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8 Average People With Embarrassingly Bad Debt

by Rebecca Black on April 18, 2012

Most people have amassed some kind of debt – whether it is a mortgage, a student loan, an auto loan, or simply a credit card balance. The question is, are we borrowing too much? The financial crisis left millions of families deeply affected with their own personal debt crisis. The median average debt for American families is $75,600, according a 2011 CNN report. College students are faced with a mountain of tuition loans, which could take them years and even decades to repay. If you find yourself struggling with debt, you’re not alone. Here are eight average people with horrendous debt stories. Collectively, we can learn from each other and try to avoid the burden of impossible debt.

  1. Scott Mitchell

    From the ages 21 to 23, Scott played with the stock market, trading money from loans and from his mother’s account. The endeavor, unfortunately, cost him more than $250,000 in losses. After hitting rock bottom, he declared bankruptcy, sold his home, and lived in his office in an effort to completely turn his business around. He is still trying to climb out of debt little by little to improve his credit.

  2. Eden Jaeger

    With about $265,000 in debt, Jaeger, a 30-year-old web designer from Arizona, has started a blog documenting his journey out of enormous debt starting in 2007. Taking inspiration from Dave Ramsey and his debt snowball plan, Jaeger has decided to attack his highest interest rate credit card, which also happens to be his largest debt balance.

  3. Jaime Tardy

    Twenty-nine-year-old Jaime Tardy set out to eliminate her $70,000 in debt. Within a year, she and her husband were virtually debt-free, and had $23,000 in the bank. Like any other average person, her debt came from student loans, a home equity loan, and a car loan. She now blogs about her journey to becoming debt-free, quitting her job to start a family, and investing advice.

  4. Elizabeth Coffman

    Besides paying off student loan debts, Elizabeth was also dealing with a medical emergency that resulted in another $30,000 in debt. Borrowing from her retirement account, she faced quite a challenge in tackling her debt situation, especially with increasing interest rates. She represents one of many moms out there struggling with debt and finances.

  5. Jason Watson

    Law student Jason Watson will have amassed more than $150,000 in debt by the time he can officially get his Juris Doctorate. Like so many students out there, the seemingly insurmountable amount of debt makes them question whether their education was truly beneficial. Starting a family soon, it will take him major financial planning to tackle his debt over the past six years.

  6. Ifreke Williams

    A medical student studying at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Williams finds herself $226,000 in debt with student loans. The amount will be almost $300,000 upon graduation, and that’s before the seven-to-eight percent interest. She plans to go into primary care, which is known to be a grossly underpaid specialty. She hopes to increase the public’s awareness of medical student debt and its impact on health care while tackling her debt over a 20-year repayment period.

  7. Dennis Shoup

    At the age of 50, Mr. Shoup decided he wanted to go back to school to get his Master’s while working full time. He is always worried that he will lose his teaching job because of Indiana’s public educational budget cuts. Currently $115,000 in debt, he hopes to be able to pay off what he owes by the time he turns 80.

  8. Camala Smith

    With about $90,000-worth of student loan debt from her associate degree at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Calama was the first in her family to go to college. Now she’s riding on her only hope – an increase in wages to pay back her loans. Until then, she’ll be enduring calls from debt collectors and deferring repayments.

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