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This is the story of life's financial struggles & victories through the eyes of a young woman up to her eyes in debt. Enjoy :)

Find me on Twitter! @OhStudentLoans

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2 Part Feature In Forbes (WHAT?!)

Meet the 29-Year-Old Who Paid
Off $113,000 In Student Loans
Well here I am, single on Valentine’s Day for the umpteenth year in a row... However, I am featured in FORBES again today, so I think I’ll be just fine ;)

All joking aside, I wanted to let you all know that I accept these interview requests and post these stories not to toot my own horn, but to help folks. Every time an article comes out in a major publication, I get an influx of emails from you guys. Finances are a very private matter for most, but I am grateful for those of you that have the courage to ask for help. Some of y'all send me emails longer than I know what to do with and some merely ask one simple question; I love both kinds. Some of you I can help, some of you I can’t. It might take a few weeks, but I try and reply to everyone because I know exactly how you feel.

If you would’ve told me in high school that I’d have a 2 part feature in FORBES at the age of 29, I for sure would’ve thought the subject would be around music, not finances. So believe me, I've had my share of humble pie along this journey of mine, but if I can help just one person, it’s worth it. Is this the story I would have written for myself? Uh, no. But I didn’t write it, He did; and for that I choose to be grateful and agree to share my experience with anyone who genuinely wants to know.

Shout-out to Zack Friedman at Forbes for publishing this interview as well as letting me be a part of his podcast on Make Lemonade (coming soon)!

Click here to read Part 1 of my interview with Forbes
Click here to read Part 2 of my interview with Forbes

Click here to read the same Part 1 article on Make Lemonade
Click here to read the same Part 2 article on Make Lemonade



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Budget Featured in Business Insider Again (Woot!)

Here's the budget of a 29-year-old who finished
paying over $100,000 of student loans
Two updates as to where I am since paying off my loans a few months ago was written up by Libby Kane and published in Business Insider. Their audience is not hesitant at all to write to me and tell me all about their own debt journeys while asking for a quick piece of advice on an area they may be struggling with. I love connecting with them! I have SO MUCH to learn in this big world of finances, but the things I have learned so far, I am always willing to share.

I love the folks that realize I am a 29 year old woman who assessed her situation and did what she thought was best for her. And that’s all I did. I am not cramming advice down throats, I am not saying it is my way or the highway. I do me. You do you. If you look at my journey and you want yours to resemble mine, awesome! Let me know if I can help. If you look at my journey and want nothing to do with it, also awesome! I hope we all win with money in this life no matter the approach we take to get there. I simply happened to start blogging about my journey on that faithful August 1st Sunday back in 2010; the day I was struggling the hardest and decided to find an (anonymous) outlet for my student loan battle.

For those just reading about my story from the latest Business Insider article wanting more detailed information on my budget, click here to read where I elaborated on the first BI article that was published on my budget.

Also, between us, I spelled 'restaurant' wrong in my now public budget (Ha!)

Click here to read the latest main Business Insider article: "Here's the budget of a 29-year-old who finished paying off over $100,000 of student loans"

Click here to read that same article in Yahoo Finance

Find the latest spin-off Business Insider article, "A 29-year-old who paid off over $100,000 of student loans gives her 3 best pieces of debt-repayment advice" by clicking here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cheers to Breaking up with My Bae, Sallie Mae!

As planned, I officially became debt-free on Thanksgiving Day(!!!).

Over the course of my pay-off journey, so many people asked me what I would do to celebrate and my answer was always, “PARTY!” So, party I did; on December 9th, in-between all of the holiday craziness, I hosted some of my closest friends at my home in Nashville. The name of the party was, “Cheers to Breaking up with My Bae, Sallie Mae!”, and the theme was obviously money. The night was filled with tons of chocolate gold coins, play money, Hundred Grand chocolate bars, mint cupcakes, confetti and champagne. I also had gigantic gold balloons that read 113K floating around the party. We drank and partied the night away listening to a playlist full of songs across all decades and genres about money such as: We Don’t Need No Education, If I Was A Rich Girl, All I Do Is Win, Workin’ 9 to 5, She Works Hard For The Money, and Bills Bills Bills.

2016 was a tad rocky for some folks, but in order to think about it on a positive note, I will forever remember it as the year I paid off my student loans. We are a little over 2 weeks into the new year, and I am already loving this new found freedom; there are still a lot of goals still to be completed, but with step one out of the way, they are seaming more and more possible. Cheers to all of the adventures ahead in 2017 :)









Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year New Me

Quick update on where I am now after my announcement of being debt-free in late November. I have been debt-free for a little over a month now. In that time, I have purchased long-term disability insurance through my employer, upped my 401k contribution to our company’s match of 6%, and am 3 months away from having my $10k emergency fund fully stocked.

I jumped the gun a little by upping my 401k contribution before having my emergency fund fully stocked, but due to recent deduction changes at my work, my paychecks are exactly the same in 2017 at 6% as they were last year when I was only contributing 1-2%. That being said, there was no harm inflicted on my saving schedule by jumping on the increase a few months early.

As for my emergency fund placement, I have decided on Capital One’s 360 Money Market Account. The runner up was Synchrony Bank’s MMA. Although Synchrony bank gives you the debit card access that Capital One does not, they both allow you to access your money fairly quickly should you need it. And if I remember correctly in my research, the both allow you to tie the MMA to your personal bank’s savings account where you can make the transfer if need be; Capital One’s processing time being a day or two quicker than Synchrony’s. What the decision ultimately came down to? Interest rates. For a sum of $10k or more, Synchrony offers 0.85% and Capital One offers 1.00%.

After my emergency fund is fully stocked (hopefully March/April), I will open a Roth IRA. Since my goal is to allocate 15% of my gross income into retirement accounts, I need to contribute the remaining 9% (after my 6% 401k contribution) to this Roth IRA. Why not just 3% into Roth since my company is matching my 6% giving me an overall of 12%? Glad you asked. Because I have learned that you do not count matches as a part of your 15% contribution; I will be thinking of the 6% match as simply gravy.

So this is where I am. I feel behind in comparison to some friends my age, but I feel ahead in comparison to others. At the end of the day, I am 29, and am thinking I’m right where I need to be in order to set up the rest of my financial life for success. Should I have picked another college where I needed very little to no loans? Maybe. Should I have started a Roth IRA at 16 when I got my first job? Maybe. Should I beat myself up for what I did/didn’t do in the past, and succumb to a life full of minimum payments in addition to paycheck to paycheck living? No. 29 might not be the ideal age to finally be debt-free and start building a net worth, but it beats the pants off of 39 or 49 or 59. That is what I have to remind myself when I start to compare to those around me. This is not to say there is anything wrong with becoming debt-free and building a net worth at 39, 49 or 59, because that also beats the pants off of never doing it. I am merely allowing myself the grace to be okay with where I am.

In my studying, I have read that a lot of folks state the time in-between debt pay-off and wealth building is where the momentum starts to die. The two main scenarios around losing momentum are:

1. People fall into the “normal” trap of buying the things they couldn’t afford while in debt. They tend to get excited about becoming debt-free from student loans, medical bills, and credit cards all to have the “money” for a new car, new wardrobe, or new home, and the debt slowly but surely begins to exist again.

2. People continue to live a debt-free lifestyle (yay), but never invest which leaves them with absolutely no wealth (boo).

I still have SO much to learn about the financial world, and am so excited for you all to be on this journey with me! Cheers to not losing momentum in 2017!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

MY STUDENT LOANS ARE PAID OFF!

Can you believe it?! I did it!! It feels surreal. It feels great.

Total borrowed: $68,545.
Total paid back: $113,019.24

I started repayment December of 2009. I made my last payment November of 2016.

Thank you, sweet sweet baby Jesus that I am FINALLY DEBT FREE!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Almost Out of Debt: The Fear

Sounds backwards, right? But fear is oh so present. Here are 3 examples:

  • Fear that I am 1 week away from completing a journey I have been on for years and something could go wrong. Something catastrophic could happen and trip me up mere moments before crossing the heavily anticipated finish line adding possible years to the debt fight.

  • Fear that I will be debt free then end back up in it down the road. Although I have taken the necessary behavioral steps to ensure this doesn’t happen, you never know what could shift.

  • Fear that even if I do not end up back in debt, I will not win with money in the long run because I will misplace money along the way. Not choose the right options in stocks, a Roth IRA, investments, etc.

These may seem a little silly, and I haven’t put much thought into those 3 things over the years; however, now that I am about to step into the bright light at the end of my dark tunnel, these are my present fears. I’ll keep you posted as always, but for now, I’m simply keeping it real J

A bite of food to chew on:
“If you live in fear of the future because of what happened in your past, you’ll end up losing what you have in the present.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I Spoke at My Alma Mater!

One of my close friends has been such a great cheerleader for me during my debt pay-off process. She encourages me and lets me pick her brain a little bit on how her and her husband run some of their household budget. She works at Regions Bank and was appointed to take charge in their ‘Women in Wealth’ initiative. She felt a great starting place to get the message out would be at the college level. SO, since we were both in Phi Mu at Belmont University (she was our chapter’s president), she decided she wanted to start there by speaking to the current Phi Mu Theta chapter, and invited me to speak alongside of her.

It was great to be back on campus talking about all things finance and student loan related to those who are quite literally in the exact same place I was a cool 7 years ago. I hope my story resonated with them, and if anything, I can be a resource to one of them who might feel a bit like she is drowning here in a couple of months after graduating. I know from memory, and from reading back on this very blog, that I was completely lost and had no one to turn to for guidance. It might have taken me 7 years to get back to them, but at least I am here now and can be a lighthouse for this wave of Belmont graduates to find their way back to shore.

I snapped this photo of the renovated music business building entrance as I'd like to think that I AT LEAST paid for the gold that now lines the stair railings OR the glitter that now covers every inch of the floor :)