Best of the Village
Founder | VP Business Development M&A at Corporate Development Leadership, Greater Detroit Area
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.