Pay Off Student Loans

Continuing the student loans thread, I went back and asked my LinkedIn contacts how they paid off their student loans. Their stories provide both advice and inspiration to anyone feeling trapped by education debt.

Jason Carey:

People actually pay them off?

Sheilah Etheridge:

The hard way, one month at a time. Never late, never skipped a payment. When ever I had extra I would make the regular payment plus an additional amount to the principal. Once it became managible I was able to pay the balance in full.

Chesley Coughlin:

My startup got bought out by intel in 1999. Good bye debt!

Christopher Turek:

I kept ignoring it until…..My great uncle (who I had met exactly once when I was 7 years old) died and left me $17,000…. There was plenty left for beer and cigarettes (Even after I paid off the remainder of my loan)…Ohh yeah I also bought some good audio monitor’s and a 16 channel mixing board PLUS paid my rent. Boy 17K went along way in ’89! Thank you Uncle Morey!!!!!

Ben Wilkinson:

stock options!

Jim Hendrickson:

I had about $15,000 in student loans when I graduated in 1985. I deferred for four years while I served as an Army Officer. I did a Sallie Mae consolidation loan at about 6%. The term was fifteen years and if memory serves it was around $110 per month. I started paying off a month at a time while I started my civilian career and paid my dues. About 9 years in, my financial situation improved significantly due to promotions etc and I had the money needed to pay it off. I chose to do so more for convenience but loved the idea of the loans being gone.

Steven Vaughan-Nichols:

The long, hard road of one payment at a time. When I had extra money, and my higher interest debt was paid off, I put any additional cash I had into paying it down more quickly. I finally got it down to the point where I was able to pay off the remaining balance with one big check. It’s like any debt. Avoid getting unless you need to, and when you get some, pay if off as fast as you can, starting with the highest interest cost loans and working your way down. For morale purposes, I also found it helpful to pay off small debts that I could take out fast even if they didn’t have high interest rates. I just wish I had figured out this finance 101 lesson earlier in my life. As it is, however, I have had zero debt for years. It’s a great feeling.

Jason Unger:

Still paying it off! But with automatic online payments, I’m never worried about having a late fee or forgetting to write a check! Online Savings blog

Alex Harford:

I continued to live like a student, after getting a full time job. No new toys, car, or anything like that. I was lucky to get some good co-op positions that reduced my need for loans, but I still came out with $10k owing. By living below my means, I paid off the loans in 18 months.

Jennifer Carey:

I got hit by a car. I paid them off with the insurance settlement.

Seth Schneider:

I had a bit less than $15k in loans when I graduated. I hated the idea of being in debt, so I paid it off as quickly as possible. Even though I didn’t have a high paying job after graduating, I lived frugally and managed to pay it off in about a year. Financially I might have been better off investing some money and paying off the loan more slowly, but I just didn’t like the debt.

Roger Wong:

I’m paying the minimums because given the interest rate differential, I can make more investing the money instead of using it to pay off my loan.

Don K:

I didn’t pay mine for over 20 years !! Every year they kept my tax refund which amounted to next to nothing – then a few years ago I wanted to buy a house so I got in touch with them, and they agreed to drop all the interest for 20 years and settle for half of the original loan 🙂

Scott Terry:

My last year of college saw enough grants and scholarships to pay for both semesters, and I was even approved for a sizable student loan. Looking back, I *wish* I had not taken it! The interest I ended paying on it was far from the worth of the things I bought from using it. Ugh 🙁 My advice? Skip student loans as much as possible, especially if you don’t need them. The burden of the debt just isn’t worth it.

So, what’s YOUR student loan story?

17 thoughts on “Pay Off Student Loans”

  1. Pingback: Credit Debt
  2. Well I have over $50,000 in student loans and I want to continue my eduaction. Even if I pay month to month with a little extra I would never pay this amount off unless I pay it off in a lump sums every month are all at once.

  3. my student loan is from 1978, in the amount of 4,200. Over the years, I have paid some, and then my wages were garnished, tax returns taken. I have paid them twice over that way, but the interest is 150 percent, and now, 2007, my amount owed is 14,448.00 I am about to retire and cannot repay it. I offered 1000.00 cash, close the account. They said no. Well, I am too old to care. Thake 15 percent of my Social Security check when I get it. My 85 year old mother wont eat. She lives with me , and I help her. What to do?

  4. Pay your student loans off slowly, esp if you have a low interest rate and invest the rest!! don’t pay it off fast, that’s the biggest mistake people make.

  5. I graduated with about $62,000 in student loan debt. For three years I lived in an expensive city with an expensive girlfriend. I lived outside my means. 14 months ago I moved to an inexpensive city, with a kind landlord who charges me very minimal rent. I put every single spare CENT towards my loan. I pay about $2500 per month, and have decreased the loan, in 14 months, to about $35,000. I plan to be debt free by the end of 2008. I live more frugally than I did as a student, and I have declared personal WAR on my student debt. It consumes me, which I’m more than okay with, so long as I kill this monkey on my back.

    My advice: Don’t brood over your mistakes. Instead, devise a seek-and-destroy strategy, and stick to it, and don’t back down until you have killed the debt. Then keep saving to avoid EVER being in the same vulnerable position again.

  6. I was told student loans are a good debt and that you’ll have low monthly payment…..and that the more education the better. So i took the advise and went to undergrad and grad school by taking out student loans. With no one ever telling me to be cautious on the amount. So i graduated with a masters degree and currently have about 150,000 in debt! (I found a good private grad school to go to that cost me 35,000/yr) So i feel i’m making good money and make above average for my field, about 78,000/yr, however im living paycheck to paycheck and am overdrawn about once every two paychecks. I see no end! If i could do it again, i would never gone down the path i did……but now i’m stuck. I like the field im in, but dont love it. And i cannot change into the field i love because than i wouldnt make enough to pay my loan payments and live. Student Loans = death to freedom in this country!

  7. I graduated almost 10 years ago with about $32,000 in Student Loans. I moved to NYC and was earning a whopping $10.50/hr. You can imagine how far that went. Don’t bother trying to file for Economic Hardship – it’s a bunch of crap because they don’t factor in the cost of living in the area that you live in. Making $23,000 a year in Tucson would be fine, but NYC is 3x more expensive. So interested added up, I defaulted, and penalties added up, until I was giving “no choice” by the credit agency but to consolidate the loan with the William D Ford. DON’T EVER DO THIS – you always have a choice. I you consolidate, all the interest and penalties are locked in a new loan and you can not EVER negotiate them out. By January of 2005 I found my loan in the hands of the Dept of Education and a nice new loan total of $98,000.00 – THAT’S RIGHT!!! Go USA!! (funny, the guy from DOE said that consolidating my loan was the worst thing I did as well… I say the worst thing was taking the damn loans out to go to college)

    Over the past three years I worked my rear off and got better jobs and started making better money. Anyway, they can s*ck my b*lls now because as of 03/04/08 I completely paid it off! Here’s a finger to you DOE and every bank that held my loans!

    My suggestions:
    Don’t ever listen to your lender when they say you have “no choice” – they just want their money and will do anything to get it.
    Like Paul said – just deal with it and pay it off.

    I hate the fact that money is gone and I spent the better part of 9 years trying to come up with enough every month to pay the stupid payment. but now I am completely debt free with a credit rating of 720…. and my life can finally begin!

  8. I graduated medical school with now $250,000 in student loans. The bad thing is that I decided not to pursue a residency given some family situations and sick parents. I am working full time, but only make about $53K per year. I have consolidated my loans, but what options do I have? I can’t just live my life paying this off, but I just feel helpless now. Any advice? email me if you have options or something to say about this.

  9. i just spent the last half hour reading these comments. i am about to graduate this may with $56,000 in debt. i am in tears reading all of your comments…will i get a good enough job to pay this? even if i do, i’ll spend 20 years paying it off. i will only have a business degree (undergrad) so chances are i’ll make about 50k…that won’t be enough!! i’m so upset and so very scared. i thought the education would be worth it but i don’t think it is. now i doubt the last 3 years of my life. i should have been a real estate agent and not gone to school…i want to kill myself 🙁

  10. Never, EVER, place your student loans in forbearance!!! Start paying what you can while you are in school or your loans could double by the time you graduate, mine did. Borrowed 60K ended up owing 120K, take my advise seriously.

  11. To Jim Hendrickson,

    Hi, I just saw your post about deferring the loan payments while serving as an officer in the army.  I’m also considering the army officer path, and wanted to find out how to defer while in the army, thanks, my email is [email protected]

  12. To Jim Hendrickson,

    Hi, I just saw your post about deferring the loan payments while serving as an officer in the army.  I’m also considering the army officer path, and wanted to find out how to defer while in the army, thanks, my email is [email protected]

  13. I did not know how this student loans work, all I was told by the school financial consultant was to apply for them since I was a single mom with 3 kids to feed going to school full time and working part time to support them, well I graduated and got hurt in my hands and I couldnt pay them so now they are taking my taxes ever yr. I have gotten low paying jobs just to get by but no money to payment for 3 loans of $ 2,500.00 they have accumulated to 22,542.97 I am in my late fiftys and would like to buye a home for me, how can i get the interest down any advise, thank u

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