Not too long ago, my wife and I were medical students living off our student loans. Now, we’re doctors with a toddler and even bigger loans (thanks, negative amortization). This book, which grew out of over eight years of writing about student loans online, exists because the Internet is full of tripe when it comes to student loan management.
There is a smattering of useful government resources with most of the core information you need spread across multiple pages on multiple sites but frequently short on details, a plethora of terrible forum posts and comment threads where the blind lead the blind, and a bunch of websites shamelessly trying to make money off you, including a bunch of companies trying to profit by helping you “qualify” for the federal government programs that you’re always entitled to for free. Others are student loan consultants who want you to pay them to help you figure out what you can do for yourself. And finally, there are the sites that are theoretically informational but are also heavily monetized by ads or private refinancing arrangements and filled with frequent and often reader-hostile clickbait posts about the “top 10 mistakes” borrowers make or the “one weird trick” to blasting your student loans. This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with private refinancing, because there isn’t. It’s the right move for some people, and we’ll discuss it at length in this book, but there’s a big difference between discussing it (or even promoting it) and making it a business model.
And speaking of financial affiliations, my own disclosure: my website also sometimes earns money from relationships with private refinance companies. To be generally helpful, I’ve always set up these partnerships to split any referral bonuses I would receive in favor of the readers who refinance through them. I don’t believe these arrangements inform my writing, but we’ll discuss this again in the private refinance chapter, because transparency is important. This is something I’ve been able to arrange because of the readership of my site. It’s not a significant part of my livelihood, which comes from practicing medicine, but it is an obvious conflict of interest.