Student Loans are something that plague people who choose to go to college and need the means to afford it. They have taken over in the list of worries and topped the list for some people. There are jobs that can’t help out people enough to the point where they have to go into deferment and forbearance. It’s a shame and as a recent graduate, I can attest that it was something I worried about for a long time once August 2015 rolled around. I graduated in May 2015 and I played around in the summer, ignoring those responsibilities that were going to pop up in December. As time started to wind down, I really started looking up on it. How much was I going to owe? Yes, I had a scholarship that covered my tuition but my first two years, I had no scholarship because I had no idea about it yet. How were they going to determine payments? What was the length of my payment plan? These were all the things I started to stress about and think about all the time.
It obviously wasn’t a great time to be working as a part-time Marketing Assistant and applying for full-time positions so I could make these payments. It’s crazy to think about how much my life has changed in three short months and being able to worry just a little bit less. Nonetheless, I still had to go through the process of getting things together and figuring out what I was going to do. It’s a lot but you can do it especially if I can do it. I prayed on it and knew that it was going to work out. It will in some ways. If you need to declare deferment or forbearance then do that – you have to do what is best for you in this moment.
6 Thoughts when it comes to handling student loans,
- Grace Period. Your grace period is the six months after graduation that you have until you have to pay back your loans. It doesn’t fly by like I thought it would. In fact, I think that’s why I didn’t worry way too much at the beginning. I figured I could save up and when the time came that I would be okay.
- Prioritize. Which loan do you want to pay off first? Which one NEEDS to be paid off first? There are so many things to consider as you go through your list of loans and try to figure out when to pay and how much to pay. Make a list of the smallest to the biggest, variable vs fixed rate – you can start by paying off the smallest loan and watch your variable rates because those will change on you. My prioritization went along with my rates and the size of my loans – I focused on what needed to be done first and google A LOT.
- Budgeting. Depending on what you’re doing in life, you need to budget and get things together so you can stay on track. Straight out of college, it’s a reality check to know you aren’t going to be this boss that you dreamed of right away – the hard work has to go into everything and you have to keep your means of living balanced.
- Consolidate or not? This is a big thing. Do you want to put all your payments into one big payment so you can remember when they’re due or just mark up your calendar with reminders? I think it’s important to consider if you have borrowed from different banks, just remember that federal and private can’t be mixed. I consolidated my loans, made it easier on myself to pay it all once a month. It makes my life easier especially when you factor in utility bills and rent due dates.
- Deferment & Forbearance? These are two options available for those that can’t make their payments at the moment. It’s nothing to be ashamed of if you can’t. I considered forbearance before I got my new job – give myself another six months and pay $100 a month in the interest, that didn’t sound so bad but I knew my variable rate loan would increase unless I jumped on it. Look into it if you need to, I know a handful of people that have gone this route to get themselves together and stress a little lower.
- Paying it off faster. You can pay your loans off faster, it is your choice. You can pay more than the minimum and apply bonuses to your loans. I know that I assess my monthly budget and play iff if that on whether or not I want to pay the minimum or pay more than the minimum.
My process wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I won’t lie and say it was hard, it was actually easy once I went through with consolidating. I was happy with the bank I choose and the people I worked with – great customer service, I recommend Wells Fargo to everyone. I’ve seen dozens of different posts about paying off loans with different tasks and surveys, I have yet to check them out but I plan to! If you have any ideas and advice, please feel free to share!