L is for Loans: How to Navigate the Ever-Changing Student Loan World

L is for Loans: How to Navigate the Ever-Changing Student Loan World

Those with student loan debts have been in for a wild ride over the past two years. Talk of student loan forgiveness has most borrowers still on the edge of their seats. But most federal loans have been paused over the past two years, making payment planning for most a little bit more complicated than before. So many with student loans are asking themselves – Do I enjoy not paying, or do I save the money and pay off the loan when and if the time comes for a larger payment later? 

These thoughts and everything in between has been on most borrowers’ minds. But waiting for hopeful news about loan forgiveness might not be the best plan of action for new graduates and those still paying off their debts. Figuring out a repayment plan is a complicated process. Many former students have a lot to figure out with many loan options, a changing economic world, and not knowing what their finances are maybe five years down the road.

Even if it works out best financially to wait until student loans must be paid again, it is a good idea to have a plan for repaying and keeping track of your loans. Here are a few steps to get started planning for your student loans now:

Be flexible.

Student loans can change over time depending on the plan you have signed up for when securing your loan. Also, the loan institution’s rules and regulations may change from time to time. Therefore, it is essential to stay up to date on what is happening with your loan. And this is especially true if you have multiple loans from different agencies. Sign up for their mailing list and save it as an important contact. Mark important dates such as payments and payment increase in your calendar. Keep in mind that things may change and being flexible about it will help you avoid much stress later.

Consider other financial goals.

If you have trouble saving for retirement or a rainy day or difficulty affording basic needs due to your student loans, it may be time to reassess your financial goals. Student loans should not hinder your life, but this can be the case for many. Look into student loan forgiveness programs or try stretching out the loan over a more considerable amount of time. Getting an education is important, but so is saving for retirement and enjoying your life.

Consider how to pay off your loans.

It seems like a simple monthly payment to pay back your loans should work for everyone. But there are different options available. With loans paused right now, it may be time to look at your options. For example, paying down a large chunk of the payment when you get a raise, or a hefty tax return could be a way to save on interest costs. Or refinancing your loan to reflect your current earnings could be the way to go with an income-based repayment plan. Check out some options on the Education Department’s loan simulator.

Paying back debt is never easy or fun. But with a bit of foresight and planning, paying back your student loans can feel like a breeze rather than a burden.


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