Guest post by Caroline Clerisme, DMD
When I graduated from dental school, I had more than $ 250,000 of debt. Being from Haiti, I had no idea how to tackle such a large balance or how accrued interest really worked!
With my high student loan balance and high-interest rate, I was paying an average of $47 a day in interest. That’s $1410 a month! That was the motivation I needed to start making payments.
A lot of us are stuck as far as where to start, especially when we have a large amount of student loan debt. When I wanted to get out of debt, I realized that I had to change my mindset in order to change my net worth.
What we say to ourselves can have a huge impact on whether or not we succeed in our goals. I’ve helped quite a few doctors pay off their student loan debt, and much of what they say to themselves during the debt payoff journey is similar.
Here are 5 things that doctors say when they want to get out of debt.
1. I don’t know where to start.
There will always be a debate about how to pay off debt, but the first step is to just start. Whether or not you decide to pay the smallest amount first or the loan with the highest interest rate, it’s important to just start.
Before you know it, after applying more debt repayment strategies, your debt will be paid off, without overwhelming yourself or eating rice and beans or noodles every day.
2. How am I ever gonna pay all of that off?
I have learned that worrying about debt will not change the loan amount. I used to worry about my debt at first, then realized that debt is just money.
The only way to get out of debt is to focus on getting more money! As doctors, we can do that using our high incomes and/or by implementing multiple streams of income and applying that income towards the debt.
3. How can I get out of debt and invest at the same time?
At some point during our debt repayment journey, we might feel that we’re not seeing a difference in the loan amount that we are trying to pay down or that we would rather invest the money for a better return.
Being in debt should not discourage you from investing. The earlier you invest, the better. Investments in the stock market, for example, can give you passive income that you can apply towards the debt, and those investments can give you massive passive income in 25+ years.
When you’re in debt, you should never rely on one income. One income is too close to no income! If you lose your primary income, the debt still needs to be repaid. Never rely on one income and always invest a portion every time.
4. I want my money to work for me.
When you’re ready to get out of debt, it’s important to know how much money you are making every month and what your expenses are so you can tell your money where to go. Be the CEO of your finances!
The only way to know how to allocate your income is to know where each dollar goes so you can invest any excess.
- Use a spreadsheet, budget sheet, or a budgeting website like mint.com to organize your finances to figure out exactly what you spend money on every month.
- Subtract your income from your expenses.
- If you have a surplus/a positive number, use part of that income to pay more towards debt and invest
- If you have a deficit, you have an income problem and need more active and passive income.
- Pay off the debt by paying off the smallest amount first or by paying the debt with the highest interest rate if you have a loan with interest of more than 5.9%
- Invest at the same time.
- Express gratitude and enjoy life!
5. I can’t wait to be debt free!
Debt freedom is the best thing ever. You will never hear someone say “I wish I were still in debt!” Clearing debt can be such a relief, but being debt free shouldn’t be the end goal.
Consider what debt freedom means for your career and life goals. Perhaps, you can work less and spend more time with your family or finally start that business or travel more. Debt freedom is a means to an end.
If you’ve gotten this far, then you probably want to know how to:
- tackle student loan repayment
- choose the right financial advisor
- implement effective debt repayment strategies
- protect your assets
- pay less in taxes legally
The course covers all of the above as well as how to:
- budget effectively
- reallocate your income to create diversification
- build multiple streams of income
- reduce your hours from medicine or dentistry
Guest speakers and subject matter experts on real estate, stock market, retirement, taxes, practice management, NFTs, and cryptocurrency will be there to answer all of your questions and show you how to achieve financial freedom.
Dr. Caroline Clerisme is the founder of Doctors out of Debt where she helps doctors get out of debt and create generational wealth. She is a wife, mother, dentist, and co-author of the amazing children’s financial literacy book Lily and the Talking Piggybank: Let’s Learn about Money.
To hear more from Dr. Caroline Clerisme, check out Episode 271.
This is for educational purposes only. Please consult with a qualified professional before implementing any of the strategies outlined above.
Docs Outside the Box gets commissions when you use the code “dotb” to join Dr. Clerisme’s Doctors Out of Debt course.