so frustrated with feeling unwell. On top of that, I ran into my ex-girlfriend, and I looked just kind of miserable. My hair was terrible, and I was dressed for warmth and comfort. For some weeks after we broke up, I walked around in trim fit shirts and tight pants, in the hope that she'd get a glimpse of what she was missing. (Did you girls know there are special underpants for guys that, urh, do the equivalent of "lift and separate"? I wanted to her to see the outlines of the, *ahem*, lifted things. You know, as a reminder.) But she got to see the coughing, cold, miserable me.

I think I'm going to call someone and cry.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Wed, 01-16-2013 - 8:42pm

PB -

Nothing is as cut and dry as just pay down your debt.  I tend to differ with a lot of opinions here as I see finances more as psychological than mathematic.  

Taking your retirement funds does incur penalties, but if your debts are at 20% or higher, the loss in penalty would negate the interest hit.  If you can use the funds to move to a more prestigious, higher paying position or a postion with higher potential, it also makes sense to do so.  Lastly if the move to a better geographical location with more potential would make your life better, that would also be a positive move.

Why do I say that?  Because universities have some of the best pension plans of any institutions in the country.  Many are in superior shape to any commercial counterpart.  You might do better at your next university with a pension or higher level match that would make up for any loss now.  Look at all that as part of your option package.

My only concern is the demographic forecast that student populations are peaking now and will taper within the next few years.  That would not allow for higher tuition rates due to demand, therefore possible spending cuts from current levels.  The better universities will always be in demand, but those on the fringe might have issues.  If you can move to a higher level university, that might also bode better for you in the long run.

Gosh you just need a great girl in your life to turn things around!!  Wish I could help.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Wed, 01-16-2013 - 12:48pm

Hi, have had trouble with logging on.

Sorry I am with the others. Do not cash out retirement and I'll you why. After you go through a journey(and yours will take  awhile) like this, it is nice to not be starting from 0 with less years of compounding interest ahead. If you look at  it this way, and I don't  know if you have any other assets or what have you, but 60 debt minus 40 retirement is only  20 in the hole. 

When I was paying off my first $30,000 lol. That sounds depressing. I started to panic because I had nothing, less than nothing and I was closer to 40 than not. So I started savnig as well, to have something to show for my hard work, first a kid's educaation fund. Then I realized I had to give that away so I started saving for retirement. I still don't have much, not nearly as much as you do, but it is something! When you get this paid off, it will just be blip on the radar of your life and you can move forward.

You have to break this up and reward yourself with something as you pay it off, give yourself two months not to back track and move on. I suggest every thousand for you because it will keep you motivated, and then something really good at $5000. Believe me when my truck is paid off and I have $5000 in my house account...we are celebrating! I am hoping by the end of the year, New year's could be good!

Chin up PB, the fact that you are still here, know it is a good thing to do is a strong indicator you will do it. You got this!

Karen(any word from our girl?)

Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Mon, 01-14-2013 - 9:54pm

Thank you all for your input. I'm touched by your concern and your understanding. It means something to know I'm not alone in the struggle. I want to hug all of you, whether you offer "tough love" or not. I've had to take a tranquilizer to write this message. So if some parts sounds abrupt or blunt, it's because I have a hard time judging the right tone while tranquilized. 

I won't be able to touch my retirement fund until I quit this job. I won't quit my job until I have a new job. So let me work on getting a job first. Then with a new salary figure, new cost of living, moving estimates, etc., I can make calculations and think more concretely about what to do. 

Now, I can't stay at my current job much longer -- without filing a lawsuit, or start taking steps towards it. The sad thing is that it is better for my career, for my finances, and for my love life to get another job than to stay here and try to get justice for the actionable things they've done to me. When I say actionable things, I mean things a lawyer has identified as actionable.

@Demontespan: It's not so much the nobility or the romance of working until death, but it's really that some academics have nothing else in life. Some academics continue to work after retirement even for no pay. I like teaching partly because those six credit hours are sometimes the only time I get to talk to people the whole week. That's why the holidays are so hard for me. It's kind of like being put in an isolation cell.

I don't think my problem is a secret. I have no friends here. At my stage of life, all my friends (mostly academics, too) are scattered throughout the world, busy with their own careers and families. They love me, and I feel the same way about them. But they have little time for me. I have no family. So just imagine you're deprived of all your friends and family. The people you are required to socialize with for work are the same ones you would implicate in a lawsuit. And this has been going on for almost six years. I spend to feel I'm a part of society, to feel something or someone cares about me, even if they just care about getting my money.

I was able to pay off $7,000 because I could keep the emotions of feeling utterly unloved in check. But then I got hit with a bunch of crises, in one of which I tried to give a lot more emotionally than what I had in reserve. That happened in July, and reversed my the good spending habit I'd built up.

Yes, in an ideal world, where I have people to spend my life with, I'd really prefer to have the option of not working in my old age. I'd prefer to have a wife and two kids -- a boy and a girl, or both girls. I prefer to be able to report on the stuff I do with my family on weekends -- like most of you. But right now, it's hard even to see that as a future possibility. 

I'm not sure I'd describe the stuff I do as "reckless sexual liaisons." But I ended up having to get some medical help. No, it's not what you think; I'm quite cautious with it comes to transmittable diseases. I am going through physical rehab right now for injuries sustained from overusing one body part in the course of pleasuring a woman for many hours over multiple days. No, not that part. 

@Dee: Glad to hear you're a fellow gym rat. I've been sick this past winter, and that made me so unhappy because I haven't been able to work out for three weeks. Strangely enough, my body fat percentage went down to 15%. On the other hand, I seem to have lost a little muscle mass, too.

A good partnership can give a lot of stability, as far as I've seen. The tragedy about dating in a small college town is that people at my age with aspirations and experiences similar to mine tend to be colleagues, and they tend to be married. So you basically have to wait until someone is ready to make a transition. (Alright, that's a euphemism for contemplating divorce.) 

I'm actually open to the idea of dating people from very different walks of life. They don't seem to be so open to dating me. On the online dating site, I notice that a good percentage of women stop messaging me once they find out I'm a professor. I think in the future, I'm just going to lie and say I'm a drug dealer who is "in between suppliers at the moment" (in case they ask me for a hit). 

@Heather: I started working at the age of 33. Five years later, I can't say I have much net worth to speak of. I don't own a house. My car is on the way to the junk yard. So my one big asset is my retirement funds, and my one big liability is my debt. (I'm probably misusing these terms.) 

I think at some point I'll have to think about which one is cheaper for me: using the retirement funds to pay off my credit cards, or paying off my credit cards without touching the retirement funds.

@Serenity: The dental work and the surgery are separate things. The dentist doesn't think I should wait more than a few months, but no more than that. So that makes virtually no difference to my financial situation. On the other hand, the surgery is something I can wait on. In fact, I'm hoping to be able to avoid it. 

As for my income to debt ratio, it's almost one to one. My annual salary is slightly more than my debt. I did some calculations about how long it'd take for me to get out of debt. I guess I'm fully a year behind.

@Kelly: Yes, I remember you have siblings in academia. I will get some money for relocation. It probably won't be enough to cover everything. 

I don't plan on killing myself, but I also don't plan on living with a diminished mental capacity. I've seen my mentors decline and die very soon after their minds started going. So maybe my mind will have the ability to finish my body off if necessary. I have other strengths -- I'm loving and sweet. I give all when I love. But my job has taught me that can be taken away from you, that most people don't want anything like that anyway. I am beautiful, but that will fade. The one thing that is truly mine is my intelligence.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 01-14-2013 - 4:31pm

Hi PB.  I'm sorry to hear this.  I've probably mentioned that my sister is a state university professor, and two of my other siblings have retired from other state universities (one was in administration and one in scientific research), so I do understand quite a bit about university life. 

I'm sympathetic to the low compensation of the university professor too.  My sister declared bankruptcy once, and now is on a debt management plan (I persuaded her not to declare bankruptcy again or try to settle her debt).  Of course she has several children, a worthless ex-husband, and a highly educated current husband who doesn't pay his own way in life, let alone contribute anything to hers. . . but I digress.

One thing I don't know is how relocation works for universities.  In the private sector, if someone is being relocated, the new employer pays for all or some of it, including house-hunting trips.  If you don't own a house, it's likely that all your expenses can be accommodated by the new employer. I'd be surprised if it weren't at least somewhat similar for higher ed.

But I must agree with the others who have said don't touch your retirement.  Because I did, and it takes YEARS to catch up.  I had to empty my retirement account when I was about the same age as you are, due to unforeseen things in my market, not cutting back on my family's expenses in time, and a couple of other things which were or were not under my control.  By the time I was 42, I had about the same amount of debt as you, NO retirement, and no way of fixing the mess besides changing my career.  It is not a pretty thing to be 42yo, with zero in retirement, no pension system for your job, and switching careers to do the job of someone 15 years younger (who doesn't have three school-age children).  My gamble paid off, thanks to hard work, the support of others, and more than my fair share of good luck.  But most people don't get that kind of opportunity.

I would also be leery of expecting to work until you die, even for a professor.  With the current debate over the purpose and price of university education, if you're not in a field where the degrees clearly lead to employment, such as health, engineering, nursing, and so on, the likelihood of your having a job til you die is not that great.  While I think cutting the liberal arts is a terrible shame for the future of America, I can still read the writing on the wall.

And - I don't wish to insult anyone here - older people are increasingly left behind in our too-hectic, technologically advanced world.  Perhaps the situation will improve as people like me get older and continue to embrace technical innovation.  I hope so.  In the meantime, I feel that the old are increasingly less respected due to the effects of the ageing process on mental agility, speech, and speed.

You may well have thought of all of these things, but I felt compelled to comment anyway.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 01-14-2013 - 2:48pm

A little late to the party, but wanted to chime in.  

Just consider my post another nod to getting yourself into a healthier environment without touching your retirement.  

I can only guess what your salary is, but guessing that your debt-to-income ratio isn't any crazier, and probably even less, than many of us on this board.  

I stopped looking at my total debt.  The medical bills just fluxuate too much for me to do that way.  This last year I just accepted that the best I could do was to try to work more hours to scrape by until I get my tax refund.  Then I will set a new goal for the next year.  

Although I ininitally wondered if you could put off the dental surgery, D is correct that it is important.  My SO has significant  dental issues and if not treated, bacteria can effect your health as a whole.  

For what it is worth, I came here with $8,000 in CC debt and a car payment.  For the last year,  I have had $14,000 in CC debt, still have a car payment, and have added another $2,800 in debt for my transmission.  I am not giving up!

Hang in there, we all love you!!!!!   Laughing

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-15-2011
Mon, 01-14-2013 - 10:09am


I am sorry you find yourself in a funk.  But instead of dwelling on how much debt you have, why not look at it in terms of net worth, instead?  How does that compare to July, 2011? 

Our debt has been creeping up over here, as well.  I don't like it, either.  DH and I have a pla, but we have to take the steps to make sure we implement it.  We will NEVER be wealthy.  Its ok, it is not something we need in order to be happy.  We WILL get to a point where we are comfortable.

Must you cash in your retirement?  I mean, is your situation that dire??  Maybe looking at things in terms of total net worth will life your spirits.

For example, we bought our house a year ago...we have quite a bit of equity in our house, already!!  Our timing was PERFECT.  But we are still underearning.  We can't stay this way forever, and prosper.  But there are up ears, and down years.  We had a down year.  I can't imaging how  much differently our life would be right now if I was not battling a lingering depression.

Take care, PB.  Whether you ultimately choose to cash in your retirement or not, you are going to be ok.  You are due for a good year.  Chin up  : )