Should I be worried about my student loans? | Finance

Dr. Wallace: I recently started graduate school, which required me to take out a significant amount of student loans, and I still have loans to pay off for my undergraduate degree as well. I haven’t started paying anything yet, and I’m starting to worry that when I graduate, I’ll be drowning in debt. I have friends who are in similar situations, but many of them have told me not to worry too much about student loans because the government will probably move towards universal debt cancellation student loans at some point in our lives.

Personally, I’d rather take steps to pay off my loans sooner rather than later, as I think that would start to alleviate some of my stress. There’s a part of me that’s hesitant, though, because I can’t help but think how terrible it would be for me to spend a lot of money paying back my loans if the government ended up canceling all the student loan debt in the future.

Am I right to be worried about all the student debt I’m racking up, or are my friends right to tell me I shouldn’t be so worried? — Broke student, via email

Broke student: Sounds like your friends are seriously mistaken and desperate for financial advice. Regardless of all the talk in the media about universal student debt cancellation, the total federal student loan debt currently stands at $1.8 trillion, and it would be absurd to believe that the government will be able to cancel everything anytime soon. The chances of you and your friends getting forgiven for student debt are slim to none, and the longer you wait to take action to pay off your loans, the more interest you’ll also have to pay.

I encourage you to consult with your campus financial services department or a senior you know who has extensive financial experience.

Explain your financial situation to them and ask them for practical strategies you can immediately implement to begin tackling your current debt.

While the price of tuition today is astronomical, you are still responsible for honoring the financial commitments you have made. Never expect other people to fulfill your personal obligations, especially the government. If you do, I can assure you that you’ll end up with an even bigger mess on your hands.

I HAVE NEVER HAD THESE CONCERNS BEFORE

Dr. Wallace: I’m a 19-year-old male who has been very lucky over the past few years when it comes to my dating career. I played sports in high school and had several good friends, so I was generally quite popular at that time. I am a student these days.

I’ve been lucky enough to date a lot of nice girls in my past, but I never seemed to stay in a relationship longer than three or four months back then. I basically lived my love life in a carefree, laid-back way.

However, I recently met a young woman of 20, and she will be 21 in May. We go to the same university and we get along very well. I am happy to announce that I have already broken my longevity record because we have been together for almost seven months already. What’s weird is that I feel like I worry deep down that she’s dumping me at some point. She gave me no verbal or non-verbal guidance on this, but I have an unpleasant feeling that my good relationship with her might not last longer for some unknown reason.

This feeling had never happened to me before, and now I wonder if there is something wrong with me. What do you think? — Quite confused, by e-mail

Pretty confused: I think you might be in love! It seems that for the first time you are really in love with a young woman, and you have come to the point where you wonder if this relationship will last.

The best advice I can give you is to take a deep breath and think right now about how lucky you are to have her in your life. Make it a point to act naturally but also to do all you can to be a good partner for her in your relationship. Let her know how much you care, but better yet, show it through your actions. Be punctual for your appointments, listen carefully to her concerns about her life, and do all you can to support her in all her endeavours.

You were absolutely right to mention that you were a lucky guy in high school. Now is the time for you to work hard to show her how lucky she is to have you.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he won’t be able to answer each of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To learn more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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