Did you read the last entry that I wrote about my student loan repayment? If not, then I encourage you to take a minute of your time and check it out. In that update I noted that my outstanding balance had fallen from $17 thousand all the way down into the four-digit range of $9 thousand. And now I’m back again with another update and another relatively sizable drop in my total student loan debt burden.As of today my student loan debt sits at about $7 thousand. Most folks are going to read that update and think, “It’s all over for Joe now – there’s nothing left. He’ll pay this $7 thousand off in a month or two and be done with those loans for good.” Well, if you have that thought in your head, then you happen to be correct. And while I obviously have the cash sitting in one of my savings accounts to eliminate the balance of my student loans today, I’ve opted not to fully repay the debt… yet!
The reason for this decision is that I need to do a better job preparing this blog to showcase the journey that I had to take to get from about $121 thousand in student loan debt all the way down to $0 in a matter of a little under 7 years. Not to toot my own horn, but I believe that in the pages upon pages of student loan updates that I’ve provided over the years there are a lot of great tips and pointers for people struggling with seemingly insurmountable levels of debt. If you’ve been reading these updates for a while, then you’ll remember that I used to constantly remind everyone that my accelerated payment was possible even though I do my best to meet or exceed donating 7% to 10% of my gross income each year to charity. Also, in some of my early student loan entries I was big on reminding folks that not only was I paying off my student loans at an accelerated pace, but I was also paying for all of my own expenses without any help from any government institutions or individuals. In addition, I mentioned in more than one of these updates that I was able to do all of this while working for a nonprofit organization – not some big, investment bank that was dominating Wall Street or a hedge fund that was kicking off a 7 or 8 figure salary. Nothing along those lines is going on here. And I think I even may have written in some of these updates that I’ve even managed to continue my education over the last seven years by completing a Graduate Certificate program and enrolling in a Post-Master’s Certificate program.
The quick lesson from all of this? Don’t believe that an incredible amount of student loan debt will automatically stifle your ability to earn money and make significant repayments! Remember, YOU are the one in control of your life and decisions – and that includes your financial life and decisions.
As I’ve been telling people who I am close with that I’m on the verge of completely repaying my student loans, they’ve been asking me how such an accomplishment is possible given the circumstances noted above. Well, I think a variety of the answers to the “How?” question are found within my past updates and I’m working on finalizing a separate page on the blog to catalog those answers.
But stay tuned, everyone. Once that separate page is created I fully intend on repaying the balance of this student loan and kissing the whole thing goodbye forever. The end is drawing near for these student loans…
On May 14, 2006, I graduated from Rutgers University with a master’s degree and $120,720 in student loan debt. In July 2006 I made my first payment on these student loans and, so far, I’ve repaid a total of $114 thousand in principal. My lenders include the United States Department of Education’s (USED) Perkins loan program, the USED’s subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loan programs, the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority’s NJCLASS program, and CitiBank. The USED sold my student loan to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) on April 16, 2012. I currently owe about $7 thousand in principal to MOHELA. To date, I’ve repaid over $35 thousand in interest to these lenders. Follow my student loan repayment story on JerseySmarts.com.