From Forbearance to Freedom: How Millennials Can Take Control of Student Loan Debt

May 8, 2023

Student loans are a reality for many millennials. While student loan forbearance provided temporary relief from payments, they will soon resume, leaving many borrowers feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. In this article, we'll discuss six steps millennials can take to take control of their student loan debt and achieve financial freedom.

Step 1: Understand Your Student Loans

The first step in developing a plan for student loan repayment is to understand your loans. Gather all your loan documents and review them carefully. Know the type of loans you have, the interest rates, and the minimum monthly payment required for each. 

Step 2: Decide How You Feel About Your Student Loans

Decide how you feel about your student loans based on your personal financial goals and values. If being debt-free is a top priority, you may prioritize paying off your student loans as soon as possible. On the other hand, if you have other financial goals, such as saving for retirement or buying a home, you may prioritize those goals over aggressively paying off your student loans.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Expenses

Prioritizing your expenses can help you identify areas where you can allocate more money toward your student loan payments. Consider if there are any expenses that are lower priorities than your student loans. Look for ways to reduce or eliminate these expenses to free up more money for your student loan payments.

Step 4: Consider Refinancing Your Loans

If you have multiple federal loans with varying interest rates, consolidation can simplify your payments. Refinancing can also lower your interest rate but may result in you losing access to federal loan benefits. Evaluate the pros and cons of consolidation and refinancing to see which option is best for you.

Step 5: Consider Debt Payoff Strategies

When paying off your student loans, it's important to consider debt payoff strategies that can help you save money and pay off your loans faster. Two popular debt payoff strategies are the debt snowball and the debt avalanche.

The debt snowball strategy involves paying off your debts in order from smallest to largest regardless of the interest rate. This method can be motivating as you see progress in paying off debts quickly, but it may not be the most financially optimal strategy as you may end up paying more in interest in the long run.

The debt avalanche strategy involves paying off your debts in order from highest to lowest interest rate. This method can save you money on interest in the long run, but it may take longer to pay off debts with higher interest rates, which can be less motivating.

Consider which debt payoff strategy works best for you based on your financial goals and motivation levels. It's important to note that the most important thing is to make consistent payments toward your student loans, regardless of the debt payoff strategy you choose.

Step 6: Seek Help if Needed

If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to proceed, consider seeking help from a financial advisor or student loan counselor. These professionals can provide guidance and support to help you achieve your financial goals.

Taking control of your student loan debt is an essential step toward achieving financial freedom. By following these six steps and considering strategies such as refinancing and using debt payoff methods, you can create a plan that works for your financial situation and helps you achieve your goals.

Let's Make a Plan.

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Don't wait until retirement to make a financial plan.