OT: Former UM Student on how he paid his student debt.

Submitted by LandryHD on May 19th, 2012 at 3:15 PM

He was a fomer UM student and athlete for the Michigan Rowing team. He figured out a way to erase $90+K in student loans from Harvard in 7 months. Pretty interesting read!





May 19th, 2012 at 3:26 PM ^

tl;dw:  someobody who spent grad school living way above his means (2 cars, a motorcycle, 3 bedroom house, 1300 dollars/month for "entertainment") learned how to live like a normal person for 7 months to pay off his debt.


May 19th, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

I would argue that a "normal person" lives outside his/her means as well.  It's not like debt is something that only the exceptionally irresponsible have.

Row Blue

May 19th, 2012 at 4:06 PM ^

His after tax salary during the first month of this project was $5,295 which equates to $63,540. Even with 2 roommates, it netted to $7,238 per month or $86,856 per year. This was the planned income for 6 of the 7 months. The final month included 3 paychecks as well as the annual bonus. Credit where credit due.




May 19th, 2012 at 5:45 PM ^

That was my thinking as well.  For him to claim that his 12-month after-tax income was less than his loan must have been a clever wording choice (I figured as much given how it was phrased).  He probably received a large bonus from his (I'm guessing) finance job, used that to help pay down the principal, and then used the rest of the steps outlined in the video/site to cut down the rest.  

Yeah, I have some student debt, and I don't live beyond my means, and it will still take me years to pay down the debt.  This feels like one guy's self-righteous quest to showcase how much "better" he is at spending money compared to everyone else while simultaneously ignoring different realities.


May 19th, 2012 at 3:36 PM ^

Very impressive. I'm sure a lot of us on here are in a similar situation (though not necessarily to the same extent), so it's awesome to hear success stories. It does suck when your bank account is just a spot for entire paychecks to sit for a couple hours before being shipped off to the government, but there's a huge sense of satisfaction in actually paying off your debt as quickly as you possibly can.

Edit: Actually, still impressive, but he's making $312k a year? Seriously? How hard can it be to pay down $91k when you're making that much every year?


May 19th, 2012 at 3:45 PM ^

This is admirable, but come on.

Selling a second car, a motorcycle, emptying your retirement, and reducing your $1,300/mo in entertainment to near zero must have taken out at least 50% of it. Then add as much as you can pay every month probably another 40%. I don't exactly think the pedi-cabbing and new business was what made this happen.

I'm not trying to pick on the guy because it takes commitment and willpower to both pay and change your lifestyle, but it's not like people struggling to pay off their loans have these sorts of assets lying around that they must "sacrifice." And it's not like sacrifcing for seven months is all that amazing.

Good job, I guess.

Bando Calrissian

May 19th, 2012 at 3:51 PM ^

Anybody who sneaks a flask into bars for a year instead of actually paying for drinks like everyone else (while some poor soul waits on them anyway), and pats themselves on the back for it, is simply an asshole.


May 19th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

this is dumb...the guy is making 100k a year and thinks it's impressive that he somehow managed with only one car and no motorcycle?  

And he got roommates for his 2 extra bedrooms?  Talk about sacrifice...

Also, how the hell do you graduate from HBS and forget about interest???


May 20th, 2012 at 6:16 AM ^

Hahaha, I thought the exact same thing. I have a terrible business sense, but I still knew the interest is what really was going to kill me. That's why I didn't consolidate and instead paying a little extra to the one with the highest interest. Genius!

snarling wolverine

May 19th, 2012 at 4:32 PM ^

This is less a story about living within your means and more a story about landing a plum job right out of college.  The big problem most new grads face is not that they're spending too much, but that they simply aren't bringing in enough money to pay back their schooling.



May 20th, 2012 at 11:47 AM ^

how many students are taking out loans to pay tuition at expensive schools like Michigan to get a degree with less earning potential than their loans. Suck it up and go to a less expensive college if your expected repayment is going to exceed your income, or worse, you won't be able to find gainful employment because you picked a shit major. 

Between my scholarships, grants, and good sense to find an employable major, my loans are less than half of my salary at my great new job. I can easily afford to pay 2-3 times the recommended monthly repayment while still living in a studio in a nice LA complex and buying a new motorcycle after I sell my truck.


May 20th, 2012 at 3:22 PM ^

Srysly posts like this aren't helpful.  Protypical "cool story bro", I make x-many hundreds of thousands, do not sympathize with those not smart enough to finish EECS/fluid hydro/med school/Top10 law school/ Top10 MBA.

Not everyone can be the proverbial astronaut; for all those who say that undergrads should focus on being an engineer or PhD in sciences; some of those classes are hard as f*ck.  I'm a physician and I would cheerfully admit that I would have failed out of your typical engineering class; hell I had to retake intro physics (partly due to my love of chasing tail and drinking but still).

I agree that parents/guidance counselors, etc. need to slap kids upside the head to let them know their $50K east-asian literature degree will never pay for itself; however, your post is just as helpful as the 'Occupy Wall Street' dude that has already been negged posting about how student loans are one big JPMorgan led conspiracy to enslave the proletariat.


May 20th, 2012 at 3:39 PM ^

To echo this sentiment:

It's not even about getting a degree in a low-paying field.  I got my degree in computer science, could have made bank but decided I didn't want to code for a living.  I staying in school and got my masters in Education and am teaching high school.  My loans are twice my current salary.  I'm paying them off comfortably, though I don't have a ton of wiggle room to continue that (i.e. I better not get anyone preggers).

It's all about your effort and desire to succeed.  If you want to get a degree in a low-paying field, you have to have a game plan and you have to show people that you're one of the hardest workers they'll meet.  If you do that and your school carries the necessary weight, you'll be successful.


May 19th, 2012 at 5:21 PM ^

He could change his number again next year. Its not like Morris has lost all chance of being #12, especially after the coaches told him he could and sent him that letter with the #12 helmet on it.


May 19th, 2012 at 6:00 PM ^

At least someone decided to pay loans off, but the Yahoo sensationalism machine makes it out to be more than it actually is.  He knocked off more than half of it by selling his toys.  I had maybe two-thirds of that debt and most of it is paid off, and at the same time I'm saving to buy a house in Washington, DC, which is no small task.  Try living like a student for a significant number of years after grad school is done in a place like DC where it's in style to throw around money like Daddy Warbucks. Then, come talk to me rower boy.

Sten Carlson

May 19th, 2012 at 6:11 PM ^

It's all fake unconstitutional "money" owned by a private banking cartel with the power to create it out of thin air -- why should we give a shit about "paying it back" anyway?!?  It is, was, and always has been their intent to make us a nation of debt slaves.


May 19th, 2012 at 6:41 PM ^

It's a tough issue - one the one hand government student loans allow people to go to college who otherwise wouldn't have been able to.  On the other hand, everything the government subsidizes goes up in price, so government loans are the primary reason college tuition has skyrocketed. If the government would reduce or stop providing student loans the cost of tuition would go down.


May 19th, 2012 at 8:05 PM ^

Student loan debt is going to bust just like the housing crisis did. College students are taking out 100k in student loans and can't even get a job. A welder, electrician, or oil field worker with just a high school diploma is better off in today's economy than someone with a business degree. The bottom line is you have to be valuable to a employer immediately. How is a kid with a business degree with no experience going to make you money? Your better off hiring a old timer with experience instead of education. I learned the hard way. I have a degree in computer science, but work in the energy industry doing engineering type work. I was very lucky to stumble into that.


May 19th, 2012 at 8:59 PM ^

I think the "value" of a new graduate depends on the industry and the circumstance.  Yes, smaller companies with tight overhead need a productive employee immediately to justify the costs, and those tend to be older employees.  But some firms like younger workers because they are cheaper, are more maleable, and are sometimes worth the investment because they could turn into real assets to the company for years to come, not just a stop-gap guy or gal who would bolt.  

Personally, I've been the new guy as well as the old hand, and in each instance I fit what the employer needed then, not what they always sought.

Sten Carlson

May 19th, 2012 at 8:16 PM ^

It's all part of the trick.  As someone else pointed out.  Jack up the cost of a college education, while slowly diminishing the value.  Get everyone hooked on the debt, then you have them by the ball for the rest of their lives.  Unless, of course, you're lucky enough to have a US Congressmen or Senator as a parent.  Then you don't have to repay them.  Oh, yeah, and as of the 90's, neither Chp. 7 nor Chp. 11 will discharge student loan.  Fuck em!


May 19th, 2012 at 9:47 PM ^

Good for this guy.

He took assessment of his life, what he could life with, what he could do without, such as 2 cars and motorcycle for 1 person?

He looked at his spending patterns, and again figured what he could cut out (easy stuff like eating out, boozing it up at bars, etc).

It is laudible that he started a second business and work on the side as a pedi-cab.  Sounds like he may have bought more house than he needed.

He showed more financial acumen than most of our generation does.  Glad it worked out for him.  Hopefully, others can follow his example.


May 20th, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^

No kidding.  I'd be able to pay off my mortgage in ten months if I was making what he was making.

I mean he talks about selling his 2nd car and motorcycle like it was some sort of sacrifice.  I've been driving the same car for 17 years.  Yes, 17.   I am able to do that because I walk or ride a bike to work whenever possible.

It's nice and everything that he's out of student debt but come on, it's not like he didn't have the resources to do it.


May 20th, 2012 at 6:15 AM ^

As someone with debt almost as high as this guy, it's admirable but nothing groundbreaking whatsoever. Last night, it was my friend's birthday, some of our friends and her had been out all day, so they were pretty tired right around the time the buses were going to stop running. So instead of meeting up with some other friends who I knew were out, I decided to go home since the money on drinks and the taxi I'd need to get back didn't seem worth it to me that night. God damn, why am *I* not a blogger?!? This is gold. You guys should be paying off my student debt to get info like this!