This video was filmed two years ago, not long after my friends Amy & John had their first child, David. At the time they didn’t know the challenges their young and brave son would have to face, and how it impacted their finances as well. Amy tells her story below:
Since we filmed that video our lives have really changed, and as a result, our ability to pay back student loans has been challenged.
Shortly after we filmed this video, we learned that David has a chronic and rare medical condition called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).
We spent most of the next year scrambling to try to find out what was going on with our son, and how to manage this confusing condition on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, finances were somewhat put on the back burner.
Now, going on two years later, we still work daily to stabilize his condition, but we are finally in a place where we can pay more attention to debt management.
Because of David’s condition, we are managing several additional expenses that we did not expect to be dealing with, and we are readjusting our budget to incorporate all of these changes.
David takes 15+ doses of medicines a day (which are not covered by insurance). He has monthly doctors appointments with several specialists (some of which require travel, and a couple which are not covered by insurance), and his sole source of nutrition is a hypoallergenic formula, which we make at home daily.
He also has several developmental delays and has recently been diagnosed with Autism, so in addition to all of his medical management, he also participates in different therapies 32 hours a week.
In order to provide the best care for him, I have had to significantly cut my hours at work. Our student loan payback plan assumed I would be working out of the house full-time, but given the care that David requires, it is simply not realistic for me to work out of the home for more than a few hours a week.
The combination of lost wages and David’s medical costs has been a big challenge for our family and has significantly impacted the rate at which we can pay down debts.
Currently, we are applying for Medi-Cal coverage to help offset some of the medical costs.
I am trying to pick up extra shifts on weekends whenever I can, and we are playing around with our monthly budget to reduce spending as much as possible.
Our lifestyle is not what we envisioned it would be with a child, but we have been able to make it work pretty well given the circumstances. Most importantly, we have been able to do everything necessary to care for David and manage his condition throughout the last 2 years.
Our debts do not define us as a family – we will continue to manage them and we plan on being debt-free as soon as we are able.
Have you had something major in your life affect your student loan debt payoff timeline?