Paying Off Student Loan Debt
Congrats on furthering your education as it’s a big accomplishment and one you should be proud of! One potential downfall to gaining all that knowledge is having to manage student debt when you’re done. It can be a huge hurdle when you starting your career and trying to prioritize other financial goals like buying a home, saving for a wedding, or starting a family to name a few. You might be thinking about if there any strategies to pay it off quicker or is there a better interest rate you can get on your loan(s)? Here’s some general guidance on how to approach paying off student loans.
What’s the best strategy to pay off multiple student loans?
If you can't refinance or get a better rate than you currently have: You can tackle paying off loans using the avalanche technique as it’s best for paying the lowest amount of interest over time.
Avalanche: paying the minimum on all loans and putting extra money towards the loan with the highest interest rate. Once that's paid off, apply that entire amount to the next highest interest rate and repeat the process.
Should I consider consolidating my loans?
If there’s a high interest rate on multiple loans:
Goal is to find an institution that will give you a fixed interest rate lower than the average you have now
Make sure to get a fixed interest rate if you consolidate so you know exactly what you're paying each month compared to a variable rate as it can change over time and can go higher than you'd like to pay on interest.
If there is a loan or two with low, fixed interest rates, leave them out of the consolidation process.
Lastly, if your original loans are for 10 years and if you choose to consolidate, you'll want to make sure not to re-extend your timeline unless you'd like a lower monthly payment knowing you will start over the payoff timeline. If you’d like to re-start your payoff timeline for the lower payment, you can still choose to pay the same amount as before and that will help you accelerate the timeline (see question “When should I pay more...” below).
Are there any institutions I can look into for student loan refinancing and consolidation?
Two reputable institutions we found were Earnest and So-Fi. We recommend checking out their websites for more information on current interest rates that they’re offering specific to your loan balance. Remember, only look at fixed interest rates!
When should I pay more or less towards my loans?
The general advice is to always pay more than the minimum if your budget allows! This will help you be able to lower your balance at a quicker rate, as well as save money on interest overtime. Make sure that if you do put more than the minimum, make sure to tell your loan servicer to keep next month’s due date the same and to apply the extra money towards your current balance.
Student debt can be a financial stressor for anyone. If you have questions or needs to be pointed in the right direction, feel free to reach out as we’d be happy to help!
Investment advice offered through Great Valley Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor. Great Valley Advisor Group and Haas Financial Group are separate entities. This is not intended to be used as tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax or legal professional for specific information and advice.
All content and information is for informational and educational purposes only.
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