Student Loan Debt Is Not a Life Sentence
The current U.S. student loan debt is hovering around $1.5 trillion dollars and counting. A great majority of the people that I speak with who have student loan debt feel that it's a life sentence. I say it's only a life sentence if you plan for it to be. I realize that student loan debt is just one of many financial challenges in life, but every life challenge should have a plan of expiration.
Here are a few common mistakes I see people make when it comes to student loan debt.
1.) Ignoring the debt - Just because you feel the debt is high and you currently can't afford it, doesn't mean that you don't owe it. In this case, ignorance is not bliss and your lender WILL get their money from you and it may come at the least opportune time for you. Methods of collection may include withholding your tax refund or garnishing your wages to get their money on delinquent student loan debt. This also ruins your credit rating.
2.) Using forbearance and deferments as a way of avoiding payments - Don't falsify the documents to make it look like your budget doesn't allow for the repayment of the student loan debt. Don't put student loan debt on pause then hit play on your desired debt for a new car, new home, wedding, vacation, or other pleasurable items. Forbearance and deferments should be used for true hardships such as medical illness and loss of wages.
3.) You can't set it and forget it - If your request for a forbearance or deferment is granted, this is not set for the life of the loan. Many people forget to renew the request and their loans go into default. Make sure you understand the timeframe of your agreement and set a reminder for yourself to begin payment or renew your agreement when the agreement has expired.
4.) Parent Plus Loans - Think seriously before signing your name on the dotted line. A parent plus loan doesn't allow the same concessions (forbearances/deferments) when parents have a financial hardship. It's unfortunate when parents are still paying for student loan debt when they are planning for retirement, or even worse refinancing their homes for debt restructure because of their children student loan debt. Make wise choices when considering paying for your child's education expenses.
If you feel that your student loan debt is a life sentence for you, let me help you with a personalized budgeting session that will give you the strategies needed to set yourself free. Learn more or schedule an appointment at www.jpcreditconsulting.com