Here is a post by my staff writer Jordann. She submitted this post before I announced that my student loans are gone, so hopefully that will clear up any confusion below 🙂
Student loan debt is something pretty much everyone reading this blog can relate to. Most people who go to University will graduate with some form of debt, whether it's federal loans (like mine), bank loans, or a personal loan.
This makes for a sort of bitter-sweet graduation day, where you're excited to take on new opportunities and possibilities, but nervous about finally having to start paying all of those loans back.
The period after graduation from school, that used to be filled with starting new jobs, buying homes and getting married, is now what I like to refer to as the “Paying back student debt gap years”.
There's typically no home buying, and no family starting. How can there be? When student loan debt is weighing you down? Most people don't try and pay their loans off particularly quickly, instead they focus on making the minimum payments and figuring out their life. Not everyone though. Some people take those gap years and run with them.
Michelle is about to pay off her student loans once and for all, go Michelle! She finished up her MBA with a fairly significant student loan debt and has done an admirable job at attacking it.
I'm in the same boat. I graduated from university with the average amount of student loans, $26,720. I was nervous about paying them back, but once I got into a good groove, I managed to get rid of them in 17 months. Since we're both student debt free now, I'd like to go through some of the great perks of not having student loan debt.
This one is fairly obvious, less debt means more options for your money right? Absolutely! Not having a monthly payment to worry about means I can spend that extra money on things like retirement savings, traveling, or plain old lifestyle inflation.
I can also take more career risks, because I'm not constrained by my monthly debt payments. Naturally, I'm doing something completely boring with it: I'm paying off my car loan.
More Access to Credit
Ok, relax, let me speak. I don't mean “My student loan debt is gone, I'm going to get a nice shiny new line of credit and max that sucker out!” Duh. I mean that when the time comes for me to buy a house, I'm not going to have an outstanding student loan counting against me.
Many people I know have bought homes while still carrying sizable student loans. This definitely affected how much they were qualified to borrow, and subsequently, what type of house they bought.
On a less tangible note, getting rid of a debt once and for all means, at least for me, that there's less on my mind.
I can go to the park with my dog without having my mind wander to my student loans. I don't have to worry so much for my job security, because I have fewer demands on my money.
I don't have to push so hard to earn extra income, because one of my major goals for that income has already been achieved. I find myself day dreaming about my career, and being excited for the possibilities, not anxiously worrying about how I'm ever going to make enough money to pay off my debts.
Student loans were a huge pain in the butt. I hated them with a passion and wanted to see them gone. It was a really tough 17 months, but I did it. Is it as awesome as I thought it was going to be? Well, there was no parade, no slow clap, no medal at the end of the finish line. But, when I'm driving home at the end of the day, feeling lighter than I have in years, that makes it all worth it.
Do you have student loans? Are you trying to pay them off quickly?