Advancing The Profession of Pharmacy

Lesson 2: Don’t OVER-BORROW

by | May 5, 2016 | Consulting Pharmacist Education

The first lesson in our Achieving Financial Balance series was Dr. Ulbrich’s guest post on The Path to Becoming a Millionaire.

Now to elaborate on my recent interview on the CommonBond blog, I wanted to share with you my own journey towards Achieving Financial Balance.

I feel that balance is a good word to describe my journey.  In order to stay “balanced” you must make small, constant adjustments in order to stay upright.  At times in my journey, the focus has been on buying a home or having a baby; huge balance shifts.  Other times is has been investing in my business; a smaller shift in focus.  Today, I want to talk about another shift in focus and my goal for 2016…paying off ALL of my student loan debt.

You may or may not know my story, but in 2014, my former employer could no longer afford to keep me on staff as a full time pharmacist.

My biggest concern was that I was six months pregnant at the time of the layoff and had planned on an 8 week maternity leave.  Finding a new full time position, then immediately going on maternity leave was not how I wanted to begin this new chapter of my life.

My husband and I decided to get serious about our family budget.  We made a conscious decision to live well below our means so that I did not have to return to a full time position.  We began tracking every dollar that passed through our hands using the free budget software at

We made a decision to be totally debt free by 2025 and we would start with my student loans!

Did you know the average pharmacy student graduates with $144,000 in student debt?

Restructuring our finances led me to take a hard look at how much my consolidated federal student loan was costing me.  At a staggering 6.38% APR, around $300 of the $415 minimum monthly payment went to interest!

Do you know how much you are paying in interest each month on your student loans?

From 2014 to 2015 we doubled our payment on those loans to try to bring down the principal (total) balance.  When we STILL weren’t making the progress we wanted we decided to look at refinancing options.  We knew that my refinancing we would increase the monthly payment, but it would save us a ton of money in the long run.  The average borrower saves between $11,000-16,000 over the life of the loan.

Who should I use?

In March 2015, I chose CommonBond to refinance my students loans using a 1.92% Variable 5-Year loan, saving me around $2,100 annually.  With a plan to tackle my debt and the money I was saving, I decided to explore a new path: pharmacy consulting.  Which led me to developing the PharmapreneurAcademy e-course and Community Forums (check it out if you are interested in becoming an MTM consultant).

When it came to deciding which refinancing company to use, I felt CommonBond’s Social Promise resonated with my personal values.  

Education is one of the few things that can never be taken away.
Education integrates into one’s identity.
As an “educated” person, I feel the only way to show gratitude for my extreme privilege is to pay it forward.

Next week, I will share with you how I am using The Pharmapreneur Academy to pay it forward.  And YOU can be a part of it too!

This new “Achieving Financial Balance Series” will help you:

To keep up with the Series and receive all new posts, join the Pharmapreneur Academy Newsletter and get each new post delivered straight to your inbox!

About the Author

Blair Thielemier, PharmD, is a business development consultant specializing in pharmacist-led billing models. She has set the industry standard for virtual pharmacy conferences with the Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit in 2017. She has consulted with national pharmacy organizations, drug wholesalers, point of sale companies, and Fortune 5 health insurers. She has books and online courses available for individuals looking to leverage their pharmacy knowledge into monetized clinical programs at She speaks internationally about trends in leveraging pharmacists to improve value-based care.


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