Feel Like You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck? Here’s Why.

 In Student Loans


I was reminiscing back to the time period between 2012-2015 where Jess and I were throwing almost 40% of our take-home pay towards student loans.

I distinctly remember the feeling of living paycheck to paycheck despite making more than $100,000 per year. I also remember the sense of frustration that this was not what I had thought I signed up for when starting pharmacy school.

It goes without saying that for many new graduates, student loan payments can make a paycheck evaporate in no time unless you are on an income-driven repayment plan with low monthly payments, are seeking loan forgiveness, or decide to take out your loan payments for 20+ years.

I’ve talked with hundreds of pharmacists that describe the frustration of feeling like they are making little to no progress on paying off their loans despite making massive monthly payments.

Why is that the case? Simply put, a big debt load with interest getting in the way.

Making a Second (Big) Mortgage Payment

The average indebtedness for a Class of 2017 graduate was $163,494 (Ref: AACP Graduating Student Survey, 2017). Assuming a 6% interest rate and 10 year pay back period, that would equate to a monthly payment of $1,815.12.

The interest portion alone due on the very first month’s payment of this debt load is $817. Therefore, if you were to send in a first month’s payment of $818, only $1 of that would go towards the original balance of $163k. Ouch.

Even if you were able to throw $1000 per month at this loan, you can see that in the early months, your balance would decrease by less than $200 per month.

Thankfully as the principal is paid down, the interest gets lower and lower but in the first few years, it can feel like you are throwing a mortgage payment (or two) but not seeing the balance go down as much as you would like.

Speaking of mortgage payments, check this out.

Assuming a 6% interest rate and a 10-year payback period, the monthly payment associated with the average student loan debt ($163,494) is equivalent to buying a $380,200 home (assuming 4% interest and 30-year mortgage).

Ever wonder why pharmacists often say they feel like they are making two mortgage payments? This is why.

Ready to Tackle Your Student Loans?

Download Our Free Quick Start Guide 


Other YFP Student Loan Resources

The Student Loan Quick Start Guide will help you get organized and determine your payoff strategy.

Your Financial Pharmacist Podcast (available on iTunes or www.yourfinancialpharmacist.com/podcast)

  • Episode 004: The Landscape of Student Loans in Pharmacy Education
  • Episode 005: The Impact of Rising Student Debt on a Pharmacist’s Income
  • Episode 011: Getting Organized With Your Student Loans Part 1

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