How this 28-year-old accountant paid off his $73K student loan debt in less than four years

(Photo Credit: Amanda Taylor) Logan Marston, a 28-year-old accountant from Durham, North Carolina, paid off more than $73,000 in student loans in 3.5 years.
(Photo Credit: Amanda Taylor) Logan Marston, a 28-year-old accountant from Durham, North Carolina, paid off more than $73,000 in student loans in 3.5 years.

(DURHAM, N.C.) — A 28-year-old accountant from North Carolina is debt free after paying off all his student loans in less than four years.

Logan Marston, who lives in Durham, told ABC News that he settled 10 loans that totaled $73,372.

In May 2012, he received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from James Madison University and completed his master’s degree in accounting from the university a year later.

When it was time to pay off his loans, Marston admitted that even he was surprised at the high amount of debt he owed.

“I guess I had an idea in my head it was going to be five figures, but I didn’t know it was going to be as much as it was,” he said. “I accrued at least $6,000 in new interest from the time I started paying them off in December 2013 to when I finally finished in May [2017].”

Marston said it was the interest he was paying that motivated him to minimize the total amount owed as “quickly as possible.”

After landing a job as an accountant, he began paying off the debt in December 2013, he said.

“There wasn’t any kind of secret strategy or secret formula,” Marston said. “I was just living as humbly as possible — splitting rent with roommates, and doing everything I could to save money. I kept a very low cash reserve. I didn’t have any emergency cash. Whatever I saved, I paid the loans with it. No unnecessary spending once so ever.”

He said he took advantage of a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction by signing up for an automatic repayment plan.

On average, he said he was able to pay from $1,000 to $1,500 a month extra toward his loans, in addition to the $796 standard payment that he was charged each month.

Marston elected to not consolidate the 10 loans because he found motivation in paying each one off separately and in full, he said.

For each loan, he received a letter confirming that the amount was paid off in full.

A James Madison University collections manager wrote a letter to Marston in September 2014, confirming that his Perkins student loan had been paid in full. The letter, shared with ABC News, was verified by a collections manager.

Marston’s father, Jeff Marston, told ABC News that he knew his son would be responsible and pay of the debt, but never expected him to settle as quickly as he did.

“I couldn’t pay for his school, I wasn’t able to, but I had no idea he’d pay it off in three years,” said Jeff Marston, 55, of Ruckersville, Virginia. “I’m happy for him. He did away with the wants and applied himself to the needs and that’s what it takes. Now, the wants will come.”

As for advice to other graduates looking to rid themselves of debt, Marston said to pay off the loans with the highest interest rate first.

“Attack it and pay off as much as you can, as quick as you can,” he said. “Don’t think there’s some secret out there that only savvy people know. It’s just discipline and anyone can achieve what I achieved.”

Here are some quick tips from Marston for paying off student loans:

Manage your spending: Ask yourself, do I really need this? You’re better off putting that money toward your loan payment.

Don’t be intimidated: Don’t let the amount lead you to not take action, or ignore it. Try to pay more than the just the minimum.

Have a budget: Know what money you have coming in each month and how much of it is going toward bills. For whatever you have left over, come up with a goal for how much you want to put toward the loan repayments.

“If you say, ‘I want to put $500 toward the loan,’ then stick to it,” Marston said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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