By Kyle Osborne, Financial Literacy Coordinator, TS Institute
After graduating high school from a town of 28,000 people in central Iowa with dreams, hopes, and aspirations, my plan was to attend a private school to study my passions Christian Education and Business Administration. I quickly found myself attending a college I could not afford and doing it with the unwritten Midwest mentality: “do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Fast-forward four years and I’m a college graduate and $85,000 in student loan debt without a job, and my private loans are coming due 30 days after graduation. I had no idea when I was in school that I’d be preparing to pay approximately $850 a month to pay off the debt I had accrued. When I married the girl of my dreams a few years later, the weight of student loans compounded. Although my loan payments had decreased my debt slightly, she brought $25,000 of her own student loan debt into the financial picture. Our combined debt not only meant estimated monthly payments of over $1,000, but could have also spelled financial disaster for a newly married couple. We are fortunate to have been able to navigate the challenges that student loan debt presented us and are proudly on our way to financial freedom.
What I wish I had known before I started college.
My wife and I now have a total of $32,000 remaining in our student loan debt and are proud of that accomplishment considering we have done so on an income averaging $35,000 a year for the last 7 years. If someone had asked me what paying back my student loans would look like after graduation, my ignorance would have been truly astounding. And if asked how much I would be paying monthly I would have truly underestimated the amount.
Here are a few things I wish I had known before college:
Take a few lessons from folks like me so you don’t have to fumble through this process.