Get Serious About Paying Off Student Loans

Posted on September 4, 2023

Student Loan Payments are set to restart on October 1, 2023, while interest has already begun accruing as of September 1st. Let's look at an example of a $40,000 loan at 6% interest with a 10-year repayment term. This loan would have a monthly payment of $444 and would accrue $200 interest per month. Ouch! So don’t let these bad boys sit around either unpaid or by only paying minimum payments!

Let's explore some smart ways to help you tackle your student debt head-on, getting rid of them once and for all, setting you on a path to a brighter financial future where you can keep more of your own money!

Understand Your Loans

The first step is understanding the nature of your student loans. Know the minimum payments, interest rates, the types of loans you have (federal or private), who your loan servicer is and the terms and conditions. This knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions about your repayment strategy.

Heads Up: Your Loan Servicer May Have Changed

Don’t be surprised if your student loans were automatically transferred during the payment pause (yep, it happens). In fact, about 16 million people are expected to have a different loan servicer this fall.

If you have a new loan servicer, you should have received an email or letter about the switch—but make sure to reach out to double-check your loan balance and terms. Beware, you may even have received notice that it was PAID OFF or has a zero balance when you login. More than likely this means they're in the middle of transferring the accounting from the old company to the new one. Your actual balance should populate in a couple of weeks. Here are some of the recent student loan transfers:

· Navient loans are now under Aidvantage.

· GSMR loans are now under Edfinancial Services.

· Great Lakes loans are now under Nelnet.

· All loans enrolled in Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) previously under FedLoan Servicing are now under MOHELA.

Here are two ways to find out who your loan servicer is:

Option 1: Log in to My Federal Student Aid at 

Once you log in to your account, scroll down to “My Loan Servicers” to see your loan details—including your loan servicer. If you don’t already have an account with that servicer, you’ll need to create one.

Option 2: Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 800.433.3243.

Good to know: Your loan servicer can help answer any questions you have about your student loans for free. So, watch out for scam companies who try to charge you money for federal student loan help!

Create a Budget and Implement the Debt Snowball

Budgeting is your best friend when it comes to paying off debt. Start by listing all your sources of income and all your monthly expenses. First, take care of all your necessities like food, housing, utilities, and transportation. Next, list all your debts, (including each individual student loan) in order from smallest balance to largest balance. Then, assign the minimum payments for each one and then add any extra money you can find to the smallest debt. Keep doing this every month until the smallest one is paid off. Then, roll what you were paying on the smallest debt into the next smallest debt + its minimum payment and so on. Paying your debts in this way increases momentum like a snowball rolling downhill. Just be sure to tell them to apply the extra toward the principal and not to next month’s payment.

Use this calculator to see how quickly you can pay off your debts using the debt snowball method. My favorite budgeting tool to use is called Every Dollar. It’s free to use and you can use it on the phone or PC.

Figure out your "Why"

Having a clear reason "why" you want to get out of debt can provide motivation and a sense of direction. I'm not talking about the obvious and surface-level reasons, I'm talking about the deeper reasons. Are your student loans keeping you up at night and causing you anxiety? Are they keeping you from starting a family? Are you trying to figure out how to save so your child doesn't go into student loan debt, yet you're still trying to figure out how to pay for your own loans? Having peace, starting a family, and stopping the generational debt cycle are really strong "why’s” and they will help you stay focused and committed to your debt-free journey.

Consider Refinancing

Refinancing isn't the right choice for everyone's situation, and it definitely won't solve all your problems. However, it could be beneficial if:

  • It’s 100% free to refinance.
  • You can get a lower interest rate.
  • You can keep a fixed rate or trade your variable rate for a fixed rate.
  • You don’t have to sign up for a longer repayment period.
  • You don’t need a co-signer.
  • You haven’t recently declared bankruptcy.
  • It will actually motivate you to pay off your student loans faster.

Live Below Your Means

While it may be tempting to indulge in luxuries right after graduation (or beyond), consider living below your means. Cut unnecessary expenses and redirect those funds toward your student loans. Remember that making sacrifices now will lead to greater financial freedom in the future.

Don't Count on Loan Forgiveness Programs and Income-Driven Repayment Plans

These programs are dangled in front of you and keep your hopes up of having them forgiven. However, historically speaking, only about 2% of those who have applied for forgiveness under the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) have actually been accepted. Programs like these keep you in lower-income careers, decreasing your lifetime earning potential by 10's to 100's of thousands. Meanwhile, after having paid only minimum payments over the last 10-20 years, the interest has compounded and if your loan isn't forgiven then that now needs to be paid off as well.

Increase Your Income

Find opportunities to increase your income, whether through a raise, a side gig, or freelance work. Extra income can be a powerful tool for paying off student loans more quickly. The quicker you can get them paid off, the quicker you can move on with your life, free to spend your money the way you really want to.


To recap, student loan payments restart on October 1, 2023. The fastest way to pay off your student loans is to pay more than your minimum monthly payment. You can go a step further by decreasing your spending and increasing your income to help you have even more money to throw at your debt. Refinancing your student loans may help—but it’s not for everyone. You shouldn't depend on the government to come to your rescue. Instead, be the hero of your own story and pay off your own loans as quickly as possible so you can control your own destiny.

If you want guidance on how to implement the above tips, I’d love the opportunity to help you navigate the process. Reach out today for a free consultation! 

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