Erica A. works for a small company in Lufkin, Texas, about two hours outside of Houston. Her official title is general manager, but she’s basically a jack of all trades at work. She does some business operations management, some technical operations management, as well as project management.
In short, Erica is a boss.
But that wasn’t always the case.
The trouble started with the school where Erica earned her bachelor’s degree. It was a private school, which added to the expense.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wasn’t making very good financial decisions.
“I was in my late twenties, I owned a home, I was working full-time, and I had a real estate company. During the last year and a half of school, in order to keep up my grades, I was unable to work as much as I had been. So I put some of the student loan money toward my living expenses, some of it towards getting a broker’s license in real estate, and some of it to get other related licenses and credentials. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wasn’t making very good financial decisions.”
Erica went back to school to earn a second bachelor’s degree in nursing, which was what she’d first pursued right out of high school. But ultimately, she didn’t finish that degree program for health reasons.
“And then I just had to get back to work and figure out how to pay off all that debt,” she says. “The original amount was about $113,000. And over the years since then, I paid back all of that money. It had been 30 years, but I was still making payments.”