Sometimes it’s necessary to take on student loan debt. Consequently, you need a strong plan to get out of that debt as quickly as possible. The Talking Cents Blog has delved into this topic over many articles. Here is an eliminating student loan debt review to help you create a strategy.
Your Student Loan Repayment Options
Most borrowers have a few options for repayment:
- Eliminating the loan altogether through loan cancellation.
- Considering other, more affordable payment plans or loan consolidation. Monthly payments on some income-driven plans can be as low as $0.
- Postponing payments through deferment or forbearance programs to avoid delinquency/default.
What If You Are Delinquent or Default on Your Loans?
Unfortunately, our eliminating student loan debt review has to address defaulting on loans. If you have are delinquent or in default on your loans (1-270 days behind on loan payments), you must take action to avoid default! When you default on your student loans, you will suffer negative consequences.
- Your credit will be damaged.
- Your loan balance will increase dramatically as collection fees of up to 18-25% of loan balance are added.
- The IRS can intercept any income tax refund you may be entitled to until your student loans are paid in full.
- The government can take (“garnish”) a limited portion of your paycheck.
- The government can take some federal benefit payments (including Social security retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits) as reimbursement for student loans.
- Private lenders and the government can sue you to collect defaulted student loans. Unlike other debts, there is no time limit on suing to collect student loans — you can be sued indefinitely.
Don’t get discouraged if you are in default! Our counselors can help you explore your options for getting out of default including loan repayment (payment can be as low as $0), loan rehabilitation, and loan consolidation. Let’s continue on our eliminating student loan debt review to explore how you can pay off your loans.
Eliminating Student Loan Debt Review for Financial Freedom
Many Millennials are still working hard to pay off student loan debt. While this debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have, it’s important to get rid of it. Eliminating debt frees up cash and looks good for any future loan prospects. Here are a few ways to pay down student loans faster.
Make More Money to Pay Off Student Loan Debt
- Ask for a raise (make sure you deserve it!)
- Work more if paid hourly
- Get a side gig
- Bartend or waitress
- Work retail on the weekends
- Stop spending on luxury or nonessential habits
- Bring your lunch to work
- Limit your dinner menu to simple meals like rice and beans
- Sell unused household items
- Sell your car and take public transportation
- Start couponing
- Limit vacations
- Find a cheaper apartment or barter for a discount on rent
- Make gifts for birthdays and holidays
- Try making your own repairs before calling a pro (assuming you have some skills)
- Babysit on the side
- Cancel cable or even Netflix for a while
- Stop buying new clothes
- Apply any extra paychecks
- Use your tax refund
Applying Extra Money to Student Loans
Once more money starts coming in, send in extra payments that apply to the principle of the loans. Most online payments systems now have this an an easy option. If not, call the loan company directly and ask how to send in the extra payments. Typically, it just requires a little note with the payment describing where the money should be applied to.
There are two major benefits to a faster debt elimination than the scheduled repayment period. This extra money will pay down the principle which in turns means less money spent on interest. Borrowers with private loans will benefit most from this since the interest rate is usually higher than federal student loans. The other benefit to extra payments is the shortened repayment period. The loans will be paid back in full quicker than the standard 10 years. That means more money free to save, spend or donate!
Consolidating Federal & Private Loans
Finally, our eliminating student loan debt review takes us to consolidation. Whether you hold federal, private, or a mix of different loans, you have options. If you have federal student loans, you can apply for a direct consolidation loan. This process allows you to combine all federal loans into one loan with a single payment. If you hold private student loans, you have options to consolidate via your original lender or other institutions.
However, if you hold a mix of federal and private student loans, things can get a bit tricky. Federal and private student loans cannot be consolidated together, so before moving forward, consider how this caveat will impact your bottom line.
You should also be aware that if you consolidate student loan debt, you will lose eligibility to apply for federal student loan forgiveness programs.
So, is consolidating student loans smart? As always, that depends on your unique financial situation.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.