As Bobby Hoyt neared graduation, his career seemed set. But a probing conversation with a family friend ignited a soul spark that ultimately led him down an unexpected path.
While out waterskiing one day, a family friend began to ask about his student loan debt and his repayment plan. Hoyt’s intention to make minimum payments wasn’t well received. The friend, who ultimately became a mentor, suggested a much different plan.
The conversation inspired Bobby and his fiancé to make some rather difficult and unusual decisions. After graduation, they chose jobs near her parents, rented a small room from them, and “did what they had to” to pay off his debt.
Once they got used to making the biggest payments they could, the debt disappeared much quicker than they imagined it would. “It’s hard at first,” Hoyt explains. “You feel like, ‘I’m getting passed up.’ But it gets easier. It’s really gratifying to see that loan balance come down.”
Now he tells people to do whatever they can do to squelch their debt. “People get hung up on what the can’t do. They don’t want to go without,” Hoyt admits. He insists that to pay your debt quickly you’re going to have to be uncomfortable. But he promises, it’s worth the effort.
“When it comes to paying down debt, go as far as you possibly can.” Bobby Hoyt
As he saw success paying down his debt, he began to be more and more curious about money management. He sought advice from successful business owners, did a lot of research and spent time educating himself. While working as a high school teacher, he began sharing the lessons he was learning with his students during an advisory period.
They ate it up. “Every kid wants to be rich,” Hoyt explains. But he realized that nobody talks to kids about money. Nobody explains how to manage finances wisely. He shared lessons on how student loan interest accrues, how to read a credit report, and how credit cards work.
“I didn’t learn anything about money until after college,” he admits. By that time, he was already deeply in debt.
His experience isn’t uncommon. School curriculums rarely address financial literacy. Hoyt sees that as a major problem, “It’s crazy that there are no serious financial education classes even in college. People are taking out $1,000s in loans, and nobody is telling them how they work!”
So that’s become part of his mission.
After paying off his debt in April of 2013, the couple continued to put the same amount of money away each month. By then they were used to making big payments. But now instead of paying down debt, they were paying themselves. That continued sacrifice quickly earned the couple what he calls “Life Liquidity.”
In May of 2015, he made a decision to step away from High School teaching job to pursue a career in financial education. He wants to help people in a situation similar to his own and also hopes to prevent future generations from ever getting into that spot.
During his exit interview, he negotiated a deal to come back to that same school to teach financial literacy classes. He wants to teach students about student loan debt and prepare them for their financial future.
“Anyone can become educated about their finances, you’ve just got to spark that interest,” Hoyt clams. He hopes to be that spark for students as his mentor was for him during that one fateful waterskiing trip.