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For Lee Drake, a 33-year-old senior applications scientist with a doctorate in anthropology, the debt avalanche method was his secret weapon for attacking his student loan debt.“Once I graduated and got a job in the tech industry, I put the majority of my monthly paycheck into student loans, using the ‘avalanche’ method,” says Drake, of New Mexico.Attacking higher-interest loans first will save you the most money because you end up paying less interest in the long term.Drake estimates that his efforts saved him ,000 to ,000 in interest costs.If you qualify, a private lender will replace your old loan with a new one — which is a chance to get better terms, like a lower interest rate.

Instead of tackling your smallest loans first, as you would under the debt snowball method, the avalanche method prioritizes your payments based on interest rate.

Most student loan lenders won’t consider refinancing after bankruptcy.

Other lenders put significant hurdles in place to make it much more difficult.

“I didn’t get a credit card until I was going to study abroad …” she says, “but I tried not to use that credit card very often, so I always paid it off if I used it at all.” Personal finance isn’t just about getting out of debt; saving money is just as important in reaching financial independence.

To get there, you’ll need to hope for the best, like earning a raise, while planning for the worst, like losing your job.

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