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PA Debt Series, Episode #6 – Shayne Foley, PA-C

Updated: Apr 21, 2022


Shayne is a current practicing PA in Family Medicine in rural Vermont. He graduated in 2012 from The University of New England PA School. He has worked in Internal Medical, Express Care and now Family Medicine. Shayne also works in academia with his PA school ala mater. He was recently awarded the preceptor of the year. Precepting PA students is critical for ongoing success of our profession. Congrats and thank you for all that you do Shayne!

At the time of graduation is 2018, student loan debt: $155,000

Motivation to Pay Off Student Loans

Shayne’s journey to pay off his student loans has been “biphasic”. He has not worked continuously as a PA during the last 10 years and even took a sabbatical. Initially in his journey, he was worked for a non-profit organization and planned to utilize public service loan forgiveness (PSLF). This path changed in 2018. Shayne and his spouse were becoming less confident in the PSLF program and decided to “grab the bull by the horns” and just start aggressively paying down debt.

Shayne’s journey changed and continuously evolves over time. For many of us, plans often change during our careers. Self-awareness and education are essential to stay in the driver’s seat of your financial plan and overall career progression.

Paying Off Student Loans

Shayne had a surplus of savings which helped clinch their plan to begin hammering down their student loans. In late 2020, Shayne and his wife paid off $180,000 of student loans! Currently, Shaye has roughly $35,000 left on his loans. The reason he has not fully paid off his loans? Utilization of the current loan forbearance wave. He is purposefully and intentionally not paying off his loans in full. The current loan forbearance is a rare situation (hopefully) and he is using this to his advantage.

In 2012, Shayne started making $82,500. He experienced quite a bit of salary growth over the first few years while gaining the necessary experience needed as a PA. Today, he is making more than $120,00 being a full time PA. Shayne’s journey to repay nearly all his loans gives him the feeling of empowerment! Being educated and understanding his overall assets and liabilities is crucial for him.

Ensuring appropriate lifestyle fulfillment that does not come by virtue of buying material goods is essential. Too many PAs make purchases that do not provide fulfillment and leave us feeling empty and increase debt. We have seen many healthcare providers who live above their means. Purchasing/leasing experiences cars, owning a mortgage more than 25% of your take home pay and taking lavish, frequent vacations do not solely equate to happiness.

Leaving his PSLF contract allows Shayne to work for whoever he wants and be more in the driver’s seat. He has already been investing and saving during the period of loan forbearance. He has shifted from his monthly loan payments to investing and plans to do so until he this period is over. Once that happens, he and his wife have a plan to transition back to loan payments while still utilizing investment options. Self-education and awareness is crucial during the loan repayment period.

Advice for PAs

Shayne continues to contribute to the PA profession in so many ways. His passion for PA education gives back to many future and current PAs! Here is Shayne’s advice for PA students and any PA struggling to pay off their loans:

· Educate yourself: Utilize resources available for you. There is free content available that provides a ton of knowledge to develop a plan and begin appropriately saving, investing, and managing overall debt.

· Get organized: Lean on your strengths to find an online platform or spreadsheet to list your debt. Understand the terms of your loan and what it will take to pay them off. Grasp the concept of loan repayment while still finding personal and professional fulfillment.

· Employer loan repayment options: When looking for jobs, check to see if you can get some form of loan repayment. Many employers offer a few thousand per year towards your loans is you are willing to stay for a certain number of years. Just make sure you are fully aware and understand the terms of the contract.

· Refinance: This is a potential option for many PAs. Educate yourself over what refinancing looks like, organize your financial plan and start telling your money where to go!

Shayne is the co-founder of The PA Blueprint. Many PAs feel rather lost during the first few months of their career. There is an educational gap associated with early career PAs. Tips, hacks, and tricks for PAs is what the PA Blueprint is all about! Getting on the right track as quickly as possible is essential.

Check out The PA Blueprint


Check out the PA 4 Finance website for more information about becoming financially literate, growing wealth, and making the most out of your hard-earned money! Email for any additional questions or to inquire about PA 4 Finance’s services.

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