I vow to bring you a debt free life.
I vow not to define you by how much money you have in the bank.
I vow to keep to a budget.
I vow to build generational wealth.
I vow to build a life of financial integrity.
I vow to be satisfied in every season.
I vow to have a crazy belief lifestyle.
I vow to be radically generous.
Wouldn’t it be nice if I told myself that in the mirror when I started my debt-free journey? I didn’t do it, but you can make these promises to yourself from today.
Instead, I began my journey full of fear, fear, and disbelief. I had thoughts like “Who am I to pursue such a lofty goal? or “You are stupid. You will never understand how it works. “
I was fired from my dream job as a breaking news reporter and moved back home to my nursery. As an Enneagram 7 enthusiast personality type, I was a hair away from buying a plane ticket to tour rice fields, wander temples, and wander through Southeast Asia. But how could I do that with minimal savings and increasing student loan debt?
“Over 1 in 5 millennials say they postponed milestones because they just couldn’t afford it with their college debt,” according to a survey by TD Ameritrade. The same study shows that “almost half of millennials also plan to move home after college”.
I graduated from a private art school in Chicago with about $ 30,000 in debt. In 2020, the student debt crisis hit a record high. “There are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $ 1.6 trillion in student loans. In the US, student loan debt is now the second highest category of consumer debt after mortgage debt only, and higher than both credit cards and car loans, ”he said Forbes.
Here’s a rough breakdown of what my student loan debt was as of August 2019. Before I seriously started paying off my debts, I made minimum payments. Overall, my guess is that I had already paid nearly $ 30,000 in student debt.
Consolidated Subsidized Loan: $ 17,239.60
Consolidated, Unsubsidized: $ 10,992.21
Factors that helped me pay off my debt were lowering my expenses and increasing my income. I strongly recommend making a solid plan. For that I used Innocence.it. The website created a free debt settlement plan after I entered my information.
I have used the “avalanche method” to pay off debts and it worked best for my situation, but a lot of people also use the “snowball method”. These are common terms, but here is a breakdown of each term according to CNBC.
Snowball Method: Prioritizes paying your debts from the smallest to the largest balance regardless of the interest rate.
Avalanche: You pay off the balance with the highest interest rate first and then work your way through all of your debts from the highest to the lowest interest rate. Some financial professionals prefer this method because you end up paying less interest.
Before I returned to my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, I lived alone in a one-room apartment where I made the minimal debt payments. I was able to go over the minimum amount when I moved home with my mom for about six months. After moving out, I lived alone in a studio apartment before settling on a roommate. However, the more you can cut your housing costs, the better.
Another factor that contributed to debt settlement was salary negotiations. After finding a full-time job, I negotiated over $ 5,000 a year in salary, which allowed me to make larger payments. I also took full advantage of the “gig economy”. At any given time, I had two or three part-time jobs including freelance writing, social media management, and website design.
Another encouragement on my debt-free journey was finding fellowship. My colleague paid of $ 100,000 in student loans, and seeing her accomplish that goal made me believe I could do the same. I’ve also followed a lot of financial communities online. Some of the people I followed and read about all the time were Tiffany the budget nista and Leo James.
When I submitted my final payment, all I could do was take a deep breath. It felt like a burden I never knew, but ultimately I felt that the burden was lifted from me. I also felt the weight of the responsibility to continue making smart financial decisions and helping other people. I was challenged to be even more generous, not just with my money, but also with my time and resources. It felt like I was one step closer to my dreams.
After the student debt crisis got out of hand and 2020 was an uninterrupted roller coaster ride, I decided to celebrate this personal milestone with a debt-free photoshoot.
Our culture continually celebrates women for who they are and what they do for everyone else. We celebrate women for marriage and the birth of babies all i want.
But this is not a story about my desires.
It’s about celebrating women for managing to pay off debts, buy a house or start a business or whatever to do to become their most authentic and authentic selves – all of it is worth it to be celebrated.
This fairytale notion of marriage pervades our entire culture. I believe that marriage is a friendship with one person for the rest of your life and that it is service. We must first believe that everything we need is already within us. This suggestion style photo shoot symbolizes that in my 27th year I will say “yes” around the world to love, appreciate, advocate, and be kind myself first, even on the rough days that came up much more often in 2020.
I love this poem by Rupi Kaur that I think we should approach partnerships.
i don’t want you
To fill in the empty parts of me
I want to be alone
I want to fill it out completely
I could light up a whole city
because we’re both together
By the time my partner hands me the match, I’ll be over here and gracefully blossom into the woman I’m supposed to be.
Financial situations vary and money is often out of our control, but I hope I can inspire someone to pursue them by sharing this milestone and my personal journey. Recently Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) Asked her Instagram followers, “What would student debt relief mean to you?”
While I hope President-elect Joe Biden will cancel the student debt, my debt cut means I can travel more, build intergenerational wealth, and invest in my business Girls around the globe, Supporting loved ones, taking more risks and such so much more. And it’s worth celebrating.
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