Student loan debt isn’t something that’s going to go away on its own. Many people are simply waiting for the government to get their act together. They’ll look for solutions to the crisis that’s currently unfolding. The amount of student loan debt has rocketed past the $1.53 trillion mark. It’s only going to get higher.
One of the main reasons why it’s rising so dramatically are mistakes many people are making. They’re not doing their homework and later regret their decisions. Or they think they have a simple solution to the problem, only to find themselves stuck. It has happened to thousands of borrowers who now can’t find their way out.
There are even stories of people who spent nearly a decade making payments on their debt. They thought they would qualify for student loan forgiveness. When it came time to get their debt axed, they found out they didn’t have the right type of loan. And when the payments seem too much, they quit paying altogether.
Here’s a list of 5 mistakes people are making when attempting to pay back their student loan debt:
1) They Completely Avoid their Student Loan Debt
A lot of people who get in well over their heads decide they’ll just ignore their debt. It might work with other types. After a certain amount of years, debt might fall off your credit report and you get a fresh start. Not with student loan debt. This is a different beast altogether, especially if you have federal loans. They will not just disappear from view.
The biggest mistake you can ever make with student loan debt is to ignore it. As previously stated, it will not just fall off your credit. It will stick with you forever until you pay it. And if you don’t, the interest will still pile up during that time. You could be looking at adding thousands upon thousands of dollars to your total by ignoring it.
2) Defaulting on their Student Loans
This mistake should go under the first one, but it’s yet another huge mistake people make. Just missing a few payments is enough to send someone into default. Again, your student loan debt will no go away. And if you default, good luck fighting your way back after that. Late fees are added on and if you’re in default, you’ll never be considered for other loans.
It’s important to know when all your due dates are and make your monthly payments. They are not lenient if you miss a month. If you can’t afford your student loan debt, then you can find a better repayment plan that works for you. But avoiding the problem will only make life much more difficult for yourself.
3) Thinking Bankruptcy Will Get You Out
Another option borrowers think they have in their back pocket is bankruptcy. Sometimes having too much debt and less income causes them to declare bankruptcy. They’ve gotten too far behind and can’t seem to catch up. While it’s a devastating position to be in, it’s not one that will help you with student loans.
In most cases, student loan debt won’t be canceled by bankruptcy. Maybe other debts, like credit card debt, but again, your debt will always stick with you. You must pay it back at all costs. If you’re struggling, talk with your lender about options that might help you. Just never ignore your loans and hope they go away.
4) Applying for Forbearance Without Paying Interest
Life happens. When you’re paying back a loan for the next 10-20 years, there will be times when money is tight. You might apply for a forbearance, allowing you to put off making payments for up to a year. While people take a break, it’s important to understand that the interest is still growing.
There’s absolutely no way to stop the clock on interest payments. Even while on forbearance, your student loan debt continues to grow. And once you’re back to making payments, the interest accumulated will be added on to your principal balance. So, even if you need to take time away, continue paying the interest to stay ahead.
5) Not Knowing You Can Write Off Some Interest
A lot of people don’t know that they can write off a decent chunk of their interest. It’s capped at around $2,500 per year, but it’s a little something back. Your lender will send you a 1099 in January. Use the information to take the tax deduction! A little help will go a long way. And when you get your tax return, you can use it to pay off a huge chunk of debt.