That number gives me heart palpitations because It’s the amount of money I currently owe in student loans.
I told you my “number” because I know you have a “number” as well. Just maybe, if I tell you my number and how I’m confronting my mountain of debt, you will have the information and motivation to attack your student debt.
My Student Debt Story
I made the decision to borrow $200,000 in student loans because I wanted to be a patent attorney. I majored in electrical engineering in college but I quickly realized that I didn’t have the passion to be a real engineer. So, I went to law school and in the process borrowed a mountain of cash.
Here’s the screenshot of my student loans taken straight from my old student loan servicer, Nelnet:
Uncle Sam charged me interest rates between 6.21% and 7.9% to go to graduate school. The grand total of my student loans was $180,166. By the time I graduated law school, however, I had already accumulated $27,000 in interest and my total figure had swelled up to $207,000.
As soon as I graduated law school, I sought to refinance my student loans. I choose to refinance through Earnest, and in doing so, I swapped my 6.8% cumulative interest rate for an interest rate of 3.4%, saving me $700 a month.
3 Things I Hope You Take Away From This Article
Confronting Your Student Loans
Student loans are unpleasant. They are 10x worse than paying credit card bills each month. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of mentally avoiding your debt by just following your service provider’s instructions and paying what they tell you to pay.
But if your interest rate is a high as mine was, you’ll be paying the Department of Education for the rest of your life. I believe the quickest way to be free from Uncle Sam is to learn how to efficiently manage your debt.
I did all the research required to refinance my student loans six months ago. Fast forward to today and I’m still learning things I didn’t know about my current debt situation. For instance, I didn’t realized that I’m currently paying over $500 a month in interest. I thought it was closer to $300 a month.
Although $500 is a lot, it’s a substantially less than the $1,200 a month I was accumulating in interest before I confronted my debt and refinanced.
Refinancing your student loans as soon as possible is a crucial step towards paying off your debt. Before I refinanced my student loans, I was accumulating almost $1,200 a month in interest alone. After I refinanced my student loans down to 3.4%, I’m accumulating about $500 a month in interest. While, I’m still paying enough interest per month to rent someone an apartment, the $700 a month that I’m saving as a result of my decision to refinance goes straight in my bank account every month! That’s 700 Junior Whopper Cheeseburgers.
Find out how much you’re paying a month in interest. You can calculate how much you pay a month in interest using the Daily Interest Calculator and inputing “30” under the number of days since your last payment.
There are three companies you should look into that are providing refinancing to students with a goal of doing social good. If you haven’t refinanced yet, these are the three options you should consider:
Disclaimer: These companies did not ask me to recommend them and I have no financial incentive in you clicking on the links or using their services. I just want you to be on the road to being debt free.
The Higher Your Interest Rate, The More You Pay Every Month
Most Millennials don’t quite understand the anatomy of their monthly student loan payment. It’s important to know that your student loan payment is made up of two parts, like a Jack & coke. Each monthly payment you make is one part interest (the coke) and one part debt reduction (the Jack). The lower your interest rate is, the smaller you’re interest payment will be. If you can reduce the interest payment by refinancing, you can reduce the amount of money you’re paying to the Department of Eduction every month!
Let’s say you have $50,000 of student debt and an interest rate of 8%. Under those conditions you’re paying $328 a month in interest. If you were to refinance your interest rate down to 3%, you would only be paying $123 per month in interest. You’re saving $205 a month by refinancing! That is $205 worth of Starbucks you can buy every month just by refinancing. That’s like 20 skinny vanilla chia lattes a month.
Listen To Financial Podcasts
For me, financial podcasts are the key to staying motivated. Dave Ramsey’s podcast The Dave Ramsey Show is a great place to start. He is the “get out of debt guy.” While you don’t have to follow all of his advice, a constant reminder that you’re not alone in your journey is really motivating, at least for me.
Please feel free to e-mail me. I’d love to hear about your story. firstname.lastname@example.org