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
- Federal or private
- Interest rate
- 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.