TL;DR: I am currently struggling hard to balance paying debts and "enjoying life".
My situation is:
- I am 25, and I live in France.
- I have a double-degree from a top French Engineering school ("Grande Ecole") - and a top 20 American university. Degrees are Master of Science.
- I started working ~2 months ago with 39k€ (15k€ at 1.9%/yr + 24k€ at 1%/yr) in debts (due to the US degree).
- I have ~12k€ saved.
- I still have a couple years before having to pay the principal.
- I work at a great research institute, in 3D Vision, earning ~2400€ net/mo (the contract is for 18 months, up to 36).
My thoughts right now:
- Do a PhD as soon as possible, as it turns out to be necessary for my career. About 90% of people in my work environment either have a PhD or are doing one. Note that I can legally break my contract only after at least 18 months, with a 6 month delay (délai de carence, 1/3 of completed work time) if the PhD is in the same company.
- In France - or at least in my company -, there seems to be an "untold" age limit of ~27 for starting a PhD (can anyone confirm this?)
- As my expenses are quite small (I am living with my parents), I can save about 2000€ / mo if I don't do any "unnecessary expenses". This way, I can pay my debts before the 18-month limit and start a PhD right after.
- Not sure if it is relevant, but I am also considering having my own startup in a few years.
The problem is that I can pay off my debt fairly fast, at the cost (!) of not spending my money in anything else. People often tell me: "This is the best time of your life", "you should enjoy life", and this drives me nuts.
Reasons to pay off my debt as soon as possible:
- I won't enjoy peace of mind before paying it.
- I will earn significantly less when I start a PhD (~1700€/mo net ?)
- I will have more fun later?
Reasons not to:
- Enjoy life while "I am young" and not miss opportunities to have fun?
- The interest rate is small (< 2% / year)
- And what if I do other loans (e.g. mortgage)? Can I reasonably put off enjoying life to pay a mortgage in 10 years instead of, say, 30 years.
EDIT: Clarifications about the debts and interest rates.