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Meet Ryan Lane, blogger for the SALT membership program.

Have we met?

Warning: This introduction contains terribly outdated references to—and spoilers about—the movie Memento. Hopefully you’ve seen it; I mean, apparently people have a fondness for Christopher Nolan’s work.

Like Leonard Shelby in Memento, my story begins at the end.

I finished repaying my student loans early. Three years early, to be exact. And doing so saved me about $1,300 (to be inexact).

But it’s how I got here that’s interesting.


0, 4, 0, 2

I certainly didn’t start out with any idea of how to finance my education. In fact, my short-term memory loss about my loans is stunning:

  • 0: The combined number of financial aid applications I remember completing.
  • 4: The actual number of times I applied for aid (I think).
  • 0: The combined number of loan counseling sessions I remember attending during my financial aid career.
  • 2: The actual number I had to attend—one entrance counseling session, one exit counseling session.

Maybe I would have had better luck if I’d tattooed some of this information on my body?


But not on purpose. I missed my payments without even realizing it. Kind of like how Leonard kept killing innocent people without realizing it. (No, those aren’t really alike at all, are they?)

My lender sold my loan to another lender. Obviously, both lenders sent me notifications in the mail. And, obviously, I didn’t understand what any of them meant.

Eventually I figured it out, and eventually I consolidated my loans.I didn’t do this so I could remember my payments better. I did it because the letters with the capital letter-laced sentences on their envelopes told me to.


After consolidating, I dutifully paid my bill each month, happy to auto-debit the amount without thinking about it.

But things changed 4 years ago when I started working at American Student Assistance® (ASA). Loans became my job, and I realized that paying more now could save me a lot more.

By my account, that realization saved me about $1,300 in interest.


Obviously, trusting the wrong people was one of Leonard’s big issues.

I’m not a financial advisor. Far from it. Clearly, most of my brainpower goes toward thinking about movies that are over 10 years old. 

So why listen to me for information on finance and loans? Because I’ve gone through what you’re going through. I came out OK; you will too.

I’m using my knowledge and experiences to guide this blog. To make confusing topics (loans, personal finance, Memento) a bit less intimidating and a bit more interesting.

I hope you enjoy it.

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  1. Pete July 5, 2012 / 1:25 pm

    You had me at “outdated references to Memento.”

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