Welcome to the Student Loan Planner podcast! In this inaugural episode, you’ll learn a little more about me and why I launched this business. My wife’s massive student loan debt played a huge role in my initial interest in creating custom student loan plans. She actually became my first client!
When Business Insider shared my student loan calculator back in 2015, it really solidified my passion to develop a solid plan and strategy to help people break free from their six-figure student loan debt. Since then, I have worked with borrowers from a variety of professions including attorneys, chiropractors, physicians, lawyers, and dentists to get rid of their loans and work toward financial freedom so they can live the life they deserve.
Student loan debt is a major hot topic and massive student loan debt doesn’t get as much coverage as it deserves. This is why I hope to demystify the subject and provide clarity, actionable tips, and inspirational true stories with this podcast.
In today’s episode, you’ll find out:
- How my wife’s student loan debt got me involved in the industry
- What I did before Student Loan Planner during my ‘figuring it out’ stage
- Why starting your own practice or business with big student loan debt is possible
- How to handle big life events and expenses like a mortgage or starting a family despite big student loan debt
- How to talk about your debt with your spouse/significant other
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Episode 1 Transcript
Travis Hornsby: This is Travis. Welcome to Student Loan Planner podcast. This show is for you if you have more than $50,000 of student loan debt all the way to $1 million of student loan debt. I wanted to share a little bit with you about why I started doing this. Why am I qualified to talk about huge student loan balances?
What makes me passionate about this subject? So my wife is a physician and we met in Philadelphia back in the like 2014- 2015 timeframe. We were trying to figure out exactly what to do with her student loan debt that was way larger than I’d ever seen before which I can tell at the time that it was “only $124,000” and it seemed pretty straightforward.
My Wife’s Student Loan Background
Travis: We thought that we would be able to figure that out. It just so happens that it was more complicated than that. You could go for loan forgiveness. You could do Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). You could refinance with all these different companies out there that promise to get you a lower interest rate if you would sell them your loan and move it to them and then you get a debt faster.
It was so confusing that I just decided that I needed to create a spreadsheet for us to try to figure out how to pay this thing back because at the time we were having a conversation about getting more serious in our dating life. So we kind of had that money talk right maybe a lot of you have had that money talk with your significant other at some point where you’re like, OK these are my assets these are my debts. What are the surprises?
Travis: So she had this big earning power and relatively modest debts. I really like looking back on it. You know we really didn’t have anything to complain about but at the same time, you know she sacrificed 11 years of her life after college to train for her profession and she got terrible advice. For example, someone told her just consolidate your student loan debt and then she did that and it wiped away all of her credit from fellowship. Now some of the loans maybe you might need to consolidate for your own loans. In the case of them being FFEL loans for example in that case you have to consolidate your student loan debt. But for us, I think that some of the debt needed to be consolidated some of them didn’t it was just a mess.
Travis: Basically we sent it all the Fed Loan servicing. Fed Loans somehow stated that we had like a couple months worth of credit for some of the loans for PSLF left and some of the other ones we had a couple years worth of credit. It was just really confusing and we were also projected to hit the cap on the standard 10-year plan pretty quickly as well. So basically this is a very frustrating process that my now wife and I went through trying to navigate student loans is what motivated me to get into this space in the first place because it was confusing. It was messed up. I had been a bond trader in my prior professional life so I was skilled at doing Excel and I put together this Excel spreadsheet. I decided to see if I could share this spreadsheet and see if anybody liked it.
Business Insider Spreadsheet
Travis: So I put it on my kind of a joke personal finance blog. Now looking back on it then sent it out to Business Insider and Business Insider picked up this spreadsheet and it got viewed like four hundred thousand times and the latest version of that calculator that spreadsheet is available on studentloanplanner.com. Many of you downloaded it already. You just click on the free calculator the calculator menu bar takes you to the calculator page and you can just click on the button and download it. But that calculator is what made people realize that I knew what I was talking about.
I was lucky enough to have those skills in excel in programming just based off of my career as a bond trader where I had to just write a bunch of code to try to manage portfolios in the billions of dollars doing that. So I made the spreadsheet and my wife at one point said hey Travis you know you should help out our friends why not help out some of our friends that went to you pin down the road that were in that school or med school or maybe dental school.
First Student Loan Planner Consults
Travis: You should talk to them and see if you can help them out understand these different income-driven repayment programs because it’s really confusing. And I certainly had a hard time understanding it you should help them too. So I said OK. And so I offered for one of the friends like hey like my then girlfriend at the time suggested that I reach out and do like a plan for your school loan debt. And so to my surprise she was like yes sure that would be amazing. And she had $386,000 of student loan debt from that school. So I made a plan for her.
After that, it kind of became a thing where she told her friends that I made plans for them and I became somewhat knowledgeable about space outside of the medical world which is the veterinary world. And then somehow because of just the fact that my spreadsheet was really good for modeling huge balances it got spread to the dental world and so then I learned a lot about the dental world and I thought well I’ve learned a lot about these professions are talking to these people making plans I should write about this. So I wrote some blog posts.
Beginning Stages of Student Loan Planner
Travis: That’s how Student Loan Planner really started. It was funny because I started the company kind of right before the election when the whole Russia scandal with Facebook ads. Facebook ads used to be a lot easier to get a massive audience back in the day with Facebook ads by spending a hundred bucks on a Facebook ad about vet school loans basically saying veterinarians are treated horribly because of student loan debt.
Travis: And it went viral. It got like 20,000 views and the blog that I made was brand new and it like looked like a joke and I didn’t even have anything set up to give way for an exchange email addresses or like I barely had a functioning comments section. It was hilarious. But the passion kind of I think shown through and from that initial kind of boost of attention because of this spreadsheet that I built. That’s how people started trusting me because I was one of only folks out there I think modeling with numbers what the future could look like and that’s how Student Loan Planner started.
Top 5 Professions we Work With Most
Travis: And since then we’ve helped people figure out hundreds of millions of dollars in student loan debt. One thing that I would like you to know is if you’re listening to this podcast you might say why would I be spending my precious time listening to this. So I wanted to read a few professions that if you are in this profession then this podcast could prove very helpful for you. The kind of the main five occupations that we’ve helped most people in are dentists, veterinarians, physicians, attorneys, and chiropractors. We help a lot more people than that. So do not feel at all like this podcast is not for you if you’re not in that sort of top 5 grouping.
Another Large Group of Professions we do Consults for
Travis: Let me share some of the other folks that we have advised more than a dozen in each of these following occupations. This is kind of out of the top five but still dozens of folks in each of these professions that we advise. We’ve talked to tons of pharmacists, psychologists, orthodontists, physical therapists, nurses, physician assistants, teachers, optometrists, and nurse practitioners. Those are folks that we’ve advised you know a dozen or more in each of those professions. So we’ve seen quite a bit of different folks come through the doors and just see the different amounts of debt that people can end up in.
Travis: So when I say $50,000 to $1 million of student loan debt you know our average is probably in the two hundred to three hundred thousand dollar range but it really does span the gamut there. We have people that come to us that are like sixty thousand dollars of student loan debt that are social workers trying to figure out public service loan forgiveness on a $30,000 income. And we have oral surgeons and orthodontists that come in owing a million dollars and they’re making $250,000, but they’re still struggling to make ends meet and living in New York City trying to live the lives that they were hoping they could live. But now they’re facing down four times their income in student loan debt. So let me read just the exhaustive list of the professions that we’ve helped. And maybe this is you.
Every Other Profession we Have Helped
Travis : So if I do read your profession you know get excited. We have nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, oral surgeons, dentists, social workers, speech-language pathologists, marketing consultants, acupuncturists, pediatric dentists, professors, educators, architects, auditors, business owners, construction employees, engineers, graphic designers, managers, medical equipment technology employees, principals, psychiatrists, real estate professionals, 3D animators, air traffic controllers, artists, bakers, biochemists, business executives.
Travis: Caseworkers, chemists, compliance analyst, corporate employees, senior aids, dairy farmers, data analysts, data managers, dental anesthesiologists,dental hygienists, designers, electricians, dental claims consultants, financial analyst, fellowship directors, fundraisers, global health specialists, human resource, leasing agents, lecturers, marriage counselors, museum conservators, mantra paths, neuropsychologists, nurse anesthetists, office managers, operations managers, paramedics, petroleum engineers, photographers, public policy analysts, regulatory affairs professionals, research scientists, retirees, tech consultants, designers, writers, art collections managers, federal employees, religious leaders, and sales reps.
Travis: Stay at home parents, and people who just don’t have a job. So that list of folks is the exhaustive list of the people who have engaged with us and have gotten plans and people who have more than six figures of student loan debt. So that group of people you should not feel alone if you have a ton of student loan debt. This is the podcast for you. If you have more debt in student loans than most people’s mortgage we have solutions I think that can really help you. The goal is we’re going to interview real people with our podcast and really really highlight you. That’s my goal in this is that we’re going to debunk a lot of the stuff the media throws at you they’re just baloney right just stuff that is just bad click bait headlines trying to actively mislead you. We’re going to debunk that.
Plans for the Student Loan Planner Podcast
Travis: We’re going to hopefully entertain you along the way and tell you some pretty funny stories. If it wasn’t so sad like about making fun of loan servicers that’ll make you feel better about your life. And we’re also going to show you how to be successful financially at life. We’re going to talk about not just debt pay down stories and forgiveness strategies but we’re going to talk about success. What does success look like? What are people doing in their professions? There was really exciting. How do you start your own practice or start your own business with big student loan debt?
How do you do life events? How do you have a mortgage when you have big student loans? How do you start a family and have kids? How do you get married? How do you have those conversations with your spouse when you have a ton of student loan debt? About what you’re going to do about it. How do you move outside of the country and never pay your student loan debt by using a little known IRS loophole to get a $0 adjusted gross income. Basically anything related to big monster student loans.
Goals of Student Loan Planner Podcast
Travis: This podcast is going to be for you. So whatever you’re going through we are going to highlight it at some point. So stay tuned for some amazing tips that is going to help get you out of student loan debt. Get you some of the tips that we provide and are paid consults. Of course, we’re not an attorney, financial planner, or a CPA so we can’t give you legal tax or investment advice. What we’re going to do is we’re going to give you really specific ideas that you can apply potentially to your own situation that could save you tons of money on your student loan debt and most importantly get you on the road to financial security and get you on the road to financial independence. Because what’s exciting is that even if you have so much to go on that you don’t know what to do about it.
Travis: We can help you figure that out. We’re going to show you tips and tricks that we can help slay that student loan debt so that it’s not the biggest impact on your life at all financially so that you can move on.
Travis: Basically almost pretend like they’re not there, once you figure out how to get a plan to actually pay them back. So I’m really excited that you chose to listen to this. I can’t wait to take you on this journey and show you the different crazy things that I’ve experienced in the student loan world. And so that you can apply that directly in your own life so that you can save money and have a better life with you and your family. Get ready because it’s going to be a wild ride navigating the craziness of the student loan debt world.