W+M 016: An Interview with Natalie Bacon
Natalie Bacon is a personal finance blogger and writes over at Financegirl where she, of course, shares insights on money, but also intentional living, goal setting, being a young professional woman, and blogging. Natalie graduated law school with over $200,000 in student loans, worked in a job that didn’t fulfill her, and chose to change up her career for a more fulfilling and satisfying life. Now, Natalie works in personal finance during the day and hustles with her wildly successful blog Financegirl, on the side. In this episode Natalie shares her story with us and I dig in on her insight and advice on student loan debt and repayment. We discuss the difference between consolidating and refinancing and she shares why she won’t refinance her own student loan debt.
Listen to the show:
What we talk about:
Natalie’s money history and why she created Financegirl
Her student loan debt all $206,000 of it and her journey to tackle her balance
Professionally shifting from law to finance
Focusing on student loan repayment
Start by organizing your student loans
Separate into Private and Federal loans
Look into paying off private loans first because there are less options and flexibility so they can be seen as “riskier”
Federal loans have income-based plans, forbearance, deferment, or forgiveness options.
If you have a cosigner on your loans - Pay off those right away because you’re putting your cosigner at risk.
Look at interest rates on Federal loans - Consider consolidating but learn why Natalie somewhat regrets consolidating her loans.
Or do the snowball effect and pay off your smallest loan first to gain momentum and feel good about blasting away those loans.
Consolidation vs. Refinancing
Consolidating: You consolidate only your Federal Loans into one through the federal government and your interest rate is a weighted average of all your loan interest rates so it won’t go down it will just help you pay 1 payment instead of multiple per month.
Refinancing: Take your loan and refinance into a new loan, hopefully at a lower interest rate. This is done through private companies (not through the federal government).
When you refinance any of your loans, even your federal loans, turn into Private Loans. With Private Loans all the federal protections (benefits that the federal government offers) with federal loan goes away. Your private loans may offer these benefits but you’ll have to read the fine print. None of this means you shouldn’t refinance, it’s just something to keep in mind while going through the process.
If you have private loans consider getting life insurance for loan protection.
A recommendation for gaining knowledge in money, entrepreneurship and finance and how it’s your duty to yourself to learn personal finance.
How Natalie stopped spending - Coming from a place of “no” - Don’t allow there to be enough time to spend around shopping.
Natalie’s Favorite Resources: Personal Finance Blogs, Podcasts, Kindle Books
“I thought I would make a lot of money and I was in a profession where everyone acted like they were pretty wealthy. I felt the complete opposite of wealthy because most of my paycheck would go toward my student loans.”
“For me, the whole point of building wealth is not to be on this pedestal and have all this money, it’s to give back and promote the causes I believe in.”
“Educate yourself. Get the knowledge about personal finance that will help you change your life.”
“Whether it’s your fault or somebody else’s for the money situation that you’re in, it’s bad for you to stay in a victim mentality.”
“If you have a lot of debt, it doesn’t matter how you got there, it just matters that you get out.”
“I really encourage you to pick up one personal finance book and read it, and then after that just take another action.”
“Find a way to make money, learn about money, and change your financial life because I really believe that you owe it to yourself.”