How To Pay Off Student Loan Debt

Financial Freedom with the ability to open your own practice

A new grad DPT reached out to me at the last boot camp in San Diego,  he said, “You know, you are not really reaching out (meaning me) to the new grad, people that are coming out of school with their DPT. They want to own their own practice. They want to pay off their student debts. They want to have some time and financial freedom but they don’t know how to do it.”

After our conversation Samir went through the Killer Marketing program in which he was able to pay off student debt, open his own practice and hire his mother who he was living with at the time of our San Diego boot camp.


To  set a little perspective for you when I went to school my annual costs was around 20k a year. Now education is the bubble that won’t seem to burst. It just keeps going up. I believe the school I went to is over $50,000/year from what I have learned from DPT students. The cost of education is astronomical everywhere.

If you are a DPT student and are coming out of school  wanting to pay off your student loans as quickly as possible because you are likely coming out with $160,000 to $250,000.

AVOID the following as a new grad entry-level PT: Don’t try to minimize your lifestyle and just throw all of the money at the student loan.

Let’s say and I will even tell you where the logic comes from… I have done this. I’m not giving you theory. I have paid off my student-debt.

Let’s say you have $200,000 and let’s say it is 8%, so $16,000/year, you are paying just in pure interest. You are not paying against the principal or anything else, so $16,000 a year.

Well the logic is if I can decrease the principal over a few years and get it down really quick, then I’m saving all of that interest money.

Ok, that is fine.

That philosophy actually comes from the Great Depression. If you had grandparents that lived during that time, like I did, there was this idea that you don’t want to have debt. The reason that we didn’t want to have debt is because the bank at any given time could come and take whatever you had debt on. So back in the 1930s, in the beginning of the Great Depression, 1929 and early 1930s, if you had a mortgage on your house and for some odd reason, the bank wanted to claim your house, they could just come and claim your house if you still owed money on it. That is not the way that it is today. It is a different economic environment and there is a smarter way to do things.

Non-Traditional Way of Paying Off Your DEBT
I’m going to show you exactly what I did because it is very non-traditional. It is now taught. I will give you 3 references. At the end of this video, I will give you 3 books that you can go and start investing in yourself and improving your financial education. But I find that 95 % of PTs don’t want anything to do with learning how money works.

Now they just traded, just think about this for a second, minimum wage which you could have done without your college degree. You could go out and earn…what is minimum wage? Eight dollars or $8.25/hour? So you could earn about $17,000/year. You went, and I did the same thing, we went and bought a college education. My college education was about $100,000. If you are graduating today, it is about $200,000, $250,000 or $300,000 in exchange for not only helping people and working in a profession that we want to work in but also the idea that we are going to earn more money.

So now instead of $17,000/year, let’s say we come out of school and we are earning $70,000/year. So, we have improved our financial situation by $53,000 in income. However, there is a little error in judgement there and logic. What happens is that $53,000 that we improved upon, we are actually…we have to pay about $20,000 of that in taxes. So, we only get to keep about $33,000. So therefore, if we had a $300,000 education, it is going to take about 10 years, without including the interest payments, for us to break even. Something to think about. Plus we could have been earning about $17,000/year in college during our 5 to 7 years. We are really behind the eight ball here. Again, I want to share with you how you can do this especially if you are coming out of school with a $1,000 to $2,000/month student loan payment.


How can you pay off your student debt in record time?

This is called an income statement. So it is income and expense. If you are making…let’s say it is $6,000/month or $72,000/year and your expenses are $3,000/month, you have some sort of leftover. That is the whole name of the game with life is that your expenses are less than your income.

Hopefully you did not go out and buy a brand new car the second that you graduated. Or go get a new apartment and have to furnish it with $5,000 to $10,000 worth of furniture or anything like that. Anyhow, that is game number one.

Income must be greater than your expenses. Really, really simple. 

A balance sheet is your assets and your liabilities.

So let’s define an asset. An asset for you would be your education. So you have a DPT, you have a degree, you have a license or you are going to. An asset increases your income. So it adds to your income. A liability adds to your expenses. Pretty simple. With this definition, and again this is one of the things that put Robert Kiyosaki on the map is he said, “Ok, is your home and asset or a liability?”

Most people, the majority of people, say your home is an asset. There is this thought that you are building equity over time. That is really a game. A marketing scheme or ploy, a marketing position by most banks who are lending you money. Your house truly is a liability because it adds to expenses.

If you went out and bought a house, even if it is a tiny house, you still have expenses there. You have electricity and plumbing and maintenance to pay for and taxes etc. so, it adds to your expense. If you have an apartment, that is a liability. If you bought a vehicle, that is a liability. I’m not saying don’t buy vehicles. What I’m going to show you here in a second is how you can build out assets and then add expense.
Another type of asset, at least some that I have built over time are real estate. The building that we are in right now, I own 63% of the building. It is a 2.1 million dollar building. We had a 1.8 million dollar mortgage and then that is down to 1.5 million dollars right now. Every month I’m adding $5,000 in income here on my income statement and it is just for paying ourselves rent. Really, really simple. So real estate is a classic asset. Another one would be my YouTube channel. It is nowhere near the heights of the YouTube days back in 2013 and 2014 when I was making $13,000 a year. But I think I’m making $400 a month right now and it doesn’t cost me anything to do that. So build an asset, just let it run. Really, really simple stuff. That is an asset. Other businesses that I’m involved with are Madden Physical Therapy here, my partnership with Gilbert Physical Therapy and BPTM. They are businesses that can run partially without me so they are assets. I’m earning money every single month. We have another company called 3 Minute Relief where we are earning money there as well. Anyhow, that is the whole focus, assets increase your income, liabilities increase your expenses.

So what do we want to do? We want to have assets.
So how do you do that? Because very likely you didn’t learn this in physical therapy school. Physical therapy schools do an awesome job at training you to, usually, be a well-rounded PT. You could go into home health. You could go into acute care. You could go into sub-acute care. You could go into long term care or an assisted living facility. You could go into outpatient physical therapy. You could go into peds. You could go into a multitude of settings and succeed.

Cash Flow Quadrant

4 ways that you can earn money:

  1. You can be an employee. That is where you are trading time for money.
  2. You can be self-employed. That is where you are doing that but you are your own boss.
  3. You can be a business owner. That is where you have a system or a series of systems that are working for you.
  4. You can be an investor. That is really just capitalism. You invest money in something.

For example, I am a super minority owner in a fulfillment center in Utah. I think it is 1%. I invested money in. I’m completely passive. I don’t do anything with it at all. There is a return on that investment. It is a completely passive investment. That is an example of I. the main areas that we want to focus on are here (E) and here (B) because there is a chasm. There is a jump from becoming an employee which is what we learned in school to becoming a business owner. And guess what? You don’t have to be a brick and mortar business owner like this to have an asset that is earning you money that literally will pay for your student loans.
There is a jump here and that jump is going to require you to learn a new language. It is going to require you to put some things into action. Again, this (E) is trading time for money. This (S) is trading time for money for yourself. This is (B) a system, an asset that is earning you income regardless of whether or not you work in it. Again, I will give you an example here, right now Madden Physical Therapy, we have seen 8,000 visits this year and I have seen 6. I invest about 3 hours a week with the staff. We have key people in place. They are awesome people and they run our systems. Really, really simple. I’m no longer trading time for money like I was when I first came out of school and went to work for an orthopedic practice. You can get there too. I’m just showing you what that can look like.

PLAN

One, you have student loan payments right now. Maybe you consolidated, hopefully you did and you are either on a 10, 20 or 30 year payment plan. I would leave that as is. Just make whatever payments are required of you. Continue to pay that as simply as you can.

I opened up in private practice September 2, 2003. I was 3 years out of school. On September 2, 2003 and 6 months into private practice, I was making about $100,000/year or roughly $8,000/month. I remember the owner of the building said, “Hey, I’m selling the building. Do you want to buy it?”

We looked at it and it cost me about $5,000/month to buy the building at the time because I didn’t have $100,000 lying around to buy the building. But I knew it was an asset and I knew that it would pay off handsomely over time. And it did. But I remember that I had to sit down with my wife, Stephanie, “Hey, we could be taking this $5,000/month and paying off our student loans. We could go buy a new house. We could go buy new cars.”

I had this junky old Saturn at the time and she did not have a nice car. We were living in basically a 2 bedroom condo/apartment. We really wanted to have a nice house for our family and everything else. I said, “But we really need to do this asset.” It was really not a popular decision but thank God we did that. That original $5,000/month for 10 months which was the $50,000 that I had to put in to buy the building. That has returned to us as of to date over 1.5 million dollars. So I put 50 in and got 1.5 back and every single month, I’m building $5,000 in equity. By the way, the 1.5 million, we have already received as a return. Anyhow, that is an example of an asset. Not a popular decision. The popular decision, the majority, most people would take that $5,000/month and pay down a student loan or go buy a liability like a new car or house. We chose not to do that. We eventually got the new house. Now we have bought our dream house. We eventually got new vehicles but we did the asset first. Very non-traditional, against the grain but it is the way that you want to think if you are serious about getting out of debt as quick as possible. Payments, the other thing is we didn’t take on any liabilities. No new house, no cars, no new furniture anything like that. We avoided that as much as possible. Obviously, she had a Suzuki Sidekick that did breakdown. We had a newborn so we went and bought a used Toyota 4Runner that was really inexpensive. Don’t take on any liabilities. What are liabilities? They are things that add to the expenses. We want to avoid that as much as possible.

Invest in assets
So, you have been educated on how to be an employee. There is an idea that you just want to go out and open up your own business. When I opened in 2003, I had been studying business in one way or another for 10 years. Again, I will give you some books here that you can go to right away but how can you start investing in yourself? I would minimize your living expenses today if you just came out of school.

As much as possible, don’t take on any liabilities and invest as much as possible in assets. Where can you do that? One, you can find mentors. Guess what? They are free. This video that I’m sharing with you right now, I’m just sharing with you how and what has happened for me. By the way, we do have luxuries right now which are amazing. I just took my wife for a 5 day trip in Palafitos, Mexico with a glass bottom bungalow over the water. We are able to go out and buy nice vehicles. She has a Yukon. We are trading that up for a Model X, the Tesla, SUV. I’m driving a nice vehicle, a Model S. We are able to fully fund our children’s 529 plans which is $28,000/year. We have 5 kids. We are able to pay off our house. Not have debt, not have a mortgage, do everything the right way. But it is because of the foundation that we laid years ago. I share my time with a lot of people specifically young PTs like Samir who are hungry to learn, like you. I did the same exact thing.

When I came out of school, I found 3 mentors really quick. One is in the roofing industry. He is 69 or 70 years old and has flowed a ton of knowledge to me. I was able to learn from what he had done. Anytime I had an important decision, I would just go out to lunch, text him, whatever. I have another one in insurance who is 84 years old now who I have lunch with once a month. Again, Ernie just teaches me awesome stuff about life and how to handle success and failure at the same time. Really good relationship there. Then I have a real estate mentor as well who is in his mid 50s. In his experience, he went 0 to 180 million dollar real estate portfolio with regards to assets. I learned from him. I learned wealth management. I never paid for that advice. I just asked them to lunch or dinner. I always offer to treat. They always pay. But I just have that sounding board to go to of people who are awareof where I want to be in respective areas within life. You can find those same things. Here is a really quick lesson even though I have done a blog post or a vlog on this in the past. You want to learn and respect their time. So usually what I will do when I get back to my office after we have our meeting, I will just write notes of everything that was discussed and just say, “Hey, am I on the right track here with my thinking? Is this what you meant to say? Is this what the intention was? Did I really duplicate that principle the way that you meant it to be, your experience?” And they appreciate that. They are looking for people to flow to. They are usually not looking for money. They are looking to be respected. If you do that, you are going to find some really, really good mentors.
The next thing is books. If you don’t have anybody in your area, if you live in a rural area of the country and there is nobody successful in your area or at least you don’t know how to put forth the effort to find those people, I’m going to give you 3 books to get started with today.

Go to Amazon to pick these up for probably less than $30 for all three.

George S. Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon. Awesome book on money. It is written in Old English. It is a really old but you will get the idea. There is some really good stuff in there that has crossed over into even modern day financial vernacular and talk. That is the classic book. You have to check it out.

Next one…again, I have read 18 Robert Kiyosaki books. This is by far the best one in terms of summary. I hear very few people talk about this but I think it gives the best principles and it expands on this income statement and the balance sheet and also the cash flow quadrant, ESBI.

It is called Increase Your Financial IQ – Get Smarter with Your Money.

Awesome stuff, definitely must read this. The next one is kind of the book that started it all for me. I read this back in 95 or 96 when it first was published.

It is called The Millionaire Next Door The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy.

What most of us perceive as a wealthy person, that person usually doesn’t have money. And people that slide under the radar a little bit, people that wear old shirts…this is a pretty worn out shirt.

We see that and we think that those people have money and they usually don’t. They are usually just somebody who consumes a lot of liabilities and has tremendous expenses. But they are usually behind the eight ball with regards to wealth accumulation.

They usually have very few assets. They are usually just high income earners. So most people who are high income earners here even if they are making 500 thousand or a million bucks a year, like a lot of professional athletes. They don’t understand money management and they get themselves in trouble specifically if that faucet ever shuts off. Because they don’t have a business in place that keeps running. They don’t have any assets.

Courses

So early on, I can remember being in school and going and taking financial and business courses. It is insane to me when I see DPT students particularly near the end, or entry-level PTs and they will knee jerk with a $500 or $1,000 course. I got to the point where I was investing, I think $43,000 a year was my highest, in my own education.

You can go to the public library and get this for free. Courses, again, I will see therapists who knee jerk at investing $1,000 in themselves but they just invested $250,000 a year to become a higher earner right here. But it is that extra learning how to build asset investment that will take them from $70,000 a year to $150,000 a year or $500,000 a year or a million dollars a year.
Again, I want to wrap this up for you with paying off your student debt. When I paid off my student debt, in the end, I wrote one check to wipe out…I think I had like $15,000 or $20,000 left. But it was because we had assets.

I’m saving more money per month today than what my student loans were. And it is because I did this plan right here.

I focused on building assets. I did not take on liabilities in the beginning and I learned from mentors.

I read a ton of books and I took some really good courses.

Jeff Walker’s company, PLF, they do an awesome event.

Tony Robbins Business Mastery. I believe he has a pretty popular course. There is a lot of places that you can learn from taking both online and live courses. Get out there and do that. Talk with other entrepreneurs, other business owners even if they are not private practice owners and find some really good courses that your peers and friends and acquaintances recommend. I would go to your mentors if you have one or two and ask them where they learned from. And go invest in those courses. It is worth your while.

If you can double your income, your student loans are going to be nothing.

If you have right now a $1,000/month student loan in your expenses, we are right here, what we are trying to do as fast as possible is find an asset, build an asset that is earning us $12,000 a year or $1,000 a month. Pretty simple to do.

If you have any questions, I’m sure we will have a link on this vlog here where you can interact with me. Leave me a comment. I’m here to help you pay off your student loans as quick as possible and experience the time and financial freedom that you are looking for through physical therapy.

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