Optometry students and recent graduates have two major concerns:  student debt and employment. If you are a recent graduate looking to pay back your loan quickly, you must have a well-thought-out plan and prepare to execute it. To eventually reach your goals and dreams, you may need put some things on hold and make a few sacrifices. Debt repayment places a huge burden on the aspiring optometrist. However, some have found quick and efficient ways to reach their desired goals. If you want to pay back a student loan that exceeds $150,000 in only five years, consider these three ways of doing just that.

  1. Buy a rural practice – A rural optometry practice can be a hidden gem. A rural practice will most likely net over 40 percent and has the potential for a very high retention rate when the buyer transitions into the practice.  A high retention rate, around 85-95 percent, can expect to have a similar cash flow as the previous owner and therefore can use $3,105 monthly, $175,000 @ 2.5%, to pay off the student loan and live on the remainder.
  2. Corporate optometry – Many new graduates are finding the benefits of starting their careers in corporate optometry. They begin on a six-figure income, so they can immediately devote $3,105 to loan repayment and live off of approximately $4,000 a month. This translates to living within a yearly income of $60,000 for five years. Many economical Americans do exactly that.
  3. Negotiate – Many students and new graduates believe an offer is final. Not so. Many optometrists will be retiring over the next 5-10 years and they know that finding a replacement or buyer for their practice will be difficult. They may have eagerly calculated the value of their practice and hope to retire in style, but the reality is there are more sellers right now than buyers. Whether you are negotiating for an associate contract or trying to buy a practice, know how much money you need to make to live on and still make your monthly $3105 loan payment. The most prepared graduates will get the best deals as they know what they want and can confidently negotiate it.

Everyone’s situation is different and there are exceptions to every rule. If you want to pay your student loan off in five years, then have a plan and execute it.