Dr. Wallace: I recently started graduate school, which has required me to take out a significant amount of student loans, and I still have loans to pay off from obtaining my undergraduate degree as well. I have not started the process of paying anything off yet, and I’m beginning to worry that by the time I finish graduate school, I’ll be drowning in a pile of debt. I have friends who are in similar situations, but a lot of them have told me not to worry too much about student loans because the government will probably take steps toward universal student loan debt cancellation at some point in our lives.
Personally, I’d rather take action toward paying off my loans sooner than later, as I believe that doing so would begin to alleviate some of my stress. There’s a part of me that is hesitant, however, because I can’t help but think about how terrible it would be for me to put a bunch of money toward paying off my loans if the government does end up cancelling all student loan debt in the future.
Do I have reason to worry about all of the student debt I’m accumulating, or are my friends right in telling me that I shouldn’t be so concerned? — Broke Student, via email
Broke Student: It sounds like your friends are seriously mistaken and in desperate need of financial advice. Regardless of all the talk in the media about universal student debt cancellation, 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 all of it any time soon. The chances of you and your friends receiving student debt forgiveness are slim to none, and the longer you wait to take action toward paying off your loans, the more interest you will have to pay as well.
I would encourage you to consult with the financial services department on your campus, or with an older adult in your life who has a great deal of experience with finances.
Explain your financial situation to them and ask for practical strategies that you can immediately implement to start tackling your current debt.
While the price of college tuition today is astronomically high, 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 will end up with an even bigger mess on your hands.
I’VE NEVER HAD THESE WORRIES BEFORE
Dr. Wallace: I’m a 19-year-old guy who has been quite fortunate over the past several years when it comes to my dating career. I played sports in high school and had several good friends, so I was generally pretty popular during those days. I’m a college student nowadays.
I was lucky enough to date many nice girls in my past, but I never seemed to stay in any relationship longer than three or four months back then. I basically lived my dating life in a happy-go-lucky, casual way.
However, recently I’ve met a young lady who is 20 years old, and she’ll turn 21 in May. We attend the same university, and we get along great. I’m happy to report to you that I’ve already broken my record for dating longevity as we’ve been together nearly seven months already. What’s strange is that I seem to worry a lot in the back of my mind that she’ll dump me at some point. She hasn’t given me any verbal or nonverbal indications of this, but I have an uneasy feeling that my good thing with her might not last much longer for some unknown reason.
This feeling has never happened to me before, and now I’m wondering if there might be something wrong with me. What do you think? — Pretty Confused, via email
Pretty Confused: I think you may be in love! It appears that for the first time you’re truly smitten by a young lady, and it’s gotten to the point that you are worrying whether this relationship will last.
The best advice I can give you is to take a deep breath and think carefully right now about how lucky you are to have her in your life. Make it a point to act naturally but also to do your utmost to be a good partner to her in your relationship. Communicate to her just how much you care about her, but better yet, demonstrate it with your actions. Be punctual for your dates, listen carefully to her concerns about her life and do all you can to support her in all of her endeavors.
You were quite correct to mention that you were a lucky guy in high school. Now it’s 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 is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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