My student loan has been there for me, through thick and thin, longer than my wife. Longer than my kids, my car, my house, and the job I got as a result of the loan. $200 a month, give or take, for the last fifteen years, but now is the time to finally put the loan to bed for good. And it’s not for all the good reasons you might imagine.

I Didn’t Win The Forgiveness Lottery

I worked in a school for twelve years, but it wasn’t low-income enough. They don’t forgive your loan if you have to teach rednecks with money. Teaching sucked just as much for me as anyone else. Whatever.

I also didn’t get a magic payoff when I got laid off as a teacher. You’d think the union could have at least done that for me. Nope. I took a forbearance and probably accrued more interest, but no one said, “Hey, that sucks to get laid off from a crappy teaching job after more than a decade and well before you could pay off your stupid student loan, so here you go, Chief.” No one said that or did that.

I also was laid off and not working when the Forgiveness Lottery expanded to include the very young people deemed more qualified to do my job than myself. So let’s get this straight: I got laid off because the district wanted to keep lower-paid young people in the job, but because I got laid off, those young people will now get the loan forgiveness I was holding out for. Sounds perfect.

I also did not win the mortgage forgiveness lottery because I was responsible enough to buy a house I could afford. And I didn’t win the Cash For Clunkers lottery because I didn’t buy an SUV I didn’t need. Basically, I didn’t win any of the federal government payouts made for poor decision-making, which sucks, since I made that initial decision to become an educator.

I Didn’t Die

The other main reason I decided to pay my loan off is because I didn’t die or get dismembered. If I had, it would have been forgiven, but I didn’t, and I guess I should be celebrating that fact. However, it’s terribly likely I will run out of my wonderful luck as soon as I send the final loan payoff to the bank. I’ll probably be crushed by an airplane flown by young teacher who just won the Forgiveness Lottery and decided to take flying lessons with the savings. And that young teacher will probably survive the crash. And the explosion will probably destroy all the life insurance paperwork on my desk so that my wife won’t even know she gets $250,000 so that she can pay off our house. And a lump-sum $60,000 from my teaching years as a half-ass second payout (worth half as much as if I make to age 55).

I Finally Made Enough Money

I’m kidding. Part of my salary every year went to buying teaching materials, paying to be in a union, and taking stupid-ass classes to renew my license. A decade into the profession, I was not yet at the AVERAGE salary in the state. My wife did the right thing and took off of work to raise the kids when they were little, but that meant we had just enough to get by. Basically, I wanted to pay off the loan years ago, and I thought about using my unemployment checks to do just that. But I figured a federal loan wasn’t a horrible thing to have, and the interest was basically paid off. But then it happened: the interest WAS paid off, but there was more. And more. Every month meant more interest, even though it was zeroed-out when I paid each month. I thought the damn loan would be principal-only once I got to $0 on the interest side, but I paid another $170 in interest the year AFTER I got to nothing in interest. I don’t know why and I don’t care, but it’s just another reason for paying the loan off right now. Basically, I was budgeting for 12 payments of around $200, but I was lucky enough to earn an extra payment in interest. Actually, I didn’t really make enough money to pay off the loan. I will likely have to cut back on something this summer in order to pay, but it’ll be worth it to see the looks on the faceless faces when I finally stick it to them.

I don’t even know how much I’ve paid in principal or interest by now. The current loan says $1300 or so in interest, but that’s since 2012, when something happened. That’s probably just when the current a-holes took over servicing the loan from the past ones. I had the loan a good decade before that point, so I’m sure I’d already paid over $1500 in interest. Probably more than $2000. I don’t know, and I don’t care right now. Some pencil-pusher in a cubicle was able to stay employed because I couldn’t find the right repayment lottery to get out of owing the money. And some professor took another trip to Italy, too, since the artificially high price of higher education kept going up because we kept taking out loans.

I Want Better For My Kids

Here’s the deal: my kids won’t have student loan debt unless they choose to. I have three slush funds that will make sure of it. One is a second house. The others are my two life insurance policies, assuming my wife finds them after the explosion. If my kids decide to live at home and go to a perfectly respectable local college (UNF if we stay in Jacksonville), school will be free (me), whether I have to sell the house or pick up a job as a custodian at the university. If they decide to work on their German some more and get an education in Germany, school will be free. If they fulfill their potential academically, school might be free, too. If they decide to join the Navy right down the road, school will also be free. My hope is that 15 years into a career, with two kids nearly in middle school, my own kids will be worried about something other than trying to finally pay off a student loan. Part of that equation is steering both of them away from education as a career. But another part is just saying that they’ve already won the Forgiveness Lottery in my house because they live in it.

Oh, And This

I just saw a tax change where students could get a tax break if their parents paid off their student loans for them. That’s just another way Millenials are winning the Forgiveness Lottery. Mom and Dad are paying off the loans for them, and the KIDS are taking the tax break! BTW, if you want to help me pay my utilities bill so that I can pay for my kids to attend college someday, feel free. You just need the account number and Zip Code, and you can pay your neighbor's bills in Jacksonville all you want. Here's my account number ( 6525406077 ), Zip Code ( 32225 ), and a link. If you’re one of those rich parents looking to help out someone else, give me a month of water. Of if you’re Matt Damon and you realize how difficult it is to be a teacher (and how important water is).