Surviving the Student Loan Battle

Are you a recent graduate? Congrats! Time to kick back, celebrate, and contemplate years of student debt repayment pain. These tips will help you de-stress, pay down and defeat your student loans.

College is almost always a good investment (looking at you, BA in Electronic Dance Music Theory). You have to spend money to make money, right? But what if the money you’re spending amounts to tens of thousands of dollars per semester, and you have no idea how to manage it all? Well, hold off on that plan to escape to Europe. These simple tips for dealing with student loans can offer some guidance and relief.

1. GET ORGANIZED

Organization will be your biggest weapon for battling the student loan monster.

By the time you graduate you may have several different loans from a number of lenders. Are they private or public? What are the interest rates for each one? What kind of repayment plans do they offer? What are the balances? These are questions you should be able to answer for each loan you have, no matter how big or small. Stay organized by keeping a notebook or Excel document with all your current student loan information.

If you have questions about your loans, reach out to the lenders directly. The only way you’ll find the best repayment options is by talking to them. Most will work with you to provide the answers you need. You can also check out the National Student Loan Data System for information about all your current federal loans.

2. REVIEW ALL YOUR OPTIONS

Forbearance. Deferment. Consolidation. Income-based repayment plan. What does it all mean? Just glancing at the details of your repayment plan can give you an instant case of the I-can’t-even’s. But don’t let it. Lenders want to be paid back, and they’ll often extend you different helpful options that will enable you to do that.

Your lender will likely offer something called income-based repayment, which means they’ll look at your income and figure out a payment that fits into your budget. This may drastically reduce your monthly payment, as well as ensure you can keep up with your other bills and needs.

Forbearance and deferment are two other options that allow you to delay your payments based on circumstances like unemployment, returning to school or military service. Deferment is usually a better option than forbearance because the government may pay your interest during the postponement, while interest still builds up during forbearance.

Loan Consolidation allows you to combine all of your federal student loans into one loan. This is more convenient because you won’t have to worry about making several payments each month, however it can lead to a longer repayment period. If you’re considering this route, make sure you learn about the interest rates and fees on the new consolidated loan before agreeing to it. Learn more about student loan consildation in our blog post The OppLoans Guide to Consolidating Student Loan Debt.

3. SET REALISTIC GOALS

Your student debt is an investment you made in yourself. It’s the accumulation of years of education and dedicated study. So don’t expect it to go away in a day either.

Paying off student debt can be a long and arduous process. It may take years before you’re debt free. Research indicates that the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off his or her loans. That’s a long time. So, breathe, take your time, don’t stress too much and find the best repayment option for you. Consult with a financial advisor for additional help!

If you’re burdened with student (or other kinds of debt), a credit-building installment loan can be a strategic option to make ends meets. Click below to get your safe and secure OppLoan!

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