Walking across the stage and receiving your college degree can be the first step toward adulthood. Gone is the structure of education, replaced by the uncertainty of finding your first professional career.
But one thing that is often certain after graduation is student loan debt.
While the U.S. Department of Education extended the student loan pause, payments will be restarting after August 31st, 2022. Though there’s still some time before this happens, it’s helpful to be prepared.
In the hyper-competitive world we live in, many people feel that a degree is a baseline requirement for employment. And though higher education can be beneficial in the long run, it’s costly. So what can you do to stay afloat?
That large number will slowly shrink as you chip away at it. Just start, keep on top of your payments, and try not to default. If you’re able to make larger payments on your principal, it will help reduce your interest rate more quickly. Stay positive, and imagine the sense of satisfaction that comes with finally paying your loans off.
Ask for Advice
Remember that you aren’t alone and that others have experienced the repayment process. Consider talking with people that have paid off their student debt, or joining a group with other graduates that are on their loan repayment journey.
Resources like The Federal Student Aid website are filled with information on the repayment process and can help you understand how it works and how to start paying off your debt.
Think about consulting with a financial professional to create a plan for debt repayment. They can help you identify your short-term and long-term goals, and develop a strategy that helps you stay on track even when life doesn’t go as planned.
When you do finally land a job in your chosen field, it’s easy to say that you’ll live on a shoestring budget to pay off your debt. But you should aim to be realistic, and create a budget that considers your needs and wants and allows you to live.
This may make it tempting to pay the bare minimum, but setting your goals higher can help you save interest in the long term. You can even make extra payments if you have additional funds since there are no formal penalties for prepayment.
Paying off student loans doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By developing a strategy and enlisting help when needed, you can work towards tackling your repayment while still enjoying life. If you have questions about starting your debt repayment journey, consider talking to a financial professional.
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