Joe Mihalic made Internet headlines this week by offering to share his secrets to how he paid off $90,000 in student loan debt in just seven months.
First and foremost you need to land a job “in the low seven figures” after you graduate from Harvard Business School. Then you need a healthy IRA that you can liquidate. It also helps to be completely unattached with no one else depending on you for food, clothing and shelter.
Other than that Mr. Mihalic’s suggestions are of a pretty garden variety. He suggests getting a roommate, this is where being unattached comes in handy so you’ll have a bedroom to spare. Of course Mr. Mihalic could be saving optimum money by getting a roommate for a studio apartment but somehow I think this is not the case. He suggest taking a second job on top of your “low six figure” salaried position, indulging in only free activities on dates and selling all excess possessions.
Mr. Mihalic also suggests never eating out, not even at McDonald’s, and he then advocates something illegal; take a flask with you into bars so you can still party with your friends.
The article that featured Mr. Mihalic did point out in parenthesis that this advice is “typically illegal” but for Joe Mihalic himself it seems like a possible symptom of a much deeper character flaw.
The kind assumption toward Mr. Mihalic, if not so much toward Harvard, is that he’s simply stupid, or ignorant if you prefer. Maybe he really didn’t grasp how his actions could endanger a small businessperson. That if Mr. Mihalic and his flask had been spotted by an Excise Officer that bar could end up with a big fine and even have its liquor license endangered.
Then there is the possibility that Mr. Mihalic was fully aware that bring a flask into an establishment with a full liquor license and it was just arrogance and hubris that allowed Mr. Mihalic to ignore the financial well being of others, including the bartenders and servers, many of whom are probably struggling with their own student loans, by taking up resources that could be used by paying customers and potentially costing them their jobs if his little liquor ruse was uncovered.
Mr. Mihalic’s actions bring into question what sort of ethics is taught at Harvard’s Business School; if ethics are taught at all. They certainly need to be taught as they don’t seem inborn, at least in Mr. Mihalic’s case.
As for Mr. Mihalic, he is not some callow youth but a grown-ass man almost 30 years old and there’s something very sad about a grown man sneaking a flask into a bar; something potentially AA sad. Maybe at his age Mr. Mihalic should put aside drunken partying with his friends and work toward being a sober, responsible adult who will take others into consideration before putting them at risk for negative consequences due to his illegal and inappropriate behavior. That’s a lesson he could learn for a lot less than ninety thousand dollars.