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Queer Money

Jul 5, 2017

Navigating Student Loan Debt with PT Grad and Podcaster Will Boyd Most college students don’t understand what they’re getting into when they take on student loan debt. It is easier to remain blissfully ignorant of compounding interest while you enjoy the university experience, but that lack of knowledge may cost you the ability to live the life you want later on. Will Boyd recently earned his doctorate in physical therapy from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, but his journey to a degree in healthcare was not a straightforward one. His Bachelor’s was in international studies, and Will’s original intent was to become a human rights lawyer. But while teaching English in Spain and studying for the LSAT in preparation for law school, he realized that his health was suffering from extended periods sitting behind a desk. Will sought guidance from Google about his future, and eventually landed on PT as his chosen field. Will is the host of two podcasts: The Knowbodies, a show that features leaders in health, wellness and self-development, and Breaking Student Debt, a program to document his journey navigating his way out of the student loan debt he accumulated in graduate school. Today Will shares the breakdown of what he owes, how he is working to refinance his student loans, and the connection between debt and your health. Listen in and learn how to be your own unicorn, face your debt head on and live the life you want! Topics Covered Will’s student loan debt • $161,000 with compounding interest • $80,000 in Stafford loans for tuition • $60,000 in Grad PLUS loans for personal expenses • $20,000 interest • No private loans • Some loans begin accruing interest as soon as you accept money • 4.5% adds up quickly over time Will’s mindset around debt during grad school • ‘Ignorantly cognizant’ • Took out more than needed to have buffer • Because money was cause of tension in family, didn’t want it to dictate own life Will’s advice to young people regarding money and debt • Consider taking a year off after high school • Work full time to understand real hard work, time investment • Career path may not require formal education • Get creative in funding education via scholarships, crowdfunding The feasibility of working while going to school • Intense academic course load didn’t allow Will to do so • Did some website building, online marketing on the side • Weigh pros and cons of giving up 10-15 hours of free time Will’s refinancing process • Standard repayment plan would cost $1,981/month for ten years • Connected with FitBUX for advice • Transfer to extended fixed plan, owes $1,100/month • Consolidating eight different loans to one interest rate (dependent on credit score and debt-to-income ratio) • Documenting journey through podcast Will’s take on the federal student Loan Forgiveness program • Great concept, really helped some • Others disillusioned and ended • Change in government leadership could take away • Look into it if on service-oriented career path • After ten years at non-profit, remaining debt forgiven The Breaking Student Loan Debt podcast • Documents Will’s journey navigating system • Focus on understanding system • Explore tactics for paying off debt • Share ideas for growing income Mass Mutual’s findings around the LGBT community and money • 80% concerned about direction of government, compared to 66% of general population • 65% worried about money, compared to 57% of general population • 45% believe money woes adversely affect their health, compared to 34% of general population Will’s perspective on financial worry and your health • We grossly underestimate the cost of financial worry on physical health • Need to start talking about it, especially in time of chaos in government • Healthcare is more psychology than anything else • Develop a mindset to confront money issues • Invest in yourself, your belief system