* With such low interest rates, is it worth getting the guaranteed 5% for paying off part of my HECS debt, as compared to the 3% I get for leaving it in the bank? Especially as that 5% option goes away at the end of the year.
I would totally take advantage of this man, I paid off a 30k HECS over a couple months in 2015 and I look back on it as a highlight of the year. The numbers will never make it the mathematically best direction but fuck it feels good being totally debt free.
I've just done my tax, and filled out my "Hecs-help benefit" form for the year. This is the first year I'll actually claim it. Science graduate, employed in a Science job, and a year post postgrad studies that I actually went over the threshold for Hecs repayments.
The Hecs-help benefit is worth ~$1800/yr at the moment, and you get it for five years (260weeks). So its not to be sniffed at.
I did a careful spreadsheet calculation, applying 2.2%CPI in the future (they apply this to Hecs debts every 1st June), and carefully, slightly conservatively, estimating my future earnings through pay rises.
Bare in mind my Hecs debt is ~$29000 currently.
I will JUST be able to take advantage of all that free HECS-HELP Benefit money! At the end of the fifth year, I'll have ~$110 of balance left! Which obviously will pay off very quickly (I'll just pay it once its all been aquitted at the start of that year and tell my employer to stop taking out HECS payments off my salary).
As this value of $110 is less than $525, there is no point in me trying to make a compulsory repayment prior to the 5% repayment bonus deadline of the end of 2016. If I did, I would just end up missing out on free money through the HECS-HELP benefit scheme for Science graduates working in a Science field.
An alternative way of looking at this, I added up all the indexation over this period, and it came to $1413.19. Much less than the final Hecs-help benefit payment (which would be $1948.61). So I'm garanteed to be in front.
If you are outside of the fields of Science, Education, or Midwifery, you wouldn't apply for this HECS-HELP Benefit. In which case your calculations might come out differently on whether or not to apply the 5% upfront.
If my salary was lower, and/or my initial Hecs debt were higher, it would be more feasible (though still probably better to put the money into investments) to take advantage of the 5% bonus now, but only as much as to reduce the balance after I've received my five years worth of Hecs Help Benefit.
Hope this helps some people :-)