Every May, a new group of students graduate from college and begin jobs. For many of them, large student loans put a damper on cashing-in that first paycheck. I was one such student – fortunate enough to have been given student loans, and unfortunate enough to be saddled with them. I asked my experienced contacts at Linkedin to give some advice to anyone struggling with student loan debt. For me, it was landing my first book deal. The advice they give, however, could also likely apply to consumer debt (which is a WHOLE separate issue).
- shop around for the lowest interest rates and ease of use
- lock in a fixed interest rate rather than a variable one
- (if you can afford to) pay higher monthly payments to pay off your loan faster (with less interest paid)
- make payments on time every time and if possible choose to have payments automatically deducted from your account – you’ll typically get a discounted interest rate, which over the years saves you thousands of $
You’ll need to provide more specifics about what you would like to know.
Are you asking about your own student loan debt or loan debt in general? Are you trying to pay it off? Are you wondering if you should pay off your student loan vs credit card debt?
I have a fair amount of experience with student loan debt (my own), and I would be happy to help you if I can.
I would suggest staying away from, or seriously reviewing the consolidation programs ‘fine print’. Most of the time, consolidating affords you a lower payment, but is actually just a longer time period, so the end results in a much larger payment. Much like if you bought a car and chose the 5 year plan versus the 3 year plan.
I would also suggest finding someone you trust with your finances (family, friend or professional) to help review your budget and figure out a workable game plan (without consolidating – unless you have to because your debt is larger than you can handle).
For me to get out of debt I needed to recognize that I could either keep accruing debt and always live a restricted lifestyle or just go hard at paying it off in 2 years and then live exactly how I wanted. I chose the latter and even though it was hard to do, I’m so glad I did.
I hope this helps. I know debt is overwhelming.
Look at the Department of Education. I *THINK* you can consolidate your loans directly from the government. The bonus there is that you can change your repayment plans to lower your monthly payment if you need to.
I used SallieMae when I graduated, and they have great incentives and management tools (online) for consolidating, getting a lower interest rate, deferment, and payment plan options.
Chris – I don’t have expertise in this area. But a suggestion to you would be that CPAs generally have a vast network of people they can refer you to. I would contact your CPA or a local CPA and see if they can answer your specific questions and/or refer you to someone. The other answer is to connect with your reference desk librarian, they have tons of answers and resources.
So, what’s your student loan story?