Mint Money Audit 6 Month Check-In: Was Ken Able to Attack His Student Loans?

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Back in December, I had the opportunity to review Ken’s financial profile. He’s an airline pilot who earns about $100,000 a year. At 36 years old, his main financial gripe is that he’s tired of carrying around his $45,000 student loan debt. (Can you blame him?)

With ample savings, my advice to Ken was transfer his $5,000 savings bond towards the student loans. After that, double the monthly minimum or $700. This plan would help him become debt free in about five years.

I also encouraged him to create some goals and apply his money towards investing in himself or for something fun. After all, he works hard and lives well below his means. Why not put some of that money towards an ambitious goal?

I caught up with Ken in between his time in the sky and he reports he’s taken a lot of the advice to practice.

Student Loans Getting Squashed

Ken’s student loans will soon be history, as he’s upped the monthly payments to $700 or double the minimum required payment. He has yet to transfer the $5,000 from the savings bond to the loan principal due to some doubts. “I liquidated the bond and I like the way that money looks in my savings account,” says Ken. He’s hard-pressed to apply it towards the debt just yet, amidst what he believes to be political and economic uncertainty.

Ken’s not alone in his desire to bulk up savings. The U.S. household savings rate has been inching higher since the election.

Prepping for Change

Ken is also stashing more in savings to prepare for a hopeful job transition. He’s crossing his fingers for a new role within his airline that would move him out to the west coast as his travel base, which may mean he’ll need to rent a “crash pad” for when he’s there and away from his home base of Pittsburgh. “I’m planning for the uncertain…but in a good way,” he says.

Ken’s not hesitant to splurge on experiences, too. Per my advice, he’s created a 2017 goal, and has been traveling monthly for pleasure with his new partner. So far he’s been visiting some U.S. hotspots including San Diego, Palm Springs and Charleston, South Carolina. “Travel has given me freedom.  I have wanderlust, but I needed the schedule and the money.  Now, I have both…and it’s rewarding,” he says.


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Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.

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