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I'm trapped in the system  RSS feed

 
E. Sedgwick
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I wasn't sure where to put this post, but this seems like the best place.

I'm a 19 year old young man, and I see only 3 options in front of me, and none are appealing. Option one, work a low pay unskilled job and live in a rented basement for the rest of my life. Option two, go back to college and spend the rest of my life paying off loan debt (or go into a higher salary career which I would hate every day of). Option three, which is the best, is to live some kind of permaculture lifestyle, but the problem here is that land is really expensive and I'd still be chained to a mortgage or loan for the rest of my life. Or most of it anyway.

I can't just quit my job and join an eco-village because I've already accrued debt which I have to keep paying. With the kinds of jobs I've been able to get, saving up money to buy land cash up front would take almost as long as paying off the mortgage. I'm stuck in the system, and I don't know how to get out.

If anyone has insight, advice, or other help to offer, I'd really appreciate it.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1379
Location: northern California
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Seems to me the first thing to do is to lower or get rid of the rent. Can you share a space with someone, or more than one someone? Look around for a house-sitter/caretaker position where you basically stay somewhere for free in exchange for some chores, but not so much that you can't continue to make some income until the debt is eliminated. Once that happens you are a free agent, and if you have the people-skills required, I'd recommend a community or ecovillage or some other creative way to access land without necessarily having to own it.
 
Bill McGee
Posts: 185
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
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Your 19 years old. Follow your heart! Good luck.
 
Sam Boisseau
Posts: 155
Location: PNW, British Columbia
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My suggestions:

1) Work on your short term financial situation. Things like work trade for rent, getting rid of the car, working a bit more,... Anything where you can get your debt in control and save a little bit. That might take a couple years... Patience! Make sure you are still having a good time

2) Once you are ready, start working on becoming really good at what your passion is. Get some experience and/or education. Suppose it's permaculture. Then start volunteering on farms a couple months here and there. Do an internship. Go to some courses. Get a full growing season under your belt. Read books. Try things out that you're excited about.

3) Once you have some credentials/skills, more doors will open. Get in there and get more experience.

4) Repeat 3), because there's just no way that you're ready to steward land on your own yet (if that's what you want to do). Look at the different forum titles here. If you're not good at each one of those subjects, you're gonna have to live with people who are. Living off the land is hard. There's lots of things to do everyday, and lots of those things require some skills. And you might still have to work a job to pay the bills

5) Finally realize your dream. Hopefully by then you've become so good and valuable that people will want you to live on their amazing ecovillage without you having to pay a mortgage. And then realize that you still have to work your ass off, but at least you're doing what you enjoy and not feeding the system as much




 
R Scott
Posts: 3351
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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You can get out of debt way faster than most think if you WORK AT IT. It takes true sacrifice, beans and rice and an old car you only drive when you HAVE to. Read Dave Ramsey on debt snowballs. Apply it with fervor.

Keep in mind that a 10 year loan payment is about 10-20% more per month than a 30 yr note. Why do banks always steer you to a 30? Cause they make TWICE AS MUCH on interest.

Get out of debt, get a hidden gem of land on a 10 year note--no grid access or other permie-friendly features that reduce the value to "normal" buyers, and work your butt off now while you can. By the time you are 30-35, you will have all debts paid and an established food forest and modest home. You will still need some income for property taxes, but my tax bill for 70 acres of ag land is $300 a year and that does not take a lot of work to cover.

 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 477
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I listened to a good talk Joel Salatin gave where he talked about young people getting land now that it's so expensive. His opinion is that there are a lot of farmers getting too old to farm and leave a lot of their land unproductive. Leasing some land, or obtaining use of the land in exchange for a profit share can be an effective way to get a start.

Another is to start an urban garden on an empty lot. When people see how keen and successful you are, they will be approaching you with offers. He said that's actually what young people he knows are doing so it's not just theory.

On the debt situation, yes, you need to wipe that as soon as possible, and put it down as a hard lesson in life. Many people don't know this but the money lenders are in a risk free position. They insure the loans and the borrower pays the premium on that insurance.

Because of this, if you approach your lender and tell them you can't make the payments, you can't repay the loan, but you would be willing to not default on it if they cut the amount owed by 50%, then they are likely to come to the party because they would rather have you pay off half than nothing, and they will be reimbursed the difference through their insurance policy that you pay for anyway.

Once you renegotiate your debt, you can pay it off much quicker because there is less to pay. You are still paying off the loan, and you have not defaulted. A default will kill your credit rating and the chance of a loan in the future with any other lender.

You'll probably get a letter from the credit ratings agency (or discover yourself) to the effect that your credit rating has been downgraded. This is a mistake by the credit rating agency as they think you have defaulted on the loan.
In this event, you need to inform them that the debt was re negotiated and you have not missed one payment, and you have not defaulted on the loan.

They will then reinstate your rating providing that you have not missed a payment.

I know of people who, when dealing with credit card companies, get caught in a war with the rating agency stuck in the middle. The CC company will instruct the agency to downgrade, the person will write to the agency informing them of the error, the CC company repeats...

If this happens, you need to just keep on writing to the agency informing them of the error. By law, the agency must respond to your communication within 90 days or else they must reinstate your credit rating permanently. Often, when an agency is caught in the middle like this, they just let the 90 days lapse.

 
E Reimer
Posts: 52
Location: The dry side of Spokane, USDA zone 6ish, 2300' elevation.
bike chicken food preservation
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I'll second the Dave Ramsey comment. Many churches will offer his classes for free.
 
Tom OHern
Posts: 236
Location: Seattle, WA
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I found my self in a similar situation after college having gotten a Bachelor's degree that didn't transfer well into the business world. I spend years going from mediocre job to mediocre job.

I then went over to the local community college and enrolled in a few of their certificate programs. $3k later (paid cash on a per class basis and never had to take out any debt) I had several documents that said I could do some pretty useful things (useful as far as IT business goes) and now I make double the salary as I did before the programs. In a few more years I'll have my mortgage paid off and will beable to rent out the house for some passive income which will let me and my family move out to some land that we bought last year (paid 50% down and will have the other 50% paid off by the time we move out there).

The point I'm trying to make here is that there are gaps in the system that you can slip through. A mortgage doesn't have to take a lifetime to pay off and there are ways you can set your self up to succeed. You are young and there are lots of options. Don't give up yet!
 
Thomas Vogel
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Dave Ramsey, and Joe Salitan definitely. Also, come to upstate New York and work out an arrangement with a dairy farmer. You get room and board and a small income. All the space you want for your personal garden. You learn on the job. And if you have an idea worth anything And a little time to make it work You'll probably have an employer that will back you. Anyway you won't be bored!
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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It's difficult to buy land at any stage of the rat race.

I'd recommend getting involved with local permie projects while doing what it takes to pay the bills. Soon enough, you'll find someone that has more land than time. You might work out an arrangement where you help maintain their growies for a little space to grow your own.

Save those pennies. I know of several 2.5 to 5 acre properties that you can get for $400 a month. No, I'm not selling, but I know some who do. They don't do credit checks but the interest rate is high. Pay on it for a year or two and then refinance.

Best of luck!

--JS
 
Karen Crane
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There is land that is not expensive. Just looked at some for $500 an acre in NM.
( never said it was beautiful land)
Also housing if you do it yourself can be done for not much. a "tiny home"
can be done for $3,000 . where I am a shipping container goes for around $2,000;
Instant house. Just ship it to where you want it and finish it off as you have moneyl
( See amazon for the great book "tiny houses" Lloyd Kahn.
Also like the idea of you working for a farm to learn skills.
Nothing stopping you from doing urban farming where ever you are!
You can grow a lot and have enough food to eat yourself and sell some.
SAVE, Save, save.! You will need money where ever you go!
Lots of old people need help! Put your request out there
on www.ic.org and lok under "resources"/ Reachbook as lots
of free listings there for community and more.
 
T Gar
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Welcome to the system! We are all in it somehow. The best advice I can give is to know yourself. Get honest with yourself and pursue your passion. You will spend a lot less time spinning your wheels and a lot more time enjoying yer days. To hell with big salaries, or other trappings of "success". Do what you love and success will materialize. You get out of the system what you put in, especially if you view it from a permaculture perspective. Our gardens are uncommon, your career path may also be uncommon. Figure out what guild you want to be in and how you will support that guild. White collar, blue collar, no collar, whatever, we all function as part of The System and also as part of smaller sub-systems. In Paul's hippie voice, "It's like permaculture is EVERYWHERE man!"

Ramsey and Salatin are high quality straight talkers, don't pass up that information, experience, and advice.

Look around and see who is doing what you would like to do. Travel if possible and expand your perspective of what is happening and what is possible. Ask them how they got there, or get on the internet and figure out the path.

I spent some time and money getting my degree. It has been a key revenue generator for my family, and a doorway to many diverse opportunities. Get good at something in particular, versus just gathering all the skills. Deep knowledge is rare, cursory knowledge is everywhere.

Don't be overwhelmed, this is your life- Enjoy it! ...and be ready to deploy plan B.
 
Erich Sysak
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Your best bet is to leave the country. There are any wonderful places you can go and start over.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 715
Location: Zone 5
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Get really good at something. Find what you can do, like to do, and have a talent for. It can be anything but get great at something. I know people who got scholarships for skeet shooting. I got my little piece of heaven riding horses, lol. Some people play ball for a living. Good luck.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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What you experiencing is called Despair. This is normal. We all encounter it from time to time.

E. Sedgwick wrote:I see only 3 options in front of me

Understandable. The first thing Despair removes is Imagination. There are so many options in front of you it would be difficult to list them.

E. Sedgwick wrote:none are appealing

Also understandable. Working for the man is no way to spend your life.

E. Sedgwick wrote:Option three, which is the best, is to live some kind of permaculture lifestyle, but the problem here is that land is really expensive and I'd still be chained to a mortgage or loan for the rest of my life. Or most of it anyway.

This conclusion is in error.

E. Sedgwick wrote:I can't just quit my job and join an eco-village because I've already accrued debt which I have to keep paying.

You have a resource: job.

E. Sedgwick wrote:I'm stuck in the system, and I don't know how to get out.

Read: I'm in the same boat as everyone else.

I have 2 options
1] Sugar coat a response that says you have your whole life in front of you and not to worry.
2] Shoot from the hip and tell it like it is.

Hey man, you are 19 years old. You have your whole life in front of you. Don't worry, things will turn out just fine.

However...

You have accrued so much debt that you are trapped in a low wage job? What were you thinking? Did you at least get something useful for the debt or did you blow it on parties and shiny hubcaps? Chalk this one up to a growth experience and don't repeat it. When I was 22 I was paying about 200/month on interest. That was around a weeks pay each month for stuff like furniture that offered nothing in return. By the time I finished paying everything off, the stuff I bought was worn out.

One learns from one's mistakes.

About your only advantage here is found in building your credit history. Do what you can to pay down that debt. Make those minimum payments religiously. Go hungry if you have to, but make those payments on time. It would suck big time if you have to work and suffer and don't get a decent credit score out of the deal. If you succeed in securing a good credit rating, you'll be able to use it to your advantage.

Right now you have a job. You're already ahead of a whole lot of people. At least you've got some money coming in. It might be hard work, but it's a whole lot harder when there is NO work. Getting your financial house in order is tough when there's not much to work with, so go after the problem from several angles.
-Bring in more money.
Work hard and focus, if there is more money to be had in your current job, go after it. Hunt for another job that pays more, even if the job sucks. Hunt for a part time job, even if it sucks. Most jobs suck or they would not hire it out. For now, suck it up.
-Spend less.
This is difficult because you are already scratching by. If you must, keep a record of how much you spend, where, and when. If you don't need to spend the money to survive, don't spend it. Give it ALL up: soda, snacks, movies, cable TV, cell phone, internet, clothes dryer, turn down the heat, remove the light bulbs, turn off the water heater, no drinking/smoking/drugs, no fun. Do you really need to run the fridge when there is no food in it? Pancakes are cheap. Eat lots of pancakes. If the job is so bad, it would be a shame to waste so much as a penny. Get the most from what you are spending. All too often things are thrown away that can be of use. Fix it before you toss it. When you must buy something, look to the Goodwill and 2nd hand shops first. Instead of running a TV, go to the library.
-Share the bills.
When I was in my mid-20s me and a buddy took an apartment with 4 bedrooms. We worked in a restaurant so it was easy to find roommates. We charged 100/week to rent a room, included all the utilities. Renting the 2 rooms paid the rent, lights and heat. We had it made. Perhaps this is an avenue to pursue. How many people can you squeeze into an apartment? Can you build bunks, share the bedrooms and split the rent with more people? Talk to everyone you know, chances are they are in the same boat and would benefit from a cheap place to live.
-Sell
You took on some debt to buy something. Can you sell whatever it was? Is there anything else you can sell off, maybe an old stamp collection? I sold my saxaphone to pay the light bill. I don't miss it. Wasn't any good at playing the thing anyway. If the purchase is crippling you, selling it is a chance to recover at least some of the money. You don't get to enjoy the thing, and you'll take a loss, but at least you won't be as crippled.

It is all too easy to fall for the trap of consumption. You can have the world at your fingertips, enjoy comfort and style, be the envy of everyone on your block, travel to exotic places, and all you have to do is flash that credit card. Then the bill comes in. And you missed a week of work with the flu. Then the car got a flat tire. Then you got a speeding ticket. When minimum wage is all you have to work with, there is not much room for problems. There is surely no room for servicing debt. About all you can do is rent a cheap basement apartment, run a light bulb, and eat mac n cheese. I ate a lot of mac n cheese back in the day. You've made your bed, now you have to sleep in it. It won't be easy or quick, but people dig themselves out of holes all the time.

The challenge is to start over, while still encumbered by the mistakes you have made. It takes sacrifice, commitment and hard work to take care of the basics of food, shelter, transportation and debt. Once you have those, Creativity can go a long way towards getting ahead. Understand that the rules of the system are not written in stone.

You don't have to own the land. You only need the use of the land. You don't have to pay for the land either, you may be able to use land by offering something in exchange. If you can produce something from the land, say, vegetables, you would have something to trade. Put ads online, in Craigslist, ask around, talk to everyone you know. There is land out there that is not being used, and could well be owned by someone you already know. "Let me use the land to grow vegetables, you get all you can eat, I can sell the rest." This plan offers income, cuts your bills with food on the table, gives you a chance at real world hands on experience, makes the landowner happy, and puts you in front of paying customers.

Time for some arithmetic
Minimum wage=$7.25/hour
40 hours/week
50 weeks/year (2 weeks off for the flu and visiting grandma)
$290/week
$14500/yr
this does not include taxes

A part time job pulling in half that, $7000/yr, would go a long way towards wiping out that debt.
Even if you paid 30% in taxes on that, about $5000 for the year would be a big shot in the arm

Say you grew vegetables on this borrowed land to sell, either at a farmer's market or Pick Your Own.
A price of $1.50/pound is a fine deal by supermarket prices.
If you were able to raise and sell 5000 pounds of vegetables, 5000 x $1.50 = $7500. This is equivalent to a part time job.
At the very least you will need some seed ($50-$100) and a shovel ($20 or borrow one).

For a polyculture of 20 different plants, 250 pounds of each type of vegetable. That's doable.
Tomato, green pepper, cabbage, turnip, beets, cauliflower, brocolli, spinach, peas, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, zuke, butternut squash, pumpkins, corn, eggplant, romaine, onions, celery. That's doable

Done in growing beds 4' wide, 50' long, 200 sqft/bed. You can fit plenty of stuff in there. 1800 onions, 50 tomato, 200 cabbage, 400 lettuce...if you were able to raise 200 pounds in 200 sqft and threw away HALF, all you would need is 50 beds. Even with 4' paths between the beds, all you need is a half an acre of land.

There is information all over these forums on how to raise vegetables naturally, with little or no water, with free inputs, compost, mulch, and pesticide free. If you can't find the information, all you have to do is ask.

During the cool season, make compost. Do it again next year. Pay off that debt. Save your pennies.
Build that reputation.
Do it well, give the people what they want, you can take on more land, even if you have to rent it and pay for pumping water.
How far you can go is up to you. You can follow the path of the CSA, get paid upfront, buy land, move in, set up renewable energy, orchards, chickens, dairy cows...

What's stopping you?
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 477
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I'm currently renting and looking for land. We don't have room for a garden and so I started looking for community garden space but you get something like 5ft by 5ft, and you're surrounded by every Joe with a backpack sprayer.

I then found this site:
http://www.sharingbackyards.com/

And now I have more garden space than I know what to do with...
There are a lot of old people, or people on disability, that would love a garden but can't work it. They certainly have the space, and in some cases all the tools which they are more than happy to share for a share of the produce.

You could look in your local area for people like that. You could turn their garden spaces into some awesome urban permaculture systems. After you have half a dozen or so under your belt, you contact the local paper and tell them what you've been doing, and at the same time you start a business so people can pay you for your design and installation services. You keep doing pro bono work for the old and disabled, but you also have an income stream. You take on some interns to help out and before you know it, you have a nice little business operation going.
 
Michael Milligan
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I wish I figured that out at 19. Now I'm 34 and have chosen the GTFO option. This system isn't for you, or me, or for anyone else who "works a job".
 
Jeremiah wales
Posts: 137
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No Sugar Coating...

If people need to tell someone what to do in life step by step. The person will Never be successful and never be able to move up.

The only limits you have are the ones you put on yourself

Back when we were all kids there was the story of the little train. I think I can I think I can I think I can. Made it up the hill. The train did it all by itself.

There is a reason for that story.....

Good Luck
 
Claire Gardner
Posts: 48
Location: Idaho
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The system is designed to trap you. Realizing you are in a trap is half the way to liberty - your mind is free at least. Now, can you let go of your ego? The methods for getting out of the system involve doing things that your friends and neighbors will make fun of you for. If you can free yourself from the "shame" of being called a loser hillbilly, you CAN bust loose.
Dump EVERY bill you can. Do you really need internet, or can you go to a local library for it? Can you get by with a cheaper cell phone plan?If you are paying for TV.... STOP paying for your own brainwashing, dump the cable bill AND the TV. Now, here's the hard part: Move into an RV, or low rent housing. Not a sleazy neighborhood, but go ahead and move "across the tracks." That alone should loosen up the budget and at least let you start saving money.
Now I am going to tell you what I did, take it or leave it. I got wiped out financially twice - the dotcom bust devastated my retirement account, and then a major health problem finished it off. In 2007, I began buying silver, about $11 an ounce. Today, silver is just recovering from a major "crash" that took it down to about $23 an ounce. In the meantime, it got almost to $50 an ounce. Three years ago, we had enough cash saved to put down half on an undeveloped property, we pay it off this fall. We cashed in our silver and put in a well and (reluctantly) power (could not manage it off grid, we tried.) Even with the "crash" in silver, I never got hurt - I made a pretty good profit. Do your own research, but I do not give my money to thieves, and the banks are thieves. Since making that change in my life, I have been much better off financially. Although my family thinks I am a loser hillbilly, I eat organic "happy" food and have neighbors that are like family to me. I only lock my door to protect would-be burglars from getting shot by my neighbors.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 715
Location: Zone 5
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Ok, here is the second piece of advise I give my students. (The first was get great at something) Be careful who you marry. I have been married three, yes three, times. First time we did not explore what we wanted out of life enough before, we were young. He wanted that I wanted this. It hurt him when I realized it and got out. But I think (hope) we are both happy now. My second, no good, ex lied to me and said all the right things till we were married, then proceed to rob me blind. Third hubby, who has already outlasted previous two combined comes from a whole different world and thinks my crazy permie ideas funny. He is from a traditiinal farming (monsanto) family but our life goals Are compatible. Each split cost me dearly, try to get it right the first time.
 
Victor Johanson
Posts: 377
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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It seems grim to you, but it's all relative. At 19, I was literally owned by the government. Yeah, I had a paycheck (all $360 a month to start, though room and board were included also), but I could have been sent far away to perish or be maimed in some insane war (thankfully none were going on back then). It's more lucrative now, but you really don't want to be part of the killing (or getting killed) machine, so don't go for that. Definitely don't go for the lifetime bondage of student loan debt; the educational-industrial complex has developed into a huge and exorbitantly overpriced racket (if you want to get some marketable skills on the cheap, follow the previous advice to get a quick certification of some kind. I work at a hospital and the phlebotomists who draw blood here can get qualified in a couple months and about $1,500 and start at about double minimum wage). Before I was discharged from the Army, I'd been sucked into a cult, and that hell lasted sixteen years. Whatever meager income I had (usually around $10/hr) went to provide for the wife and kids I'd accumulated and the rapacious cult leaders' insatiable appetites for luxury. At that point I was completely trapped, worse than you. In one of the only useful cult moments, the book "The Richest Man in Babylon" was recommended. It's kind of cheesy, but it woke me up and I determined not to be broke for the rest of my life. Even though I had a wife (who wasn't allowed, for doctrinal reasons, to work a paying job) and two kids, I started saving ten percent of my gross income, using the principle "pay yourself first." Although we were already extremely frugal, we doubled down. We did ridiculous things like washing and reusing plastic wrap. We scavenged fruit from peoples' yards (it's amazing how many people just let it go to waste) and from the wild or abandoned orchards. My wife clipped coupons and scavenged the dump for clothing. We kept track of every penny and guarded our meager savings with fanatical devotion. It sounds crazy, but cosmic forces will align once you get serious and refuse to be denied. It didn't happen overnight, but in the end (and especially after we escaped the controllers) things worked out. We never got money-rich, but we do have 48 acres of land paid off and a house with a low mortgage payment that will provide some income once we move out of it. I'm still trapped in a soulless corporate environment, but there is light at the end of that tunnel. If I had started the process at 19, I wouldn't have to live to 100 to make up for all the wasted time. You can succeed once you make up your mind to not accept your situation. But no one will do it for you, and it won't be easy. The system is there to enslave you, so you have to create one of your own.
 
Karen Crane
Posts: 158
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Just go an email from pemies.com newsletter saying that two
older men ar looking for potential; heirs to help on thier land.
The author of "the $50 underground house" is one of them.
What better opportnity for you
Debt? How much do you have.
Is it something you can handle?
If it is horrible...
no one will tell you this or advise you this... BUT
FILE BANKRUPTSY!!
Yes! get rid of that debt! Stat over. Credit rating? HAHA
If you are smart you will go all cash living anyway.
Probably everyone here will have a fit at this advice, but, bene there and done that.
Amazing how freeing it is.
Further, somethng ese no one will tell you,
when you file, keep one small credt card active and keep paying it.
Reinstae it) So you wil have an active card if youever want to rent a car or book a hotel , etc.
Belive it or not within just a year,( or less) you will be swamped with credit offers
Further within just two years you can get a loan for property.
Maybe not at the best inerest rate, but it is out there.
THEN DONT GET BACK INTO DEBT!!!
Stop living in fear. I agree with those who told you to learn marketable skills.
woodworking, carpentry, whatever.
Learn everything on ths websie! Put it to work. grow your food...even
in an apartment you can do it. ( vertical farming is good)
Learn how to barter and negotate.
Can do you something to exchange fo rent?
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. My daughter s working THREE jobs and
saving every penny.
She is doing a full time drawing lood, a parttime 35 hurs
at a bloodbank drawing blood and the 3d job she is a mobile person working
for an insurance comapny drawng blood fo their clients. She is lso a moble
Notary Public. She does jobs for real estate companies. Taht way she can chargemor for "traveling"
She has also done the waitress thng a lot. She negotiated free meals
with the jobs saved on food costs. Was any of this fun? No. Lots of years of hard work
Did it pay off? YES! She just bought her own property for CASH!
There are ads in this site for people to work on their land. Check out every opportunity.



 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 477
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
10
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Oh my gosh you said the B word.
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
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Personally I believe filing bankruptcy as a way of abdicating responsibility for your debts incurred willingly is sort of up there with abdicating all responsibility in how you live, why not be a banker if that is your belief system or work for Monsanto ? I think stepping up in your responsibility is what others are advocating telling you to live within or under your means and pursue working with others for a mutual benefit . As a mother I cringe at the thought of my kids learning to incur debt and then shirk that responsibility of paying it back as they agreed to . The B word may be a condition imposed upon some people in certain circumstance but Karen is right , not everyone would advise you to seek it out. Her own example of her daughters action was a good example . I don't know for others but the word integrity means something to me , and what separates you from what you oppose often comes down to your self responsibility and integrity.
 
Jenifer Winterhalter
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It seems like there's a lot of negativity in a good number of replies, and that's too bad.

You can live the way you want to live. Just try to keep an open mind to options that may be easy to pass over or dismiss at first. Leave them on the table, and chew on them a while, even if they taste bad to you right now.

Any solution will take some amount of time. Building a life takes some labor and time, just like building a house. But you can build it the way you want. My advice is to carefully weigh and consider those things which you are willing to do in order to get to the place where you want to be. Are you willing to move to a place where land is cheaper? Are you willing to take on a partner in a permaculture venture with whom to share financial responsibilities? Are you willing to keep doing what you're doing to buy land?

You have as many options as you're willing to entertain. Only forget about the ones that you simply can't accept and try not to be skeptical about the unknown.
 
Gemma Buell
Posts: 12
Location: Napa, CA
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I don't know if this young man has read any of your replies, sure hope so.

I just want to say how awesome I think you all are. This thread, like this site, will help many people.

 
Dan alan
Posts: 101
Location: Tyler Texas
9
forest garden greening the desert
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Work the problem backwards. What is the end goal you want for your self when you are old and crusty? Do you just want a permaculture life with hands on the land? Do you want to be the owner of a mega farm and let hired workers do it all for you.

Once a vision is defined you can do only what gets you there. It really does not take much to have just a small piece of land that meets your needs. It's not popular, but you really can just walk away from the debt. Finding a perfect land in a perfect place in a small tract is tough so as the limits of the design for your life heart in, the more elegant the end solution will be...

Iike the story of the guy who worked 3 years, camped on friends land saving everything. He learned every aspect of home building while getting paid. In 3 years he bought a lot, built a house and sold it for $150,000. His friends were 1 to 3 years from finishing college and already in debt for $80,000. The limit is your imagination!! So, go and work doing what you think it is you want to do and learn every detail. You may change your mind before you get vested in an idea.

Doing what lights a fire in your heart and live life. Everyone dies, but few live! Remember, quiting IS ok when what you are doing is dead or not where you want to be...

I wish I had vision when I was young, but still in 4 years and until I can't hobble around anymore I will pick fruits and nuts and live a peaceful and meaningful rest of my life in communion with nature. It's what fills my heart with the most joy. It's funny, but forest, quiet, building, snacking from vines and being under trees inside a forest is what I loved most from the beginning.. I was lucky to have had this experience. What I always wanted to be is what I already wa before the system trained it out of me... Get a variety of experiences and read to discover possibilities and your own life's passion then make sure you waste no time or money on anything that does not add to your life or your vision. Also, I wouldn't marry someone who was not fully onbard with your passion. Be true to yourself and don't compromise when it gets hard, you will come through and have beauty in your life!
 
Dan alan
Posts: 101
Location: Tyler Texas
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forest garden greening the desert
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Forgot to tell you what I did. I owed a bit of debt including a car. I dropped it and worked it out after I got where I wanted to be. I must say settlement 10 years later was far cheaper. I just lived in an a spare bedroom, worked at anything I could find making an average of $10 an hour mowing, painting, putting up fence, fixing appliances (figured it out as I went asking questions of suppliers and pros). I ate beans, rice, potatoes,sprouts ect all bought in 50 pound bags. I ate well and cheap. I worked an average of 20 to 60 hours a week. Buying a junker old small truck for cash, I managed to save about $6000 the first year and 10,000 the next. I bought 3 acres of land with that and camped there in a tent on a cot. The 3'rd year I poured a concrete slab, framed, wired and insulated cabin for about $8000. It took another year to finish it, but have lived in it ever since. I grow perhaps 40% of food in a garden, wild harvest another 40% of my food and buy the rest. I now work 20 hours a month feeding a family of 4 on $200 a month. Each year we have planted 400 trees, shrubs, or vines. Soon the only problem will be putting up that much food! Growing it is the easy part! To many it sounds like a poor way to live, but I have 3 months of no work where I am free to pursue personal goals, usually planting trees or making rammed earth buildings. I have many hours to think and plan. In this time I have come to see everything a person needs is free if I work with what the land provides; food & shelter. I paid cash for a new toyota, and its no problem to buy another every 7 years for cash. I just don't have any needs. I don't have any bills other than electric which runs $50-$90 a month for hot water and air-conditioning. Soon those bills will be removed and living will only cost gas, insurance, and land tax, plus all those luxaries like my cellphone and data plan. Honestly, I don't really need those. Anything can be ordered my mail, anything.

Yep, it really is great to wake up when I want, do what I want, and sleep when I want. No boss to treat me like a child. I can see a time soon when I will not need to do any work off my place at all! Well,that is if I was not going to try greening the desert on a new, muxh laeger, piece of land..

It's a mentality growing life style. I leaned, construction, electric, electronics, solar power, rocket stoves, gardening, gro bio intensive, permaculture, bio dynamics, auto mechanics, plumbing. I needed a plasma cutter, but could not afford one, so I studied it and constructed one for $200(they were very expensive when they first came out). I sold plans for the cutter and made $8,000 selling a DVD and PDF. It seems there is always more to learn and every single year things are different. It's great to always be challenged and growing your mind, body, and spirit!!

My only regret.. Not waking up to possibility earlier in life! It's been a process of unschooling.

Go forth young human and be fruitful! Design your life so someone else will not design it for you and take a portion of your life's days...
 
Ben House
Posts: 18
Location: East Tennessee
forest garden hunting woodworking
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I never recommend college for any young people asking me what I would do for a career, most people are not suited to be doctors or lawyers. Get a trade. I worked several low paying jobs until one year I interviewed (key word there, learn to sell yourself) for an Apprentice Electrician job. I worked as and Electrician for about 5 years 'till I was laid off in 2008 or thereabouts. After that I took to working for myself, then after a few years I began learning Carpentry with a crew. Now I am a Carpenter, but if I was to hit hard times I can always fall back on the Electrical trade.

Advise for tradesmen:

Never sell your tools or pawn them even if you change trades.
 
John Master
Posts: 519
Location: Wisconsin
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option 4: sole proprietor, entrepreneurship. When I was in my teens, I thought the same way you did, I went to tech school to avoid the mountains of debt from 4 yr college, and the crappy pay that came along with uneducated type jobs, after being sick of working for "the man" for 10 years and having to answer to a boss I decided to do something, anything for myself, on my own instead of working for someone else. That was 13 yrs ago... Do what you love youll never work a day in your life. Find something you love that you can do "on your own" and earn something from (even if its not a mountainous salary) and you will adjust to live with those means and be much happier doing it.
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 390
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
3
forest garden greening the desert trees
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You're already ahead if age 19 youve already decided you want your own land. If there's no good deal near you then look further afield. There's plenty of cheap land but it might mean relocating. Do it
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 753
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
78
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
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E.Sedgwick, You originally posted this plea for advice nearly 3 years ago (Apr. 2013). Please give us an update.
 
It's a pleasure to see superheros taking such an interest in science. And this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards
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