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Student Loans: 3 Tips to Help You Pay Off Debt Faster

You’re in college, or you’ve recently graduated college, and you’ve also seen the numbers. Naturally, you’re concerned about your ability to pay off your student loans.

According to a recent Forbes.com article1, which used statistics from the Institute for College Access and Success, National Student Loan Data System and the U.S. Dept. of Education, almost 45 million Americans owe on student loans. Plus, the average student loan debt per capita is almost $5,000.

In total, student loan debt in the United States now exceeds $1.5 trillion – the second highest consumer debt category behind mortgage debt in our country.

Lightening the load of your student loans likely is a priority for you. It’s also a priority of WoodmenLife. Our Student Loan Relief program offers members1 the chance to apply for a $1,000 award to help get them on the path to financial security.

If you’re still in school, make a conversation about membership with your local Representative a priority. When you purchase a WoodmenLife product to help protect your financial future, you become a member. Membership can get you on your way toward eligibility for applying for Student Loan Relief by the time you graduate. (You need to be a WoodmenLife member for three years to be eligible to apply for Student Loan Relief.) If you’ve already graduated, you still can become a member and get started toward eligibility.

Accessing Student Loan Relief is an important step in reducing the burden of your student loan debt, and help address a crisis that affects the whole country.

To help, we’ve put together some tips for paying off student loans. Here are three biggies that will go far in providing student loan debt relief.

Step 1: Stay Motivated

Yes, it’s a no-brainer, but when you have multiple loans to pay off, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This is why it’s important to be committed to paying off one loan at a time. What that means is making minimum payments on all your student loans — but making extra payments on one loan. As you begin cutting down the principal, be sure to acknowledge every step toward success.

Ultimately, you do not want drag out paying off student loans forever.

Step 2: Pay more than the minimum payment

Here’s another no-brainer. By paying just the minimum payment each month, you’re not making much headway. When you make larger payments, you’ll be able to pay down the amount you owe more quickly. You can use a Student Loan Payoff Calculator to calculate how quickly you can pay off your loans by making extra payments.

Here’s an example:

  • Let’s say you owe $35,000 in student loan debt.
  • With a 6% interest rate, and a 10-year loan term, you’d be looking at a minimum monthly payment of about $389.
  • Because of interest, repaying your student loan would actually amount to $46,629—or $11,629 more than your original loan.
  • Now, let’s say you decided to pay just 20% more than your minimum payment each month. That would put your monthly payment at around $466, which means you’d pay off your entire loan in about eight years and save more than $2,500 in interest.

One thing to be aware of is that when you pay more than your minimum monthly payment, your student loan servicers might put the additional amount onto next month’s payment. That pushes the due date back, but doesn’t actually pay off your loan any faster. You’ll need to tell your loan servicer to apply the additional amount to your current loan balance.

Step 3: Put any “extra” money toward your loans

Don’t do what most people do when they get a raise. That is: Don’t start spending your extra income right away.

Instead, the smart thing to do would be to put your extra income toward paying off student loans. Don’t buy a big house, or buy a new car or upgrade your smartphone. Use your income to provide some student loan relief.

The same is true for your tax refund. Don’t use it to buy something you don’t need or to buy some new toy. That’s because your refund isn’t free money from the government, it’s the money you already paid them. You’re getting it back because you gave them too much. So, use it for paying off student loans.

Other extra money you could use for student loan relief includes monetary holiday or birthday gifts, as well as rebates, an inheritance or a legal settlement.

There are other things to consider, too, basics like knowing exactly how much student loan debt needs to be repaid. Others might consider getting a second job or consolidating multiple loans into a single payment. Ultimately, though, paying off your student loans is doable, and there isn’t just one way to do it.

 Sources:

https://www.experian.com/blogs/news/about/pay-off-student-loans-faster/

https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-pay-off-student-loans-quickly

https://www.investopedia.com/how-to-pay-off-your-student-loans-4772422

Information for this blog was obtained from third party sources,

1.Zach Friedman, “Student Loan Debt Statistics In 2020: A Record $1.6 Trillion,” forbes.com, Feb. 3, 2020, ww.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2020/02/03/student-loan-debtstatistics/#4d9baa7d281f

2. An individual becomes a member by joining our shared commitment to family, community and country, and by purchasing a WoodmenLife product. Member benefits are not contractual, are subject to change and have specific eligibility requirements.

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Gary Peterson