Knocking down debt
After making my first few student loan payments, I got a sinking feeling when I realized that fully half of my monthly salary was going toward paying back $200,000 in student debt. My wife and I quickly decided that paying off my student loans would be our top priority before doing anything else. It was a team effort: We cut expenses, lived on a meager monthly budget, and liquidated nearly all of our previous nonretirement savings and investments. I picked up lucrative emergency department shifts, often working weekends and overnights, on top of my regular general practice hours. My wife, a freelance writer, picked up extra gigs too. Through the experience of aggressively paying down student loan debt, I gained confidence and financial discipline that allowed me to quickly build up cash for startup costs and helped eliminate some of the financial stress and uncertainty around starting a business.