If you have just graduated, let us be the first to congratulate you. We’d also like to be the first to help you when it comes to handling your student loan bills. Almost immediately following graduation (approximately six months after you graduate, in most cases) you will receive your first student loan repayment notice, and this can be extremely unsettling - even more so if you look at the total amount owed!
We don’t want you to fall into any kind of student loan repayment trap (and there are a lot of them). We also don’t want you to default on your loans or wind up in legal trouble due to missing loan payments. So to avoid all of those problems that can very easily happen, here are some things that you should start doing with your student loans right away.
Steps to Take
- Try not to ignore those upcoming payments. If you prepare for the payments that you will have to make, you will not be caught off guard. Look at your repayment schedule now, start putting that money aside, and make sure that you note the date that you will have to make your first payment.
- Set up all of your banking information beforehand. You will have to either set up automatic withdrawals from your bank account or create banking information that you can save and store through your lender’s website. There are pros and cons to both, but either way, you should prepare this information well in advance.
- Look into your repayment options. It’s possible that the monthly amount that has been calculated for you is way out of reach (this is the case most of the time). Before that first due date, look at the various repayment options. Do any of those work better for you? Keep in mind that you may be able to lower your payments, but you might also have to pay a lot more in interest when you do lower payments - not always beneficial.
- Before you make any payment arrangements, think about how much you can realistically afford to pay. Sure, we’d all love to pay back those loans in large lump sums, but how feasible is this really? Consider your salary, how much you need to live and pay bills and keep to have some kind of life, and how much you can realistically payback.
- Whatever you do, don’t ignore your loans. It can be really intimidating (and scary) to look at how much you owe compared to how much you intend to earn. However, one of the worst things that you can do is to ignore your loans and neglect to pay them. Prepare yourself in advance, and understand that student loans are a part of the road ahead. You invested heavily in yourself, and now its time to make that investment pay-off.