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May 30, 2014 Graduated Repayment Plan

Looking at the Graduated Repayment Plan

Boy, the things I didn’t know

I’m telling you. The volume of information I didn’t know about student loan repayment while I was still in school is astonishes me now. Seriously! I mean, my thoughts went somewhere along these lines: I know that I need to make monthly payments to get rid of my loans ASAP. So I guess I’ll pay whatever that happens to be. Pay as much as possible as quickly as possible to get these loans off my back as soon as possible. (Now that I look back, that last sentence was my motto.) I think I’d heard something about repaying my loans based on my salary, and I was pretty sure I could qualify for some pretty good repayment deals if I worked for the government or became a teacher. Other than that, I guess I figured I was pretty much on my own.

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May 23, 2014 Get up close

Scared of student loans

Fear just isn’t my thing

Feeling afraid is a very disturbing thing. There’s something about fear that just tends to creep up and seep in deep. Before I know it, it’s almost as though my personality is disappearing, and all that’s left in its wake is fear. Then the fear begins to multiply. Fear of being afraid. Fear of what will happen if I remain afraid. Fear of what people will think if they knew how scared I was. Suffice it to say that letting fear in is like hopping into the washing machine when it’s stuck on an endless spin cycle.

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May 22, 2014 Open your eyes

Federal Repayment Plans

Is it really that serious?

There are so many federal repayment plans that honestly, I often have no idea where to begin. Sometimes, when I think about choosing a repayment plan, I feel like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade; should I choose the wrong cup I’ll immediately disintegrate and turn into a pile of dust. Seriously, it feels that serious. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s because when I look back on how I felt when I was making the decision to take out student loans I recognize how dramatically underinformed I was. When I think about how I felt when I decided to take out student loans to pay for my education a mixture of fear, anxiety, dread, and hope (that something good might come out of this borrowing) come bubbling to the surface. Frankly, I felt so blindsided when the realities of repayment hit me after graduation that I’m seriously inclined to default to paralysis and terror whenever decisions about student loan repayment come up. Hey, the truth isn’t always pretty.

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Apr 15, 2014

Facing student loan repayment reality

Facing the impact that student loans have on our daily lives takes strength. We look around, and see friends and colleagues about our age who made different career decisions, and seem to be moving on with their lives just fine, with minimal debt burdens. We see people purchasing homes, getting married, or having children and think, “Did I screw up by getting X degree and using student loans to pay for it?

There are reasons it seems so tough

I think that one of the reasons so many of us procrastinate and struggle with enrolling in a repayment plan, making student loan payments, calling our student loan servicers, or responding to other student loan correspondence is that the standard of success that was held up in front of our faces, the success we were told we could attain if we pursued higher education, now seems out of reach. (The NYTimes published a great editorial this Sunday that is a must-read.)

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Apr 8, 2014

Someone Else Setting Your Repayment Agenda?

Now that you’ve begun figuring out what you need financially in order to live without pulling your hair out, you’re in prime position to begin identifying and obliterating any barriers that stand in between you, and securing the best repayment plan for you. If you haven’t read last week’s blog post, no worries, I’ve included a brief recap for you below.

When taking small, doable steps towards enrolling in the best student loan repayment program for you, begin by:

Factor 1: Making sure that you have a “realistic life budget” that supports your real month-to-month living expenses at a manageable stress level. (Insane levels of stress are pretty counter-productive in the student loan repayment process. Take a look…)

Factor 2: Formulate a systematic method for tracking all of your income, debts, cash-flow (and expenses), so that you reduce unnecessary financial uncertainty. (It’s pretty pointless to walk around guesstimating at how much cash you actually have on hand once your bank account balances out. All this does is generate more stress and get in the way of clear-headed repayment.)

This week, we’re diving into another crucial factor you’ve got to evaluate in the process of finding the best student loan repayment program for you.

Factor 3: Know Your Repayment Objectives for Yourself

Have you had any difficult conversations about student loan debt recently? You know, one of those talks where about halfway through you realize that the person you’re talking with has absolutely no concept of what it’s like to feel torn between living a joy-filled, high-quality life and managing what can feel like a gigantic repayment burden?

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