Ebony Horton graduated in August 2009 with her undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. She went to Webster University for graduate school, initially with the goal of pursuing a career in HR. She also had a larger goal: to make enough to retire by age 35. It was a serious goal for Horton, but one that seemed out of reach when she started working a job after graduate school that paid $38,000 a year. She also had significant amount of debt from both degrees.
In 2013, Ebony Horton realized that she needed to overhaul her lifestyle.
Working an entry-level job in Washington, DC, Horton earned a mere $38,000 a year – barely enough to cover her living expenses, let alone make a dent in the more than $100,000 she owed in student loans.
“I was struggling to survive,” Horton, now 31, told Business Insider. “[My boyfriend and I] had two cars, but I couldn’t even afford to get a parking pass for the second car, so it was constantly getting towed. It was just one thing after another.”