How to Find Freedom Outside of Student Loans
Millions of Americans have student loan debt, and it can often be one of the greatest sources of financial stress and anxiety. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in your 20s or 40s. The cost of education in the United States has a lifelong effect for most of us. Coupled with the increasing cost of living, concerns about a recession, and so much more, it’s easy to feel completely trapped by your student loans.
You may worry that you can never buy a house, or even move out of your family’s place, or wonder if you’ll be living with roommates in your 50s, or you fear that you’ll never get financially secure, must put savings on the back burner, and be crushed by a never-ending weight of debt that just gets higher and higher because of interest. If any of this strikes a chord, know that you aren’t alone, and there is a way out. First and foremost, figuring out how to balance student loans with the rest of your expenses and goals will make it easier to breathe.
Understand the Debt Is Long-term
For most people, even those who understand the importance of financial wellness, student loan debt will be an ongoing part of their lives well into middle adulthood. This doesn’t mean that they’re failing financially or can’t grow their wealth, either. It’s wise to think of student loan debt as one expense you have among many throughout your life. Let go of the sense of urgency to pay it all off as quickly as possible. Many people can live prosperous lives even with debt.
Explore Student Loan Consolidation
Consolidating your student loans combines all your federal loans into one direct consolidation loan. This streamlines your payments and makes it a lot easier to manage your debt. Note that consolidation doesn’t necessarily mean a lower monthly payment or even less interest. In some cases, interest is higher. But that doesn’t mean consolidating isn’t a good idea. For those who feel overwhelmed by the amount of outstanding loans they have, or the amount of interest being generated on multiple loans, a consolidation strategy could be the right step forward. Read a guide on the pros and cons of consolidating loans to learn more.
Don’t Put Off Financial Goals
Many will avoid doing anything with money until they pay off student loans. They feel like investing in anything else is irresponsible, but the best strategy is to accept that you can do more with your money than just throw it back onto high-interest loans. Once you find a loan repayment plan that works for you, consider what other goals you could start working toward. Maybe you want to save up for a house, or perhaps you just want to travel without feeling guilty about the cost. Whatever the case may be, don’t weigh yourself down with the belief you can’t enjoy spending your money until your loans are gone.
Acknowledge the Impact of Debt on Your Mental Health
Financial anxiety can have negative effects on your sleep, social life, and physical health. It’s important to recognize the toll your student loan debt is taking on your psychological wellbeing. Look up financial counseling services near you, or even consider speaking to a therapist if your finances are harming your health.