EP07 Money Stories: Student Debt? No Problem. Staying Positive During Debt Paydown with Abbie Shepherd
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In today's episode of Money Stories, Jesse chats with Abbie Shepherd, a clinical psychologist who recently earned her PhD and is working her first real job after her long journey in higher education. Most people understand that earning a PhD takes a lot of academic rigor, but few realize that it is very taxing on the budget as well. In addition to incurring student debt during the multi-year PhD process (usually preceded by a Masters degree and Bachelors degree, for which you may incur debt as well), it's difficult to work and earn money along the way.
In Abbie's case she typically worked for minimum wage when she could during her demanding PhD program. Meanwhile, her husband worked as a pastor, which is a lower earning field. Needless to say, money was tight during those years, but Abbie and her husband kept a clear head and long term vision. Abbie knew that a PhD would give her the most flexibility in her work -- she could work as a clinician, or teach, or both -- so they kept their expenses as low as possible while she was in school. They knew they would incur student debt for her coursework, but they worked hard to keep it to a minimum and not use student debt to fund their living expenses, like rent and food. Likewise, they limited their consumer spending, avoiding the pitfall of running up large credit card bills. By focusing on the long-term benefits of her PhD and having a strategy to minimize unnecessary debt (while being mentally OK with incurring necessary student debt), Abbie was able to ease some of the stress of her financial position as well. Nevertheless, Abbie came out of school with six figured student loan debt that she is eager to tackle.
As a self-described enneagram type 1, Abbie admits budgeting and planning around money comes naturally to her, but YNAB has made an impact as well. Abbie discovered YNAB just a couple months ago, but it was the concept of aging her money and rolling with the punches which drew her in. The flexibility of the software was a bonus. Abbie is a responsible credit card user, paying off her balance in full each month, and she enjoys the rewards and points she earns in the process. She likes that the YNAB software can easily help her track expenses on the credit alongside her bank account.
Abbie has created an Instagram account to report on her debt paydown and budgeting tricks. You can follow her there @budget_crush.
Sign up for a free 34-day trial of YNAB at www.youneedabudget.com