There is a good chance that the majority of you who are reading this are recent college graduates since the title of this article is How to Control and Manage Debt after College. I’m also going to assume that the majority of have at least one type of debt in general… Student loans… Cough, cough…
I know your pain, I’m still paying off my student loans. It’s like “Hey, congratulations on graduating college! Oh and by the way, you owe us $20,000 dollars and would appreciate repayment as soon as possible… Thanks!”
On top of student loans there is a good chance some of you have other debts too, possibly credit card debt or have an outstanding car loan. There are others of you who might be thinking about buying your first home soon, or maybe you already purchased your first home. Buying a home is a major purchase, and it can take years of your working lives to payoff a home mortgage if you don’t plan and budget properly.
It doesn’t matter how much you owe in debt, if you have any debt at all you need to manage that debt. Even if you have a small amount of debt, it can get out of control quickly if you don’t manage it properly. If you have a large amount of debt you need to prioritize on paying off your higher interest debt first.
Determine How Much Debt You Owe and Who You Owe
Start by making a list of all your debts, include the amount of debt you owe, each debts monthly payment, the name of the creditor, and each debts due date. Then get a recent copy of your credit report, you can get your credit report at myFICO.com, and use your credit report to confirm the debts on your list. Monitor your list carefully and update it each month. At first this seems like a hassle, but soon you’ll begin to enjoy seeing your debts decrease. Once you have fully paid off a debt, place a big “X” through it!
Pay Your Debts on Time Each Month
I want to make it clear for all you slackers that late payments are bad. Late payments not only hurt your credit score but when you begin missing payments you’ll be charged a late fee for each payment you miss, and they can begin to add up fast.
Some creditors allow you to set up bill pay reminders in the user account dashboard on the creditor’s websites. This is a very nice and convenient feature as it allows you to set up text message and / or email alerts to be sent to you before your debts due date every month.
Always Pay the Minimum Amount Due
Always pay the minimum payment on a debt every month. It’s always a good idea to pay more than the minimum payment due if you can. I understand not everyone can afford to pay more than the minimum and that’s okay, but at least for your sake pay the minimum amount due every month.
Obviously, you won’t make much progress paying only the minimum every month since most of that amount is only interest, but it’s better than nothing. If you don’t make any payment at all and start missing payments, your debt will continue to grow and you risk going into credit default.
Don’t Hesitate to Seek Help
If you find yourself struggling to make payments on your debt or are missing payments completely, seek professional help immediately. If you delay getting help you’re only putting more stress on yourself and your debts will continue get worse and quickly get out of control.
There are excellent debt relief programs and credit counseling agencies that specialize in helping people get out of debt. If you think you’re too embarrassed or ashamed to seek help, don’t be! The professionals who specialize in debt relief help people just like you every day and won’t judge you one bit. Your situation is probably very minor compared to other’s they work with. They want to help you and the sooner you get help the easier it’ll be to find a solution.
Find out more on how to get help with your debts and seeking debt relief:
Dealing with Student Loans
I remember back when in college, I wouldn’t think twice about accepting any students available to me before the start of a semester. The thought of eventually having to pay back the student loans was nonexistent. I never even kept track of the amount of loans I took out every semester and after graduation when I received a letter in the mail stating the amount I owed, I found myself grasping for air. I was completely shocked by the amount of student debt I had accumulated only four years.
This is the same reaction many college graduates have after receiving similar letters in mail stating when they’ll have to begin paying back their student loans.
If you’ve recently graduated or plan on graduating soon prepare yourself, because repayment of your student loans is inevitable. The time to begin paying back your student loans will happen sooner than you think, and they won’t go away.
Once you realize just how much debt you’ve accumulated from the pursuit of a higher education, you might begin thinking you only went to college so when you graduated you could get a job just to afford to pay for your student loans. For those who graduate with a nice chunk of debt, that’s pretty much the truth.
The best way to deal with your student loans, is simply to start dealing with your student loans. The sooner you deal with them the better, while also setting money aside for other things and expenses.
Author: Tyler DeBroux
Tyler started Oddball Wealth towards the end of 2014 after graduating college, as a way to stay relevant in his area of study, stimulate his mind, and to educate and help others.
Tyler has worked in the financial services industry, as a financial advisor, helping his clients make wise financial decisions and personalized long-term financial plans. Since graduating college in December of 2014, Tyler has paid off more than $15,000 in student loan debt and counting, his goal is to have all his student loans paid in full by the in of 2016.
Tyler is an entrepreneur and an expert in personal finance. Two of his many hobbies include investing and building online businesses. He is also a big advocate of early retirement and an aggressive saver, who utilizes any financial resources and tools available to him to help reach his goals for achieving financial independents.