Getting an education and going off to college is supposed to be an exciting and hopeful time in your life. But, for most people, it also comes with student loan debt.

That’s what happened to Drs. Renée and Nii Darko who had $700,00 of student loan debt a couple of years after graduating college. The debt seemed like a burden they would have to deal with for decades.

After realizing that they would spend close to $1.2 million repaying their debt if sticking with the minimum payment, they decided to take a different approach.

With strategy, discipline and sacrifice, they paid $700,000 worth of debt in 3 years. Dr. Renée and Nii created a plan. They focused on earning extra money outside of their main job as physicians, improving how they managed their income, and making money work for them – so that they would pay off their debt, build wealth and live life on their terms.

In this episode, Dr. Renée and Nii Darko discuss:
  • How they accumulated $700,000 of debt and how they paid it off in 3 years
  • Debt deferment & how their debt grew by $100k in interest alone in a few years
  • How they became more intentional with their money
  • Their IVF journey
  • Designing a wealthy life on their terms
  • How they implemented out-of-the-box side hustles like: “Docs Outside the Box” Podcast & Independent Contracting Business
  • How they are investing to build wealth for the future
  • Tips to have a successful work relationship with your spouse

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Dreamers’ Wealth of Wisdom:
  • I figured if I’m going to build a life with a person, then, part of that life is going to include the resources that we have together. – Dr. Renée Darko
  • So we were actually broke. And that really pushed us to be more intentional with our money—to actually start budgeting instead of doing this mental math in our heads. – Dr. Renée Darko
  • Between the two of us, we made a pact not to create any more debt. And it helped us to solidify that we were on the same page and that we were working towards the same goal. It made us committed, not just to each other, but to this life that we were trying to build together. – Dr. Renée Darko
  • We enjoy our autonomy better. We enjoy being on our own better. So that’s why we have this type of lifestyle. It allows us to keep that dream of why we wanted to be a doctor. That autonomy—it keeps it going for us. – Dr. Nii Darko
  • Since we arranged our lives in such a way where we live very minimally, we don’t spend a lot of money and we don’t really have much debt. – Dr. Renée Darko
  • The most important thing is that we dream together and that we see the same type of goals. We have the same type of dreams, wishes, and wants in our life. But we’ve learned to let each other do their thing. And then we meet in the middle and decide to make the magic occur. – Dr. Nii Darko
  • The key thing is to recognize the strengths of each other and to really maximize that. – Dr. Nii Darko
  • You have to trust the person you’re marrying. If you don’t trust that person, you probably shouldn’t be marrying them. – Dr. Renée Darko
Show Transcript:
About the Guest:

Power couple Drs. Renée and Nii Darko bring a unique perspective as two Black physicians who went from living paycheck to paycheck to overcoming significant student loan debt in three short years.

Renée is a first-generation Haitian-American who grew up in Brooklyn and attended college in Westchester County. Nii is a first-generation Ghanaian-American who grew up in Irvington, New Jersey.

Aside from being physicians, the couple also ventured into things that are “outside the box.” Nii created Docs Outside the Box podcast in 2016. The show is a fusion of money, medicine, and pop culture. He features doctors, professionals, influencers, and entrepreneurs who are earning, saving, and investing their way to lifestyles they’ve always wanted.

Renée created MEdEq, an app to help underrepresented students overcome the challenges of getting into medical school. Equal Access Health is their locum tenens business, a temp agency for physicians. In 2020, the couple also ventured into real estate investing by purchasing their first property, a 6-unit multi-family.

The couple is also keen on documenting their life and journey through their blog, Keeping Up with the Darkos.

Connect with Drs. Nii and Renée Darko:
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