Chicago lawyer with $225,000 in debt ...

Chicago lawyer with $225,000 in debt has reason to hope

There are 101 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Mar 7, 2009, titled Chicago lawyer with $225,000 in debt has reason to hope. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Aukse Rimas of Chicago is a trial attorney with a big new raise and a promising career.

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Naperville, IL

#6 Mar 7, 2009
Why should the credit card companies give her a break? She's employed, she could move back home or get a roommate. She could moonlight as a waitress or bartender. An adult with seven years of college who blew all of her disposable income on shopping and going out with friends? Pay the piper.

Oh, and whatever the wisdom of spending $6k on vet bills, pet insurance would not have covered all of that. Read the policies carefully, many things are not covered.

Chicago, IL

#7 Mar 7, 2009
I would recommend that this girl get a second job to pay down her debt.
Of all the stories in the world, this is what the tribune publishes? what a joke.
another classic example of someone living beyond their means, and now may go BK because instead of buying what she could afford, she swiped the card and didnt think about the consequences.
and all you people above, easy with the name calling and judgements. you look just as stupid by making such angry and agressive statements. find a reasonable way to express your opinions w/o calling her "self absorbed" and a "prostitute"
grow up people.

Chicago, IL

#8 Mar 7, 2009
Jake wrote:
Why should the credit card companies give her a break? She's employed, she could move back home or get a roommate. She could moonlight as a waitress or bartender. An adult with seven years of college who blew all of her disposable income on shopping and going out with friends? Pay the piper.
Oh, and whatever the wisdom of spending $6k on vet bills, pet insurance would not have covered all of that. Read the policies carefully, many things are not covered.
I am not trying to avoid my debts and I don't expect anyone to feel badly for me. I have worked out a plan to pay it all off. I made some bad decisions and I am ready to face them. Once my credit cards debts are paid off, I should be able to tackle my student loans pretty aggressively, too. I was working part-time as a cocktail waitress to earn a bit extra, but it interfered with my career so I had to stop. Also, under my current pet insurance plan I still would have had to pay about $2k of the $6k, but that would have helped significantly. Needless to say, I have learned a big lesson the last couple years.

Chicago, IL

#9 Mar 7, 2009
Larry from Gary wrote:
"Promising Lawyer" and she couldn't figure out how to call the credit card companies on her own.
She reminds me of a lot of my coworkers who can't do a damn thing unless you spell it out in detail....I have to wonder how long the law career will last? Oh, wait, female, immigrant/minority -- she's set for life.
Months before the Tirbune became involved, I negotiated rate reductions and re-payment agreements on almost all of my accounts (including negotiating a 0% interest rate on a $25,000 loan for school debt). The only two that the Tribune became involved with are the two that refused (maybe rightly so) to negotiate with me directly. These are things that any person can do to try to ease the burden, self-imposed or not.

Chicago, IL

#10 Mar 7, 2009
Juiced wrote:
Smart gal - not!
She borrows a couple of hundred grand and pays between 7% and 16.5% interest {after getting breaks from lenders}. Well, the median interest of 11.75% would equate to $26,438 of interest. OK, soemthing less - since the majority of her loans are at 7%, but, none the less, she's getting juiced - having put herself in the juicer.
Dumb is as dumb does, I wouldn't use this 'lawyer' if my life depended on it. She's a loser - start to finish / free-soup-kitchen. I suppose she's blond too.
Actually not all of my student loans (they total around $200k) are at or above a 7% percent interest rate. About 1/8th are at 0%; half are at 2.875%, a few thousand are at 5% and the remainder of the loans are at 7%. The credit card debt ($20k) has higher interest rates varying from 12% to 24%, but those are being aggressively paid off right now, starting with the card with the highest rate. The other $5k in debt are interest free loans I used for vet bills and my own medical emergency I had a couple years back. Looking at the picture with all the facts may make it easier for you to see that although I obviously made some bad decisions, I am not getting juiced on interest rates across the board.

I think everyone is facing some hard lessons right now. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to face my responsibilities instead of asking for someone else to pay for me. Don't see this article as a plea to feel bad for me- be encouraged that not everyone who gets in financial trouble tries to avoid it.

Chicago, IL

#12 Mar 7, 2009
i think her responses are reasonable and not "pissy", at all.

i dont understand all the name calling stuff.

Algonquin, IL

#13 Mar 8, 2009
Sorry state of affairs, I wonder how many people who have slammed on her are debt free and have their retirement funded?

Bellevue, WA

#14 Mar 8, 2009
75K a Year? It is really difficult to feeel sorry for someone who makes that much money. She really made some bad choices which she is now going to have to live with.
Baseball Babe

Berrien Center, MI

#15 Mar 8, 2009
Kudos to her for stepping up to the plate (couldn't resist--sorry).

I think she's being very responsible about learning her lesson and taking her lumps. I've known too many people who go for the "consolidate your debt" scams, then charge up their credit cards all over again, doubling their debt. Some people just never get it. Nice to hear about someone I won't be bailing out with my tax dollars.
Irrefutable Truths

Stevensville, MI

#16 Mar 8, 2009
What a bunch of mean people that post comments here. I think it's because she's a lawyer that people are being so nasty, but she's also a person, and aparently one with a big heart. She'll be fine. It'll sting in the short-term to pay things down, but she seems to now understand her situation. She's a typical person with debt. Quit being so nasty with mean, useless comments.

Batavia, IL

#17 Mar 8, 2009
Some Education Tab wrote:
That's some education tab: "$190,386." What kind of fool goes into the hole like that - to become a lawyer?[snip remaining blabbering]
I am no supporter of lawyers and the enitre field. Nonethless, the debt is an investment (which is an enourmous risk) to leverage a high six-figure salary in the near future. This is quite a gamble considering the multiple law firms laying off lawyers. She could possibly need to be contend with a $75K salary, which any 4-year degree can pull off at her age.
Words of financial advice for Auske:
>Dump the 'trendy' Lakeview apartment and move in with the parental units.
>Dump the pet insurance/Cat
>No more trips until debt is gone
>Budget! Budget! Do not pay with credit cards!

Chicago, IL

#18 Mar 8, 2009
All of your guys ripping on her should lighten up a little bit. I don't recall anyone being asked to feel sorry for her! The point of this series of articles is to bring attention to the issues of personal finance.

She obviously admits she did screw up (otherwise why do the interview?) and she's working to fix that. If she is reading this or anyone else with bad personal finance issues, I highly recommend that she listen to Dave Ramsey's advice. It helped me get out of debt other than my mortgage... and I'll be out of that in 7 more years... and I'm 32.

Life without debt is real freedom. Debt chains you to a house/car/job etc. Break the chains!

Good Luck to everyone out there. You can do it!

Alsip, IL

#19 Mar 8, 2009
My salary per year is $77,000 with benefits and pension and that is with a high school diploma.

Chicago, IL

#20 Mar 8, 2009
Aukse's situation isn't rare in this profession, and the nasty criticism directed toward her is, in large part, misplaced. While she has made some foolish decisions in the past, she has taken responsibility for her debts and is working her way out. While bankruptcy would not discharge the student loan debt, it would discharge quite a bit of the other debts she holds, making her finances a burden on us all. I think she knows where she went wrong without, and it was a brave, if somewhat misguided, step to make her debt problem so public.

That said, those of you thinking that law is a fast track to a high salary should pay attention to this story before considering law school. After making a $90k investment for law school, there is no guarantee of a six-figure salary. Several years ago, many of my classmates who were not in the top 10% of the class took jobs paying under $50k - a salary that evaporates quickly when you are balancing $900 monthly student loan payments.

Aukse has the privilege of working for a well-respected firm and has a bright future ahead of her. I hope she is able to live within her means, and ultimately pay off her debt.

Finally, it has been my experience that attorneys with excellent legal skills can make terrible decisions in their personal lives. Since her financial decisions are not at all related to her firm's core practice areas, I doubt her clients have any reason for concern about her exercise of professional judgment.

Good luck, Aukse!

Chicago, IL

#21 Mar 8, 2009
She just hasn't found the right ambulance to chase...yet.

Brooklyn, NY

#24 Mar 8, 2009
Riverwestie wrote:
I wonder how many pairs of $200 jeans,$400 shoes and $800 bags she "owns" with her borrowed credit?
For all you know, the answer is zero.

The assumptions/judgments a few posters are making about this woman are a bit nauseating.

Let's take something valuable away from this piece: She is now taking responsibility for poor decisions that she made in the past. Good for her for!
john williams

Berwyn, IL

#25 Mar 8, 2009
Just remember there is no such thing as debtor prison

Frankfort, IL

#26 Mar 8, 2009
She put herself in the current position she is in with her excessive spending resultings in credit card debts. I don't feel bad for her situation.

Chicago, IL

#27 Mar 8, 2009
honey wrote:
She put herself in the current position she is in with her excessive spending resultings in credit card debts. I don't feel bad for her situation.
Her credit card debt might not be due to excessive spending. One of my friend's sons went to medical school here at UIC in Chicago. Even at a state medical school, he is $225,000 in debt with school loans. When he began his residency, he was not paid for almost 3 months and had to live off his credit cards for basics of food, gas for his car to get to the hospitals, and rent. He maxed out one of his cards and ran up some charges on another, which he is still paying off.

It is also interesting to note that 60% of his medical school class at UIC was foreign students, citizens of other countries. These students were admitted to UIC while hundreds of American students whose scores met admission criteria were denied admission. More brilliance from a government operation.

Lisle, IL

#28 Mar 8, 2009
Let this be a lesson to aspiring lawyers - do not go to law school and incur over $100,000 in debt if you cannot be certain that you will graduate with a six-figure job in our back pocket.

And, sorry to say, unless you graduate first in your class or from a top tier school, you are not going to get one of those jobs. So either save up for law school or get scholarships, otherwise your life will be miserable out of law school.

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