Closing - Keep Learning and Keep Earning

Lesson #4.3 Got Student Loans? Don’t Get Crushed By These Common Mistakes (1:00 mins)

Student loans are no joke—once you take them out, you’ll be paying them back for years (and years, and years). So it’s important to avoid making any common mistakes that could potentially make your student loan situation even worse. Here are four mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Not Paying Your Interest While In School

Your student loans accrue interest while you’re in school, which means the longer you wait to start paying them off, the more you’ll end up owing. If you can swing it, try making interest-only payments while you’re still in school. That way, you won’t have to worry about your loan balance ballooning after graduation.

Mistake #2: Not Shopping Around For The Best Interest Rate

When it comes to taking out a student loan, it pays to shop around. There are a ton of different lenders out there vying for your business, so compare rates from several different sources before settling on a loan. You might be surprised at how much money you can save by simply taking the time to compare rates.

Mistake #3: Not Paying Off Your High-Interest Loans First

If you have multiple student loans with different interest rates, focus on paying off the loans with the highest interest rates first. That way, you can save money in the long run by not accruing as much interest on your loans. Trust me, your future self will thank you for taking care of those high-interest loans now.

Mistake #4: Missing A Payment (Or Several)

Missing just one payment can have a major impact on your credit score, not to mention incurring late fees and increasing the amount of interest you accrue on your loan. So do yourself a favor and set up autopay for your student loans—that way, you can rest assured that your payments will always be made on time. No more worrying about missed or late payments!

Mistake #5: not taking advantage of grace periods

Federal student loans typically come with a six-month grace period after graduation, during which time you don’t have to make any payments. If you can swing it, use that time to save up money so that you can make a lump sum payment when the grace period ends. Making even one extra payment per year can save you hundreds of dollars in interest and help you pay off your loans faster.

Mistake #6: not consolidating or refinancing

If you have multiple student loans with different interest rates and terms, consolidation or refinancing could save you money in the long run. Consolidating multiple federal loans into one loan can make repayment easier, and refinancing private loans at a lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Just be sure to shop around for the best rates before consolidating or refinancing; getting a lower interest rate isn’t worth it if the new terms aren’t as favorable.

Mistake #7 neglecting your loans

It may be tempting to just set up autopay and forget about your student loans, but that’s a mistake.

First of all, autopay doesn’t necessarily mean that your loans will be paid off on time; if your bank account doesn’t have enough money to cover the payment, autopay will simply fail.

Second, Missing even one payment can damage your credit score and make it harder to get approved for other types of loans down the road. So even if you can only afford the minimum payment each month, be sure to pay on time and keep track of your balance so that you don’t get caught off guard by an unexpected increase in payments later on.

Student loans are no laughing matter—but avoiding these common mistakes can help you stay afloat financially after graduation. So take heed of this advice and you should be well on your way to financial success post-college!