I write this post excited and humbled that 362 clients are trusting Student Loan Planner to help them pay back $100 million in student debt now. The last time I did a milestone update was for passing $50 million in late March. Even better, these individuals are now on track to saved a projected $25 million as a result of the consult service Student Loan Planner has provided.
Student Loan Planner exists for clients and readers who are burdened by insane levels of student debt. You’re a bedrock of our economy and society, and many of the professional schools you attend frankly just want to milk you for all the money they can suck out of you. It’s messed up and it’s wrong.
I’ve learned a few things from speaking with hundreds of people who’ve had an average balance of $280,000 in student debt. I’ll put the highlights here.
What are the Worst Occupations for Debt?
There’s two ways to look at this question. What’s the highest absolute dollar amount someone will owe for their education and what’s the worst debt to income ratio?
General dentists and particularly dental specialists have the highest overall student debt load in America. I’ve advised multiple individuals with about $1 million in student debt. All have been dentists who continued their training for at least a couple years after dental school.
The worst ratio goes to chiropractors. My chiropractor clients on average have had debt approaching 5 times their income.
Veterinarians and psychologists have the next worst ratios, which approach 4 to 1. Dentists and lawyers approach 3 to 1. Doctors and pharmacists have the “best ratios” on average of the major professions I’ve advised at just below 2 to 1.
Traditional Rules of Thumb for Healthy Debt Grad School Have Been Blown Out of the Water
Considering most financial experts would tell you to leave school with a debt less than 1 times your expected income, most professional programs are not financially sound. Yes, that American dream where you’re going to go get a six figure income and become a respected member of the community is really messed up right now.
Granted, folks with higher debt loads contact me, so I know my sample size is biased. So you can still go to an in state program and come out with a reasonable amount of debt and be ok. Unfortunately, the stats I’m seeing suggest that this outcome is less likely every year as tuitions rise.
What’s Coming Down the Pipeline
The growth rate of the company has picked up, we’re working on launching another product offering soon, and I’m even doing some pre-grad school financial consulting. So if you’re looking prospectively at going to professional school please hit the contact button and talk to me first before you go.
There’s a lot of different routes a company like Student Loan Planner could go down. I want to be totally focused and beholden to readers and clients. So I will continue charging the consult fees directly to the client so they know I’m working for their interests alone.
That’s one reason I’m going to eventually split the service that Student Loan Planner provides to 2 levels. The premium consult level, which we provide now, and an ecourse that takes advantage of all my experiences at a more affordable price point. Look out for that in Fall 2017.
Update: here’s that ecourse
Tools that Have Helped Student Loan Planner Grow
A big new addition has been the chat feature from Olark. I highly suggest that if you run a website where you sell services that you check out this awesome chat function. It paid for itself in like 2 weeks for the 2 year subscription for me.
Another big one has been SEMRush. I became convinced after looking at other competitors that Google Search is the most understated power that exists for smaller companies to take off. That means getting free media, and the best free media around is Search Engine Optimization. Check it out below by entering in your favorite search terms to see how much people look for them:
The blog has grown from roughly 50 organic visitors a day to around 100 a day within a couple months. Hopefully as the site ages and folks like you share more Student Loan Planner content because it helped you, the site will continue to rank better.
To increase the ranking for the site in Google, SEMRush has allowed me to know better what I should write about. That has brought in clients, paid for itself, and given me an awesome education into what’s going on with content marketing and what it even is.
Facebook ads have helped some, but honestly I only use them now to experiment on stuff. I’d also use them to reach a new segment I’ve never worked with significantly before. It totally makes sense to me why Buzzfeed does so well. You laugh at clickbait, but it really works. I’d rather focus on writing great content and getting better rankings in Google going forward.
Get a Student Loan Planner Consult Before the Price Goes Up
If you compare us to the competition that’s out there, we offer the lowest price. However, we also offer the best product. I know that sounds suspect coming from me since I’ve got a huge bias, but check out our reviews on Facebook.
Student Loan Planner has an insanely high net promoter score. A lot of sketchy student loan companies pay their friends to go leave reviews on some fake site or even pay people to do it by hiring them on Craigslist (no lie there I’ve seen it).
All our reviews are from real clients.
As my calendar has gotten busier, my goal is to continue helping people until it makes economic sense to bring on someone to help. Right now I think the marginal cost of bringing someone on would be higher than the work I’d have for them, so I’m raising the price for consults to grow the business and allow us to serve more people 1 on 1 like you.
I’m setting a goal for the end of 2017 that we’ll have helped clients with $200 million in student debt figure out a plan and answer all their questions so they can focus on other things in their lives.