Do you find yourself wondering how you’re going to repay your student loans? These days, you simply must have a college education to get a good job and for most that means you’re going to have student loans. These various loans can often get unmanageable when you get behind on payments and entirely lose control of the situation. Fortunately, there are a couple of options out there that can help you out.
First, there is refinancing. Refinancing saves you money because you transfer your loan to another lender that will give you a lower APR (annual percentage rate). Your APR is the total cost of the credit the lender is giving you. It is a percentage of your total loan and the amount of money it represents decreases as your loan amount decreases when you make payments on it. Before you jump in, however, you should consider the cost of refinancing. While there are some lenders that won’t charge you a fee up front, there are some that will. Don’t use a lender that will charge you a fee that will end up costing you more on a monthly basis, for obvious reasons.
Should You Use Your Bank?
The place in which you do your personal banking is a great place to start when you want to refinance because you already have a relationship with them and they know you financially. They have records of all the business you’ve done with them in the past and have a fairly good idea of what you are about. Banks enjoy having customers attached to several of their “products,” as it gives them longer-lasting bonds with these individuals; individuals that are less likely to default on loans with a bank with which they have had a long-lasting relationship.
Another great option is consolidation. Consolidation simply means that all of your student loans are “bought out” by a lender (possibly even the lender that holds your current loans) and lumped together into one loan. You are then able to pay on all your loans in one monthly payment, rather than several smaller payments. You save money in the short term because you are making lower monthly payments, but over a longer period of time.
Word Of Warning
One factor you have to think about is that consolidation will cost more money in the long run. While you do save money immediately, the accumulated interest will ultimately cost you more on the back end of the loan. The smaller payments help you deal in the short term but interest will continue building on your loan. What this means is that you are only going to be paying a little bit at a time on the principal, i.e. the full amount of your loan, not counting interest or other fees. Most of your monthly payment will be applied to the interest on your loan, which means that it will take you longer to pay it off.
If you are a college graduate struggling with several student loans, you do have options. Don’t turn to bankruptcy just yet; first consider refinancing and consolidation. Both of these options make it a lot easier to repay student loans.