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Carmela Brader: Debt begets debt
Carmela Brader: Debt begets debt
Carmela Brader (pictured with her husband, Joshua), is drowning in student loans.
Construction project coordinator, 27, Pullman, Wash.

In 2004 I graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and $50,000 in debt from student loans and medical bills. After college I was sure I could pay it off.

After working 40-plus hours a week for four years, 2008 has brought me to the conclusion that work will only make ends meet, but never allow me to pay off debt.

To resolve the situation I have no choice but to pay my debt by making more money. A master's degree would enter me into a higher salary (and debt) bracket. With the economy, competitive job market, rising gas prices and high cost of groceries....I had no other choice.

So I work 40 hours a week for $30,000, started a masters degree in January '08 online for $23,000 a year. My husband makes $25,000 a year.

I have no children and do not own a home. I am just a married, 27 year old trying to make ends meet and get an education. I have to work a low-paying state job to cover medical benefits for my type one diabetic husband.

With the rising cost of life, what do you do, where do you turn? And when will it even be slightly affordable to have children? To afford healthcare? To fill my gas tank? To just buy groceries for two people?

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Last updated January 29 2010: 2:33 PM ET
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