Got Student Debt?

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Jan 24, 2015

Here are 3 resources every person with student debt needs to read

Student Debt Resource #1

For an up-to-date, big picture view of student loans in the United States, the NYTimes Your Money Guide – Student Loans section is an excellent place to start. It’s the kind of webpage that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again. From a college cost calculator to recent Times articles on student loan debt this page will help you find your way if you want to get a better grasp on what the student loan market is like, why student loans are such a big issue, or how student loans are impacting people across America. If you’re feeling like no one is paying attention to the student loan problem, this page (and the growing number of editorials listed) is a reminder that the free press is paying attention. Another upside of this resource? You can get some perspective on mortgages and auto loans by navigating the links in the upper left corner.

 

Student Debt Resource #2

If you’re tempted to think that no one in government is paying attention to the student loan situation, then you’ve got to visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s  (CFPB) website. Rohit Chopra is an Assistant Director and Student Loan Ombudsman at the CFPB and he’s the kind of leader who takes the time to address concerns that are real, current, and relevant to student loan borrowers. If you’re concerned about being ripped off by purported student debt relief companies, you’re a veteran who needs help but doesn’t want to tank your credit, or you have private loans and are feeling lost, you need to visit this website. Let me amend that. If you have student loans, you need to visit this site. This is a website that’s worth bookmarking and visiting periodically to make sure you’re up-to-date and keeping yourself informed about steps the government is taking when it comes to helping borrowers.

 

Student Debt Resource #3

To get big picture statistics on student loan debt, the New York Fed is a great place to start. Using the navigation tools you can see what the overall student loan debt picture looks like, and then break things down by age group to get a better understanding about how student loan impacts borrowers across a spectrum. If you’re the type that likes concrete numbers then this is a quick and easy resource to use.

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Jan 17, 2015

It was another day, and I found myself making yet another excuse about why I just couldn’t deal with my student loans.  I’m tired.  I’m frustrated.  I can’t pay them all anyway.  The excuses just kept coming, one after the other.  As I lay in bed, I felt the weight of letting another day pass where I spent my day doing things that weren’t really that important instead of focusing on the most important things first.  After many conversations with friends, colleagues, even acquaintances over the years, I know that I’m not alone in this tendency.

Why is it that we tend to put off the things that matter most to us in favor of doing things that are good to do, but not the most important thing we could be doing?  And why does that seem especially easy to do when it comes to student loan repayment?

People don’t always see the hard work that goes into student loan repayment

Sometimes I think we avoid tackling our student loan debt because it’s easier to shift our priorities to match achievements other people can see.  So instead of investing a moment time to monitor our student loans, we shift focus and allow ourselves to zone out in front of the television.  Because why make managing our student loans a priority when no one can see how much time, energy, and effort we’re putting into it?  Or instead of heading to the gym, we’ll spend time taking care of someone else.  Because why invest the time to quietly invest in our self-care when it will take so long for results to show up?  Or, instead of filling out one more form, making one more phone call, sending a letter, or responding to an email about our student loans we busy ourselves doing other tasks.  Because why should we even try when the mountain of student debt seems so huge that it feels insurmountable?

So what’s the delay really about?

The more I dig in the brief moments of quiet I allow myself, the more it becomes clear that sometimes I choose to focus my energy on things that other people can see instead of focusing my energies on tackling the projects that are most important to my life and well-being.   I think that sometimes there’s a part of us that believes that we need other people to know just how hard we’re trying.

Maybe you don’t relate to this sentiment at all.  Perhaps you are someone who has mastered the self-discipline of focusing on the most important things first, and you’ve cultivated the practiced discipline necessary to take the small steps towards to repaying your student loans while maintaining your health, monitoring your progress, and encouraging yourself.

But if you’re anything like me, then you need reminders like this to remember that the decisions and actions that almost no one sees are often the most important actions we take in a day.

It’s the little things that matter most.

Taking a moment to face the mountain of student debt

So today, take a moment to fill out that form, log into your loan servicer’s account to check on your balances and interest, and choose to do the things that no one can see but you.  Because in life it’s the small, nearly-invisible things that add up faster than we think.  One step, one email, one phone call, one payment, each adds up to progress towards repaying our student loans and facing the mountain of student loan debt.

Choosing the opposite?  It leaves the mountain of student loan debt looming large over us. Which option will you choose today?

Facing your mountain of student loan debt is a worthwhile choice

Why take the time to face your mountain of student debt?  Because climbing it will only make you stronger, you’ll get a better view from the peak, and once you ascend to the top you’ll have the trill of heading down the other side.

2 tips for facing your student loan debt

Tip #1 Log into your account or contact your lender/student loan servicer to get your current student loan balance(s), interest rates, and loan status today.  Get a more solid grip on reality instead of being so afraid about how bad it is that you don’t do anything at all about it (which will inevitably lead to bigger problems in the future).  Use this as a jump start to design your personal repayment plan. If you’re looking for some ideas, then out Student Loan Debt Made Simple.

Tip #2 Write down the one thing that’s stressing you out the most about your student loans.  Once you’ve identified the thing that’s stressing you out the most, identify one step you can take to begin diffusing that stress.  

- Is it fear that you won’t be able to pay them back?  Maybe it’s time to set up an appointment with a CPA or certified financial planner to figure out how you can live with integrity while repaying your student loans.  

- Is it worry about how you’ll be able to save for the future and repay your student loans?  Perhaps it’s time to call and schedule a meeting with a financial services company and/human resources and open up an IRA through your employer where your retirement savings is automatically deducted from your paycheck.  

- Is it concern over how your significant other will react once they know your financial picture?   Consider scheduling a date so you can have an honest conversation about your concerns.   

Every time you take a small step towards reducing your student debt stress you’ll be able to breathe just a little bit easier.

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Jan 3, 2015

So you want to break the cycle of being stuck? What’s next?

5 doable tips for getting unstuck when it comes to student loan repayment

Yesterday, we talked a bit about breaking the cycle of setting big goals when it comes to student loan repayment and then getting stuck in a cycle of feeling like the small steps don’t matter. To help you tackle the tendency many of us have of “believ[ing] that we have to start from scratch in order to make positive progress [in repaying our] student loans,” today I’m sharing 5 doable tips for getting unstuck in student loan repayment.

When it comes to student loans, the big goals are just as important as the small ones.

Before you can get rid of your loans, you’ve got to begin managing them!

Let’s be real. Continue reading »

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Jan 2, 2015

Choosing to focus on every new day

Escape Student Loan Stuck-ness

Every year, I’m tempted to make radical changes in the name of self-improvement. “This year, I’ll lose weight, earn a gigantic amount of cash, cook through an amazing cookbook, and just become, well, extraordinarily extraordinary.” In past years, I fell into the trap of believing that the start of a new year presented a fresh opportunity for me to remake myself. Thankfully, last Fall a certain reality started to really sink into my psyche. Into my heart to be more specific.

New beginnings are about building on the good we’ve already got.

New beginnings aren’t about remaking ourselves. Continue reading »

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Nov 19, 2014

This is one breakup you can look forward to.

11-19-14

We don’t usually look forward to breakups. But if you’re in a dysfunctional relationship with student debt, then this is one breakup to look forward to.

the point: If you’re in a relationship with student debt that poisonous then it’s time to break up.

the scenario:

You’re eating a meal. Thinking about your student debt.
You’re in the grocery store. Thinking about your student debt.
You’re sitting at work. Thinking about our student debt.
In friendships and relationships, you’re having a simple discussion about what you could do for fun that night. Because you are thinking about our student debt.
You’re trying to fall asleep at night, and student debt is loudly playing around in the corners of your brains.

How do you know that you’re in an unhealthy relationship with student debt? When student debt becomes the pivot that you center your entire life around.

Is regret keeping you stuck?

“But Krystle,” you say, “My student debt is a tremendous burden in my life. If I don’t think about it, who will?”

Continue reading »

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