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Pay off your student loan debt more quickly with smart refinancing and loan repayment tips that help you beat the system!
Student loans keeping your bank account empty?
Worse, once you enter into “the loan payments game,” the sacrifice never seems to end. You pay and pay and pay, but for many, the debt never decreases, and there’s no end in sight.
If you’re buried in student loan debt, and the payments feel like they’ll never end, you’re not alone.
On Twitter, one user described her failed attempt to pay off student loans:
Lacy Johnson took out $70k in student loans, and after paying off $60k over 11years, she still owes $70,000.
Another user replied that his $120k in loan debt grew to $137k over 7 years, despite never missing a payment.
Owing more than what you started with, despite years of regular student loan payments, isn’t unusual — especially if you enrolled in a government repayment program that was tied to your earnings (you paid less when earning less).
Here’s the good news: you can beat the system and pay off your student loan debt more quickly without making outrageously-large payments — and we’re going to show you how.
First, we explain how to refinance your student loans the RIGHT way.
Many people only get deeper in debt when they refinance their student loans, but we show you how to refinance wisely, so you end up reducing debt and paying off your loans more quickly.
Then, we show you a few financing tips that can help you wipe out your student loan debt even faster!
Refinancing Your Student Loans the Right Way
Stop overpaying for your student loans!
Interest rates dropped multiple times in 2019, and as a result, you’re probably paying too much interest on your student loans.
Refinancing can get you into trouble if you’re not careful, though.
The last thing you want to do is end up deeper in debt than when you started, so there are 2 tips you should always follow when refinancing.
Tip #1: Get The Best Interest Rate When Refinancing
Before you refinance your student loans, shop around to find the lowest interest rate possible.
Use caution when choosing a lender, though. You want to borrow at a lower rate, but if the lender packs the agreement with hidden fees, you won’t save as much.
Before you sign, make sure there are no hidden fees that will drive up the cost of your loan.
We at Minority Mindset recommend using Credible.com to find the best refinancing options. It only takes a few moments to fill out a form and receive a list of rates from several lenders.
Credible’s Best Rate Guarantee means they’ll find you the the most competive rate possible with no hidden fees.
For example, if you took out $50,000 worth of student loans at an interest rate of 6% and you refinance for 4%, your monthly payments drop from $650 a month to $500 a month.
That’s $150 a month you save just because interest rates have come down and you were smart enough to refinance.
However, If you continue paying $650/month instead of the $500/month for the 4.5% loan, you’ll pay off your loan nearly 3 years earlier than anticipated.
Tip #2: Refinance For What You Owe, And Not A Dollar More
Many banks tempt people into grabbing some quick cash by taking out a loan for more money than what they owe. For example, if you owe $40,000 in student loans, the bank might offer you a loan of $50,000.
Remember — the goal is to pay off your debt so you can build wealth!
Refinancing for more than what you owe doesn’t work because it stretches out the length of time it will take you to pay off your loans and start building wealth.
Here’s an example:
Imagine you take out $50,000 in loans at 6% interest rate, with monthly payments of $550 to be paid over 10 years.
By year 4, you still owe $30,000 and are 6 years away from being debt-free. Then, you decide to refinance at a 4.5% interest rate.
But instead of refinancing for the balance of $30,000, you decide to take an extra $10,000 to put toward a new car or down payment on a home.
So instead of refinancing the $30,000 you owe, now you take out a loan for $40,000 at 4.5% interest.
Your payments drop from $550 a month to $410 and you’ve got a bunch of cash to boot!
The only problem is — now you’re 10 years away from being debt free. The cycle of paying interest first begins all over again, plus the debt will be hanging over your head even longer than it would have before you refinanced!
To avoid getting yourself deeper in debt for a longer amount of time, refinance only for the amount you owe.
Here’s what happens when you refinance only what you owe:
You take out a loan for $30,000 at 4.5% interest.
Now your payments are only $310 a month for 10 years.
But instead, you keep paying the same amount you have been all along — $550 a month.
In 5 years, you’ll be debt free and will have saved about $5500.
But, if you continue paying $550, like you were before, you’ll be debt free in just over 5 years.
And you'll save around $5,500!
Refinancing your student loans for only your balance, but continuing to make the same-size payments, can save you thousands of dollars and get you out of debt years sooner.
When you refinance your student loans, make sure you’re getting the best rate with no hidden fees, and that you’re borrowing only the amount that you owe.
How To Make Your Student Loan Debt Even Cheaper
When you’re paying off student loans, you’re not just paying the amount that you borrowed to get through college — you’re also paying interest on the money you borrowed.
Interest costs are what can get people in trouble because the longer you take to pay off your student loans, the more expensive your loan becomes.
For example, if you owe $30,000 in student loans that cost 6% on a 10-year term, your loan payments will cost about $333 a month.
The “catch” is that the amount of $$$ you pay on interest is different in the first year than it is in subsequent years. Loans are “front-loaded” so that the interest is paid first, and the actual loan amount (the principal) is paid off slowly.
For example, when you first begin paying off your loans, a sizable portion of your minimum monthly payment goes to interest.
If your payments are $333/month:
During the first year, your total loan payments of $4000 go to:
- $1700 paid to your creditors (interest)
- $2300 paid on your original $30,000 (principal)
During your tenth year, your total loan payments of $4000 go to:
- $150 paid to your creditors (interest)
- $3850 paid to your original $30,000 (principal)
However, if you pay more than the required minimum monthly payment, the extra amount goes directly toward the principal of your loan.
Any money you pay over and above the minimum monthly payments is interest-free.
By paying a little extra, you reduce the total amount of money needed to pay off your loans.
Whoah. You’re just out of college and barely earning any money!
How are you supposed to pay more than the minimum amount due?
We’ve got a couple of tricks (tips #3 and #4) to help you pay off your loans sooner!
Tip #3 – Split Your Payments In Half And Pay Every Other Week
Most student loans require monthly payments, so you make 12 payments per year.
But, if you split your monthly payment in two and pay every other week instead of once a month — you’ll get a huge jump on your debt and cut down on the interest you owe.
For example, if your monthly loan payments are $550 monthly, you would pay $275 every other week, instead of the $550/month.
With 52 weeks in a year, paying every other week means you’re making the equivalent of 13 annual payments instead of 12.
By making loan payments every other week, you can pay off your student loans one year early and save $1600 on interest.
Tip #4 – Pay an Extra $100 a Month
If you pay a little extra each month, though, you can pay your student loans much quicker and cut your interest costs significantly.
For example, Imagine you took out $50,000 in student loans at a 6% interest rate over 10 years.
If your minimum monthly payment is $550, but you pay $650 instead, that extra $100 goes directly to your student loan balance (principal) with no additional interest.
If you pay $100 extra every month, you’ll pay off your loans two years earlier and save $3400 in interest.
Or, if you pay every other week AND add an extra $50 onto each payment, that’s an additional (interest-free) $1850/year that goes directly toward paying off your principal.
By paying an extra $50 every other week, you can pay off your student loans 3 years faster, and save $5,200 in interest!
Kick Your Loan Payments Into High Gear!
Ignoring the drop in interest rates and continuing to make minimum payments on your student loans can keep you in debt for decades.
Instead, refinance at the lowest rate possible, make payments every other week, and add a bit extra onto your minimum payments.
The sooner you stop overpaying for your student loans, the quicker you can build wealth.
When you get money-smart early in life, it really pays. To learn more about money-management and wealth-building, grab your copy of Minority Mindset’s free eBook and educational email series today!