Congratulations to the Class of 2011. That’s right, graduation season is here and for those who believe the world is going to end tomorrow, you are in luck! You see, dear ole Sallie Mae is coming for you 6 months to the day that you walk across that stage… but if the world ends, you don’t have to worry about student loans and the debt that comes with it, now do you? If I were as sure as others that the world is about to end, I would have chucked the deuces at my girl, Sallie in a heartbeat. Let me just say that student loans and the debt that comes with it are not all bad and while you could believe months from now that Sallie Mae is the devil, she doesn’t have to be. Think about it, Sallie was like your home girl, bestie, or fav from school who let you borrow a few hundred or thousand dollars here or there when you needed that new computer, housing, or were falling financially shy of your balance to register for class. She said, “Don’t worry about it; I’ll take care of it. You will pay me back someday”. Well recent graduates, someday is sooner than you think! She wants her money NOW!!!
Here are some steps that should help you adjust to the change in your relationship:
- Don’t Fall for the Minimum Payment Game. If you can, always pay more than the minimum payment. The same rules for paying the minimum of credit cards apply here. You can do this one of two ways. For an entire year, I paid my Sallie Mae bill twice (the 15th and the last day of every month). Doing so, allowed me to get my payments a year in advance so while I was not working, my Sallie Mae bill was still current. One thing I would point out, that I actually forgot during my year off from paying Sallie Mae, is that interest accrues daily. If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would still pay twice but I would apply the first payment to current bill and the second full payment to the balance. That way, I will pay the balance down without wasting extra money on interest. Plus, doing this will shorten the life of the loan.
- Find out if there is a pre-payment penalty for your loan(s). If there is no penalty, you should set aside some graduation money and start paying down your BALANCE before your official payments begin.
- Consolidate. Consolidating your student loan(s) means that you take out a new loan to cover all of your old loans.
Instead of have a bunch of different loans, you now make one payment that represents a combination of all of your student loan debt. No more multiple payments and due dates. Plus, you can take the lowest interest rate to apply to your newly consolidated loan, lower your monthly payments, and easily apply for alternate payment plans if your financial situation changes. As with most things, consolidating has its cons. Some have pre-payment penalties (mine didn’t), lowering your monthly payments could end up in extending the life of your loan, and there is the potential for more interest. Do your homework for this one- what works for one does not work for all.
- Student Loan Debt is a good thing? Yep. Paying off your student loans is an excellent way to establish good credit. If you pay on time and pay more than the minimum, you will be well on your way to good credit. Visit, here, to learn other ways to raise your credit score.
Let us end this post on a fantastic note, congratulating the graduates of 2011. If you graduated this year, congrats to you as well.
Congrats to the Following Graduates
Lauren Travis, JD
Christian Mitchell, MA
Tiffany Davenport, DPT
Akilah Bacy, JD
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