The media loves to cover student loan payoff success stories – and rightly so! These stories are both inspiring and motivational to the 40 million people in student loan debt.
It isn’t just “regular folk” who battle with student debt, either. Many well-known celebrities and public figures have also struggled with their own student loan debt, from President Barack Obama to Kerry Washington and Jane Lynch.
As inspiring as they are, you might be asking yourself, “What is it they have that I don’t? How is it that they paid off hundreds of thousands of dollars and I can barely make a dent in my loans?”
You don’t have to make millions of dollars to get rid of your loans quickly; there are also important personality traits that people – from superstars to regular people – that can lead to success. Do you have them?
Determination is defined as the act of coming to a decision or setting a purpose. This is important for debt payoff because, in order to get out of debt, you must first decide you want to become debt-free.
Having a strong desire leads to motivation, which is necessary to create a detailed debt payoff plan and stick to it. Having clear and defined goals for why you want to be student loan free can help; ask yourself why you’re doing this and make it as specific, personal and detailed as possible.
Discipline: an activity or exercise that improves a skill. In order to pay off debt successfully, you’ll have to allocate funds to your debt – money that previously went to fun things like restaurants, travel, and nights out.
It can take a large amount of discipline to say no to the good stuff in order to pay down debt, and you’ll have to say “no” to the fun things more often than you say “yes.” This is hard work!
The silver lining is that being incredibly disciplined in the short-term can pay off big in the future.
You can get creative with ways to pay off your debt, such as picking up a new side hustle or finding new ways to reduce your expenses and save money. Maybe you’ve figured out new ways to have fun without spending money. Either way, you can’t pay off loads of debt without a dash of creativity.
Eventually, as you become more comfortable with your debt and motivated by your progress, you may be able to brainstorm new ways to pay off your debt even faster.
In any debt payoff journey, you’re going to encounter resistance at some point. Something goes awry and you fall behind on where you’d planned to be. It can be discouraging when you’re working so hard to see little progress.
That’s why tenacity, or the quality of persistence, is crucial to debt payoff. If you quit when things get tough, you’ll never accomplish your goal. Often, the only difference between you and the person you see on the news is that they kept going long enough to see results and make it to the finish line.
When you’re trying to pay off tens of thousands of dollars (the average borrower graduates with about $30,000 in student loans), the truth is that it isn’t going to happen overnight.
Committing to student loan payoff takes years,which is why a healthy dose of patience is required in order to make it happen.
6. A nonconformist mentality
It’s easy to go along making your minimum payments, month after month, for decades. Many people do this and get along just fine. But if you want to be debt-free fast, you have to be a nonconformist.
Don’t conform to the idea that you have to be shackled to your student loan debt for most of your life. You want more – a better life and more financial security – to save for retirement or start your own business. You want to be the exception, like the debt payoff stories you see in media, instead of the norm.
This desire to be different is a beautiful thing, especially when it puts you ahead financially.
Hopefully, you’ll see that you don’t have to have celebrity status or make six figures each year to pay off your student loan debt; all you need is a little ingenuity and follow through.
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