Tis the Season
Dec 14, 2011 by Michael Murphy | 0 Comments
November is gone. The smells of turkey and stuffing have finally faded from our kitchens. The last of the rotting leftovers have been cleared from the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Orange and brown decorations have been quickly replaced by green and red.
All these signs point to one inevitable conclusion: it's time to start thinking about paying off student loans! Now this may not have been everyone's first thought. Perhaps some of you thought, "Christmas is almost here! Joy to the world and Hark! the herald angels sing." Coincidentally, yes, this also happens to be the Christmas season. For me, however, there is something about freshly fallen snow and a mug of hot cider that warms my soul and brings interest rates to mind and I'm sure anyone else with a student loan feels the same exact way.
The spirit of the holidays makes everything just a little more exciting, so naturally when I saw an article this morning titled "10 Tips for Zapping Student Loan Debt," I became unnecessarily enthused. I don't want to ruin the whole article for you by revealing all 10 juicy tips in this blog, but here are a couple I get really pumped up about:
1. "Don’t freak out, advises The Project on Student Debt. If those loans are a huge pain because of unemployment, health problems or other unexpected financial issues, you have options to delay payments until you get back on your feet. A deferment or forbearance might be right for you, but consult your lender and make sure you understand the terms of postponing your payments.
Keep in mind that interest accrues on all types of loans during forbearances, and on some types of loans during deferment, which increases your total debt. If you can afford it, consider making interest-only payments."
9. "Check out whether you qualify for income-based repayment (IBR). If your federal student loan debt is high relative to your income, income-based repayment could help alleviate the pressure of repayment. If your total student loan payments for the year are higher than 15 percent of your annual income, you can have your loan spread out further and your monthly payments lowered.
Another perk? If your IBR payment is less than the monthly interest that accrues on the loan, the government will pay your unpaid interest for up to three years, according to the Student Loan Network. If you are still making IBR payments after 25 years, your debt is forgiven." There are also upcoming changes happening to this program that will make it an ever better option!