Financial stress is no laughing matter. And nearly 30% of Americans deal with financial stress to a constant, chronically unhealthy degree.
Student loans are definitely one of the lead causes of financial stress. In fact, it should be considered a debt crisis of its own. Nearly 45 million borrowers owe a collective $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in just America alone. It can certainly be comforting to know that you’re not alone if you’re swimming in student loan debt. One may be able to put the thought of paying back all of that money on the backburner while they’re in college, but once they’re out, it’s time to pay up and pay up quickly.
This can be deeply overwhelming, and no graduate should have to deal with it on their own. If you’re a graduate who is facing student loan financial stress, don’t worry. We have a list of methods, tips, and tricks to pay off your student loans as quickly as possible. Financial technologies (FinTech) have been changing and improving in recent years to benefit those suffering in the student loan crisis, and we’re going to cover some of what these technologies can do to help you.
Financial freedom from debt is in your future– it just takes a little bit of knowledge to know how to reach that point successfully.
Remember That You Can Change Your Payment Plan Whenever You Want
If you immediately went with the first payment plan offered to you upon graduation, you might be finding yourself in a predicament six months, a year, or two years later. Maybe that payment plan is a little too intense for you. Maybe you realized that the payment plan you went with will not benefit you when it comes to paying off your loans quickly.
Don’t worry– a vast majority of lenders are willing to not only change your payment plan at least once a year, but they’ll also offer assistance in figuring out a plan that works for you.
Remember That Many Jobs Offer Loan Forgiveness Plans
It’s true! Take the time to research your field and see if loan forgiveness plans or employee advances are commonly offered for entry-level employees. If you do find prospective jobs that offer such plans, strongly consider them as a potential job. Jobs that offer loan repayment plans may not be the most high-paying entry-level positions in the market, but the fact that they do offer loan repayment as part of their benefits package makes them just as worth it as a higher-paying facility.
Opt For Deferrment, But Pay Off Your Interest First
Paying off your loans straight out of school is not a reality for a lot of people. This is quite understandable. However, if you have a bit of money saved up, you can opt for a deferment and still pay off that interest in one lump sum.
You can talk to your lender about calculating all of the interest that will be accrued during your grace period and pay that off at once. This means that you’ll be able to prevent the accrued interest from capitalizing. If your interest capitalizes, that means the accrued interest is added to your principal balance. If this happens, you’ll have to pay interest on the accrued interest. Luckily, this can be avoided by paying off that deferment period interest ahead of time.
It’s also worth noting that you should keep your deferment period short. Straight out of college, six months should be your goal, if not less. Deferment may seem easy, but unfortunately, it only delays what you’ll have to deal with anyway. And at that point, it’ll take even longer to put off. We get that student loans are not fun and long-term deferment seems attractive– but in order to really be free from that debt, you simply have to start making payments as soon as you can.
Keep Living the Student Lifestyle for a Bit
Ah, graduation! Stepping out into the real world for the first time as an official graduate feels great. However, when student loan repayment creeps around the corner, remind yourself that you’re still going to need to live like a student for a little while if you want to pay off those loans as quickly as possible.
This means being frugal and mindful about where your income is going. If you received a job in your field straight out of school, that’s wonderful! Still, you need to save your money and put a lot of cash into your student loan debt repayment plan. Keep a frugal budget and stick to it. Make it your goal to live this way for a year, no matter how good your payroll may be, and use a majority of the money you make to pay off your loans. Keep an eye on overdraft fees and only spend money on things you need, keeping treats and splurges to a minimum.
Understand Your Student Loan Numbers
Once you graduate, you’ll likely receive emails from FedLoan Services (or Sallie Mae, Nelnet, etc.) asking you to opt into a specific payment plan.
Before you even consider agreeing to a specific plan, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with your numbers. We get it– it’s really stressful looking at how much you owe and how much you’re going to owe in interest. But once you actively look at your numbers and calculate them, they have less power over you. They’re less mysterious, less scary.
When calculating your numbers, use your loan agreement to figure out what your current debt is and what your overall debt will be by the time it is paid off. This way, you can work with your lender to find a payment plan that won’t put too much stress on your current finances but will still get you out of debt faster and with less thrown-away interest.