Debt Defying Acts
Erik Ziegler, President of Student Council DDS Class of 2014, shares some thoughts on how to manage your money.
When and where did you feel you spent too much money while in dental school?
I spent too much money eating out. I used the excuse of “being too busy” to avoid going grocery shopping and cooking at home.
Where do you think you could have saved money? Yearly? Monthly?
Cooking at home more.
What was worth the money spent?
Group trips like ASDA meetings, fraternity meetings, ski trips and cabin weekends. I always was able to justify expenses that created life-long memories.
What modes of transportation do you use?
Bike, HourCar, bus, taxi...
What kind of housing/living situation do you have?
I lived in a four bedroom house my D1 year and then moved into Delta Sigma Delta for my final three years. The rent was about half of what I was paying and I was able to live with a lot of great people.
What kinds of meals do you eat?
When I cook I generally cook enough for a couple of days so that I have lunches and dinners for the week.
Where do you shop?
I shop at Rainbow and Target.
Did you travel while attending school? If so, how often and was it worth it?
Nearly all of the traveling I did as a dental student was school-related. I went on trips with student groups like ASDA, MSRG and Delta Sigma Delta, which for a minor contribution towards the trip’s cost (<$100), I was able to visit Washington DC, Tampa, Chicago, Omaha, Breckenridge and San Francisco. I was also able to travel a lot for oral surgery externships and interviews. I view the nearly $10,000 I spent on externships and interviews as an investment that will most certainly pay off.
How did you feel about your debt so far?
I feel anxious about my debt. $300,000 is a lot of money.
How do you think you’ll feel 10 years after graduating?
I’m not worried about my debt ten years out. I will get to be doing what I love and help a lot of people at the same time. Also, if you thought of dental school and specialty training as a Wall Street investment, you would be silly not to invest in loan debt for a 25X return on investment.
Any words of wisdom to share?
Don’t let thousands of dollars in loan money make you feel like you’re rich. You are in fact VERY poor because every penny you spend has been loaned from the federal government. That said, life is about balance, and forcing yourself to live in poverty just because you are spending loan money could rob you of four potentially amazing years.