Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Thoughts on Path Forward - Potential to Take Over Firm or Public Interest Forgiveness

Trying to get some thoughts to discuss with my wife. We had jd4hire02/15/17
What are your wife's intentions when having children? Takin sjlawyer02/15/17
You really have to do the math or at least give us the numbe trollfeeder02/15/17
Current Salary - 72k Current Debt (wife's alone) - 250k. jd4hire02/16/17
Assuming your wife has worked there for long enough for this dingbat02/16/17
jd4hire (Feb 15, 2017 - 1:10 pm)

Trying to get some thoughts to discuss with my wife. We had the fortune to meet and fall in love in law school and now carry ridiculous loads of debt. My debt is private (family) and has no impact on tax returns, credit apps, etc. Yes, my father purchased it, but he is a more ruthless and more crummy creditor than Nelnet and insists that he will never forgive it and if he dies before I pay back, it will come out of any inheritance (also reminds siblings and I that he hopes to spend everything before he goes).

Wife has consistently made IBR payments, but as with most, she isn't making a dent and her debt is just growing. We've settled on the 25-year plan and just forgetting it.

At the time, she works for a small firm that does SSDI. Boss is older in age, poor health, and by all accounts really does nothing at the office other than bother my wife, harass a file clerk, take naps, and attempt to avoid his wife at home. He is in the 70s and while his physical appearance and lifestyle suggest he may drop dead at any moment, he is one of those SOBs that will most likely outlive everybody else.

She gets compensated decently, he pays 100% of insurance, but no retirement benefits (wife puts away cash for IRA). The firm, while not amazingly successful, does alright and my wife is the only attorney. If he were to pass, she would have hundreds of clients in the SSDI application to which she would then become responsible for. He has alluded to her taking over the firm, but has not been clear about her purchasing it, it organically happening, or what. The largest benefit of her current job is the extreme flexibility for work, lack of vacation policy, and really any lack of oversight. She goes in at 10 and rarely is there past 5:30. This cuts both ways though as she is pretty isolated and really doesn't get to interact with anyone.

She used to intern at non-profit/ quasi-governmental agency. Former co-worker recently contacted wife and stated that she was leaving and could help shoe-in wife in her position if she wanted. Position would qualify as public interest, might involve a pay cut, would have good benefits (union position), but security is questionable as the agency runs on grants from all levels of government and ebbs and flows with the economy. Work would put her in court all the time.

So, question is, should she maintain the status quo in hopes of taking over a firm and attempt to improve on what exists, or shoot for non-profit job to avail herself of public loan forgiveness.

Random relevant facts - 5 years on IBR; who knows how student loan repayment plans will change; want to have children within next two years; I don't want her getting into the billable hour as it is terrible!

Other random fact - I know SSDI may not be the most "prestigious" law out there, but there are two firms that only do that where I'm located and the principals seem to be killing it. While I don't have a definitive position as to what she should do, part of me wants her to work towards taking the firm over, revamping how they do things, try and build the business up, hire an associate or two and create flexibility that way. Curious as to everyone's thoughts.

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sjlawyer (Feb 15, 2017 - 1:23 pm)

What are your wife's intentions when having children? Taking maternity leave (which I doubt is offered at the firm and definitely not offered if she's on her own) or more? How important are health benefits?

I agree PSFL is a crap shoot, but I don't envision anyone getting booted off the track once they're on it. YMMV on that though - no one knows.

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trollfeeder (Feb 15, 2017 - 1:25 pm)

You really have to do the math or at least give us the numbers to give a good answer. Pslf is also not guaranteed, so you're taking a chance on that.

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jd4hire (Feb 16, 2017 - 10:36 am)

Current Salary - 72k
Current Debt (wife's alone) - 250k.

She would be able to take maternity leave at her firm and would most likely be paid for it. Health benefits are extremely important to my wife (had an unexpected surgery that caused this). I just care about low costs as at this point in my life, do not use healthcare much at all (totally understand it is for the unplanned).

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dingbat (Feb 16, 2017 - 11:23 am)

Assuming your wife has worked there for long enough for this not to be problematic / idiotic, she should ask to meet with her boss for a chat. During this chat she should mention that boss alluded to her taking over, and wants to have a serious discussion.

They don't need to hammer out the details right then and there, but should figure out in broad strokes what it would entail.
The details / action would come as a follow up

Best to do this while the other offer is on the table, so there's something to fall back on in case the conversation goes in a completely different direction (but don't mention the offer)

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