I paid off my student loans in one year. It’s cool being debt free, but I think paying it forward is even cooler, so I became a financial coach after my journey. After coaching clients for years, I’ve had time to reflect on my own personal journey and the journey of my clients, and I’ve created a philosophy to understand why people have student loans. I go more in depth into it in my new ebook, D.E.B.T. F.R.E.E. At 23: 4 Steps to Paying Off Your Student Loans Quickly but I digress!
Over my time of being a financial coach, I’ve realized that having student loan debt is not the issue, it’s just a symptom of a deeper issue. My point is, we must get to the root of the problem, because student loans aren’t it. I’ve created this philosophy that I call the I.S.S.A. Method. As we cover the four main reasons why people have student loans, think about what your specific problem happens to be. Additionally, you may have a combination of the problems, but be honest with yourself. Without further ado, let’s get straight to it!
The first part of the I.S.S.A. Method or “I” stands for information. Information goes back to the concept and the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know. Information can be something as simple as understanding how dangerous interest is when it comes to your student loan debt. Information can also be knowing that making biweekly payments over the course of a year is like making an extra monthly payment in the same amount of time compared to making monthly payments. Information can also be something as simple as financial literacy.
However, we have to understand that information isn’t always financial literacy. This is due to the fact that cost of living has drastically increased, while minimum wage has stayed stagnant. This brings up the fact that there’s also an element of a problem with the system, so I like to note that in these conversations, because this nuance can be dismissed.
If your problem or root cause for your student loans is information, the recommendation I have to remedy that is being a sponge and learning as much as you can daily. No one has all the information in the world, but if you can learn one meaningful thing a day you get closer to bridging the gap of your lack of information. Information can also include prioritizing paying off your student loans. I’ve had clients that informed me it was an issue of not looking at it as a priority prior to the INFORMATION they received from me. Listen to a financial podcast a day. Read something meaningful a day. Information is a lifelong concept you work on.
System simply stands for “Saving YourSelf Time, Energy and Money.” When we talk about a system, we’re essentially discussing your budgeting needs. I often vouch for the fact that I don’t like budgets and prefer a system, because a budget is emotional whereas a system is logical. A budget gives off the energy that you can go over your budget and we tend to stress about that if we don’t stick to our budget, as we make emotional purchases. A system is different because it has all your expenses automated for the most part, but the main distinguishing feature is that it has a section we call, “guilt free spending.” Guilt free spending is important because it allows us the permission to spend money on anything we want to spend money on each month. This is important, because it relieves the stress of worrying about whether or not we exceed our budget. Simply shifting from the utilization of a budget to a system has been a game changer for myself and my clients and it may be the solution to your current budgeting issues!
Sometimes we lack a strategy. A strategy is mainly the strategy or plan to increase your income. When it comes to paying off student loan debt, money or lack thereof can be an obvious scenario someone happens to find themselves in. But the ability to understand and have a strategy to increase your income is another topic. Not everyone is consciously aware of the INFORMATION (see what I did there?) that one source of income is too close to none, but once that’s established, we have another group of people that lack the resources for a strategy. A strategy can be something as simple as understanding that you can sell someone else’s free stuff by going to Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. It can also be something as simple as understanding that we’re in a digital age where people consume information online, so an ebook would be a great way to increase income. If you lack a strategy, my recommendation is to invest in yourself with a coach that’s done what you’re attempting to do, whether it be increase your income or create a strategy to pay off your loans in record time.
Accountability makes anyone more likely to perform an action, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is included in the I.S.S.A. Method. When you’re paying off your student loan debt, it’s important to note that some days you may feel motivated, while other days you may not. That’s perfectly fine. The solution for this is to get an accountability partner so that you stay motivated for as long as possible. We want to make this topic of student loan debt relevant for as long as our journey happens to be, because you turn into what you tune into. If you tune into debt freedom being your reality consistently over time, you’ll get there eventually. If you lack accountability, I recommend you get in a community of people on the same debt free journey or seek an accountability partner. If you can’t do that, there’s no excuse for why you shouldn’t hold yourself accountable by setting a daily alarm on your phone to remind you to do whatever you would have a human accountability partner to do for you!
You've been exposed to the I.S.S.A. Method so what's your problem and what are you going to do about it?