The Real Payoff From School Loans

For those of us with school loans (or those of us who know someone with school loans…there, that should be everyone, right?), there are a few emotional moments when it comes to paying them off – the first tough moment is that month that they start becoming due – depending on how much you owe, that can be a small or a seismic shift for your living expenses. Another more euphoric moment is the day that they are all paid off.

Most of the days in between, though, are consumed with the ins and outs of life and our school loans fade into the category of being just another bill. It’s hard to get serious about paying off student loans. Why is this? Two big reasons. First, the amount is often huge and seems insurmountable, so we surrender to the impossibility of ever seeing the day they will be paid off and dutifully make our monthly payments and live our lives. Second, the interest rates on our student loans are usually low enough to fly under the radar when compared to other debt that we may have, so we focus on that and forget the school loans.

Assuming the more urgent and expensive debts have been taken care of, this particular post is not about debt or how to pay it off (but this one is). This post is about putting the slow and quiet repayment of those school loans front and center for one reason – those monthly payment amounts. Yes, you’re losing money with each month of interest that goes by, but the real goal here is about freeing up that monthly commitment you’re having to make each month.

So here’s the more important question – whether you are paying $100, $300, or $600 per month right now, what would you be able to do with that money if you weren’t paying off your school loans?

If I can simply offer an idea – assuming you’ve been making payments for some time, your financial life has adjusted around that fact. When your loans are one day paid off, it would almost be like having “extra” money each month. Therefore, since you’ll get to rewrite where that previously committed money goes from that day forth, don’t forget to be generous with some or all of it. Opportunities to carve some of our monthly finances out to help others more is a rare thing, so take advantage of it (for more on the why, check this out.)

So this is an encouragement to sell what you have to sell, set aside extra money in your monthly budget, whatever you need to do to be out from under that monthly obligation – then on that exuberant and joyous day when they’re all done, you reap the rewards of 1) no longer losing money every month to interest and 2) choosing how you can change the lives of others with what you do with your newfound “wealth”.

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