While "monster payments" may not be in the cards for every borrower, you can use other strategies to manage your debt and pay off your loans.
If you're having trouble making payments on your federal loans, income-driven repayment plans can help you get your debt under control. These cap your payments at a percentage of your income and extend your loan term to 20 or 25 years. You have to reapply every year to stay on your plan, and at the end of your loan term, any leftover balance is forgiven and taxed as income.
If you're a teacher, like Page, or you work in another area of public service, look into federal forgiveness programs. Those help qualified borrowers get forgiveness faster.
If you can afford your payments but you want to save money on your loans, student loan refinancing may be the answer. Refinancing lets you swap out your existing loans for a new one with terms based on your current finances. The lower you can get your interest rate, and the shorter your loan term, the more money you stand to save.
Most lenders look for a steady income, a low debt-to-income ratio and a credit score of 650 or higher. However, refinancing federal loans means giving up borrower protections like income-driven repayment and forgiveness programs, so you may want to exclude those loans from your application.
Devon Delfino is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @devondelfino.
The article How I Ditched Student Debt: 'Monster Payments' originally appeared on NerdWallet.
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