I have to admit I think Dee-1’s hit “Sallie Mae Back” is genius. Maybe it’s because he graduated from my alma mater Ben Franklin, or maybe it’s because he has taken debt, one of the biggest financial burdens that plagues Americans, and made it relevant.
My friend Charles Anderson introduced me to the music of Dee-1, a hip hop rapper from New Orleans who hit it big by rapping about paying off his student loans.
As a financial advisor, I love to see someone famous make a topic like “paying off debt” relevant, and use his position to influence people positively.
According to NerdWallet, “the average U.S. household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt and $130,922 in total debt.” Also in that number is $48,172 of college loan debt!
In his song, Dee-1 shares a few important tips to successfully pay off debt that I thought was worth sharing.
If you follow them, then maybe one day you too will be rapping about paying off your debt, just like Dee-1. (And that’s certainly something to rap about!)
Check out these nine tips from Dee-1 to pay off your debt:
1.“Went in default and messed my credit up, check my Equifax”
Equifax is one of the three major credit companies that give you a credit score. Your credit score is like your financial report card; it’s the way the financial world measures your financial worthiness.
A good credit score can save you thousands in interest payments when it’s time to get a mortgage, refinance an existing mortgage, get a business loan, etc. Federal law allows you to check your credit score every 12 months for free. A couple resources to check your score are Credit Karma and Annual Credit Report.com.
2. “I got 2 jobs, got on my grind”
Do what you need to do to help increase your revenue. Dee-1 was a high school teacher out of college and presumably he was on his grind (working hard) at another job to help pay off his debt. If you have a lot of debt, consider another job. Sell something. Start a small business making something. There are so many ways to make extra money if you are willing to get on your grind.
3. “No time to whine I can’t ride the pine”
Riding the pine (or sitting on the sidelines) won’t add a dollar to your debt payments. Nor will feeling sorry for yourself because you’re in debt. If you want to make progress and change your situation stop complaining, get off the sidelines, and get on your grind.
4. “Started paying them loans one at a time”
When you owe a bunch of people (companies) my preferred way to pay down your debt is to focus on one at time. Pay the minimum payment on all your payments but pay extra to the smallest balance. Once the smallest balance is paid off shift that money to the next smallest. This is a great methodical way to pay off all your debt, one at time.
5. “I’ve been on my Grizzy”
This is Dee-1’s third reference to working hard. To be on your Grizzy basically means to hustle. In other words, work hard and stay focused on making the money that you need to make in order to pay off your debt. Create a system that will lead you to success. There is no substitute for hard work.
6. “For those that doubted me yeah this is payback.”
Don’t pay attention to those who are negative about your financial situation or doubt that you will be able to pay off your debt. Stay focused and surround yourself with positive people. Good accountability is key to accomplishing anything worth doing. Use all the haters as motivation and the positive folks as support.
7. “And no sir and I don’t drive a Maybach”
For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t), a Maybach is a very nice and very expensive Mercedes. The point Dee-1 is proving here is if you are in debt, avoid splurging on luxury items. Dee-1 was a high school teacher before he signed his rap deal. When he signed his deal he didn’t go off and buy an expensive car, rather he paid off his student loans.
8. “Red Beans and Rice on Monday”
Traditionally in New Orleans, Mondays were a day to do the wash; families would put on a pot of beans to cook while they worked, keeping dinner simple. “Red beans and rice on Monday” illustrates the need to live simply, to take a step back and to not live beyond your means when you’re buried in debt.
9. When you pay off your debt, rap about it – when you pay it off, celebrate it!
This is the only tip that is not a lyric. Instead we are following Dee-1’s lead – celebrate when you pay off your debt, rap about it, sing about it, tell the world! Or if you are anything like me, do the world a favor and don’t rap about it but do find a way to celebrate your success. Dave Ramsey encourages his disciples to call in his show let out the Braveheartesque freedom cry.
Bringing debt into the limelight
I appreciate Dee-1 bringing to light one of the biggest financial burdens Americans face today: debt. It may take the average American a little longer to pay off their debt as we can’t all be successful hip hop stars, but the principles Dee-1 followed work for everyone.
So, if you have burdensome debt it’s time to take your life back. Maybe you won’t hit it big with a rap song but the only way to change your situation is to stop riding the pine and to get on your grizzy. If you’re driving a Maybach, maybe you should sell it and live simply till you’re free from the burden of debt.
Imagine your life free from debt. How will you celebrate? Maybe you you can start saving for that Maybach.