Author Topic: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today  (Read 809 times)

hainesjd

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« on: January 31, 2019, 01:41:52 PM »
First off, hooray! The intent of this post is not to brag, but to give hope to those who stare bug-eyed at MMM's sprint to retirement and are not progressing as rapidly as he did.

I graduated college in 2010 with a degree in elementary education. I lived and worked in a LCOL city, and out of necessity I adopted pretty Mustachian tenets right after graduating (looking now, I see my first comment was in Dec 2011). Like many people in my generation, no one ever sat me down and gave me a frank talk about what an appropriate amount of student loans should be. Also like many people in my generation, I'm not sure I would have listened anyway. Upon graduating, I had $75k in student loans.

My wife graduated two and a half years later (her parents paid everything for community college if she'd live at home), and we've consistently made about the same amount since (~$30k each in 2013, increasing steadily to ~$50k each today). We've had only a few gaps in employment and both made minor career changes along the way. We do not have children.

We live in a HCOL area now (which is most of the reason for the higher salaries), but I want to take this opportunity to commiserate with those of you who cannot expect huge raises YOY, especially those whose career areas frown upon job-hopping. With an overabundance of tech workers reading MMM, it can sometimes become an echo chamber of "Why don't you just move somewhere else" or "Use your skills in a different job" without acknowledging the real roadblocks some people face. I totally get it!

I feel very happy that we chose to pay off our own student loans rather than rely on a government program or debt forgiveness, which many of our friends are choosing to do. We are the oddballs for driving reasonable cars, biking to work, and limiting restaurant eating, but we respect ourselves and our choices enough to keep at it. At 32 and 30 years old, we feel like we've "made it" financially, even though our net worth is still in 5-digit territory. We have no debts and a healthy income.

Factoring into the slow progress we've made toward FI are some conscious choices that we made at the beginning of our financial journey. We feel very strongly about our faith and have always given 10% of our net income to transparent charitable foundations that we believe in. This might seem like a lot to those with a strictly mathematical view of finances, but the emotional and mental advantages to this practice have kept money in perspective in our lives. We've also been able to help out family in times of need and not expect anything back. Priceless.

But slow and steady is winning the race! I know it's hard to see sometimes when you're at the beginning of the FIRE journey, but here's what I mean: When I graduated and was substitute teaching to get my foot in the door of a school district, my savings rate was a measly 3% (even living with family)! I remember reading MMM articles after an exhausting day of teaching for less than minimum wage and feeling like it was all I could do to not walk over to Chipotle "because I earned it." I drove for Uber nights and summers, worked at a summer camp, and delivered for Amazon in spare moments.

After paying off our student loans today, our savings rate is now around 55%, and we both work around 32 hours/week. What a huge difference 8 years made!

The best advice I can give to other Mustachians still on the journey to FI is this: it will pay off. Maybe not today or this month, but a step in the right direction is one less step that you'll need to take later down the road. Like MMM mentioned in the article "Are You Giving the Shaft to your Future Self," those gifts arrive on the conveyor belt far before you actually reach FI. Every day that I wake up not stressing about money or losing my job, I silently thank our 20-something selves for having their shit together. Feelsgoodman

See you at the finish line!

ParkwayD123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Florida....
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2019, 07:53:25 PM »
Well done!

naj89

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2019, 08:18:19 PM »
Great work! We still have some student debt we are chiseling away at, but have paid off some of the higher interest loans. There is nothing better than logging in to the lender's website and seeing "PAID IN FULL"! Keep it up!

Budgie

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2019, 09:33:39 PM »
Congratulations! You should be proud of yourselves :)

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3051
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2019, 06:56:31 AM »
This is cheerful news, so glad to hear it!

FIREby35

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 554
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2019, 08:00:20 AM »
Awesome! I love the feeling of being debt free. Welcome to the club!

hainesjd

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2019, 12:33:28 PM »
Thanks everyone!

Bartleby_the_Scrivener

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 98
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2019, 08:30:58 PM »
Your story sounds very similar to mine, although our student loan burden was lower. I am impressed. Congrats! I'll never forget the final early payment we made on ours, which made budgeting and saving so much easier. Cheers!

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4197
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2019, 02:54:20 AM »
Well done. And even better when it is done while giving away 10% if your net income and working only 80%.

better late

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 253
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 05:42:14 PM »
Congratulations!

Civex

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 140
Re: Paid Off the Last of Our $75k Student Loans Today
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 08:39:34 PM »
Congratulations badasses!