Buy at the right price, at the right interest rate for the right amount of time, he said.
If you can manage your debt throughout your life, you can always do well, Frye said.
Postpone leaving home
Mom and Dad shouldnt jeopardize their retirement by paying off your debt, but they can give you a place to stay. Being a boomerang kid, or one who returns home after college, may be a good strategy to solidify your financial footing, Siegel said. Use the time to maintain a stable job and income, save for a car or apartment or work your way up to a better paying job.
Aguilar De Dios lives at home with his parents and a younger sister. He said he has seen friends who move out struggle to pay their bills. Im saving money, and being more conscious of where my money is going and what I am saving for, he said.
The world is different now, its a very legitimate choice to go home, Siegel said.
Go back to school
Returning to school will delay the payment of your student loans, but if you need to borrow more, youre digging yourself deeper in debt, Siegel said. Make sure the career field you want will allow you to pay off that debt.
Heres a cautionary tale: One middle-aged client with three doctorate degrees and $400,000 in student loan debt has chosen a career field that will never allow him to pay off his debt, Siegel said. He continues to struggle with paying all of his expenses, she said.
Invest in yourself
Good money management is more than paying off your highest interest debt first, OKurley said. You have to be balanced, and pay down debt, watch spending, and put something aside for emergencies.
Take advantage of an IRA, 401K or 403B offered by an employer, at least up to the company match. Then you can take advantage of the snowball effect of compounding interest, Siegel said. Frye said to look at your 401K plans website for wealth-building tips, like how much you need to save for how long to meet your goals.
Look at 10 years ahead and decide where you want to be, then figure out what you have to do to get there, Siegel said.
Aguilar De Dios said he would like to go to graduate school, and is studying for the entrance exam. Im investing in myself, to be a better person, and to have a better life, he said.
Above all, dont let debt drag you down, OKurley said. Remember why you went to college in the first place, he said. There may be a big burden of debt hanging around your neck, and debt can be daunting, but investing in yourself is going to worth it in the long run. Improving yourself through education is the value that you will get out of this debt.