Michelle runs the personal finance website Making Sense of Cents. She has three college degrees, including a Finance MBA. She paid off her student loans quickly, $40,000 in just 7 months after creating and working towards a student loan payoff action plan. She and her husband sold their house last year and now travel full-time and absolutely love life!

What career advice do you have for those who have recently graduated college or started looking into new career paths?

My top piece of advice would be to make sure you prepare for the interview. If you gained an interview, that means that you pursued a job that you were at least somewhat interested in and you put effort into beating out others who did not receive an interview.

Unfortunately, many people stop with the effort there! You should always prepare for the interview by practicing common questions, researching what the company typically asks during an interview, and so on. This way you will be as confident and prepared as possible.

What are your best tips for people who have debt?

My top tips for those who have debt are to do two things.

1) Find ways to save more money

2) Find ways to make more money

Seems obvious, but these applying methods toward paying down your debt can help you finish in the quickest way possible. This is exactly what I did, so that I could pay off my $40,000 student loan debt in just 7 months.

Can you offer some advice for people who carry student loan debt and are working toward repayment and trying to become financially stable?

My top piece of advice, except for what I said in #2, would be to make extra payments towards your student loans. No one wants to be paying for their student loans years or even decades into the future. Paying it off quickly can help get some of that debt stress off of your shoulders.

Other pieces of advice would be to create a budget, spend realistically, have an emergency fund, start investing, and so on.

In your opinion, what are the most important workplace benefits recent graduates should watch for when accepting job offers?

Important workplace benefits include the ability to move up in the company, health insurance, vacation time, and retirement.

What was your biggest challenge when you entered the workforce (after graduation, if you attended college)? How did you overcome it, and would you do anything differently if you had another chance?

I would say my biggest challenge was being the youngest at my company and in my industry. I was only 20 years old when I graduated with my first two college degrees, which made it difficult to relate to the others who I worked with – the next youngest person was in their 40s. Overall, though, I had a great experience. I’ve worked full-time since I was a teenager so I was prepared for many of the challenges that others might experience. I highly recommend that others work before they graduate so that they can get first-hand experience.