There is a serious need out there for high-quality student loan advice, so we have arranged for white coat investors to be able to meet with a trained student loan planner for a quick advice session at a fair price early in their career.
Student Loans and the Problems Doctors Face
I often find myself in the position of having to give sad news to someone late in residency or even well into their career. The bad news? That they have thrown away tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by mismanaging their student loans. Our student loan system, particularly on the federal side, has become ridiculously complicated with a crazy amount of options including four Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) programs, five forgiveness programs, and all kinds of other options including deferment, forbearance, consolidation, and refinancing into dozens of types of loans from dozens of companies. Each of these programs has its own rules, nuances, and effects on everything from how you file your taxes to which types of retirement accounts you can contribute to. For many doctors, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Consider these classic mistakes and the amount of money that each mistake could cost a typical white coat investor:
- Refinancing when you should have pursued forgiveness (hundreds of thousands)
- Not enrolling in an IDR (tens of thousands)
- Choosing the wrong IDR (tens of thousands)
- Mistakenly going into forbearance or deferment when pursuing forgiveness (tens of thousands)
- Not refinancing (tens of thousands)
- Choosing the wrong term or type of loan when refinancing (thousands)
Getting proper advice as you come out of medical or dental school, so you can avoid these mistakes, can obviously be very valuable.
Who Probably Does Not Need Student Loan Advice?
For many doctors, student loan management can be really simple. If you are single (or married to a non-earner) and think you might want to go for Public Service Loan Forgiveness down the road, your student loan management during residency is generally very simple:
- Enroll in REPAYE for your federal loans
- Refinance your private loans
Seriously, that's it. Maybe there are a few nuances there as to whether you contribute to a Roth 401(k) or a tax-deferred one, but it's not much more complicated than that. When you leave residency, there is a bit of a decision to make, but it's pretty straightforward. If you are going to be employed full-time by a 501(c)3, you should go for PSLF. If you are not (and have a reasonable debt to income ratio), then you should refinance your loans and pay them off quickly by living like a resident.
You probably don't need to pay for personalized student loan advice or coaching.
Who Probably Does Need Student Loan Advice?
If you're married to another earner or another borrower, or expect to marry soon, things get a lot more complicated. Especially if you both have student loans. Even more so if one or both of you is considering a student loan forgiveness strategy. There are a plethora of strategies available to you that vary by the state you are in, the type of loans you have, your relative incomes and debt burdens, and your future jobs. In these situations, it is well worth spending a few hundred dollars to make sure you are doing it right.
Even if you are single, if you have a high student loan to expected future income ratio (let's say > 1X), it's likely well worth your time and money to meet with StudentLoanAdvice.com.
Lots of people just want to be sure they're doing things right, even if their situation is not all that complicated. Meeting with StudentLoanAdvice.com can provide that reassurance.
What StudentLoanAdvice.com Does Not Do?
StudentLoanAdvice.com is not going to be your long-term financial advisor. If you need help drafting an overall financial plan or managing your investments, we suggest you go to one of our recommended financial advisors. They are highly competent and, although expensive, they are fairly priced for the services they offer. Expect to spend between $2,000 and $15,000 a year. Some of them do offer specialized student loan advice as part of their services, but most financial advisors simply do not know the ins and outs of the federal student loan programs and associated strategies. Bear in mind there is nothing in the CFP (or even CFA) curriculum about student loans. Although not the case with most of our recommended advisors, the vast majority of fee-only financial advisors have little interest in clients with a net worth of negative $300,000, few investable assets, and an income of just $60,000. Student Loan Advice doesn't sell you insurance or refinance your student loans either.
What StudentLoanAdvice.com Does!
Student Loan Advice is a financial coaching service that, for a few hundred dollars, will meet with you for about an hour and go over your personal student loan situation and help you to come up with a plan for optimizing your student loan management plan from now until the time your loans are paid off or forgiven. They will help you to run the numbers to decide between the various strategies available to you. In addition to the consultation, for twelve months after your consultation you can email your consultant as many questions as you want about your student loan situation absolutely for free. All for one flat price.
Who Will I Meet With?
Andrew Paulson is a student loan consultant who has partnered with The White Coat Investor to co-found StudentLoanAdvice.com. Andrew is young enough to know what it is like to have real student loans hanging over your head, but experienced enough to know his way around the financial world. He has a master's in accounting and has spent his career in the financial world. Most importantly, he has completed the Certified Student Loan Professional® curriculum. This is the industry standard for financial advisors or coaches helping people with their student loan plans. He has already met with more student loan borrowers than the vast majority of CSLP®s out there. As StudentLoanAdvice.com grows, we expect other consultants to join the team.
What Do StudentLoanAdvice.com Clients Say?
A radiology resident:
Andrew explained in one hour what I have been trying to figure out for a long time. This was far more effective and higher yield than any of the online financial modules my school thought would be helpful. My school should 100% be recommending White Coat Investor and StudentLoanAdvice.com to its students, and I hope they do so in the future.
I also appreciated Andrew’s friendly demeanor and skill in explaining what could be complex topics in a way that my wife and I understood. He is a great teacher, and it was especially helpful for us to see these concepts explained using our own situation and actual loan amounts. It was eye-opening to run the actual numbers and see just how much we can save from one plan to another!
A medical student:
Andrew was organized, punctual, knowledgeable and extremely helpful–we give him 5 stars! He began by patiently listening to us and thoroughly answered our questions. Our session was educational and replaced our anxieties surrounding current and future debt with reassurance and confidence. Andrew helped us to map out future payment plan options tailored to our individual needs and goals. His response time was excellent and his email recap was extremely useful and easy to understand.
I had a call with Andrew who was extremely knowledgeable and helpful with my student loans. I didn’t end up making any significant changes on my plan, but I feel great having validated it with an expert! Andrew was an exceptional counselor! I’m going to recommend him every chance I get.
During the hour-long consultation with Andrew, he provided clarity on my student loans and overall financial plan. He walked me through a comprehensive plan detailing my repayment options, the pros and cons of each and the best plan for my situation. The only thing I wish I could change would be to go back in time with the knowledge I have now and begin Income Driven Repayment at the start of my residency. I highly recommend StudentLoanAdvice.com to anyone who needs help managing their student loans.
When Should I Meet with StudentLoanAdvice.com?
The ideal time for a student loan consultation is as you leave school, during the last part of your fourth year. However, better late than never. Even a mid career doctor who has had student loans for a decade or more can benefit from a consultation. Most clients are likely recent professionals school graduates or are currently enrolled in post-graduate training programs.
What Does It Cost for a Student Loan Plan?
While we expect this service to be worth thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to our readers, we thought it would be most fair and simple to just charge one flat price for the service- $559.
That gets you:
- One hour consultation to develop a personalized student loan plan
- A recap email including a copy of your customized plan, details about the plan and any supporting documentation
- 12 months worth of follow-up questions by email