The year was 2012. Husband graduated from medical school, we moved halfway across the country, and his parents pleaded to let them become the "bank" for his student loans. They said it would be so much more flexible, and they'll cut the interest rate nearly in half! He reasoned, the money will come back to him in the form of an inheritance (doesn't know if that will happen), and PSLF isn't an option since there was "absolutely no way" he'd go into academics (he went into academics). We weren't married at that point so I expressed my concerns then left him to decide. He went for it, and I wouldn't say the arrangement was exactly flexible. I found out he'd fallen behind on payments when his parents gifted us $10k for a honeymoon, insisting we use half of it to catch up on his loan. That's when I took over the finances.

Throughout residency and fellowship we made "interest only" payments, $39k in total, then refinanced on a much shorter term. They were sad about this, as a 20 year loan would have netted over $100k in interest. With a magnanimous "we won't charge you a penalty for early pay off" they relented.

I wouldn't say the loan has been a point of contention between us and his parents, but that's because I made sure to treat the situation as if it couldn't be taken advantage of. Not surprisingly there was frustration on our end: their obvious pleasure in making money, the strings-attached gifts, and still feeling beholden at 37.

Over these years when I've tried updating him on our finances he doesn't even want to look at whatever spreadsheet or websites I have pulled up. So I'll send him a text "lowest CC bill in 2 years!" or "Look at our net worth!". Yesterday however we were talking, I had my computer out and thought he might enjoy seeing how our accounts have grown. He was impressed but then concerned. Recently we crossed the 6 figure threshold on EF and home down payment fund. He asked, why was this money just sitting in brokerage, not invested in the stock market, when our loans are accruing interest? It was a fair argument.

I suspect many a wife would stamp her foot and say after all these years I deserve a home. Instead, I was giddy. Why deny this satisfaction when he has indeed labored long and hard to get here? So, 26 months after graduation, a final payment of $92,681.95. A single penny shy of the balance in an attempt to needle his mom.