We met Sonia Lewis, aka The Student Loan Doctor, in sunny Florida while attending FinCon18. For someone with 38,000 followers (and counting) on the Gram and a resume including accolades from the Steve Harvey Morning Show, The Shade Room, BET, The Ricky Smiley Show and more, she was far more humble than I’ll ever be when I blow up and forget where I came from. That’s why I knew she’d be another inspirational voice for our 2019 Black History Month Personal Finance Profiles
Put simply, Sonia is a BOSS. No, like for real, she is THE boss. Sonia is CEO of the first African American, woman-owned student loan repayment company in the country. Perhaps you’ve already heard of her because she has gotten her business mentioned on every major news media outlet for free. That’s what bosses do!
“On average, these women are helping their clients save an average of $300/month or $3,600/year in student loan payments. In just 2 years, the Student Loan Doctor LLC has helped thousands of borrowers, collectively, save over $4 million in student loan debt.” – Essence Magazine.
For those of you new to the game, Sonia incorporated The Student Loan Doctor in 2016. It is a full service coaching business with ONE goal: to help clients create a plan and understand how to pay off their student loan debt. Their wide-ranging services include: coaching, planning for repayment, loan rehabilitation, consolidation, refinancing, becoming student loan ready for the home buying process, monthly budgeting, planning for college or graduate school and loan forgiveness. You can book an appointment today to learn more.
Here is an abbreviated version of my talk with The Student Loan Doctor.
From Employee to Entrepreneur
Marcus: How’d you get started becoming The Student Loan Doctor?
Sonia: The Student Loan Doctor was the best accidental business ever. I started to help people for free in my community and church and I realized how much value my sessions with those people had helped them. So I decided to take a consultant’s approach and I begin to offer my services locally to others I knew. Shortly after with the help of social media, people begin to request an appointment. This forced me to level up my systems and process to take on new clients.
Student Loans: The Trillion Dollar U.S. Crisis
The week I’m conducting this interview, a report finds a record 7 million Americans are 3 months behind on their car payments. The most significantly impacted population is men and women under 30-years of age, “suggesting young people are having a difficult time paying for their cars and their student loans at the same time.”
As of the date of release, outstanding student loan debt had already surpassed $1,500,000,000,000.
Yet surprisingly, almost no generation is safe from the impact of the growing and crushing student loan burden:
“One generation of Americans owed $86 billion in student loan debt at last count. Its members are all 60 years old or more.” – The Wall Street Journal
Marcus: Why focus on Student Loans or do you service all types of debt?
Sonia: Student loans are our primary focus with budgeting following thereafter. I chose to stay the course of student loans because this is the debt that everyone has skipped and has not added value to the space of personal finance with this topic.
“Student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt behind mortgages, and every year it gets higher and higher,” Sonia told Essence.
Marcus: What should students know before taking on student loans?
Sonia: I always say to students, please do not allow 4 years of college to rule your decisions and relationship with money. The way you manage the investment of a college degree is important to see an actual return on the investment. It is not wise to borrow $80,000 in student loan debt to only start with a salary of $40,000. My suggested rule of thumb is borrowing determination = career compensation.
Marcus: What should they consider after graduating with student loan debt?
Sonia: Students should consider after graduation how student loan repayment will show up in their life with great significance. Homebuying, having good credit, managing their overall debt to income profile is important.
Marcus: What’s a surprising fact many of your clients don’t know about student loans or their own debt?
Sonia: Most clients do not know or understand their repayment options. There may be a way to lower your monthly payment and have your loans completely forgiven. Also, it is important to check for inaccuracies. It may be possible that some of the information that reports is inaccurate.
Be A part of the Difference in Your Community that You Want to See
Marcus: What’s next for The Student Loan Doctor? Is there anything else – course, upcoming promo, seminar, etc. you’d like to plug?
Sonia: Besides our services, I’d like to share about our new virtual university- SLD University. People can register via: slduniversity.org/vslnew.
Here are the benefits of SLD University:
- Ask a Coach (Private Bi-Weekly Virtual Group Coaching)
- Private Members only Facebook Group
- Unlimited access to Courses and Seminars
- Exclusive Support from SLD University Team
- Specialized Groups: Real Estate Investing & Monthly Book Club
- Accountability Partners
- Exclusive Access to Experts: Home Buying, Real Estate Investing, Credit Repair, Stock Investing, Life Insurance and more
- Membership Cost is less than $10 a month
As with all our great features, I can never get everything about them into one post! Here are some other great resources to learn about Sonia and don’t forget to follow her around the web:
- Money: She Went From ‘Overdraft Queen’ to Professional Debt Coach. Here’s How She Did It—and Her Best Three Pieces of Advice
- Forbes: Tips From The Pros: Uncommon Ways Millennials Can Reduce Their Debt and Invest In 2019
- The Shade Room: TSRPositiveImages: 30-Year-Old Philly Native Opens 1st Black & Woman-Owned Student Loan Debt Repayment Company
- BecauseOfThemWeCan: The Student Loan Doctor, LLC
- MadameNoire: 30-Year-Old Creates First Black &
Woman OwnedStudent Loan Debt Repayment Company
- HelloBeautiful: Sallie Mae better watch out!
- The Student Loan Doctor
- Better than Success 96: How I Got My Business Mentioned on Every Major News Media Outlet for Free with Sonia “The Student Loan Doctor” Lewis
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