Still paying off student loans? You're not alone

Tips for paying off student debt

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A new study shows Alabama ranks 21st when it comes to states with the most student debt. Financial advisors said the key to tackling your student debt is to get organized and jump in. They suggest making those payments as soon as you graduate.

"Just about everybody I know that I went to school with, in some form or fashion, had to take out some type of loan to help finance their schooling," said Brett Norris.

Norris graduated from the University of Alabama two years ago. He said taking out loans was his only option.

"If I didn't take out the loans, I wouldn't have been able to go to the school and get the education i needed to put myself in a position to get the career that I wanted," he said.

Now, Norris works as an associate advisor for The Welch Group. He helps clients navigate how to pay off their student loans, all while he's juggling loans of his own.

It's a struggle people around the country are dealing with, some more than others.

According to, Alabama ranks 21st overall when comparing indebtedness and earning opportunities.

"A lot of it's just managing money and managing it well," said financial planner Stewart Welch.

He said organization and planning are key.

"So that you know all of your different debts. A lot of people have multiple loans. You want to look at what you're paying in interest rates. A lot of times it makes sense to consolidate those debts into a lower interest rate loan," said Welch.

Other ways to tackle your debt, start paying ASAP, trim your spending budget and commit raises and bonuses to paying more than the minimum when possible.

Welch said student loans are a good investment in you. He said for those about to take out student loans, remember to pick a major that will get you a job that pays well enough to pay off those loans.

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