The last time that I wrote about my students loan was last summer. Back then, I only wrote about the loan just to note it existed after obtaining my doctorate from USC. This summer’s update is that I have made significant progress in repaying this student loan and I expect to have it repaid in full by the end of 2020 (assuming, of course, that the disruptions in the economy do not totally destroy my ability to earn a living). And while I have not followed my repayment on this student loan on this blog as closely or with as much discussion as I did when I repaid my first student loans, that does not mean that there are not little gems of wisdom that I can shed for those who are in a similar situation.
Just in terms of raw numbers, when I started repaying my doctoral student loan in December 2018, I owed $89,286.86. Today, I owe $49,301.17, though I just made a $17,000 payment so my loan balance will drop after that payment is applied. And there you have it – that is the big difference between me paying back a student loan in the year 2020 and me working like a madman to pay back my student loans 10+ years ago. Today, with a lot of experience and seasoning under my belt, I am a highly educated professional who earns a respectable living and who has curated several sources of income. It was easy to set up a strategy to pay back the new student loan at this point in my life because I have worked diligently to be a position to not have major financial obligations like this become life-defining. In fact, I plan to have the rest of this student loan paid in full by early December of this year. That would not have been possible during my first time around paying back my loans.
Is it easy to make these big payments to eliminate this loan? No, of course not. Sending any entity a $17,000 check is frustrating for so many reasons. I can certainly put that money to better use in the stock market, in improving my home, as a charitable donation, or any other number of potential uses. However, I am a big believer that you repay the debts that you owe and then you move on with life, so I am going to repay this final student loan and then focus on those other things. Besides, my investment portfolio is doing pretty well as it is with the markets (for which I am thankful, given the pandemic) and my charitable causes are all weathering the storm as best as can be expected. Even my 401k is not that bad at the moment, which is remarkable given the instability in the larger economy.
I have been thinking about putting together a new footer for these student loan posts. You may recall that I had a standard footer in my old student loan entries and it looked like this:
Here is the update that I am going to begin using on posts like this one, though I will change it in the future to highlight the total amount of principal, interest, and fees that I repaid over the course of all of these loans.
Through my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs, I incurred $209,890.17 in student loan debt. The debt was comprised of $193,430.16 in loan principal, $14,313.42 in capitalized interest, and $2,146.59 in closing and refinancing fees. My lenders included 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, CitiBank, and SoFi. Both the USED and SoFi used the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (commonly known as MOHELA) to service my loans. I repaid by undergraduate and masters loans in August 2013. In total, I paid $149,455.12 on those loans including $120,603.31 in consolidated principal and $28,851.81 in interest. I continue to repay my doctoral loan and, to date, I have paid $62,652.35 including $56,944.27 in consolidated principal and $5,708.05 in interest. You can read my entire student loan repayment story on JerseySmarts.com.