- Ali and Josh Lupo graduated with a combined $102,000 in student loans.
- “House hacking” and other strategies put them on track to be debt-free by 2022 and retired by 40.
- They save all their 9-to-5 income by keeping expenses low and building multiple revenue streams.
When Ali and Josh Lupo decided to pursue degrees in human services, they knew they wouldn’t be earning big salaries.
“Our major was child and family studies,” Ali told Insider. “And I vividly remember all of our professors telling us, ‘When you go into this field, you are not going to be making money.’ That’s when I realized I’m pretty much going to be broke because I want to be a social worker.”
The couple met in class at SUNY Oneonta in central New York. Despite working throughout college, they graduated with a sizable amount of student debt: $102,000 between their two bachelor’s degrees, which they earned in 2013, and Ali’s master’s degree, which she earned in 2017.
As their professors had predicted, they didn’t make much right out of college. Their starting salaries as counselors were about $12 an hour. For years they barely made a dent in their student loans.
Today, Ali, 30, and Josh, 31, have paid down $74,000 of their student loans, plan to be debt-free by early 2022, and are on track to retire before 40. They’ve also managed to purchase two investment properties in upstate New York, where they live. Insider viewed copies of their mortgage records and student-loan balances that showed these details.
Here’s how they did it.
‘House hacking’ and investing in real estate to pay down debt
It wasn’t until 2017, after Ali completed her master’s, that the couple fully understood the magnitude of their debt. “We started crunching the numbers and looking at the statements and becoming aware of just how much debt we had,” Josh said. Online debt calculators told them it would be decades before they’d be out of the red.
Around the same time, they were planning their wedding, which was set for August 2018. Josh knew that between their debt and the wedding costs, they had to make some major lifestyle changes unless they wanted to live paycheck-to-paycheck forever. He started devouring
and listening to hours of money-related podcasts. That’s when he heard about “house hacking,” a strategy that involves renting out a portion of your home and using the income to cover some (or all) of your housing costs.
Ali and Josh were paying $1,300 in rent at the time. With house hacking in mind, they decided to buy a duplex and rent out …….