How I Paid Off My Student Loans in Less Than 3 Years {Podcast}

Do you feel like you’ve been paying on your student loans FOREVER? Or maybe you just graduated from college – CONGRATS! – but are dreading the fact that those student loan payments are finally coming due?

Joining us today is Angela Ozar, author of “Close Your Tab & Don’t Look Back, A Guide to Getting Out of Debt and Getting Ahead in the Real World.” She tells us how she paid off $30,000 in student loans in less than 3 years & is now on mission to help others manage their money and student loan debt after college.

Tell us a little about your story leading up to this point. 

  • $30K in student loan debt upon graduation (average today for undergrad is $37K)
  • Got a job right after college in corporate (4 years)
  • Paid off my debt in less than 3 years, while also saving aggressively for retirement
  • Spent 2 years at a non-profit helping women start businesses where I learned: the significance of what I had done and importance of paying off debt quickly and wrote about my method for fast tracking debt repayment

What are the common mistakes/traps students fall into after college graduation?

  • Keeping expenses low! (managing a substantial income for the first time)
  • Paying the minimum on their monthly loan payments
  • Not using their #1 advantage TIME
  • Need a sense of urgency

Did you use a budget?

Surprisingly, no! I attribute success to:Managing w hat I have well and maximizing my outputs, Self-discipline, Persistence

Did you have to sacrifice a lot?

  • No, not really
  • I traveled and bought pretty much what I wanted
  • Goes back to keeping daily and startup costs low
  • Recommend looking at what you care about and where you spend your money
  • Trade-offs not sacrifices: roommates, used furniture, used car so no car payments

How has paying off your debt quickly helped you?

  • Given me freedom over my choices (especially career)
  • Get what I want faster (travel, things, etc.)
  • It’s brought me security

What are your main takeaways for college graduates?

  • Have a sense of urgency paying off your debt (go above and beyond)
  • Spend money like your still in college, even though you have a “real job”
  • Start saving (3 to 6 months living expenses just in case)

What are your recommendations for high schoolers or parents of students?

  • Work while you’re in school (get a head start saving!)
  • Educate yourself on the financial aid process
  • Getting money for school
  • Knowing how much debt you’ll have (if any)
  • Being knowledgeable about your loan type
    1. Federal or private
    2. Interest rate
    3. When interest accrues

Do you recommend getting professional financial help?

Absolutely! I recommend getting a financial planner right after school to get a good handle on your finances.

 

Angela Ozar is the the author of Close Your Tab & Don’t Look Back, A Guide to Getting Out of Debt and Getting Ahead in the Real World. She paid off $30K in less than three years, and is now on mission to help others mange their money and student loan debt after college. 

 

Need help with your spending plan? Download the first 3 chapter of my book, Money is Emotional, for tips on mastering your personal finances!

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