August 19, 2013
When I graduated from law school, I shouldered a mountain of student loan debt. It took some time, but my husband and I paid off our loans. It wasn’t easy and we made sacrifices, but we did it. Students these days face more challenges than ever with student loan repayment. I encounter this every time I visit a law school and meet students who will owe $150,000, $200,000, and more upon graduation. These are very difficult times and it compounds your stress levels to think about loan repayment schedules and planning for your future. One book that truly helped me sort out money matters was Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. The authors offer practical tips about paying off debt and living within your means. I also recommend All The Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending by Laura Vanderkam (http://lauravanderkam.com). Laura does a great job of explaining how money is a tool for achieving personal/family goals and creating a good life for yourself.
It’s helpful to review your student loan debt with your law school financial aid counselor to get a handle on what your repayment schedule will be following graduation. Finally, check out www.askheatherjarvis.com. Heather Jarvis is a former practicing lawyer and student loan expert who has dedicated her career to unraveling the mysteries behind loan repayment. She’s a knowledgeable resource in conjunction with your law school financial aid office.
Law school doesn’t teach money management issues, but it would be great if every law student and recent graduate took the time to learn these skills before graduation. Money issues impact whether or not you can take a lower-paying position (that may be well-suited to your career goals), when you can buy a home, or whether or not you can start a family. While money management is not a glamorous issue, it’s important to confront these issues sooner rather than later.