Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Posts Tagged ‘student loans

Paying Ahead, Falling Behind

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Total Black: $472.38
Total Red: $269,947.64

As promised in And Again . . . , I called American Education Services, the student loan lender that I had set-up with automatic bill pay.  And now I remember why I stalled for so long.  Businesses don’t make it easy for you to untangle yourself from the electronic webs they weave.  Keep reading . . .

And Again . . .

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Total Black: $566.79
Total Red: $269,947.64

Well, looks like I did it again—once more.  That same student loan I forgot so many times before, including back in Head Meet Wall, came back today.  Of course.  Because I’ve stubbornly refused to take it off automatic withdrawal.  So my eighty-eight dollar payment will now cost me thirty-five dollars more because of an insufficient funds fee.  Why is this simple lesson so hard for me to learn?  Keep reading . . .

Last Update On Efforts?

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Total Black: $1,404.21
Total Red: $235,585.30

The monthly earnings report from Amazon.com arrived via email the other day.  I haven’t earned that much.  But it prompted me to think about all the various efforts to date in supplementing my income.  It may not be easy finding different gigs in my new location. Keep reading . . .

Meerkat Manor

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Total Black: $349.29
Total Red: $235,224.00

I had an interview this morning with a freelance reporter.  It’s the third request from a journalist via the blog and the second interview I’ve given.  The first journalist balked at my request for anonymity and we never reached to interview stage.  The second was willing to work with me on anonymity, but he didn’t get approval for the article and so the interview was for naught.  The third didn’t even ask my name.  We talked for just over a half-hour this morning.  All three wanted to talk about lawyers struggling with student loans.  Except the journalist today.  He wanted to talk about contract attorneys as well.  I figured I can’t leave the land of temp lawyers without a few more posts dedicated to the quirks, oddities, and irregularities of contract attorney work. Keep reading . . .

Round and Round

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Total Black: $508.96
Total Red: $230,325.12

Both total black and total red are down a bit.  Total red should come down under $229K by tomorrow once payments post and all.  I worked from 8am until 11:30pm today at both jobs.  Since I’ve become head usher for Naked Boys Singing, every Friday and Saturday night will have me watching men singing in the nude—and all the people who pay to see them.  Quite the interesting end to the formal work week and start of the weekend. Keep reading . . .

Debt Vultures

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Total Black: $191.73
Total Red: 226,391.08

Ah blogdom.  Truly a brave new world where nearly anyone can swoop in start plucking apart your innards.  At least in the days of print media commenters had to take time to put their thoughts in a letter to the editor.  And invariably the mad rantings of strangers got filtered out.  But now you open yourself up to anyone out there, including any vultures swarming, looking for a kill.  A few comments received earlier today on Cold Feet prompted me to write a reply.  After three paragraphs, I opted to turn it into today’s post. Keep reading . . .

Will and a Way

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Total Black: $208.35
Total Red: $227,348.99

Today at the theatre I was talking with a fellow Hawker.  Normally he acts like a sixty-five year-old bitter queen whom life has left drenched in its urinary excretion.  Well, at least at work.  And he rarely talks to me.  But today he chatted me up.  He wanted his hawking shift back.  I was scheduled for two hawking shifts next week whereas I typically only worked one shift in the early morning.  He had asked for more time off than he needed and now wanted me to willingly turn that shift back over to him.  For nothing in return.  Just shrug off that income and hand it over.  Luckily, as discussed in Stepping Up and Down, I decided to scale back my theatre shifts for the next few weeks. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

March 14, 2010 at 22:39

Coming Back Around

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Total Black: $426.61
Total Red: $225,563.13

I pushed myself to return to work today.  I would have preferred to stay home.  I wasn’t up to full speed.  But I need the money.  The day started late though because I had to run around town dolling out sums of money. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

March 5, 2010 at 23:52

Head Meet Wall

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Total Black: $6.41
Total Red: $226,422.43

Well, it happened again.  Insufficient funds fees.  Three of them.  And once again it happened because the only student loan I have on automatic debit, the only bill I have left on automatic debit, slipped my mind.  Even I have to wonder how many times my head must meet that wall. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

March 1, 2010 at 23:57

Venom and Vitriol

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Total Black: $393.85
Total Red: $230,977.94

. . . Or a response to the Mikes of the world.

Earlier today I received my first negative comment.  Given the nature of the internet, and particularly with the ability to anonymously comment, I figured when I started this blog that it would come with the territory.  I suppose I foresaw such comments in Getting There From Here, but to be honest I was quite taken aback by the viciousness of the comment.  It physically jarred me for a few hours, partly, I think, because the comment was not given in a supportive or encouraging tone but merely in a vicious rant.  So much so that I’m devoting this entry to his comment, especially since, as of writing this entry, at least four people have rated his comment positively. Keep reading . . .

Third Day of Accounting

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It’s the 10th and my third day of accounting.

Total Black: $673.47

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $43.21
Secondary Checking $507.02
Savings $1.73
PayPal Account (Personal): $0.52
PayPal Account (Blog): $48.25
Amazon Payments Account $10.14
Mutual Funds Account: $62.60

FICO Score 565 (unchanged from last month)

Total Red: $230,280.28

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard $5,650.00
Visa $8,050.00
Visa $5,728.28
American Express $2,500.00
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line $5,698.98

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $96,810.17
Private Student Loans: $33,891.93

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $1,231.72
IRS (2008): $27,792.93
NY State (2008): $2,926.27

Other Loans

My mother: $40,000.00

Just in time for my third day of accounting, my internet service has been restored. It cost $538.70 too. I guess I was quite a bit behind. It’s been a busy past few days. Keep reading . . .

Second Day of Accounting

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It’s the 10th.  My day of accounting.  Here’s this month’s breakdown:

Total Black: $462.36

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $347.14
Secondary Checking $0.00
Savings $0.00
PayPal Account (Personal): $4.62
PayPal Account (Blog): $48.25
Amazon Payments Account $0.74
Mutual Funds Account: $61.61

FICO Score 565

Total Red: $228,312.70

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard     $5,700.00
Visa     $8,005.65
Visa     $5,413.38
American Express $2,448.00
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line $5,698.98

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $94,504.20
Private Student Loans: $33,986.57

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $2,230.60
IRS (2008): $27,478.73
NY State (2008): $2,846.59

Other Loans

My mother: $40,000 (+ $8,000 she’s carrying on one of her credit cards–not added into total red).

Some progress, albeit slow.  Last month my FICO score was 562.  It went up by three points.  My total debt seems to have done down a lot since August 10th.  I think that was a mistake in my math.  There hasn’t really been any significant movement on either black or red since I started this blog.  Curious.  Two additions to total red: I’ve added in a PayPal account for blog donations.  As I noted in Getting Out of the Quicksand, I’m not touching those funds until there’s enough to pay off a bill (or until time on the project runs out).  The other addition is a mutual fund account I started reinvesting with.  Savings have to start somewhere.  Daily posts of total red include some amount, here roughly $60, that isn’t accessible but gets tailed on the plus side of the equation. Keep reading . . .

What is This, Sarcasm?

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Total Black: $10.99
Total Red: $228,519.06

So that $20 I donated to Coalition for the Homeless?  It’s going to end up costing me $55 once the insufficient funds fee is tacked on.  Best laid plans, eh?  But sometimes you just have to laugh.  It may be the laugh of the absurd, but it beats crying.

One of my student loans is set up on automatic debit each month.  It’s only about $100 a month, so I figured I’d let it continue.  It posts on the first of the month.  Well, I forgot that today is the 1st of September.  Unless that $20 donation and a few other transactions remain pending until tomorrow, sometime after unemployment gets paid, then I’ll be hit with about $130 in insufficient funds fees.  See, Bank of America posts its transactions from highest to lowest.  There’s been a few lawsuits challenging that practice, alleging fraud and misrepresentation.  It only happens with debit cards too because if you go over the limit on your credit card, you’re not charged typically unless you remain over the limit after that month’s statement closes.  But with debit cards, the banks view it as if you wrote a bad check.  And regardless of the timing of your purchases, my bank still posts them highest to lowest.  Here’s how it works. Keep reading . . .

Change to Spare?

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Total Black: $406.64
Total Red: $228,519.06

In a prior entry, The Lowly Penny, I wrote about my own struggles to unclench my hand.  Unfortunately, despite quite a few opportunities, I still haven’t given anything to people I pass on the street.  In fact, at one point last week, the only money I had was $2.50 in my pocket from one of the participants of the bookclubs I organize when she paid her RSVP fee in cash moments earlier.  As I walked home with that money in my pocket, I wrestled with giving it away versus getting something to eat to hold me over until the morning when unemployment money came through.  I don’t know which is more embarrassing, that I kept the $2.50 or that I used most of it to purchase an instant noodle dish for dinner.  I must have stood in Duane Reade for about fifteen minutes thinking through all the variables of the items I could afford.  A box of pasta for $1.99 would supply at least three meals, but I’d have to eat it plain because I didn’t have any sauces, oil, or even butter to dress it up.  A can of tuna fish for $2.09 would’ve worked, but it was tuna in oil and I don’t really care for that type.  Tuna in water cost more than I could afford.  I debated the chicken-flavored Ramen noodle six-pack for $2.49 because that would have provided at least three meals (I usually double-up on the Ramen noodle packs because they’re small portions).  But I decided not to chance it because I was unsure if New York charges tax on food and I didn’t want the embarrassment of having to give it back because I didn’t have enough on me.  None of the credit cards had room to cover the few cents extra it might have cost.  I had to laugh though as I stood there comparing prices.  I had this image of myself on The Price Is Right deciding whether the actual retail price was higher or lower than the price being displayed on the can of stew or box of mac & cheese in front of me.  I knew the answer, I explained to Bob Barker, because of that low point in my life in Duane Reade figuring out what I could afford to buy. Keep reading . . .

Slow Going

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Total Black: $175.62
Total Red: $228,464.16

Had a brief but short-lived drop in total red this morning.  For the past few days, my bank’s software hasn’t been updating account information from SallieMae.  This morning I decided to get it working.  When I did, my total red dropped by roughly $4,000.  “Woo-hoo,” I thought!  “Progress!”  See, back in 2008, I used a portion of the firm’s severance package to pay off one of my smaller private loans—approximately $1,200.  I needed some feeling of accomplishment, so rather than splurge on needless goods, in a moment of clarity, I opted to pay off a debt.  (Starting this blog was a similar moment.  Sadly most of my life they’ve been rare.)  So earlier this morning I thought perhaps this whole time some software error hadn’t updated the bank’s number to reflect that loan as paid in full.  Alas, no such luck.  Turned out that only two of the three remaining private loans were showing.  So I deleted the account and re-added it.  That time it took.  Back at roughly $228K total debt. Keep reading . . .

Day of Accounting

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Well . . . breakfast is complete.  The tea steeped and drunk already.  (And I’m about to start the coffee . . . generally don’t like coffee upon waking.)  And yet no blog.  But for good reason.

I began to blog, but then remembered that I needed my credit score and all the financial data first.  That took a bit of time and purchasing (having to pay for credit reports and scores annoys me).  So, now I begin again.  But first . . . an initial digression about the date (as the telephone just interrupted me), then another digression about money. Keep reading . . .

In Medias Res

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While the beginning is a very good place to start, here it doesn’t seem to fit somehow.  My back-story is long and can be told another day.  And besides…no one’s seen this yet.  So really I’m just writing for myself right now.  But yes . . . this is my first ever blog entry.  So, expediting the formalities, here’s the main adjectives that one might employ in describing me: Male / 33 years-old / White / Gay / Adopted / Gemini / Lawyer / raised Byzantine Catholic / Penn State alum / Howard alum . . . and, of course, Laid-Off.  But I suppose the blog title already aptly notes that.

At the outset, I must confess that I just saw Julie & Julia yesterday.  I was probably the only person in the theatre who got stressed out by that movie.  And it stuck with me, so I started examining the origins of that gnawing feeling.  That prompted this.

In a sense, I am Julie: my apartment overflows with piles of partially-read books stacked for later, stacks of newspapers waiting for one of these days, days gone by with bills lying opened but unpaid, opened boxes not yet put away.  Let’s just say I have a bit of trouble finishing what I start.  But cluttered is not dirty.  I am a bit of a clean freak, that much I know, especially upon returning to my apartment after two weeks with a renter staying there.  I’ve heard a stereotype of  New Yorkers that they come across stylish, fashionable, and a cut-above-the-rest, but yet their apartments are nasty, dirty, and gross.  But I digress (and more on the renter later).  At any rate, since I’m great at starting things, I figured I’d start this blog.  And here’s what it’ll take to finish it. Keep reading . . .