Paying off Your Student Debt
The high cost of college has left many students in debt. Obviously this debt can have a major impact on building your future wealth.
Here are some facts that you need to know about your student debt
1. If you have a debt from a federal student loan, you have six months to begin repayment.
2. You have five options for repayment
- Standard loan repayment – you pay a fixed amount over the life of loan. You have to make a minimum repayment. You can accelerate your loan payments if desired.
- Graduated payment – you pay less at first with an increased payment at a later time. This option will increase your total interest payments but it may be a good option if your income is low at first.
- Income sensitive – you pay a fixed percent of your salary (4%-25%). You have to reapply for this option each year. This option will result in higher interest payment over the life of the loan.
- Income based – In this case, you limit your payment to 15% of your discretionary income. You have to demonstrate financial hardship to qualify and be recertified each year.
3. You can consolidate your loans if you have them at different loan rates, or from different schools. The consolidation will make the payment process easier.
Outlined below are some strategies for repaying your student loans
- Pay off more than is required if at all possible. This will result in lower interest payments.
- Have the payment made automatically. This assures that the payment will be made on time and consistently.
- Beware of any offers to lower your debt. These are generally scams
- Plan for both your loan repayment and retirement contributions together. You will want to make sure to make enough retirement contributions to take advantage of the full amount of your employers match. You need to make sure that your loan repayment schedule allows you to take full advantage of your employer’s retirement contribution.
- When your retirement investment has built a significant value, consider borrowing form this to pay off your student loan. You will be paying a lower interest rate and the interest will be paid to yourself. See the topic: Understanding how a 401(k) Plan Works.
Student loans can often be one of the largest payments you will ever make. You need to treat your repayment options very carefully. .