Borrow less while in law school to save thousands of dollars on interest payments you will not need to make in the future.
As a law student, I did not spend too much time thinking about student loans. While in law school, I probably only checked my student loan balances once a semester, and I focused on many things in my life other than student debt. Each year, I went through the same process of filling out paperwork, electronically signing documents, and completing other steps to ensure that I borrowed enough money for law school. However, as a law student, I never had a deeper understanding of what life was like with student loans. In addition, I did not know any steps I could take while in school to minimize my debt burden once I started paying off my student loans.
Now that I am more than five years removed from law school, and have successfully lived with and paid off nearly $200,000 of student loans, I have a much greater understanding of what it’s like to live with student debt. If I could go back and give some pieces of advice to myself when I was in law school, there are several suggestions I would make.
The first tip I would give to any law student about student loans is that a small change in the amount you borrow can have a massive impact on your student debt. Due to the effects of capitalizing interest, if you can save money and borrow less while in law school, over the years, you can save thousands of dollars on interest payments you will not need to make.
Make The Right First Impression
For instance, as a law student, I lived in on-campus housing for all three years I attended law school. Many of my classmates lived off campus with several roommates and paid several times less rent than me each month. In fact, a number of my classmates who lived off campus paid less money in rent and lived in apartments that were way better than mine!
In addition, some of my law school friends were resident advisors and received free housing while attending law school. However, I spent five figures each year on rent to live in an apartment that was basically like a college dorm. I reasoned that it would be better for my studies to live on campus. However, I was just being lazy when I pus, since I never wanted to hunt for off-campus apartments to rent.
If I had chosen to live in cheaper housing as a law student, I could have saved thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars over the course of my time in law school. Since student loans can have interest rates approaching eight percent, it is easy to see how much money one can save over the life of the debt if they live in less-expensive housing. I am sure many of you have heard the old adage that guaranteed installment loans for bad credit you should “live like a student now so you can live like a lawyer later.” Even though I think this expression is antiquated and misleading, there is definitely some truth to this advice. Any money you save as a law student can have a huge impact over the life of your student loans, and everyone attending law school should consider ways that they can cut costs and minimize the amount of debt they borrow.
I would also advise anyone attending law school to network more as a law student. Indeed, connections you make in law school can be more valuable than good grades over the life of your career. I have already mentioned on this website and on my own blog multiple times how young attorneys can make money through originating business which can be used to pay down student loans. However, in order to “make it rain,” you need to have connections with people who car refer business. Your law school classmates are the best source of potential business, since they will all likely be entering the legal profession and could work at jobs in which they can refer you business.