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Strategies For Paying Off Student Loans Quickly

  • Reading time:10 mins read

Paying off student loans faster with Steph from Prescriptions and Paychecks.  She joins the show as our 1st guest to discuss her inspirational debt paydown story.  She has been paying off student loans aggressively with her husband and has so far paid over $220k in student loan debt.  Learn what advice she has for those struggling with debt.  She also shares her recommended sunscreens as a Physician Assistant specializing in dermatology.

 We Discuss
  • Student Loan Payoff Strategy
  • CoastFIRE
  • BaristaFIRE
  • Fat FIRE
  • Best Sunscreens

Lastly, we get into tips for investing successfully and why she recently decided to refinance her mortgage.



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Paying Off Student Loans

Chris: If you could tell the audience a bit about yourself

Steph: I’m Steph I’m a physician assistant and practice medical dermatology.  My husband is a pharmacist.  We have been pursuing FIRE for the past 18 months, but before that, we have been working on pay off our ridiculous student loans.  As you know medical schools are not cheap in the US.  We have gotten aggressive with paying off student loans over the last few years.

The debt-free community introduced me to the FIRE community, so from there we decided we didn’t want to stop at being just being debt-free.  We have 3 kids so we are on this journey with 3 kids under 5 years old.

So how much did you have in student loans when you started and how much do you have today?

I graduated with $166,000 and my husband had $135,000 so over $300,000 total.  We have paid off $228,000 so we have $73,000.

Chris: Wow that is awesome! Very impressive! As a pharmacist, I can relate and it can be very overwhelming.  I would love to know what gave you the motivation to attack your student loan debt?

Steph:  I was shadowing a PA and we talked about student loans, and he told me “oh yeah I’m going to have my student loans paid off in 10 years” and I was like “you can do that?”

So that’s where I got the idea.  I started making my payments and they were $1,100 a month and over $900 was all interest!!! So I decided I did not want to pay that much in interest.

I did the math on how much I would pay in interest if I kept the 25-year repayment plan and it was over $300,000 for just my loan!  I decided right there that wasn’t going to be the route I choose.

Chris: Is there a best way to choose if you should refinance or choose public forgiveness?

Steph:  I didn’t qualify for public forgiveness so I had to find a different way to attack the debt.  I also heard some people weren’t getting approved for forgiveness which made me nervous.  So before refinancing I made sure I was comfortable with the monthly payment.  Once I knew that I decided to refinance with Earnest and I was able to get my loans from 5.4% and 8.4% down to 3.9% which made all the difference!

Chris: That is a big saving!

Steph: Yes, that right there saved me over $100,000 in interest only.  I just made sure to calculate the monthly payment and make sure we would be comfortable with the new monthly payments.

Chris: I felt the same way and funny enough also refinanced with Earnest.  I refinanced twice with Earnest to get my interest down to 1.7% currently.

Steph: Sweet! Yes, we just refinanced my husband’s loans with LendKey.  It’s a variable rate but with the interest rates being so low we can always refinance again if rates go back up!

Chris: That is the position of power and why I feel it’s so important to talk about it! I’m glad you shared that story.  Did you think about the income vs debt ratio before pursuing PA and pharmacy?

Steph:  My husband always knew he wanted to be a pharmacist.  I had looked into medical school first but realized it would take a very long time like 11 years! That sounded awful.  Luckily, one of my friends handed me a pamphlet about PA and he said this is like medical school but it’s only 2 years and that had me sold.  So with that, I knew we were going to have a lot of student loans but I didn’t have any undergrad student loans.  I took out the maximum loans during that time because I couldn’t work during PA school.  My husband did work part-time while in school.

Chris: I think some great advice would be if you could get a part-time job or make a bit of money going through school, it helps limit the amount of money you need to take out on loan.  Its money you will have to pay back eventually so your future self will thank you for doing this.

Steph: Yep! That is something I wish I would have considered more during school.

Chris: Same here! That was an opportunity to limit my student loan.


Listen to more of the show where we dive into paying off student loans, investing, mortgage refinance, and skincare…


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This information is my opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.