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How can I stop feeling ashamed about my living situation?

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Question - (9 March 2018) 3 Answers - (Newest, 11 March 2018)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

How can I stop feeling so ashamed of my life ? I followed the safe path and got a masters and undergraduate degree and now I am in debt - I work two jobs seven days a week (I get a day off in three weeks) just to get rid of the loans .i had to move back with my family. When my boyfriend dumped me two years ago i decided that I wanted to clear up this debt and then focus on a life that isn’t dependent on anyone or anybtinf . I am 31 and it will take me a little longer to clear this mess up - I embarrassed of my situation -I see my coworkers that have loans and live alone and it doesn’t seem to bother them- I often lie and say that I live with a roommate and make up a life that I have - they are judge mental and gossipy but I always worry if someoen find out

How can I feel confident - I don’t want to feel so down! I have commited my life to work and getting on my own two feet - I work 80 hours a week to pay everything off and then figure out what truly makes me happy but I feel like a looser sometimes - if anyone has any advice on building my confidence - I just feel so ashamed that I am back home - I see my coworkers and they owe over 100k in loans and they still go out and don’t care about it - I just don’t know why I can’t be more confident in the hard work I am doing

View related questions: co-worker, confidence, debt, roommate

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A male reader, Allumeuse United Kingdom + , writes (11 March 2018):

The advice you are being given is good advice, as it was the time you asked for it and the time before.

Your choices are that you pay this debt off as soon as possible. And honestly in the long run they are the best choices. You are sacrificing your now for your future. But.. They are your choices. You can stop them at any time. Unlike the excellent auntie who had a young child to look after you can just stop and spend spend!

If you have a choice I struggle with those that say 'poor me'. Your life is tough I accept that, but no one made you pay for 2 degrees in a country where higher education is unbelievably expensive, and noone is making you pay it off in short order.

I feel that your depression and sense of helplessness will improve and you take ownership of your choices. You are much better off than those in true poverty because you can opt out at any time. You can pay the minimum not the maximum. You will have an expensive educational the end of it. You can stop feeling ashamed by saying ' I can't do that because I've chosen to be debt free in two years'. Either stop being miserable about your choices or change your choices. It's that simple.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 March 2018):

I really respect what you are trying to do - and it seems to be working. It can be extremely hard to 'go against the grain' of what your peers are doing, and it can (I know from similar experience) leave you feeling like a loser.

As a single Mum, I put myself through a Masters and PhD whilst working. In my late 20s and 30s this meant doing horrible day jobs that made me feel incredibly depressed, and that had absolutely nothing to do with the subject I love. All around me, people who had graduated from their first degrees in the same year as me were out every night, developing huge networks of friends, travelling abroad, having the time of their lives, whilst I was basically getting up at 6am, taking my daughter to a childminder, working in horrible jobs, picking up my daughter from the childminder, running home quickly to change, taking her out to drama club or brownies or other activities, hanging around waiting for her to finish then crawling home with exhaustion, feeding us both and going to bed. The first two years of this I had to buy work clothes from charity shops and was worse off than if I would be claiming benefits.

However, after two or so years, I saved a deposit to buy a flat, and thereafter our lives changed for the better.

It is really hard to make sacrifices in order to be financially responsible, but you are really doing the best thing. I do, however, recognise how difficult it is. to cope mentally without becoming depressed. It sounds to me like you would benefit from maybe seeing a counsellor OR - the thing that I found life-saving - doing exercise regularly. Exercise can be just as effective as anti-depressants and can cost extremely little. I used to scrape together pennies to afford to go swimming 3 times a week, then I learned to run for 30 minutes outside. I rarely joined a gym as I couldn't afford one, but I would have joined if I'd had the money. Most people respond really well to exercise as it lifts your whole sense of self - the benefits are pretty immediate and, each time you do it, you 'top up' your sense of self. I also do think that the advice to treat yourself is well worth bearing in mind, even if it is just once a month - you may still feel self critical because you can't treat yourself once a week, or every day as your peers seem to, but you can slowly and steadily increase the amount of money you spend on your own pleasure.

Also worth considering shifting as much debt as possible to the cheapest options when and if you can - 0% credit cards are great over here in the UK - you will have similar products over there. Even if you can't apply for them now, you can work towards this to minimise any interest you pay.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 March 2018):

Honeypie agony auntGive yourself some credit here.

You have a different work ethic than those coworkers who don't "care" about their debt (trust me they do care but they hide it well).

My advice? GIVE yourself a DAY a month where you let your hair down a little and do something NICE for yourself. Could be you take your mom and yourself for a mani-pedi or go out for a movie, a dinner or something.

You ARE on the right path financially. I do think life is SO much easier when you do not have loans hanging over your head. Also YOU paying these loans off will help you in the future with your credit where as your coworkers who do NOT make the same effort will have a harder time getting a loan for a home, nicer car or whatnot.

Make a budget - see HOW much faster you can pay of the loans while living with your folks.

How long until you have it paid off?

While I GET that it's NOT the ideal situation to be living at home with your parents at 31, sometimes that is how things are. I think instead of beating yourself up you should BE super grateful that you have this opportunity to stay with them so you can pay off the loans faster.

There are no magic tricks for confidence. But there are little trick to help you "fake it until you make it".

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