According to Forbes, in 2015 nearly seven in ten seniors who graduated from public and non-profit colleges had student loan debt. The combined debt of these borrowers amounted to more than a trillion dollars. For 2016, the average student debt was $37,172 – a record, and a 6.05% increase from 2015. These numbers make the plain fact unmistakable: A staggering, increasing number of students is falling in deep debt to fund their studies every year, a dept that will burden their lives for years to come until they are finally able to shake it off.
But enough of figures and numbers. You are reading this article because you are looking for ways to fight off debt. You are looking for the top 5 fastest ways to pay off your student loans. It is not easy, nor can it happen overnight. But it can be done if you do your due dilligence and do your best to follow our advice meticulously.
Start Early During College
If you are looking to tackle your student loan debt as early as possible it is extremely important that you start early. The best way to go about it is to start doing a part time job during your time in college or university. While it is certainly difficult to maintain your academic grades in top shape while working, if you can just save up $500 a month, this adds up to $6000 per year. This is a significant amount of savings that will lessen the grip your student loan has on your future life immensely, particularly if you can maintain it during the whole college duration.
Of course, whenever you start earning money temptations crop up. Which leads us to tip number two.
Adjust Your Budget Accordingly
There is nothing more important than learning how to manage your budget effectively in order to be able to save up money for your student loans on a month to month basis. Instant gratification is your enemy. Every time you are tempted to buy a luxury, or get yourself entangled in financial liabilities, you should stop and question yourself if it is really worth it.
Adjusting your budget and living off by less than what you earn means different things for different people. You might have to quit alcohol, or cable TV or going to your favorite restaurant. The point is that you create a plan, and manage your expenses every month, so that you can keep a portion of your total budget and put it to use for paying off your student loans.
Pay High Interest Loans First
This one is really important. If you are suffering from multiple loans, try to pay off those with the highest interest rate first. You should of course always pay off the minimum payment amount to all your existing sources of debt still. While doing so, focus all your energy and focus in getting rid of the highest interest loan. As soon as you are done with it, focus on the debt source that has the second highest interest rate. After you are done with it, go on to the third and so on and so forth.
It helps that you write down your sources of debt, so that you have a clear idea of what you are dealing with. Every time you knock one off your list, you will be amazed at the surge of energy and motivation that will hit you.
Strategically Allocate Income Raises
We mentioned financial liabilities before. It is important that you avoid them like the plague. Every time your income increases – you hopefully have a found a job where raises are part of the compensation – it is important that you use allocate them strategically. First of all you should avoid getting into any more debt, or obtaining any other source of liability.
In essence, what you want is to invest in things that will bring more money into your pocket over the long term. These are otherwise known as assets and will get you a return for your investment. Paying off your debt is a sort of investment in itself. While the financial gain is relatively little compared to other sorts of investment, it is a guaranteed return that will add up over time.
Consolidate & Refinance
One of the best moves you can take for paying off your student loans is refinancing them. The primary goal of refinancing is that the interest rate of a given loan will get decreased: This means that your monthly payments will go more towards decreasing your overall debt, rather than just paying off the large added interest. Obviously this will save you a hefty amount over the long term.
Lenders have various eligibility requirements and criteria, such as minimum income and free cash flow, and it is possible to refinance both federal and private student loans. Your new interest rate will likely be based on your debt to income ratio, as well as your credit score. It is recommended that you try applying to multiple lenders, so that you maximize your chances of getting your loan refinancing application approved.
There is no questioning of the fact that student loans have helped millions of students further their education, expand their knowledge and consequently improve their career prospects. Likewise, there is no questioning that student loans have a double edge and have been the cause of much distress for many young adults.
Every student committing to fund their studies through a student loan would do well to plan ahead and do all they can to start tackling their debt as early and as efficiently as possible. Education is an investment. It should open up new ways to enhance our lives and ultimately improve our financial situation. It is a sad to see so many brilliant students have to bear the burden of debt for years after they graduated. If you have fallen in deep debt, and feel as if you dug your own hole it is important that you stop digging. Today.