The student loan landscape is primed for potentially drastic changes in 2019 and beyond, as your nation’s politicians debate ways to further spark the economy amidst a minor bounce back. Over 44 million student loan borrowers owed $1.5 trillion in debts in 2018 (Forbes, Make Lemonade).
So how does the Fed plan to lower student loan rates, or at the very least, help students pay off student loans faster in order to stimulate the economy? What can you do to take advantage? Here are some potential moves to make:
Increase Your Monthly Payment
Ok hang with us here. According to Business Insider, The average federal student-loan borrower owes $33,310, but will end up paying $42,397 in principal loan payments and interest over 10 years, based on federal loan interest rates. By adding just $100 to their minimum monthly payment of $353, the borrower would save more than $2,500 in interest and cut down repayment time by 32 months.
We’re not suggesting you take on another part-time job to fund the increase in monthly payment, but think about ways to cut costs with subscription-based payments like TV, phone or internet plans, or dining out less often. You can use GoldenFS’s Debt Calculator to put in all your monthly commitments to see where you stand.
Take a Deeper Look at Interest Rates
Among the Class of 2018, 69% of students took out loans, graduating with an average debt of $29,800. And 14% of their parents took out an average of $35,600 in federal Parent PLUS loans. A total of 45 million Americans owe a staggering $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, which is 50% more than what they owe on their credit cards (Forbes).
In more from Forbes, current research points to student loan debts being at least partially to blame for delays in home ownership amongst millennials and Gen Z (we know, dirty words, sorry). With that in mind, many experts recommend taking interest rates into consideration to decide whether you should invest while paying off your student loans. The rule of thumb from Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, is that any student-loan debt with an interest rate above 7% should be paid off before you invest.
Don’t Get Over-Extended in Anticipation of Student Loan Debt Relief
CNBC warns that forgiving student loan debt can be a moral hazard. The gist of it is that student loans aren’t the reason there’s a student debt crisis in this country.
The real problem is that there’s not adequate education, information or support systems in place to help students (and their families) make smarter college choices while they are still in high school. Instituting widespread changes to these long-standing institutions is a slow process. While you may see daily headlines about proposed changes, many current collegiate students will be long graduated and moved on before these new policies are finally fully put in place. You may have been making payments for years before the changes take effect. For this reason, stick to the game plan of starting a career, and factor in your monthly payments for your student loan.
If you’re concerned about making that increase in your monthly student loan payment as detailed above, you can always check in with our Budget Calculator to find the appropriate place to cut costs. Our Budget Calculator will set you up to use the Snowball Calculator. The snowball payment method has been proven to free up cash flow while helping you free yourself from debt in a few years’ time. For more helpful tips and advice, stay awhile and check out our blog!