When you graduate with your Chiropractic degree, and you’re ready to go out into the world to be a CHIROPRACTOR, you are going to want to have as much money in the bank as you can and have as little debt as possible. Let that sink in for a minute because maybe this sounds impossible to you. It’s not! You do not have to graduate with more than $250,000 in Chiropractic student loans. I’m going to tell you exactly what Chiropractic student loan hacks I personally used to be able to graduate with a little over a $100,000 in student loan debt and over $50,000 in the bank, with no help from my parents or spouse! It is absolutely possible to graduate with money in the bank, with enough money to start your practice, and without having to borrow extra grad plus loans or business loans, which typically have much higher interest rates. Graduating with less debt gave me the freedom to make better choices for myself and my future.
Depending on your plans after school, you will more than likely need money in the bank to cover your living expenses, plus any money you will need to launch your practice. If you are going to find a job as a Chiropractic Associate after graduation then you won’t need as much money, however, you will soon see how these Chiropractic student loan hacks can still help you too. Several of these tips will not only put you ahead financially, but also ahead in your career. Making smart long-term, strategic financial decisions like these can put you leaps and bounds ahead of your peers and decrease the amount of stress you will feel for years as you repay your loans. Download our Savings Checklist & Budget Worksheets!
If you’re not yet in Chiropractic school then consider trying to start debt free. Both of us, Rich and I, started school debt free. Rich had debt prior to starting, but he stayed in his job, and waited until the debt was paid off to move to Kansas and begin his student life at Cleveland University. When I decided to enroll, I was working a decent job with minimal savings. I was also able to continue working my job while fulfilling undergrad prerequisites, as well as, continue picking up shifts as work offered them. Being able to work here and there was good money that I didn’t want to pass on because I knew the opportunity wouldn’t always be there to make that additional income.
When I set my goal of graduating with as little debt as possible, I really wasn’t sure how I would do it. What I did know is that if I limited the amount of loans I borrowed while going through Chiropractic school, then I wouldn’t be swimming in debt when I graduated. This strategy worked for several reasons. One, I was taking out less loan money, which meant having lower origination fees, and having a higher percentage of subsidized loans than unsubsidized. Origination fees are paid out of the money you borrow before you receive it and subsidized loans accrue zero interest while in school and during periods of deferment. This also means there will be much less accrued interest over the life of the loans. While my loans accrued $4000 in interest a year after graduation, others’ accrued $20,000 in interest a year. So…
During my time as an undergrad student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, I worked for a Chiropractor. He was native to Malibu and earned his degree from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles. While he was in Chiropractic school, he lived with his parents and took out the full amount of student loans each semester. He was then able to leverage all of the money he had borrowed, and saved, to buy his first practice and get started. Had I gone straight into Chiropractic school from Undergrad then I probably would have lived with my parents too. I was lucky they lived nearby, but by the time I decided to return to school for my degree I was a little older and not willing to move back in with them. I did like my friend’s strategy though. By living with his parents, he was able to graduate with the savings he needed in order to purchase a clinic, without getting additional business loans that he would have had to take out at a higher interest rate. I was tempted to do the same, but since I wasn’t sure of my plans after graduation, I didn’t take out the full loan amount the first few years as a Chiropractic student.
When it came time to take out loans for the first time, I set a top limit or “debt ceiling” on the amount of money I was willing to borrow each trimester. The amount of loan money I had decided on wasn’t even enough to pay for classes, so each trimester I took money from my savings account in order to have enough tuition money. Next, I needed a way to cover my living expenses, which I did by working several easy, advantageous jobs over the course of my time in Chiropractic school. Read on to learn more about those!
One of the best decisions I made while in Chiropractic school was applying for and getting a job as a work study on campus at Cleveland University. I was the Assistant to the Undergraduate office. As the Assistant, I was able to work before and after my classes, during breaks between my class, and over breaks between trimesters. I didn’t have to drive anywhere or wear a certain uniform. In addition, I also had the comforts of having my own office to work and study in when at school. Then once I got into the clinic, I was familiar with so many of the staff that a great deal of my clinic credits came from treating them and their families. Bonus, right?! It was the perfect job!
Another job I had while going through school was working at a large Wellness clinic in town. When I started the job, there were 7 Chiropractors, 3 massage therapists, 2 acupuncturists, and 2 mental therapists. It was huge! This meant I was able to cover many positions and learn a lot about working in and managing a clinic that size. I was also able to learn about billing, coding, documentation, insurance, patient communication, office management, networking, marketing, and so much more. The opportunity was priceless to say the least and throughout my time there I met several Chiropractors that would become my friends and mentors. Additionally, I was able to experience practice management group seminars, go to continuing education seminars, and attend networking events. Working the entire time I was in Chiropractic school provided me with the income from these jobs to cover all of my living expenses.
Rich and I decided we would open our clinic together in Colorado. That is when I made the decision to start taking out the full amount of student loans. This allowed me to start saving up money in order to cover start-up costs, living costs, and to buy a new car that would last well into a time when I would have plenty of money to replace it. Since I was already making enough money to cover living expenses, I could save the extra loan money I was borrowing, to pay for these other things.
Maybe you’re in your last year of school, or even your last trimester. It’s not too late to do some of these things. Try to start making decisions now that will put you ahead when you graduate. Each of these tips I’ve talked about have impacted my life in multiple ways. Here are some more general money saving tips to follow while in school because if you aren’t willing to live like a student now, then you will live like a student as a Doctor. Start by downloading our Savings Checklist & Budget Worksheets!
Rich and I lived in a condo for the first 5 years we were in practice. We had all the comforts of a nice new home and community, but without the maintenance or overhead. The condo also appreciated considerably during the time we lived there, which was a nice bonus. If we had stayed in the area, then we could have kept the condo as an investment property. These are all things you need to be thinking about as you graduate and make your long-term plans. What strategic financial decisions can you make today that will affect your future finances and living conditions? You need to be asking yourself these things daily. Get into the habit of making great financial long-term decisions that will put you ahead. These good spending habits will have a huge impact on the rest of your life as you start into practice and beyond. Download our Savings Checklist & Budget Worksheets now!