February 10, 2020
According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owe over $1.6 trillion in student debt—nearly 45 million of whom receive a student loan bill every month. Many with student loan debt are delaying saving for retirement, purchasing homes, getting married, starting families, or living alone in order to afford their monthly payments. There’s help available! Follow these tips to better manage, reduce, or eliminate your student loan debt.
If your student loan debt is a mixture of government and private loans with different rates and payment plans, it might be a good idea to look into refinancing or consolidating them. Many private companies, banks, and even the federal government, offer options to consolidate your debt into a single loan. If you have a good credit score and decent job prospects or income, this can save you money and help simplify your budget in the long run.
The government offers many programs to help make paying off student loan debt more manageable on a monthly basis. Income-driven repayment plans are capped at a percentage of the borrowers’ income. They can also be extended up to 25 years so your payment grows with your income. The Department of Education offers multiple options for payment plans. Visit their website or your student loan servicer’s website to find the one that fits your needs and budget the best.
The Department of Education also offers certain borrowers opportunities for loan forgiveness. For example, in one program, individuals who work full-time in a qualifying public service job can qualify for loan forgiveness of the remaining remount after making 120 payments. There are also programs for teachers who work full-time in low-income schools. Research options that might work for you.
A small but growing number of companies offer student loan repayment as a benefit for employees. While they won’t erase all your student debt, the programs can help. There are even efforts being made in Congress to make this sort of assistance from an employer tax free.
Your mobile device can be your best friend in managing your student loan debt. From apps that track your spending and budget, to apps that round up your purchases to the next dollar and deposit the change into savings accounts, there are digital tools that can help you get the most out of your money and manage your finances successfully.
Student loan debt can feel overwhelming and financially crippling, but there are ways we can help manage and relieve some of the burden. Follow these steps or stop by your local branch to meet with a personal banker to discuss options to help you manage your student loan debt, get the most out of your money, and plan for the future.