Book tour: One unique way to pay off student loans


Looking for the next debt bubble to burst? I believe it’s going to be student loans. Collectively, we’ve borrowed $1 trillion in student loans as a nation, and it’s clear that they are a back-breaking burden.

We as a country have got to have honest conversations with our kids as they grow up about what makes financial sense in the way of education.

I live part-time in Jacksonville Beach. There’s a 4-year commuter school called Florida State College where you can get a 4-year degree in total for roughly $10,000.

You have to be honest with your kids about the burden they’ll face later in life if they insist on spending $60,000 a year at a prestigious school.

If that’s what they want, they will be left with tough choices. But even someone who does it all wrong with student borrowing can have a next chapter.

I want to tell you the story of Robert Johnson and his wife Cia. They have no car. And no, they don’t live in the heart of an urban area with prolific public transit like New York, Denver, or Boston.

They willingly went carless six years ago in Columbia, Missouri—right in the heart of the Heartland—and continue that lifestyle today in Barrington, Illinois, about 20 miles west of Lake Michigan.

“My financial reality is far different than most others because of it,” Robert told me. “Imagine taking every dollar that you spend on car payments, repair, maintenance, gasoline, insurance, and registration, and instead saving and investing that money. You not only stay in great shape bicycling and walking, but you become wealthy very quickly.”

That “different” financial reality includes having paid $18,000 in cash for the final year of Cia’s post-graduate studies $18,000, plus having eliminated $72,000 in other accumulated student debt in just 12 months. And it will continue when they expect to pay off their mortgage in late 2014.

Read more about Robert and Cia in Clark Howard’s Living Large for the Long Haul, available in stores and as an e-book and audio book. In the new volume, Clark relates 50 inspiring stories from real people who turned their financial fortunes around. From real estate to retirement savings, cars to travel, entrepreneurship to health care, Clark provides more than 200 powerful takeaways anyone can use to take control of their wallet and stretch a buck!


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