Hey. It's a tad chaotic out there. Since student loan repayments officially restarted in September, it's been anything but easy for most borrowers trying to figure out how to get back on track and find the best repayment option for their lifestyle. Many find themselves budgeting down to the penny in order to make it all work.
It can feel overwhelming. We're with you on that.
There comes a point when you must make the decision to move ahead and realize you can only control your piece of the puzzle. How does that Serenity Prayer go? Ah yes.
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Whether it's a prayer, a pep talk with a confidant, or a private dance party to start your day- do the thing that helps you feel like it's all going to be okay, (because it will be), and move forward.
There is relief in the fact that we can't control it all.
Let's explore some ways to get empowered while the BTS pieces of student loan repayment sort themselves out.
Meet Your Loan Servicer
The world of loan servicers has seen its fair share of changes recently. Government policies and shifts in the financial landscape have led to a reshuffling of these entities. It's important to stay updated on the latest news regarding your loan servicer, as this can greatly impact your repayment journey. You may have a new servicer. Google them, find contact information, and put at least an hour in your calendar to devote to connecting with a human who can update your information.
Making the Call: What to Expect
When you make that pivotal call to your loan servicer, be prepared for a mix of emotions. It's normal to feel nervous or uncertain. Remember, you're not alone in this. The representative on the other end is there to help you navigate through the process. Before the call, gather all necessary documents, including your loan details, income information, and any relevant correspondence.
As you've likely seen online or from your own experience- expect to be on hold for some time. Plan for it. Make it cute. Grab a blanket and a beverage. Make a multi-tasking to-do list while you wait. Throw on some HGTV or the Great British Baking Show. Lean into the satisfaction of knowing you'll be one step closer to answers when the call is over.
One of the challenges borrowers face is the potential for differing and sometimes inconsistent information from various sources. It's crucial to approach this with a level head and seek clarification if things seem unclear. Take detailed notes during the call and, if possible, request written confirmation of any agreements or arrangements made.
Managing student loan debt repayment stress goes beyond the phone call. Here are some strategies you can implement behind the scenes:
- Automating and Financial Planning
Take a close look at your income and expenses to create a realistic saving and spending plan. Allocate a portion of your income specifically for loan repayments based on what you know to be true from your recent connection with your loan servicer. Consider using budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track your progress. See where you can give yourself extra financial breathing room while some of the backend messiness clears up.
- Self Care and Self Compassion
Be kind to yourself during this process. It's common to experience stress and anxiety when dealing with student loans. Recognize that you're not alone in this journey, and it's okay to ask for help or seek support from trusted sources.
While repaying student loans is a significant financial goal, it's not the only aspect of your financial well-being. Take a holistic approach by also prioritizing savings, investments, and emergency funds. Building a strong financial foundation will provide a sense of security and stability.
- Get Busy Livin'
The best part about taking the reins of your student loan repayment? After you take the steps to get a plan in place, you can get on with your life. Have some fun! See some friends and family. Touch grass. Remember all the great things you have going, how you'll be able to utilize your education, and all the opportunities that are ahead.
Remember, every step forward is a victory, and every win brings you closer to financial freedom. Finding new ways to become empowered along the way is a huge win!