The Dames are a pair of sisters spanning the great United States of Indebtedness. I got a chance to pick the Kathryn’s brain and she shared her story about debt, investing and her financial, personal and professional goals.
Kathryn is the East Coast Dame of the duo. She went to a great in-state, public university, got scholarships and grants and graduated early. She worked full-time in the corporate world for a year to save money for grad school and then went to law school while working part-time. Despite working and recieving scholarships, she graduated with over $100,000 of debt.
She’s very ambitious, smart and now she’s a newly minted lawyer. You can think of her like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, fashionable, fun, intellectual, and yes, blonde too.
Currently, Kathryn is a public interest lawyer. She has undergraduate and graduate school student loan debt (~$145,000 in total), and a ton of credit card debt from having to use her cards for living expenses while studying for the bar, but that will be paid off entirely in December 2017!
Here’s what Kathryn has to say about learning about personal finance and taking control of her money:
Personal Finance Resources:
I learned about money by reading several books (Dave Ramsey’s is probably my favorite), but also by watching my parents, who were not so good with money. At this point, I have educated myself pretty well, but the stock market is still mysterious. My Roth IRA is in a nice, diversified account that does all the heavy lifting for me. Once I pay off my student loans, I’ll start looking into where I should be putting my money.
Why Personal Finance is exciting!
Personal finance interests me because it allows me to do what I want and live the way I want to live. I enjoy saving up for specific goals, or as has been the case for the past 2 years, watching my debt balance decrease every month. I get excited every time I have to make a big purchase, but I’ve already saved all the money for it because I planned ahead.
My financial goals are:
- to pay off the credit cards (finally)
- start tackling my student loans
- start saving for an all-cash wedding
- to purchase a home
- Keep using the Dames in Debt website to blog about my progress and the various ways I’m saving money.
- Get a dog! I am adopting a miniature schnauzer in March 2018, and I’m so excited for my new friend.
Kathryn’s Debt and Strategy
- Credit card debt (~$16,000 on two): two years of hefty $750/month payments and very little spending on things I didn’t need; Starbucks once a month has really been one of my only splurges. Progress = done in December 2017!
- For the student loans, I’ll be snowballing most of the former credit card payment onto those – the remainder of that payment will go to my savings goals.
- Currently, she’s investing in Target-date mutual funds
What resources do you recommend for other Ambitious Adults to learn about money?
Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover (for other debt-payers like me) and personal finance blogs for the fun stuff you can do with money once you’ve paid off the debt
Some great personal finance resources (recommended by Liz):
- Making Sense of Cents
- Bridget Casey (Canadian)
Other posts you might like (recommended by Liz):
- Money and self-esteem
- How I made an extra $2,000 a month
- How I graduated university debt-free
- How to start investing
Where can people learn from you?
Twitter and Instagram: @damesindebt