Do you know where all your student loans are? I didn’t.
You’ve graduated! Congratulations if you are like me and 40 Million other Americans you have student loans. My wife and I graduated with a grand total of $57,000 in student loan debt. When I graduated I had no idea who I owed money to. Which I thought was understandable after four years of school and new loans every single year, it’s hard to keep track.
Here is how to find them
If you are looking to find out who you owe money to a great resource is the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This is a database where you can view all federal loans, grants, and aid overpayments. Since I qualified for federal loans all my loans were visible through this one site. If you have private student loans you’ll have to do some research into who you signed up with. I would start be checking your email or getting with your parents, because I’m sure who ever is servicing the loan has mailed you letters.
You now know who you owe
Once you’ve found out about the student loans you owe I would compile a list of the loans. This can be done old school by printing out an account summary or you can save it to your computer. I would recommend printing out the hard copy in order to keep it in a physical file for safe keeping.
Once you have completed the steps of finding out who you owe as well as creating a file for your student loans it’s now time to develop a payment plan.
Don’t settle with student debt being around for your entire life. Pay this debt off as soon as possible. I would not buy a car or a house until this debt is gone for good. If you settle by making minimum payments most student loans are set up to be paid off entirely in 10 years. I want you to be debt free sooner than that, so start paying off your debt using the debt snowball.
My personal story
It took me and my wife about five years to fully payoff all of our student loans. We were also in the process of paying for our masters with cash flow. It takes discipline and hard work to stick to a plan of paying off the loans early but it is worth it. When you hear conversations about people paying $300 a month for student loans I get the comfort and joy of knowing I can use that same amount of money to go on vacation.
By focusing on our purpose of getting out of debt helped us stay committed. Our purpose the whole time has been to stay home with our kids the first year of their birth. And we knew eliminating debt would help us to be able to fulfill our goal. We messed up along the way but we eventually got there. Are mess ups included buying a car and a home before the loans were paid in full, but we kept going anyway.
Bottom Line: Keeping track of your student loans can be difficult over a four year period. A great place to start to find these loans is the National Student Loan Database.