You can be in denial, angry, depressed, confused, and even hurt when it comes to student loans. These are all emotions most people feel. However, it is time to deal with your student loan stress, take inventory of your student debt and build a plan. Eventually, we must accept it!
Stop Avoiding Student Loans
Face it, sometimes we refuse to admit that we have student loans. We ignore their calls. We ignore their emails. Sometimes, we refuse to view our credit reports because we can’t stand to see how our missed payments have affected our scores. You are left thinking, “How can I be expected to pay back such a large amount when I have so many other bills to pay?” Trust me, you are not alone.
Do you remember the day you received a letter in the mail outlining how much you owed in student loans? You were probably thinking, “I just started my career. How can I owe half, if not more than my annual salary?” Be honest with yourself, your student loan creditors are the last people you want to talk to, but they are actually the first ones you need to call. Avoiding your student loans won’t help you, but only hurt you.
Confront Your Student Loans
Now’s the time to put your frustration to the side, and confront your student loans. Here are 3 items that deserve confronting: 1) Find out which of your student loans are private loans vs. federal loans. Federal loans tend to offer more flexibility, so it is important to know what you can and cannot do. 2) Get the exact balance of your student loans. Sometimes, there are multiple loans that add up to a large number. Be sure to know the individual balance of each loan outstanding. 3) Find out how much you are being charged every day in interest. Unlike some credit cards (where interest can be charged once a month), student loans charge interest every day. Be sure to educate yourself on your daily interest charges.
Stop Coming Up With Excuses
Outside of actually paying back our loans, we have probably come up with a million ways to get rid of them. “Maybe, I can file bankruptcy”. Unfortunately, not even bankruptcy can erase our student debt. Or, “I’ll just play the lottery until I win”. Winning the lottery would be amazing, but what if we don’t get that winning ticket? Or, “I’ll just marry rich”. Even though finding a rich husband or wife sounds great, what if that doesn’t t happen either? No one is going to save us, but ourselves. While we are hoping, our loans are still growing.
Ways to Pay Student Loans Faster
There’s no need in feeling like you’re never going to pay off your loans. You cannot change the past, however you have full control of your future! Here are the 3 things you can do to help pay down your student debt faster. 1) Find ways to lower your monthly expenses. Try replacing your cable bill with stream tv through internet service (this can be as low as $20-$30/month). Also, begin looking for lower car insurance (NerdWallet will help compare rates). 2) Cutback on those expenses you “want”, but don’t need. Challenge yourself to eating out once a month (yes, that includes Starbucks). 3) Sign up for automatic student loan payments. According to FinAid.org, some student loan providers will discount your student loan rate by .25% or possibly more. Even though this may not seem like a lot, remember, every dollar counts.
Paying back student loans is not easy, but it is possible. However, the first step is up to you. Student loans do not need to feel like the end of the world, but instead a challenge that you soon will overcome. It is time to tackle those loans and put forth the effort needed to pay them off.
By Ashley M. Fox Financial Architect & Founder, Empify
Ashley M. Fox is a former Wall Street analyst who is an expert in her field as a Financial Architect dedicated to helping both the youth and adults build wealth from the ground up. She is the founder of Empify (merging of the words EMPower and modIFY), an education- based organization that develops life-altering curricula, informative digital content and interactive workshops curated to teach the basics of financial literacy. She has educated over 5,000 students in over 40 different schools throughout the country. Ashley is a highly-sought after speaker, and she has been featured on empowerment tours, college campuses, and keynote speaking platforms. She has been featured on Jim Cramer’s “The Street”, Yahoo Finance, AOL, Philly.com, Huffington Post, and Glamour Magazine.
Connect with Ashley on Twitter: @_ashleymfox