Student Loans versus Global Warming, North Korea
Millennials have a lot of problems, and student loans are near the top. In fact, they rate student loans a bigger problem than North Korea and on the same level as global warming.
The three issues — student loans, North Korea and global warming — have a couple things in common: they are issues that will persist in the coming years; they are long term; there is no easy answer that everyone can agree on to solve each issue.
How did student loans get to be such a huge problem? Well, no one has a real answer to that either. Some blame government involvement; some blame institutional greed in colleges.
One thing everyone can agree on is that student loans are a problem. With $1.4 trillion in student loans held by 44 million borrowers, our economy is taking a hit. People with student loans are putting off big purchases until they pay off their student loans. This is holding back our economy, which is run by consumer purchases.
It’s so bad that people will do strange things to get rid of student loan debt.
While it’s amusing to go through the list of insane things people would do (hypothetically) to get rid of their loans, there are real things you can do to make your loans manageable.
If you can’t afford your student loan payments, look into federal repayment and forgiveness plans. If you work for the government or a qualifying non-profit, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Or if not, you can enroll in an income-based repayment plan that may result in loan forgiveness after 20 to 25 years.
If you have private loans, look into refinancing to lock in a lower interest rate and lower minimum payment. And if you can, it’s always a good idea to pay more than your minimum payment.
If you can afford your payments, but still feel stress, maybe a change in the way you think about it is in order. Just having loans can cause animosity, but they are good loans. First, they mean you got a degree that set you up to be in a better financial situation than if you hadn’t. Second, making all the payments on time and completing the loan payoff after so many years looks great on your credit score! And that’ll set you up for more financial options later.
Another way to think about your payments is to lump them into another category in your monthly budget. If you categorize them with housing costs, you will see them as just another bill. Since housing costs are unavoidable, you may start to feel less buyer’s remorse and accept that the debt was necessary. But it will be gone eventually, probably before you can pay off a mortgage.
At the very worst — and I’m being facetious here — if North Korea or global warming prove to be more serious problems and inflict world-ending change, no one will have to worry about their student loans anymore. If that’s not silver lining I don’t know what is.
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