Federal loans started accruing interest on Sept 1st and many payments began this month. After a three-year pause, you may be wondering what your next best steps are.
If you have a student loan payment due, the biggest thing you can do is to prepare and make sure you know how you are going to handle the payments. The company that manages your loans may have changed since forbearance began – so check this out as a first step.
As with most expenses, I always advise my clients to first and foremost revisit your budget, which most likely has changed since your last payment. Look for ways to cut $100 or more here or there (examples include cutting streaming services, fancy coffees, unused subscriptions, etc.).
Once you’ve done this, then you should figure out the maximum amount you can put toward your student loan to work on paying the balance down.
Reach out to the company handling the loan (it might have changed, you can find your servicer by logging into studentaid.gov) and secure the details on the amount due, due date and terms of the loan. Now is a good time to ask them if you can consolidate to get a better rate.
Review and Refinance
This is a must with student loans! It could help you secure a lower interest rate. Yahoo Finance recently gave this example: If you can refinance $20,000 in student loan debt and get a 4% interest rate instead of 6%, and because you can afford it, you opt for a seven-year repayment term instead of the standard 10 years for federal loans - your monthly payment would increase to about $273 instead of $222, but you'd save roughly $3,681 in interest over the new repayment term.
Take an Interest
Which brings us to the next point – understanding interest. Get schooled on how interest rates work for your loans so you understand the terms, how the payment is applied and the length of your loan schedule.
Don’t take out another loan
Overall, I don’t recommend taking out a personal loan to pay off your students. Work out a payment plan or refinance to lower the amount due. Then tackle your overall budget to eliminate unnecessary monthly expenses.
It’s always a good idea to check on your credit rating and learn the ins and outs of credit reporting.
It can be daunting to resume payments and it’s been a frustrating time with the student loan forgiveness issue over the last three years. With some planning and preparation, you can manage the payments and stay on track.
- Be prepared for the payments
- Double check on your service provider
- Doesn’t hurt to inquire about consolidating
- Resume payments, interest is beginning to accrue
- Set up an automatic payment so you don't get hit with late fees
- Look at consolidating if you have many different loans with different interest rates, helps to have one payment and get your interest rate down
- More and more employers are offering student loan repayment as an employee benefit, inquire about it with your employer or suggest it be added as a benefit
Reach out to us for advice at Maxwell Financial Management or firstname.lastname@example.org - we are here to help.