Happy Friday friends! I’m excited for another installment of Student Loan Conquerors. Student Loan Conquerors is an interview series. I talk with some awesome people tackling their student loan debt head on. Finding out how they are doing it and what inspired them to start in the first place.
If you are interested in participating please contact me. Be sure to share a little information about your student loan debt situation.
Today, I’m excited to have Eric Rosenberg from Personal Profitability, a finance, travel, and technology writer originally from Denver, Colorado living in Ventura, California. When away from the keyboard, Eric enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers, riding his beach cruiser bicycle, and spending time with his wife and baby girl.
1. When did you graduate and with what degree?
I graduated from the University of Colorado in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and a certificate in International Business. I finished my MBA in finance at The University of Denver in 2010.
2. What was the maximum amount of student loan debt you owed and where do you stand now?
I had a great scholarship and graduated from CU debt free, but that wasn’t the case for my MBA. The program had an estimated cost of attendance around $90,000, of which about $67,000 was tuition. The highest balance was $40,000 when I graduated, and I finished paying off the loans two years and six days after graduation.
(editor’s note: Graduated undergrad debt free, that is amazing! And debt free less than three years after grad school? Teach me your ways!)
3.When did you start to focus on your student loans and what motivated you to do so?
I actually took out more than $40,000 in loans but started paying down my balances as early as possible. I worked full-time while going to school full-time for my MBA, and lived on a college budget while earning a full-time finance salary.
4. What is the best piece of financial advice you’ve received?
When I was about eight years old, I went to spend a long weekend with my Grandparents in Arkansas. My Grandpa, who grew up in the Great Depression and was a business school professor, gave me a personal financial ledger and taught me how to track my income and expenses. That lesson stuck with me when I got my first job at a summer camp, started working in high school to pay for my car insurance, and as my income grew and I started supporting a family.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to others paying down student loans?
Bonus tip: every time you get a lump income outside of your paycheck, like a bonus at work or tax refund, put 100% of that into your loan. You are used to living without it, so don’t waste it. Put it towards your loans and you’ll see your balances drop much faster.
6. If you could do it all over again, would you? Why or why not?
I definitely would do it all over again. My MBA led to great job opportunities and a 40% raise. It more than paid for itself, and keeps paying dividends every year!
7. Are you actually utilizing your degree? If not, why not?
College is not about discovering yourself or partying, though those are important parts of the process. College is about getting and education that can lead to a job. If you are getting ready to go to school, research which fields of study will lead to a career you will be happy with. Remember that just because you enjoy something like art history or social work does not mean you can get a job doing it, or a job that will pay off hefty loan balances.
(Editor’s note: my undergrad is actually a STEM degree, but I never did anything with it, every once in a while I think about going back to that area, but a plain math degree doesn’t open up that much.)
8. Anything you’d like to share with LDMW readers?
Personal finance success with student debt, credit cards, and retirement requires an approach that uses balance and a focus on big wins to reach your goals. That’s why I created Personal Profitability, to help you learn to earn more, spend thoughtfully, grow your wealth, and live a better life through mindful personal finance. If that sounds like you, get the free Personal Profitability Playbook delivered by email and get on your path to Personal Profitability.
Thank you, Eric Rosenberg! I appreciate you being a part of Student Loan Conqueror Series. I’m excited for you and your student loan debt freedom! Learn even more about how Eric paid off his debt, by checking out his story here.