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How long does it take to pay off student debt loans after becoming a PA (Physician Assistant) ?

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I’m in high school and I have my mind set on becoming a physician assistant. I’ve always wanted to do something in the medical field but I can’t help but always think about how much it will cost and how long I will have to keep paying loans and stuff. #medicine #physician #student-loans

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Kim’s Answer

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Marilyn,

I have no idea how much it costs to become a PA. I do, however, know about paying off loans. I just paid off a house in 8 years, even though the normal home loan is 30 years.

The key to paying off the loans is to pay off more than the minimum due! The way to do that is through modest living. You don't have to live in poverty. But if you buy a good used car (2-3 years old) rather than a new one, and pick a car with a good reputation for lasting, but not a flashy one, that will help. The same for clothes. And housing. Banks will tell you that you can buy a house with payments of 40% of your income. That's crazy. You won't be able to afford home maintenance or other emergencies. Cooking at home, rather than eating out all the time, pack a lunch, etc etc etc. It doesn't mean you never go to a concert or party or professional sports game. Just not all the time.

Avoid high-interest credit cards! Keep a good credit rating. Some credit cards charge 18% interest, or more. Mine is 9%. Big difference! Learn to distinguish between wants and needs. There are plenty of good smartphones for $300, you don't need the $1000 model.

Insurance: As a young professional, you will want to make sure to look into disability insurance, It will replace a portion of your income (66% or so) if you are disabled over a certain amount of time (30-90 days, on various policies). It's easy to think you don't need it, but it doesn't take much to put you out of work (car accident, etc).

Emergency Fund : start setting money aside to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. Then, if you need a new set of tires for your car or something like that, you are able to pay cash for it (and pay yourself back) rather than using credit.

Understanding personal financing IS the key to paying back the loans! You also want to look into loan forgiveness programs. You may be able to have all or part of the debt forgiven if you work in an inner-city area, for example.

I hope this is of some help to you.

Good luck!

Kim

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Hwal’s Answer

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Marilyn,

I'm a current second-year PA student. Check out this survey report of PA students, conducted by the PA Education Education: https://paeaonline.org/research/student-survey-report/

Starting on page 29, you'll see the financial information reported by incoming and graduating PA students. Anecdotally, I've heard that many new PAs took about 3-5 years to part off student loans, although this will vary depending on how you finance your PA education (e.g., scholarship, loans), your salary, expenses, etc.

Let me know if I can help you with any specific questions.

Good luck!

Hwal
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