President Obama Writes Me Back

Throughout college I used to send letters to the President of the United States on a variety of topics (for both President Bush and President Obama). Everything from education to community issues to my thoughts on the future of our country. I’ve received electronic responses that were usually general responses like the one below.

Obama Letter Electronic

If I remember correctly, I wrote a letter sometime in late 2010 and resent again in April, 2011 about my loans. I didn’t write only to complain, but I wanted to share the challenges that lie ahead for myself and for my generation. The tone was frustrated but hopeful, and a concern I shared was that people like me weren’t going to have families until later for career and financial reasons. I was also concerned that people like me would not be contributing to the housing market as quickly and that the interest being paid on student loans would be a whole bunch of money that could be invested in our country’s economy in a variety of ways.

The President responded.

I initially received the email below and thought it was spam.

Obama Letter 01

They sent me a PDF copy of a handwritten note and offered to send the original to me. The letter arrived in the mail in an ivory envelope. It read…

Eric – Thanks for the letter. I know what you’re going through – Michelle and I had $120,000 in combined debt after we got out of law school. That’s why I’ve made it a priority to expand college grants and a better deal on student loans. So please don’t be discouraged; you are incredibly young, and as the economy comes back, your investment in your education will pay off.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

Obama Letter 02

Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, it was cool to get a handwritten letter from the President of our country. I was also insanely jealous that his combined debt coming out of law school was $120,000. It was a reminder of how badly I screwed up on my financial aid decisions, but a wonderful reminder that I am, as the President put, incredibly young.

I’m just sharing an update with you Mr. President that I am making some serious progress on paying off the beast. I’m about 4 years older now and the debt is down from ~$128,000 to ~$89,000 (most of that paid in the past year and a half). Seeing what I’ve paid in interest has angered me and motivated me like no other.

If I can pay this off quickly, maybe I can take a run at being the President some day? Just kidding, I’m not eligible for the Office of the President because I was adopted from South Korea. More importantly, it is the most stressful job in the world and most of us can’t plan our lives accurately for the next 4-8 years let alone the future of the free world. I empathize with whomever is in office. Sounds terrible.

While my student loan interest rate is 3 times higher than mortgage interest rates currently, I’ll continue to pay off that school and put off buying a house as long as possible, but I am making progress!

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4 thoughts on “President Obama Writes Me Back

  1. If you’re in a position to pay back a lot on your loans, have you looked at private refinancing? My house is a multi-family, so my interest rate is in the 5s, making it the highest interest rate I’m currently paying (3.25, 4.74 and 5 being the student loan rates–the 4.74 is my refinanced loan)

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    1. A couple years ago I looked into this, but the interest rate for me was not ideal because my credit score was not great at the time. I have 2 balances left to pay. One is with Navient/SallieMae and the other is Firstmark Services. Once I pay off Firstmark, I may look into private financing to see if I can get a better rate now that I have a great credit score again. It might make more sense now that I have things under control again!

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  2. Yet another reason why I am so psyched to know you. You are the only person I know who has a letter from the Prez. SO COOL!!!

    Regarding refinancing to private…I was advised never to refi into a private/personal loan because of the whole death thing. That is, if I die, the student loans die with me. If I refi and die, that debt will still be owed. I know this is morbid, but definitely a consideration, along with interest rates, etc.

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