Then I added another $2,000 to that in preparation for school, including a laptop, books, and airfare to London where I earned that degree in one year. I sold my my car prior to starting school because I could not afford to make payments on it while attending school full time without a job. I started my degree in September 2007 as the run on UK banks unfolded and the housing crisis became apparent in the states. I graduated in October 2008 (at age 38) as the financial crisis went full tilt and came home to zero opportunities, even in my old career, which I was willing to re-enter under the circumstances, even if my degree was earned in order to leave that old career.
Now I am 41 and still working the same part time job for the same ten dollars an hour that I got in 2008. I live in my mother's very small house, sleeping in a 7x5 bedroom. I recently found out that I am technically defined as homeless but am not counted as such because I am sheltered. Anyone in this circumstance is said to be the "invisible homeless." My student loan was just shy of $45,000 when I graduated and, because I haven't been able to afford payments for two and a half years, it is now due at over $58,000. I cannot qualify for deferments under my loan agreement because some weeks I work over 30 hours and the federal government considers 30 hours full time -- deferments are available to those working part time. Like most student loan holders, I do not qualify for any kind of debt forgiveness and I know there is nothing available thanks to Rep. Murphy's office researching the case for me.
As this country has never really addressed ageism in a culturally meaningful way, we middle agers are likely to have the hardest time getting rehired and back to full wages, meaning our futures are more greatly compromised than those 20somethings the news takes great pity on. Most of us do not have significant savings (I have $5,000 left over from my last loan disbursement that I use periodically to buy groceries for the household or cover an unexpected bill) or investments or any substantial finances to fall back on.
I am delaying a needed cervical biopsy because I cannot afford to have it done and have not yet heard from the hospital charity if they will cover the expense. This is almost funny against Jennifer Granholm's recent interviews in which she has cited socialized medicine as one reason US companies take their businesses to other countries.
Perhaps none of this would be so hard if I had a spouse to share expenses but I am single and child free so I do not qualify for public assistance or even a mention in political rhetoric about the difficulties of the economy.
So what about me? What about all those people like me who just wanted to make the second half of our lives better than the first?