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Published On: Thu, May 7th, 2020

How to Overcome Student Loan Debt as a Couple

Marriage is a union between two individuals. It is rightly called a match made in heaven. The two bring out the best in each other and together they overcome hurdles that come on the way. It is a commitment to support each other emotionally, legally and financially. But, poor management of finance between the partners may lead to debt which can cause serious problems in the relationship.

The average age of people marrying in the U.S. is 27 years and the majority of them have loan repayments. Added interests due to factors such as job loss, unemployment, current loan balance, increases stress and marital disorders.

photo/ Mary Pahlke

How to overcome loans as a couple?

Education is essential to get a sustainable income and also to manage the loans you borrowed for school. When you dream of what to become, you should also chalk out a plan to reach your goal. While getting married with a loan on current it is always difficult to manage wealth. So by understanding each other’s situation,financial decisions must be made carefully. Here are certain ways to overcome the loan as a couple.

Organize your student loans: (h3)

Now you might feel like you have a big loan to repay, but you can always keep track of loan balances and status. Organizing all the loans on current helps in monitoring them and choosing the right plan to repay student loans. We suggest you make a list of all the loans, their terms, interest rates, the current balance and due dates for each to know which loan should be cleared sooner.

It is best to settle at plans with longer terms of repayment at a lower interest. The interest rates play an important role in increasing or decreasing the overall payment you make. This could also help you make lesser monthly payments. To clear the confusion, you could go through the ideal interest rates offered on private and federal student loans to understand how the interests work.

Affording the monthly payments: (h3)

Now you have an organized list of loans you borrowed. Determine if you could manage to make payments according to your income and if you can manage other expenses while covering monthly payments. If you cannot repay the monthly installments, it is better to look for other options to reduce the monthly payments such as refinancing or federal loan assistance.

By making extra payments: (h3)

After managing to settle your monthly payments, you might save a little from your income. BUt, there is always a probability of unexpected expenses. Hence it is better to save money together and help in making bigger payments one at a time.

But carefully instruct your loan servicer to use it to cover the principle and not the payments on the next due.

Plan on how to clear off student loan: (h3)

Preparing a budget to manage all the loan payments to be made monthly with additional expenses as a couple is effective. You could consolidate yours and your spouse loans separately into two bigger loans. This will make life earlier with increased period and lesser payments to be made monthly. Additionally, you could make larger payments to lower the balance sooner than expected.

How to Reduce your student loan payments?

There are a number of ways listed to Pay off students’ loans in less time while you’re striving to manage the finance to make monthly expenses manageable. It is crucial to understand the loan status and try choosing repayments options that could help reduce the monthly payments and ease the repayments phase. 

Federal loan assistance programs: (h3)

Federal student loans borrowed can avail a number of benefits to make payments more affordable. The options may include deferment, forbearance, forgiveness or income-based repayment plans applicable on the federal student loans. The private student loans you borrowed have different attractive policies under the loan servicers such as refinancing loans at lower interest, reduction of interest rates, autopay, biweekly payments and other.

Use Deferment or Forbearance to Pause payments: (h3)

While you face financial instability, you could use the deferment and forbearance options to halt the payments for a temporary period. However you can use this when in need as this doesn’t harm your credit score. But we suggest you make minimum payments as this will accrue interest in this period and add up to the total cost you make to clear the loan. 

These options are reliable during times where you choose higher education, while finding a job and recovering from illness.

Income-Based Repayment plans for couple: (h3)

The IBR plan contains a set of rules that cuts off the monthly payments as low as 10 percent of the overall income obtained. Enrolling in an IBR plan as a couple would cost you the same interest that could cost you individually but it may change as the payment structure of your spouse’s changes. This fetches a combined monthly loan bill similar to a bill you get individually.

However the total interest paid will gradually increase with the increased term. The default term is 10 years but it could stretch up to 20 years while making lesser and monthly payments according to your convenience. After making regular payments for a certain assigned period, you could qualify for loan forgiveness if you served under the government sector or non-profit organization. For further information, check the Income-Based Repayment Plan for Spouses can help you manage student loans effectively by enrolling into this plan.

Consolidate student loans:(h3)

Consolidation of federal student loans is a great option for candidates who have multiple loans and find it difficult to make payments on time. You could combine all the loans into a big loan with a newer interest rate and new period of repayments to make lesser monthly installments. Settling at a lower interest rate helps in managing payments easier and on time.

Student loan refinancing: (h3)

With multiple private loans borrowed, Refinancing student loans is the best option for couples who can offer to make bigger payments and are willing to pay off loans sooner. When your old loans were borrowed with higher interest rates, you could combine all the loans into one loan to fetch a lower interest rate. This may reduce the overall payments you make and also pay loans sooner. You require a good credit score to refinance your loans and always remember to land on a fixed and lower interest rate than a variable interest which could fluctuate with the changing market.

Conclusion

Clearing off your student loans together as a couple while making a stronger bond sounds great. By using these ways to pay off students’ loans and overcoming the burden of the family may be time consuming and hard, but it is worth celebrating the major money win. Planning together on what path to choose and facing the uncertainties is common in this phase. Making each other feel important and standing firm throughout the process helps in eliminating debts together in almost no time.

Author: Henry Miller

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