I am a college graduate and have thousands of dollars in debt.
I pay for my living expenses by working 38 hours/week at a job barely above minimum wage teaching low-income children educational and life skills while my husband attends medical school and my kids attend daycare.
I chose a low-priced, private, acclaimed religious university. Instead of saving for college at 17, I helped augment my family’s meager income by working full-time while homeschooling myself.
I got above-average grades in high-school but did not receive merit-based scholarships because I did not know to apply for them. I applied for college without any outside help.
I graduated with a 3.79 GPA. I had 1 kid and another on the way.
I lived and continue to live in a cheap apartment knowing that I don’t need everything I want. I choose to live within my means because I know I am more privileged than 90% of the world. I do not have a new car, an iPhone, or new furniture–instead all our furniture and most of our clothes are second-hand. And I am okay with that.
I don’t blame Wall Street or the government for my debt or my poor decisions, but I do blame them for using predatory strategies to ensnare low-income people in variable-rate loans that cost them their house and so much more.
I will continue living within my means because I want to. I will live pay-check to pay-check, without saving, because my husband is incurring $40K in debt each year and we chose not to delay our family. So half my paycheck will go to daycare and the other half to living expenses not covered by the loans, i.e. “income,” we received as a lump sum.
I AM the 99% because I CHOSE to go to school and start a family.