What is the probability of paying off student loans in 10 years or less becoming a CPA?
Well being a US student, I am apart of the trillions of dollars of debt placed on the student population in the country. I want to know if becoming a CPA will free me from the bondages of debt for choosing to educate myself beyond high school. #business #finance #management #accounting #financial-aid #accountant #financial-planning #cpa
Matthew L. Tuck, J.D., M.B.A.
Matthew L.’s Answer
Yes, it's very possible to pay off your student loans in 10 years or less but you need to be very disciplined about it. I was able to pay off law school debt in well under 10 years, even though I came out in a terrible job market. Here is how I did it.
CPAs start out at between about $39,000 and $60,000 in the U.S., depending on where you work. The best way to pay off student loans faster is take out less of them. If you're still in school, get a job (if possible, in a CPA firm or company in the finance department which will help you network and begin to build your resume). You should also investigate scholarships and grants. Depending on your situation there are literally thousands of grants and scholarships out there that will pay thousands of dollars toward your education. You have to work at it, but it's doable. Most people don't bother. Don't run up any credit card debt (but do be aware you should start building up your credit rating while in college so you can refinance your loans later at a cheaper rate. There are lots of websites to show you how to do this). Put off getting married for a few years.
If you have already graduated, live cheap and keep all your expenses as low as possible. Build up a small emergency fund, but put every extra dollar into paying down your student loans. Live with parents, relatives, or get several roommates. Don't run out and get a new car. Keep driving your old one or buy a used one that gets good mileage. Ask family to give you there older cars. Use public transportation and live close to work. Don't go out every night and don't buy Starbucks every day. Pack your lunch. Refinance your student loans to a lower rate. Rates are super low right now and if you have good credit (see above) you can cut your rates in half. Get rid of your cable (you can watch most of it on the web anyway). Work out at home instead of at a gym. If you get a signing bonus, apply that to your loans. Apply your tax refund to your loans. You're young and should have lots of energy. Get a second job (I had 3 at one point) or start your own home business doing bookkeeping for companies on the side, if your day job allows it. Apply that money to your loans.
If you have not started college yet, think about working for a few years first and save as much as possible. In law school, I paid the first year in cash, borrowed and worked for the second year, and got a scholarship that paid for the third year tuition. I came out with money in savings and paid it all off in a few years.
Again, it's very doable if you are disciplined. Your friends will probably call you no fun and pressure you to go out. But once the loans are gone, you'll have a much better standard of living than they will. You'll have the money to get a better car, better house, retire sooner, etc. Friendships are important. Cultivate friendships with people who think like you. Plus, the discipline you develop will serve you well later in life. You can pay off a house in less than 10 years the same way. You retire at 50. If you lose a job, have health problems, or whatever, you know how to live cheaply. Good luck.
Your ability to pay off your student loans in a certain time frame will depend on your specific amount of debt and your starting salary and salary growth over the time horizon. Starting salary can vary based on employer, geography, nature of employment, etc. Determining a payment plan at the start of your career and increasing your payments as your salary grows will be a good start. Certain firms, like PwC, also have student loan repayment benefits that help relieve some of the student debt through your first several years with the firm.
Go to a state school!! I'm in year 5 post-graduation and still working on mine. :)
You could conceivably pay it off in less time by directing more money to the debt.
Or . . . take on less debt and take more classes at a community college. Cost per credit is much, much cheaper, just be sure the credits will transfer to your school of choice.
If you live like a hermit, eat Ramen, drive a used beater car, live threadbare, you could pay your debt off in less than 5 years and then start reaping the rewards of a debt free life.
That is . . . until you get a mortgage.
Getting a CPA however, is 100% doable in 10 years. On average I would say the average candidate can finish the CPA in 2-3 years even while working full time. I have friends who have finished the exams in 4 months not working at all so that's the most ideal scenario.
Hopefully this helps
I also have student loans-and I fully plan on paying them down in 10 years or less. Some advice I was given was to try to make a 13th payment every year (instead of only 12 per year) which will help you pay them down faster. As you progress in your career, you will become more financially stable and paying off a fixed rate loan will become less burdensome.
There is a high probability that you will be able to pay off student loans within a few years. This would depend on the job/salary you take up after CPA. Needless to say, the more skilled you are the better job you get.
Stepping back from your specific question, I can tell you than working on getting your CPA and learning business through the lense of an accountant/auditor is a wonderful place to start a career. It is not always easy work, but can be very rewarding.
One bit of advice not yet mentioned is that you should also consider this in employers. Many employers are beginning to consider the role of student debt on their employees and have offered programs to assist in the cost of student loan payments.