DALLAS — With the extended pause on student loan repayments, you may have a little more money in your pocket.
Yet the extension doesn't cause for less concern as it will eventually come to an end. For Alaina Curry, however, those concerns are no more.
"It feels amazing, it feels like freedom," Curry said.
Some say she's "money goals," for eliminating a six-figure student loan debt in five years, specifically $101,000 worth.
She shares her success on her podcast called Vital Money. She talks about consolidating some of her loans for lower interest rates, picking up second jobs at clothing stores, a side hustle through photography to conquer the debt and moving in with family to take rent out of her monthly money obligations.
"To me, I looked at the student debt like it was chains on my feet," she said.
As a Black college grad, she believed there needed to be a space where people like her felt comfortable. Research from the Education Data Initiative states out of the 43.2 million Americans with student debt, it takes Black students longer to pay off debt and statistically they have more of it.
"One of the messages I got [from the podcast] was, 'I needed someone who look like me to see that it was possible,'" Curry recalled.
Years of penny-pinching and having multiple jobs can seem intense. In other extreme cases, student loan borrowers are trying to erase debt by calling on attorneys, such as Sean Acker, for help filing for chapters 7, 11 or 13 bankruptcy.
"It's hard too, as a lawyer. I want to be able to help my clients fix their problems," Acker said.
He says student loan debt is harder to get discharged through bankruptcy when compared to other types of debt. His advice is to look at income-based payment plans and call your congressman for relief.
"I think that Congress is going to be required to fix this issue," said Acker.
Curry says to be reasonable, give yourself grace and know that she didn’t always play by her own rules to get her financial freedom, but with determination what felt like the impossible was achieved.