Melanie Lockert Expertise: Budgeting, Debt Education: NYU Tisch School of Arts, California State University, Long Beach Highlights Melanie has written widely about personal finance, especially on debt, spending, and debt’s impact on mental healthHer work has appeared on Credit Karma, Business Insider, CentSai, and other online publicationsShe paid off student loan debt of $81,000 and draws on that experience to inform her writingShe is the author of “Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt,” a personal finance memoir and how-toShe co-founded LOLA Retreat, a gathering for women to discuss money and finances Experience While pursuing college degrees in theatre arts, Melanie racked up more than $80,000 in student loan debt. Living with this debt, managing its effects on her mental state, and eventually paying it off informs her writing and her advocacy. As a personal finance writer she’s been published on Business Insider, Credit Karma, CentSai, and others. As an advocate for women’s financial empowerment, she co-founded LOLA Retreat, a gathering of women to discuss money and personal finance.Melanie is the author of “Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt,” which details her struggles with student loan debt and its effects on her mental health In the book she shares the tools and strategies she developed to cope with and eventually overcome her debt. About The Balance The Balance, a Dotdash Meredith brand, makes money easy to understand. We give people tools they need to not only make smart financial decisions but also prepare for the experiences they will have along the way. Our team of expert writers and editors have extensive qualifications in the topics they cover, and many of them have MBAs, PhDs, CFPs, and other advanced degrees and professional certifications. We require our writers to use primary sources in their articles, which are also approved by our Financial Review Board and fact-checked. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.