What Are The Best Ways for You to Pay Down Student Debt

Kill your student debt

This is a guest post from my friend Jacob over at Dollar Diligence.  He shows us some tips to crushing your student debt.  As you’ll read student debt is getting way out of hand these days.  I was lucky enough to graduate without any debt, but I know many people aren’t so fortunate.

Jacob writes from the perspective of an American citizen but most of these strategies and tips can be applied to people from all over the world.

Without further ado, take it away Jacob..

What Are the Best Ways for You to Pay Down Student Debt?

The student debt crisis in the United States has been growing in size and has become especially problematic. The United States Federal Reserve cites that nearly 44 million adults around the country owe about $1.4 trillion in debt from old college loans. More than 10 percent of them are at least 90 days delinquent on their payments as they are being expected to pay hundreds of dollars each month.

The expenses that come with student loans can be rather high and worrisome. But even with these problems, there are a number of things that you can do to keep your student loan debts under control.

 

Pay More Than the Minimum

The first thing you can do is to pay more for your student debt than the minimum payment. As you pay off more money on your loan, the total that is owed will be reduced. This means that the interest being added onto your loan will be reduced just as well, what with there being less money to compound.

For instance, if you were to pay an added $200 per month on your loan then you could potentially reduce the total cost of your loan by about $5,000 over the course of a three or four-year period. This comes as you are reducing the principal balance while also reducing accumulated interest expenses.

 

Cover High-Interest Loans First

Next, you should pay off your high-interest loans as soon as possible. As you pay off high-interest loans first, you will reduce the added interest costs down the road.

It is true that by paying off the higher-value loans at the start, you may end up taking more time to get the principal balance paid off. This is especially true if your highest interest loans also have the highest balances. But still, the savings that come with paying off those interest charges will certainly be worthwhile for your long term financial health.

 

Repay Private Loans First

Federal student loans typically have a number of protections. These include protections where the interest rate is fixed while forbearance or deferment plans may be included on some loans. Loan forgiveness programs are also available to those who work in public service.  Although the terms will vary based on the particular options you take out.

The benefits and protections of such loans are appealing. However private student loans do not have such benefits. If anything, they often have unpredictable rates that might be higher in value than what a federal loan offers. The lack of insurance or other delayed payment features on such loans could especially be a significant problem. Therefore, it is best to play it safe and pay off those private loans before you work on your federal or public loans.

 

Think About Refinancing Student Debt

The last tip to consider is student loan refinancing. This can be done online or at some local bank branches if you are eligible. Before reading further, you should know that you should not refinance federal student loans if you need the protections mentioned above.

To qualify for private student loan refinancing you must get credit approval from a bank or online financial services company. This includes an analysis of your payment and credit history. Depending on your history, you may be able to get a new loan that has a lower interest rate attached to it. This in turn reduces the general cost associated with paying off your loan. It may also be easier for you to cover your loan cost if you are able to get multiple loans into the same package. Moreover, managing one loan versus multiple loans is a little easier from an organization perspective.

 

Don’t Give Up

No matter what happens, you should never give up when trying to manage your student loan debt. Repaying student loan debt is most often a marathon, and not a sprint. That said, don’t be afraid to take a short cut.   Pay more than the minimum or refinance to a lower rate. After your debt is paid off, you can start investing for the future.

 

Jacob Evans paid down $25,000 in student loan debt in just 15 months. He chronicles his journey to financial independence over at Dollar Diligence. You can learn more @DollarDiligence.

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