Debt Free By 23

martinis and your money

Debt Free by 23

I am really excited about this latest podcast episode, because my blog friend and show listener, Taylor Milam, is sharing her story not only about how she paid off all of her student loan debt within 7 months of graduating but all of the decisions she made along the way to make sure that she didn’t have a large amount to pay down.

As a financial planner, I always hate seeing how student loan debt prohibits my clients from achieving important life goals; and usually by the time they meet with me it’s too late. The best way to control your student loan debt is to have a plan in place while you are in school to not only minimize what you borrow but pay it off as quickly as possible. Taylor’s story and drive are an inspiration and I hope you enjoy it!

What are we drinking?

Taylor — Peach Bellini

Shannon — Champs (Champagne)

Podcast Notes

  • Taylor is 23 and completely debt free after paying off $14,000 in 7 months!
  • Growing up, she watched her parents pay off her father’s student loan debt and knew she didn’t want to be in that situation.
  • Taylor’s first two years of college were paid for and then her father cut her off completely.
  • To pay for her last two years of college, she transferred from a private school to UCLA and worked three part-time jobs.
  • Her three jobs were working at a UCLA call center, freelance writing, and a work-study job at a museum on campus.
  • Shannon says lifestyle inflation is a big problem for a lot of people.
  • Taylor was very honest with her family and friends about her goal to pay off debt so she didn’t have as much of a problem maintaining her relationships without spending a lot of money.
  • Taylor sold her car and started commuting to work via bike.
  • She initially thought it would take 15 months to pay off her debt.
  • Taylor found Mr. Money Mustache’s blog and it helped her during the time she was paying off her debt.
  • Taylor’s next steps include adding to her emergency fund, investing more, and creating a wedding fund.
  • If you want to find Taylor, you can follow her blog The Freedom from Money

Random Three Questions

  1. What are your favorite resources for financial literacy?
  2. Besides being debt free, what are other bucket-list items you have for yourself?
  3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

What is the most extreme thing you have done or would do to save money or pay down debt?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Way to go Taylor! I listening to this last night folding laundry, and loved the conversation about biking to work as I’m trying to do that a couple days a week now. All those “issues” both you and Shannon mentioned I can totally relate to. You’re a wise young lady for making the decisions that you did about your student loans!

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