Don’t stress about student loans!

Is it Really All About Who You Know?

“It’s all about who you know.” Ah, yes, the biggest cliche when it comes to networking advice. Like many a cliche and stereotype, this one too is grounded in truth. But how do we actually get to know people? For me, building successful connections has happened because of the three C’s: college, conferences, and conversation.

College

You go for the education; you graduate with a network. I’ve long viewed college as far more than a place to get a degree off of which you’re meant to build a career. Instead, you spend four years making connections with classmates, professors, counselors, and alumni, who may just be able to help you in your future endeavors.

One of the hardest parts of networking is successfully having a conversation in which you want to genuinely connect to the person with whom you are speaking, but you may also want something. You need to offer some of value, even if you’re still asking for a favor. This is why just constantly saying, “oh, I’d love to take you to coffee and pick your brain” is really a terrible networking strategy. Other than a cup of coffee, which the person can probably get for free in his or her office, what are you offering? You want to always be adding value.

This brings me to the next C: conversation. I often donate time instead of money to my alma mater. The university does an annual prospective students brunch in New York City and I routinely go as a guest speaker. I give a talk about life as a student and what I do now, then I stick around to answer questions from students and parents. Last year, one of the school administrators attended the event and I saw it as an opportunity to both give value back to current students while building my brand. In the general course of conversation, I mentioned I had a book coming out soon. She knew and said she’d love to find a way to help promote Broke Millennial, so I took the opening to ask for the order.  

Conversations and conferences!

An Option to Reduce Student Loan Debt 

20% of people with student loans would be willing to cut off a finger or toe in exchange for being debt free, according to a recent SoFi survey. To be honest, I wasn’t terribly surprised when I saw that stat. What I found much more startling was the reaction on social media when I created my own poll to see if people would indeed dice off a digit in the name of debt.

What is refining

A few people responded with quips like, “Do I get to pick which toe? $300k is definitely worth a pinky toe.” Or “If I get to choose the finger/toe, then I’d very seriously consider it.” That’s frightening. The fact that student loan debt is such a burden 20% or 40% or 46% of people would slice off a body part to be done with it. But, we shouldn’t be surprised. The burden of student loans has caused 50% of people surveyed by SoFi to feel anxious or depressed with 15% of people seeking help from a mental health professional.

The act of refinancing is simple: you take out a new loan to pay off the old one. That may sound a bit odd. Why are you getting more debt? The point is to lower your interest rate.

For example, Jillian has a student loan for $20,000 at a 7% interest rate and another for $10,000 at 5.5%. She applies to SoFi and is offered $30,000 at 4.5%. She then takes the $30,000 and pays off her $20,000 and $10,000 loans. Now, Jillian only has to worry about one loan and it’s at a lower interest rate of 4.5%. She may be able to reduce her monthly payments, which frees up money to put towards other financial goals, or she could pay more than the monthly minimum and ditch the debt sooner. Either way, she’s still paying less interest over the life of the loan because she reduced her interest rate when she refinanced.

One woman spoke about having the flexibility to live by herself after being able to consolidate personal loans. Another could better budget her money in order to partake in other life events – like attending bachelorette parties as well as leaving a living situation after a breakup. The third woman was able to work on her goal to run all six world major marathons. Thus far she’s been able to do Tokyo and Berlin. The member events SoFi puts on are certainly an added perk to refinancing your student loan debt. But the ability to get greater control over your finances and, consequently, your life is the real reason to consider refinancing.

All about refining!

In the News This Week:

Millennials: Are Sick of Drinking

Poll: Americans give social media a clear thumbs-down

Recycling: isn’t about the planet. It’s about profit.

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