My Life with Student Loans
The secret to my survival!
I went to college at a private four-year liberal arts school, and while it wasn’t as pricey as an Ivy League institution, it was still expensive. My scholarships didn’t cover much of the price tag, so my parents and I co-signed several different student loans. Just a teenager at the time, I naively assumed I’d find a high-paying job immediately after graduation and would have no problem repaying these loans. So the excitement of being accepted at my first-choice school overshadowed everything else.
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Then, sure enough, once I graduated, I had a hard time securing a job that utilized my degree, and when I did finally land a job, the pay was very low. I found that the variable interest rates on my loans were high, and some would only get worse as time went on. I delayed the payments for as long as I could, until I could save enough or move to a second job. My parents had said they would help me pay my co-signed loans while I got on my feet, and the bills temporarily went to their home address. But unbeknownst to me, they only paid for the first few months and neglected to inform me that they couldn’t pay them either, so the loan payments became late and eventually were deemed delinquent. That’s when I took back control of my repayment.
Once I moved to a better-paying job and was able to assess just how much I owed for the late payments, I got ready for a lot of pain in my wallet. I paid off all of the late balances as quickly as I could, and intensely curbed my spending for a while. This hurt at the time, but it was worth it just to get out of delinquency.
From here, my then girlfriend—now wife—and I devised a payment strategy. We figured out how much I could realistically pay each month, and how long it would take to pay off the total at that rate. We charted multiple payment goals, in addition to aiming to pay off the highest interest rate loans first. Tackling the most expensive loans first helped to make the rest of the payments feel more attainable and gave us a light at the end of the tunnel. Still though, we had multiple years left for repayment.
Eventually, what affordably decreased my remaining repayment duration was refinancing my student loans through Laurel Road.
Laurel Road combined my loans, lowered the monthly payments and interest rates, and converted them from variable to fixed. I was able to pay off my loans three years earlier than I expected, and save enough to finally purchase my first home.
I only wish I had refinanced with Laurel Road sooner because I’m sure I would have saved even more. If you’re carrying around the weight of student loan debt, learn more about your refinancing options and check your rate with Laurel Road.
1Hanson, Melanie, “Student Loan Debt Statistics,” February 10, 2023. https://educationdata.org/student-loan-debt-statistics