This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Living in a Van to Pay Off Student Debt

The two and half years Ilgunas spent at Duke was an experience that changed his outlook on life and money.

"As for money, I learned not to always crave what I didn't have, but to be appreciative for what little I did," he said. "My experiment could have been a total failure. I don't think I'd move back into a van unless I had to."


Pursuing your dreams can result in a fulfilling experience, he said.

"I learned that it's O.K. to follow through with my crazy ideas," he said. "Naturally, I felt a little reluctant at first, because there were so many 'unknowns.' If I could go back in time to when I enrolled in school, I'd absolutely do exactly what I did. I don't regret a thing. I learned a lot at Duke, but I arguably learned more about myself with my experiment."

Even students who have amassed a large amount of student loans can become debt free, Ilgunas said. Changing the outlook on how you view debt is the most critical element.

"Think of your debt as a sworn enemy and indebtedness as a life and death situation," he said. "You need to reframe the way you think about debt. You need to hate your debt. You need to get obsessed with it. Despise it. Anthropomorphize it."

Paying only 15% of your income toward loans like some financial experts recommend is not adequate, Ilgunas said.

"Do everything you can to put 100%," he said. "If your debt was truly a life and death situation, what would you do? You'd dumpster dive, you'd hop trains, and you'd live in a van."

People should feel an obligation to pay off their student loans in a timely fashion so they can be "free," and avoid accruing large amounts of interest, Ilgunas recommends.

"We live in a free country with hardly any free people," he said. "Everyone's paying mortgages, car payments and student debts. I think we'd be better off, individually and collectively, if we had less bills and more time to be free people. Taking the '25 year payment plan' sounds insane to me. It is best to begin to work immediately after graduating and pay it off as swiftly as you can."
3 of 4

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%
YHOO $36.60 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs