Paid off – I paid my six figure student loan debt in 5.5 years

Greetings my upwardly mobile friends,

As of today, December 22, 2018, I have no outstanding student loan debt. Post graduate education completed in June 2013 with over $150,000 in student loan debt. For the first year, I paid several hundred each month and wasn’t even denting the balance.

It took 3 refinancings, and a dedication to regularly increasing payments and figuring out how to live on what was left over. Toward the end, I decidated a minimum of $3,500/month for student loan payments (more than all of our other monthly expenses combined). Even then, I worked twice as hard to increase income such that between December 2017 and December 2018, I paid down the balance by $118,000.00. That’s a mind boggling sum. It required me to work about 2.2x more hours than my peers and is far more after tax income than I earned in the first two years after graduation.

How did I do it all?

  • Every 6 months, I increased my payments no matter what. I basically stopped drinking alcohol and any eating expensive food for over three years.
  • I lived at home for two years after graduation.  On my original salary, I couldn’t have afforded rent during those years anyway.
  • I drove the same beat up 90s car I bought in high school until it wouldn’t reliably drive anymore. Yes, I was that guy driving a car that probably was a death trap until Mrs. Upwardly Mobile and I began trying to have baby Upwardly Mobile. At that point, we needed something safer, and I bought a modest economy car with a low monthly payment and 0% interest.
  • I bought clothing only when drastically on sale. 3 suits for the price of one sales when a particular regional chain opens new locations.
  • I worked more than my peers (6-7 days per week averaging 12+ hours per day for over 4.5 years). I made myself an expert in my field despite my relative youth. I read everything on point for my field, volunteered to speak at conferences, and took any assignment that would increase my business origination and visibility.
  • My social time was taken over by business development for work (which simultaneously reduced the sting of decreased social time and drastically increased my income by 5 figure sums every year).
  • My student loans were refinanced three times getting the rates down below 3% interest from 7.8-8.6% originally.
  • As my income went up, my spending did not (until this year).

The truth is, there is no magic formula. It basically came down to consistency, hard work so that I could pay more, frugal living, and wildly over paying the monthly payments.

My final payment $19,859.07. A huge chunk of my annual compensation. It’s an amount I couldn’t have imagined paying in a single year when I started 5.5 years ago.

This is the first major mile stone toward FI.  I’ve been dreaming of this day since just before graduation 5.5 years ago when I thought I could never afford to pay back my student loans.

4 thoughts on “Paid off – I paid my six figure student loan debt in 5.5 years”

  1. Congrats!
    That’s a large sum to pay off. Enjoy the peak. You’ve built a lot of intangible value in your profession. As you mentioned in a prior post, being a HNWI is not simply a matter of luck.

    A question is what is the next milestone? Will it be a a brief hiatius from work and to reflect on goals and life? (Whatever hiatus means,) or will it be more of, nose to the grindstone?
    Purpose of the question is that, it sounds like your goals are very long term in duration, and now you’ve just past $0 in liabilities, where are the life goals nestled into this plan you’ve built?

  2. It’ll definitely be more nose the grindstone. Long term goals include castle ownership.

    We also want enough passive income to stop working entirely and maintain an estate. Truthfully. The goal is to reach a level where we would be the equivalent of historical landed gentry (without all the historic squandering of wealth by that group).

  3. That’s a great accomplishment. Congratulations, your hard work has paid off!

    Definitely like what I’ve read so far. I like your dividend income goals and am on a similar path. Am interested in seeing how you progress.

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