Paying off large amounts of debt might make anyone jump up and dance.
For Caitlin Boston, making the final payment on student loan debt totaling $222,817.26 prompted her to sport a purple catsuit and bust a move on YouTube.
Boston, who works as a UX (user experience) researcher in the tech industry, posted a nearly four-minute video on YouTube sharing her story as she dances to songs such as “Good As Hell” by Lizzo.
While repaying her loans, which started after she finished graduate school in 2009, Boston said she endured several life-altering events within six months: Her father died by suicide, her mother had a stroke and her dog died.
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In an interview with USA TODAY, Boston said making that final payment wasn’t just about clearing her student debt but overcoming several “micro and macro traumas” in the process. “They’re inextricable,” she said.
In the video, Boston also shares her top piece of advice for paying off student debt: Ask peers what they make to help negotiate a higher salary.
“I really felt compelled to talk about how I got here,” she said. “I think we read so many things online about how – don’t brunch, don’t eat avocado toast, don’t get lattes, don’t get mani/pedis – very female-oriented recommendations for just … cut your lifestyle choices, as if I could ever pay off over $220,000 by not just drinking lattes or getting avocado toast.”
Boston suggested starting with something as simple as asking a co-worker whether they make over or under a certain salary. She also suggested researching what the average salaries are at your position and having open conversations about pay, even if they’re awkward.
“You’re always, as a woman, going to feel uncomfortable about what you make, so you might as well be uncomfortable but make more money,” said Boston, who notes in her video it’s the key reason she made an additional 41% in salary a year.
As for advice on handling debt? Boston said it’s key to have a plan.
“The worst thing you can do is pretend like it’s not there,” she said. “You have to engage with that emotional feeling you’re having, then you have to just push through it.”
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.