One woman is feeling “Good as Hell” after paying off $222,000 in student loans.
Caitlin Boston, 35, celebrated the feat by performing Lizzo’s anthem in a YouTube video. Posted on Aug. 6, the clip shows Boston wearing a purple latex bodysuit and Korean wedding crown as she channels the musician and breaks out some serious dance moves. Thanks to the captions in the video, Boston’s student loan success story is front and center.
“Hello friends, family and friends of family who thought my degrees were worthless,” the captions begin. “As of today, I am officially student debt free!”
“That means I’ve paid off a total of $222,817.26 in student loan debt since 2009 from a total starting balance of $147,602.95 for both my undergrad and grad school loans. (Yes, that’s $75,214.31 just in interest),” Boston adds. “And I did it all by my single freaking self, as in, no family passing me $$$ at any point.”
“I really wanted to figure out a way to express what I wanted the next phase of my life to be like,” she told Good Morning America after the video took off and made it to BuzzFeed. “That wasn’t about debt in any sense … it was about celebration and gratitude and joy.”
What’s more remarkable is how Boston says she paid off her debt amid the heartbreak over her father’s suicide. According to Boston, the final payment was made on Aug. 6, which fell on her late father’s 72nd birthday. Previously, she had turned to her dad for financial assistance, but he “told me he couldn’t help me” because he also had debt.
“I called my dad in a panic not knowing how I was going to manage this,” Boston told GMA of her reaction to seeing her debt total in 2009. “[It was] just a very honest conversation where he said, ‘We can’t help you. We have our own debt. You’re going have to figure this out on your own. You have a college degree now so you’re gonna be fine. Just put together a plan.’ “
And that she did. “I never missed a single loan payment or took more than four weeks off of work in a single year the past 10 years,” Boston wrote in one of the video’s captions. “Not even when my father committed suicide. My dog died, my family disintegrated and my mom had a stroke. All within the same six-month period.”
One secret to her success? Boston says she asked everyone she knows — especially her male peers — what they make, to see if she was being underpaid. Eventually, Boston says, “it’s the sole reason I started making an additional 41% a year.”
Boston suggests getting over the awkwardness of it all by using the “over or under” rule: “Just ask your industry peers, ‘Are you making over or under X dollars?’ “
According to GMA, Boston said she managed to save by sharing a low-rent apartment with roommates, being thrifty at grocery stores and taking on extra jobs.
Boston also used the video to pay tribute to her late father, writing that she has gratitude for “a father who even in memory reminds me of what a dedicated work ethic can do and that silliness and a sense of humour are strengths in their own right.”
“I dedicate today and my last student loan payment to you, dad,” she wrote.