Although the rich and the famous have cushy lives, they still face many of the everyday struggles of Americans.
And, not even celebrities are immune to worries about student debt, and many have spoken out about their own experiences with student loans.
While stars often have more money and financial resources to tackle their student loan debt, many of their strategies can be used by anyone.
Here’s a look at what some of today’s biggest names have to say about the best ways to pay off student debt.
Kerry Washington: Capitalize on opportunities
Kerry Washington is best known as Olivia Pope on ABC’s “Scandal.” And it wasn’t until Washington landed that iconic role that she could afford to pay off her student loans, she told ELLE magazine earlier this year.
Washington, however, has few regrets about her student debt. She “could not have afforded college without the help of student loans,” she said during the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Washington recognizes she wouldn’t be where she is today if it weren’t for her college education and the student loans which enabled her to pursue it.
Like Washington, college graduates should make the most of their education and opportunities to create success, earn more income and pay off their debts.
Miles Teller: Balance financial goals
Miles Teller is an actor known for roles in films like “Fantastic 4” and his Oscar-nominated turn in “Whiplash.”
But before heading to Hollywood, Teller told Vulture that he studied acting at NYU and borrowed around $100,000 to pay for it. And while Teller could easily afford to pay off his student loans, he hasn’t yet.
“I can, if I want that badge of accomplishment,” he told Vulture. However, “My business manager says the interest is so low, there’s no sense in paying them off.”
Like Teller’s manager, it’s important to weigh student loan repayment against other financial priorities. It may be that your money can be put to better use, like saving for retirement or an emergency savings account, rather than paying extra towards student debt.
Jane Lynch: Make informed decisions
Jane Lynch, who was on the hit FOX TV show “Glee”, feels so passionately about the topic of student loans that she partnered with the National College Finance Center to create a “Don’t Major in Debt” campaign.
Lynch did so with the aim to help educate parents and students on the options to pay for college.
“Parents and students have to be wise and have to have their eyes open about what’s out there, and what you’re looking at in the long-game in terms of having this much debt on you as a young person,” Lynch said on MSNBC in July 2012.
Lynch adds that families need to weigh their options, both for financing education and choosing a low-cost institution, to make smart decisions.
Gabrielle Union: Live below your means
Known for her roles in films like “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Bring It On,” Gabrielle Union currently stars in the titular role of BET’s “Being Mary Jane.”
But before hitting it big, Union studied at UCLA.
“I want people to know the work that it took to get through UCLA, that I had student loans and worked,” Union told E! Online last year. “I was eating Top Ramen and lived well below my means.”
Keeping expenses well below earnings is important to ensure you can afford you student loans, and even repay them faster.
Kate Walsh: Use windfalls to target debts
As a college student, actor Kate Walsh of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” fame studied at the University of Arizona.
She “came out of college with, oh, jeez, just thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in debt,” Walsh said in an interview with Refinery2. “And that’s insane — it was just interest accruing and accruing and accruing.”
When Walsh finally did hit on success, she used the windfall to target her student loans.
“The only way I was, honestly, able to pay off my student loans was at age 37, because I happened to get on a big, fat TV show called ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ and I was able to finally pay my student loan debt,” she added.
Everyday borrowers might also come across similar “extra” money from a raise, side job, or even a tax refund.
When these windfalls come, putting the extra cash toward student loans can cut the principal down, save interest and shorten your repayment period.
President Obama: Pay as much as you can to student debt
President Barack Obama has been fairly candid about the student debt that he and First Lady Michelle Obama faced.
“When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt,” he said in a 2012 address at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “When we married, we got poor together.”
He added that they put a lot of their earnings into their student loans early on. During the first 8 years of marriage, they paid more on their student loans than they did on the mortgage of their Chicago condo.
Obama revealed they finally were free of student debt just four years before he was elected to the presidency.
Be proactive when setbacks arise
Plenty of college graduates find themselves in the same boat of being unemployed or otherwise unable to pay student loans.
When this is the case, be proactive, communicate with your loan servicer and take advantage of deferment or repayment options. It can lower loan payments and give you a chance to get back on your feet, without the painful consequences of delinquency, default or damaged credit.
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