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lawyor

Am I making a huge mistake?

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Hey everyone! I’ve been accepted into a law school this year and I’ve paid my deposit and started to secure financing. I’ve applied for Student Loans and a Professional Student Line of Credit. Today I was approved for a $135,000 PSLOC. I haven’t been awarded any scholarships or bursaries and my personal savings are minimal.

I’m really excited to go back to school and I strongly believe law is a career I can see myself excelling in, but I can’t help but worry about the massive amount of debt I’m about to take on. I created a budget and anticipate to spend approx. $25,000 per academic year, which could mean $75,000 of debt when I graduate. 

Is this a manageable amount of debt, or am I about to make a huge mistake by taking on this much?

Thank you  

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, lawyor said:

Hey everyone! I’ve been accepted into a law school this year and I’ve paid my deposit and started to secure financing. I’ve applied for Student Loans and a Professional Student Line of Credit. Today I was approved for a $135,000 PSLOC. I haven’t been awarded any scholarships or bursaries and my personal savings are minimal.

I’m really excited to go back to school and I strongly believe law is a career I can see myself excelling in, but I can’t help but worry about the massive amount of debt I’m about to take on. I created a budget and anticipate to spend approx. $25,000 per academic year, which could mean $75,000 of debt when I graduate. 

Is this a manageable amount of debt, or am I about to make a huge mistake by taking on this much?

Thank you  

 

 

 

$75,000 is a manageable amount of debt, in my opinion. But it's also still a lot of debt. Figure out what the monthly payments will be, what kind of job you are aspiring to, and the starting salary for said job. That should give you at least an idea of what's reasonable for you. Of course, things change. You could end up in big law, where your debt load will feel pretty insignificant compared to your future earnings. Or you could end up articling for free with no prospect of a hire back, in which case the debt load could be crushing until you establish yourself. If it makes you feel any better, I was in similar position as you and law school turned out to be very good investment for me. 

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If you're asking whether you're making a huge mistake to go into law school because of the future debt that's a cost benefit analysis you'll have to do for yourself - but is that your question?  It sounds like you're asking whether $75K is a manageable amount of debt and I guess my answer would be if you have an option to make it lower why aren't you taking it?  I mean if you're going to go to law school regardless, and you have no other options, then $75K is manageable by default.

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41 minutes ago, cwfromwc said:

If you're asking whether you're making a huge mistake to go into law school because of the future debt that's a cost benefit analysis you'll have to do for yourself - but is that your question?  It sounds like you're asking whether $75K is a manageable amount of debt and I guess my answer would be if you have an option to make it lower why aren't you taking it?  I mean if you're going to go to law school regardless, and you have no other options, then $75K is manageable by default.

I guess my question is whether the amount of debt will be overwhelming after I graduate, or if it will be less significant in comparison to what I’ll be making. I’ve heard of large variations in starting salaries, as @conge mentioned. Yeah, I would like to go to law school regardless, but other options could be working and saving up, or reapplying and trying to secure financial aid. I would rather start sooner than later, but I’m wondering if I’m being naive thinking $75,000 is a manageable amount of debt to take on.

 

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I guess this is an opinion thing, but 75,000 dollars is a crushing amount of debt. Good luck buying a house until that's paid off. It's just really limiting, I think, having that much debt to contend with early on in life. All the young lawyers I know that I would say are making average amounts complain about their debt all the time (between 50-100k), don't own homes, and I think feel huge amounts of stress. 

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$75k is a lot of money. However, what's "manageable" isn't really something we can answer for you. It depends on many things, like your salary as a student/jr. lawyer, your risk tolerance, the type of lifestyle you're willing to maintain while paying off debt, parental or spousal support, etc.

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The truth is you have few other options. $75k debt is your cost of entry into the profession you want to be in. Mine was higher, but hey. It's ridiculous imo that so many new lawyers now start out so far behind the eight ball because of rising tuition costs, but the alternative is foregoing practicing law altogether, or spending years working to save and hoping tuition doesn't keep increasing. And that's assuming you have a job that pays you enough to make a dent in the total cost of schooling after a year or so.

It's also true that so much debt brings your other life goals to a stand still.  However, if you can minimize your costs while maximizing your income, (think living at home with parents rent free while working a Bay Street gig) you'll be able to make short work of that much debt in no time. Suffice to say, that isn't most of us. We don't all work on Bay Street, and most of us have to pay rent or  have a mortgage and some of us have more obligations than that. 

Ultimately, I would say that $75k shouldn't stop you from going to law school if you can secure the funds to pay for it. For one thing, law students tend to be young and single - which translates into fewer financial obligations coming out of school. And even if this first part isn't true for you, the income potential over the course of the typical legal career tends to more than make up for the initial investment. It's not an absolute guarantee however, but it tends to work out more times than not.

Now, if you wanted to go into teaching ... 

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3 hours ago, pinkfrostedcupcakes said:

I guess this is an opinion thing, but 75,000 dollars is a crushing amount of debt. Good luck buying a house until that's paid off. It's just really limiting, I think, having that much debt to contend with early on in life. All the young lawyers I know that I would say are making average amounts complain about their debt all the time (between 50-100k), don't own homes, and I think feel huge amounts of stress. 

You're definitely speaking the truth. I didn't feel comfortable buying a house until my debt was paid off (and it was in the range you quote). However, I did pay it off within about 5 years after graduating, and now I own a home and feel pretty financially stable.

It was a kind of a struggle for those five years (as in, I was struggling for a really privileged late twenties person): I didn't really take any big trips, I wasn't really saving anything (that's my new financial goal), I didn't buy anything nice, didn't have a car, rented small apartments...but it was worth it, and so was law school, IMO. (Especially since I didn't really have anything else planned in terms of a career.)

Obviously experiences will differ. Maybe I was one of the lucky ones. But most of my classmates seem to be doing OK, and many (I might even say most) had more debt than me.

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$75k doesn't seem outrageous or abnormal to me at all for something like law school. If anything I would suspect that most students end up with a higher debt figure than that.

Kinda just up to you to decide whether you wanna take that on.

 

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No one can reassure you that your career prospects on the other end will make 75k a comfortable load. The answer is always “it depends”.

75k of debt is about the norm for a law student. 

Most students find employment after law school. There are outliers on either end - the ones who find nothing and the ones who get hired on Bay - most fall in between.

The most important thing is how you manage your money and how well you do in school. The goal is to maximize opportunity and limit debt. 

What you have going for you is the right mindset from the start. You aren’t going to mistake a LOC for “free money”, which is what a lot of your peers will be doing.

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12 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

No one can reassure you that your career prospects on the other end will make 75k a comfortable load. The answer is always “it depends”.

75k of debt is about the norm for a law student. 

Most students find employment after law school. There are outliers on either end - the ones who find nothing and the ones who get hired on Bay - most fall in between.

The most important thing is how you manage your money and how well you do in school. The goal is to maximize opportunity and limit debt. 

What you have going for you is the right mindset from the start. You aren’t going to mistake a LOC for “free money”, which is what a lot of your peers will be doing.

This. I remember one of my classmates started 1L a few weeks later than us, and he was apparently on an expensive vacation that he took immediately upon receiving his LOC. 

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What's the alternative if you don't go to law school? Do you have a stable job with advancement prospects? Do you enjoy what you're doing now that you could forego law school and being a lawyer to stay on this path or a non-law school path for the rest of your career?

The alternative is to work for a few years and save up money so you minimize the debt to about half of $75,000. I think that becomes more manageable should you strike out and not earn a decent salary after law school. That's what I did but I also kind of regret not going at a younger age.

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Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice! I'm going to go ahead with it! I'm looking at it more as an investment now, so I'm not as worried about the amount I'll be borrowing. I'm driven and I work hard, so I'm confident it'll pay off in the long-term, and as for living a lavish life on borrowed money - I'm definitely not the type to do that! Yesterday I received my notice of assessment , I have been offered a generous amount of student loans, which means I won't have to dip into my PSLOC nearly as much.

Really happy and excited for what's to come! :D

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On 7/16/2019 at 3:06 PM, lawyor said:

Hey everyone! I’ve been accepted into a law school this year and I’ve paid my deposit and started to secure financing. I’ve applied for Student Loans and a Professional Student Line of Credit. Today I was approved for a $135,000 PSLOC. I haven’t been awarded any scholarships or bursaries and my personal savings are minimal.

I’m really excited to go back to school and I strongly believe law is a career I can see myself excelling in, but I can’t help but worry about the massive amount of debt I’m about to take on. I created a budget and anticipate to spend approx. $25,000 per academic year, which could mean $75,000 of debt when I graduate. 

Is this a manageable amount of debt, or am I about to make a huge mistake by taking on this much?

Thank you  

 

 

 

Christ that's not too bad at all. Ill have almost 200K of student debt when I graduate. Just the way she goes. 

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