We’re tired of hearing about it. We’re tired of thinking about it. And we’re certainly tired of paying it. What’s this “it”? Student loan debt. Yeah. I know… I want to take it off the roster of topics too. But regardless of the over-saturation of student loan debt (or maybe because if it) it’s a problem that’s going to stick around for a while.
If you’re at your wits end then it’s time to get rid of your student debt… as quickly as possible. Here are a few key ways to reframe the way you approach your student loan debt to inspire you to get rid of it even faster:
Make peace with your debt
The dissatisfaction surrounding student loan debt has never been higher… and for good reason. Student loan debt sucks. Accumulating high debt at such a young age feels limiting and frustrating because it is. But if we were to remain focused on that fact alone, then we’d never get past shaking our fist at our loan statements. In order to place your full attention on the repayment and financial empowerment aspect of repayment then it’s essential that you make peace with your debt.
Quick tip: Face student loan debt head on, acknowledge the reality of the situation, and then optimize towards scaling the obstacle.
Visualize your “after debt” goals
Assign value to the journey by defining a goal that you want to achieve. Treat your payoff date as something more tangible than just a day on the calendar.
Push yourself to inhabit the mind space of success. Really use your imagination here… where will you be, how will it look, what kinds of pressures will be relieved without that student debt? Wanting to be debt-free for the sake of being debt-free has it’s own merit but take it one step further and pinpoint the details as to why you want to be debt free, and what you’ll do when you’ve achieved that financial freedom.
Quick tip: What will you do after you payoff your student loan debt? Travel more? Eat out without guilt? Give up a side job? Just… relax?
Measure your progress
One of the best ways to stay in student loan debt for as long as possible is to simply throw money at it every month without actually understanding where your money is going. If you don’t know how your money is working for your repayment then you have no real gauge of any leaks or cracks in your plan. For instance, paying minimums will keep you in debt for much longer than if you pay above. Therefore, if you simply pay the suggested minimum that’s attached to your lender statement you’ll be taking the slow route. When you see, however
Quick tip: Visuals are powerful tools in repayment. If you see a downward trend to your repayment, you’ll be more likely to feel frustrated by any changes that cause the line to go up again.
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Reward your milestones
If you went on to study at an institution of higher education than you likely experienced 3 separate graduations… one for middle school, one for high school, and one for college. Imagine if everyone just celebrated one graduation? That would be quite a long stretch before there was cause for a celebration despite the many accomplishments that made up all those years. Your repayment can be considered a similar type of lengthy goal which means that it should be punctuated by rewards. It doesn’t have to be a grand reward – no helicopters for making a monthly payment.
Quick tip: For many, repayment is a long-haul. Break up the repayment journey by rewarding yourself incrementally. Without acknowledging moments of success, you won’t feel like you’ve made forward motion in your repayment.
Treat student loan debt as something more than “money owed”
Regardless of what your feelings towards your debt it’s important to attach more meaning to student loan debt than simply money owed. If you don’t give it more purpose then it’s easy to become fixated on your frustration rather than taking the proper steps to get rid of it. Your debt, however grand and frustrating it is, doesn’t define you. What you’ve learned, how you apply it, and how you continue crafting your future does. Don’t give student loan debt the ability to derail energy that you can utilize towards developing your unique sense of self.
Quick tip: Student loan debt numbers have reached the tipping point in regards to empathy. It seems like everyone has it, everyone is upset about it and by default that means that most people are over-saturated with information about it. Give it more meaning than regret or frustration.
If nothing else, understand the impact of compounding interest
For the love of cookies, put “understand compounding interest” at the top of your student loan debt “to-do” list. Seriously, it will only do you tremendous good to know exactly how much you’re paying in interest on a daily basis. Many people aren’t really aware of just how much they’re paying in interest and in the case of student loan debts, aren’t aware of how much interest they’re paying on a daily basis.
Quick tip: Look at your daily interest. That’s probably all you need to get inspired to pay off your debt as quickly as possible.
For additional resources, check out our student loan resource center which feature a comprehensive list of tips and tools to help you plan out your repayment. And although we might be tired of hearing about it, it is important that we continue talking about it. When we share and expose new information, we can help our personal repayment as well as influence the structure of student loans in the future.
Image 1 Credit: Ahmad Dhanie
Image 2 Credit: Yosef Silver