$500 Million in Student Loans | Travis Hornsby from Student Loan Planner

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In today’s episode, Cody and Justin are joined by Justin’s old FinCon roomie, Travis from Student Loan Planner.

Travis tried his hand with Ph.D. education…hated it

Then he tried selling bonds at investing giant Vanguard…yep hated that too

So he got serious about his money and saved up a low six-figure cushion to travel the world. So how does a nomad create a business that has now consulted on over $500M in student loan debt? Well to win his wife’s hand in marriage obviously.

You won’t want to miss this episode so go take a listen, leave that 5-star review and give us some feedback!

Episode Summary

  • His first investment was as a kid by investing in coal through the help of his granddad
  • That investment ended up actually almost doubling which his granddad worried was actually a bad beginner lesson
  • Travis’ granddad was a big role model and great depression survivor who instilled a lot of frugality in him
  • When he was 18 he stacked so many scholarships that he ends up getting paid to go to college and banked about $7k after all expenses
  • He ended up with about $40k positive net worth upon graduation
  • Then he thought he would go and become a Ph.D. economist but quickly realized that wasn’t for him
  • So then he ends up working at Vanguard trading bonds,  but he also didn’t feel happy in the corporate world
  • Then he discovers Mr. Money Mustache and focused on having a 60% savings rate and saved up low 6-figure mark
  • Somehow we also got a one-eyed rapper reference in here…
  • Travis took  fall out money and a need for escape then books a flight to Iceland for $99 and ends up spending a year on the road across 40 countries
  • During this same time, he met his would-be wife who had a traditional job and a large chunk of student debt
  • When he asked her dad for permission to marry her, he declined Travis because he didn’t have a job even though he had a positive net worth
  • Travis thought he’d take on this topic of student debt and focus on consulting with people who owned several hundred thousand dollars
  • Since that time his consulting business has boomed and they’ve consulted on over $500M in student loans
  • He feels like if you really hate your job then get to that $50k mark if your young with no kids and just take the leap of doing something else and try to start a business knowing you have a cushion to fall on
  • Travis states that the two sectors of student debt that’s exploding are the people who owe over $200k and senior citizens
  • The number of people with these huge debts is doubling about every 3 years
  • Then we dig into the different student loan forgiveness programs such as the ones available to those who are government employees vs public sector employees
  • For some people, it makes a lot of sense to avoid paying off student loans quickly because they’ll be forgiven
  • We then jump into the problems with government-backed student loans and tuition rates that are being driven by the greed of many colleges
  • For instance, the pharmacy acceptance rate has gone up from ~35% to ~83% over the last 15 years which is driving down pay and allowing colleges to keep charging whatever they want
  • We also cover protections against being stuck with student debt if you become disabled or protection for your family if you die so they’re not stuck with it
  • Travis then gives us the rundown on re-financing which he said a good deal would be to save an additional 2%
  • While his business focuses almost exclusively on paying down debt, they also will sometimes take on some pre-debt counseling to avoid being bogged down in the first place but even then it’s generally just Grad school.
  • Travis rounds us out with his final tips and a great story of being study not being able to get through customs in Jordan and other interesting situations he found himself while traveling

Key Takeaways

  1. Don’t Settle: Travis wasn’t happy but he kept switching it up and planning for ways out. No equation should be dominating your happiness
  2. You May Need Help: It’s often hard to admit we’re not skilled enough for a task but when you’re dealing with these huge student loan bills, you need to swallow your pride and find an expert like Travis.
  3. Roomies equal Homies: Sorry..Had to throw this one in here. Travis was my roomie for my first FinCon. I was soooo green to the financial world. Now he’s killing it. Then I was roomies with one of my favorite guests we’ve ever had at CampFI. Last but certainly not least, Cody and I were roomies at my last FinCon and we’re doing our best to give you good folks content you can’t wait to download. Build that community people…it’s so important.

Call to Action

Regardless of the type or amount. Pick out some of your debt and analyze it. Should you pay it off first or last? Should you pay as much as you can or the minimum? Should you consolidate under a different loan vehicle? All very important questions.

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Additional Links

The Scholarship System

Ben White book  for physicians with student loans

Cody’s Side Hustle Course

Justin on Bigger Pockets Money

Contact Travis:

Student Loan Planner Podcast

Student Loan Planner Blog

Learn More About Your Hosts:

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Saving-Sherpa (Justin’s blog)