After graduating from college with a Political Science degree in 2011, Julie accumulated $25,000 in student loan debt. But her debt didn’t stop there.
After receiving a big promotion, she went on a spending binge. She bought a new car and took advantage of those alluring zero percent interest credit cards. Suddenly her $25,000 debt load more than doubled to $53,000.
As her debt was increasing, things were getting serious with her then-boyfriend. He popped the question. Though Julie was happy about starting her new life together as husband and wife, she also took on $36,000 of his student loans.
In total, they owed $89,000.
Saying no to “til debt do us part”
Julie realized she didn’t want to enter married life weighed down by the burden of debt. She found inspiration in the blogs No More Harvard Debt and the blog post News Flash: Your Debt is an Emergency. She decided to start her own blog, Millennial Boss.
Full of inspiration and ready to make some drastic changes, Julie started to create a plan towards debt freedom.
She started by using the snowball method to conquer her debt. “I paid down the 0% interest credit cards first since it was motivating for me to eliminate entire accounts early on. I left the student loans with the greatest interest rate for last since they were the greatest amount,” she says.
On top of that, she made some major changes in her lifestyle. She ended up taking a higher-paying job in another city and downsized by living in a small apartment. Because she chose an affordable apartment near her work, she sold her SUV. Downsizing and selling her things helped make an impact on her debt. But there was one thing that helped her eliminate her massive debt so quickly: earning more money.
Making more money
As a Political Science graduate with a nonprofit background, Julie wasn’t exactly poised to command a high salary or score a great job.
But in a matter of years, she was able to go from making $9 per hour in 2012 to making $200,000 per year. Reducing her expenses and downsizing her lifestyle helped, but earning a good income helped her pay off debt quickly.
How, exactly, did she go from making near minimum wage to commanding a six-figure salary? For Julie, it was all about being strategic with her career and the moves she made.
“I had no background in technology but knew it was a growing, well-paying field,” she says. “My previous work experiences had been at non-profits so I was a bit intimidated and wasn’t sure how to enter the field. I leveraged the skills I learned creating my own travel website to land that first internship opportunity and then parlayed that experience into my first tech job.”
Though she didn’t have a degree in the field, she strategically pursued a higher-paying job that aligned with her skills and interests. By landing a well-paying tech job, she was able to pay off debt quickly and also get her master’s degree — this time on her employer’s dime.
Struggles along the way
Though Julie successfully increased her income and downsized her lifestyle, she still had to make sacrifices. After all, paying off a huge amount of debt is no easy feat.
In fact, Julie had to make some difficult decisions while in debt repayment mode. “I didn’t go home for Christmas one year and also skipped out on a friend’s bachelorette party to save money. It was hard to miss time with family and friends and some people called me out on my decision to skip the events. That was hard,” she says.
Not only that, but paying off debt required tough and brutally honest conversations between Julie and her husband. Though they’re on the same page now, they had to work on financial planning together.
From these conversations, Julie decided to pay off her husband’s $36,000 of student loan debt after she paid off her $53,000 in debt. In total, she paid off $89,000 in debt in only 18 months.
How you can get out of debt
Paying off any amount of debt is tough. Paying off a balance inching toward six figures in a short period of time is a monumental feat. In order to get out of debt, Julie says you have to be willing to make the moves required to get you there.
“You have to make big moves to get big results. It wasn’t easy to move, sell most of our belongings and my car, or skip events with family and friends,” she says. “Ultimately, these drastic moves allowed us to pay off our debt in 18 months.”
If you want to pay off debt fast, take a note from Julie’s debt payoff playbook — change jobs and increase your income, move to a location where you can command a higher salary, and always learn new things. Downsize what you can and make sacrifices while looking at the big picture.
What she’s doing next
After paying off her debt, Julie is focusing on her next big goal: saving a million dollars and retiring in her early thirties. Currently, she’s already at 20 percent of her goal using the same strategies and principles she used to get out of debt.
Imagine — what crazy, audacious goal will you strive for once your debt is gone?
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.