Hearing those two little words – student loans – can make us feel stressed, regretful and overwhelmed. Carrying the burden of student loan debt can truly have a negative impact on your life, including causing anxiety, financial hardship and delaying you from saving for retirement or making other big purchases. The student debt crisis is a serious one, but for some people, there is a bright side to those student loans. Plus, having a positive perspective can help you with your repayment efforts. Here are some reasons you might be thankful for your student loans:
Student loans are the reason you are (hopefully) earning more money.
Bachelor’s degree recipients earn, on average, about $1.2 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates. This income premium should help you repay your student loan debt.
You have more job security.
The unemployment rate for a person with a high-school diploma is 4.1% while it’s only 2.2% for a college graduate, and even lower for someone with a Master’s and Doctoral degree, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Your debt is helping you rethink money.
If you’re dealing with student loan debt, you’ve hopefully made a budget and are more conscious of your spending. Maybe student loans have forced you to learn how to be a more practical consumer and save money. This will be a huge asset as you are able to put money towards saving for retirement.
You’ve developed an amazing work ethic.
While 45% of millennials have student loan debt, at least 51% of millennials have a side hustle. People with student loan debt often look for ways to increase their income and make extra money. Creating this attitude towards work is bound to have positive rewards in your career.
Student loans are making you take your time with huge life decisions.
Student loan debt is causing graduates to delay financial goals, including getting married, buying a home and having children. To look at this in a positive light, it does prevent people from rushing into these major decisions. Maybe you’re rethinking spending the average $33,000 that a wedding can cost. Maybe you’ll now have time to do more research on the best place to buy a home and where you’d be happiest. And if you want children of your own, chances are your student loans will now have prioritized saving for college for your kids.
Regular student loan payments are improving your credit.
Paying your student loans on-time every month is going to have positive impacts on your payment history, with makes up 35% of your credit score. Paying your student loans can actually help you build credit, which can help as you search for a job, find an apartment or make other purchases down the road.
You can write off student loan interest.
The student loan interest deduction allows you to reduce your taxable income up to $2,500.
Student loans may have forced you into new experiences.
Maybe you decided to temporarily move back in with your parents, resulting in extra time with your family. Maybe you had to learn to cook instead of eating at restaurants or you started an inexpensive hobby, such as reading or running. Instead of that luxury vacation you’ve dreamed of, perhaps you’ve gotten the chance to enjoy your local town more than you would have otherwise.
As a college graduate, you have access to better benefits.
Often jobs that offer good benefits require a four-year degree. Some of these benefits include health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, a retirement savings plan and even help repaying those student loans.
There are options for dealing with student loans.
Whether you are thankful for your student loans or not, everyone can appreciate that there are many ways to deal with this debt. For federal student loans, you can apply for an income-driven repayment plan to help make payments for manageable and apply for deferments and forbearances for short-term financial difficulty. There are many ways you could potentially have your student loans forgiven such as pursuing a career in a national need area.
For private student loans, you can consider student loan refinancing, which could lower your interest rate, saving you more money overtime. Credible can help you compare refinancing rates without affecting your credit score for free.
Keep in mind refinancing federal student loans means a loss in many benefits – income-driven repayment plans, any federal forgiveness programs, generous deferment options, and more.
You can even find a job that helps you repay your student loans.
The ChangEd app helps student loan borrowers pay down their debt faster. Link your credit and debit cards and with every purchase you make, the total is rounded up, and that “spare change” is added to your student loans. You can also earn points for potential free payments. Read our review to learn more.
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