Student loan debt is one of those tricky forms of debt that’s just affordable enough to stick around for a painfully long time. Student loan debt isn’t like credit card debt. It’s designed to be much more affordable, which works for poor college kids just entering a career on the other side of graduation. The problem is, because interest rates are relatively low, it can be easy to hold onto debt for years or even decades. If this bad relationship keeps getting drawn out, most graduates won’t exactly be going broke, but their financial development will be severely stunted. College students of average means pay off their debt quickly every day. It takes strategy and commitment, but it’s often worth it. Here are a few helpful methods.
- Brute Force. We could start with spreadsheets and debt theory, but the best way for students to pay off their debt quickly is to buckle down and make it happen. Fast debt cancellation almost always happens on two different fronts: work and frugality. On the one hand, it can be helpful to work extra hours, or even an extra job. On the other hand, these extra funds must be poured into a student’s outstanding balance with consistency, in order to see the debt go away quickly. Both of these behaviors are ways that most people are unwilling to live, but they can cancel debt at a rate that few people are able to experience. Debt-free, a student can start entering mature financial life. It’s easier to buy a car, a house, get a good job, and build a personalized lifestyle for happiness and satisfaction. Debt has a way of hamstringing all of that.
- Refinancing. Because so many students have tons of debt which they can’t seem to get rid of, there are aggressive refinancing options made available, more each day. In short, refinancing takes higher interest debt and consolidates it into a new account, one with a lower interest rate which will not accumulate new debt as quickly. This can make the above method pay off a lot more efficiently, though it can be used alone with normal work and payment schedules.
- Workplace Assistance. There are many careers which offer student debt repayment as a workplace benefit. This is a pretty spectacular offer for many students. Employers know this. There are talent shortages in many industries, meaning that employers have to vie for a small supply of talented people, often winning them to a job by offering the best benefits. If you have desirable skills, understand what you’re worth and use your skills to negotiate student loan payment benefits, or take advantage of the ones which are offered as standard at the company you are getting a job with.
Any personal finance blog will offer many of these suggestions and others. But people entering college often aren’t prepared with this information. Upon graduation, the nature of debt is something of a surprise. Prepare students who are about to enter college, or are preparing for graduation, with this information. It’ll help them develop much stronger financial lives in the future.