Recently, Troy Krause wrote a profile on college debt titled, “An intergenerational issue - National college loan debt exceeds $1.6 trillion.”

Within this piece, Krause highlights how student loan debt has been part of our nation’s education system since student loans began in 1958 and how they have come to impact borrowers.

According to the federal reserve, student loan debt exceeds $1.6 trillion.

Part of that kitty is mine, but not for much longer.

For the past 18 years I have been making a monthly student loan payment in some capacity or another on loans totaling $40,000.

I have always been intrigued by the topic of student loans, because many student loan borrowers are completely unprepared for the burden of the loans until they begin paying them.

I attended college simply because I knew it would be something both beneficial and exciting to me. I admit that I have never been a great student, but I have always enjoyed learning and meeting new people. College did just that.

Every year when I applied for student loans I heard the financial aid counselor say, “Remember, that one day you will have to pay this back.” I still took the maximum student loans allowed to me each and every year.

Five years ago, when I earned my second degree and had to begin paying a $210 monthly student loan payment, I promised myself to tackle the debt immediately. The realization of the burden of my student loan debt occurred to me when I sat down one day and realized that if I were to make only the minimum monthly payments I would not have my student loans paid off until I were in my 60s (I’m currently 42 years old.)

The thought of making monthly student loans into my 60s was insane to me, so I pledged to take any additional money that I had and apply it to my loans. Now I am proud to report that in just two months I will be student loan free.

I could dole out financial advice like in the many articles suggesting how one can cut expenses, but everyone’s situation is unique. Its simply up to each person to tailor a loan payoff plan that works for themselves. I will say this though. 

I have many times not participated in certain activities simply to save the money to apply towards my loans. Sacrifice and self discipline are the toughest lessons to be learned when it comes to finances. So what are my plans now that I’m student loan free? I hope to one day be a homeowner, and most of all someone who can retire comfortably.

To all those on their path to living student loan debt free, keep doing what you are doing and stay steadfast. If you need assistance with a budget there are numerous tools at one’s disposal. Just be realistic and stick to your plan for the long haul.

Stay focused, if I can do it, you can do it.