34-Year-Old Piles On Debt, Hoping Law School Will Pay Off

By George Erb
The Seattle Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) According to U.S. News & World Report, the average debt for Seattle University law students with loans who graduated in 2015 was $136,889. This article takes a look at why one woman is willing to take on law school debt and how she plans to handle her finances as she works towards her degree.


Rachel Sindorf admits she’s a latecomer to the professional career ladder after spending much of her 20s working with horses at stables in the United States and Europe.

She loved the work. But the pay was modest, and “it’s a pretty rough lifestyle,” Sindorf said.

Now Sindorf is back in the Seattle area, where she grew up, and laying the groundwork for a legal career by working in the field and going to law school.

The 34-year-old has few assets, and her professional aspirations are forcing her to take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt. So when she saw in The Seattle Times a chance to get free financial-planning advice, she seized the opportunity.

“Free advice? Why not!” Sindorf said.

The Financial Planning Association of Puget Sound connected Sindorf with certified financial planner Stephanie Moreno and senior vice president Harry Smith at RBC Wealth Management in downtown Seattle.

Moreno and Smith saw Sindorf’s law-school debt as a rational, strategic investment in her future.

“Is it optimal? No,” Smith said of Sindorf’s student loans. On the other hand, he said, “She’s got a good game plan.”

Sindorf has strong family ties to Alaska, and in her early 20s she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

After a dispiriting stint as a technical writer, she decided to take off a summer at her family’s equestrian center in Palmer, Alaska, and ended up staying seven years. The experience led to other jobs at equestrian centers in Tennessee, Florida and the Netherlands.

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