An accident with a shattered shower door permanently damaged her hands, but a State University of New York at Albany grad made the best of a bad situation and used an insurance settlement to put her on the road to financial stability.
A Business Insider report allowed Kiersten Conway to share the story of how she handled her finances following college graduation and the wise decision she made that changed her life following the unfortunate accident.
When Conway graduated with a bachelor’s degree in May 2018, her first concern was how she was going to pay off her student loans, Business Insider reported. She secured a job, making $35,000, and was living at home with her grandparents. She said she treated the money she earned or saved as if it wasn’t hers, and put “every spare penny” toward her student-loan debt.
In September 2019, while visiting her boyfriend in Manhattan, Conway was injured when the bottom wheel of a shower door popped off and the shower door shattered, cutting both of her hands “wide open,” according to the account.
The injury, which required getting stitches, X-rays, seeing a neurologist, meeting with an occupational therapist, and several follow-up appointments, left her with nerve damage in her right thumb and permanent scarring, Conway said.
Conway urged her boyfriend to file a claim on his renter’s insurance to help cover her medical bills. She eventually settled with the insurance company for $23,250 — “just a couple hundred dollars less” than the remaining balance on her student loans.
“That money changed my life,” Conway said.
She’s been building her net worth ever since.
After using the settlement money to immediately pay off her student loans, Conway said she began putting her spare cash in savings and investments “to build my net worth,” she said.
Since she told Business Insider she’s saved roughly $50,000, opened a 401(k) and a Roth individual retirement account, and is now able to put money away for the future.
“My goal is to max out my Roth IRA every year so I can have a chance at retiring,” Conway said.
She is out of debt at 25, and said her credit score, which continues to rise, is 793.
Conway said to be free from student-loan debt at 25 years old was worth “all the pain and the suffering, and the permanent scarring and nerve damage.”