Author Topic: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options  (Read 2551 times)

cj25

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Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« on: May 10, 2016, 04:25:56 PM »
So DH's loans will be in repayment soon, I think first payment will start in August.  A couple months ago they asked for payment preferences and he chose the longest possible, 25 years.  We both don't like the amount the loans will end up costing us.  I was hoping Sofi would give us a better rate but the overall rate isn't that much better.  I am not sure why since he has good credit.  Not sure if it's because we just moved one credit card with a high rate (15.99%) to a new card with a zero rate for 18 months to get it paid off faster.  I currently have higher credit than him, so I could potentially cosign to get a better, but is that even a good idea?  Here is what the various scenarios look like.  Can you guys help me figure out what to do?  Obviously all of this can potentially be shorter once the high interest debt is gone and we can make larger payments, but I just want to make sure we can also manage the payment in the short term and if we end up not paying them off early for some reason.

As currently financed:
      
                  Current          Rate           Pmt             Total Paid
Loan 1    $16,087.77    6.80%   112.98    $33,894.00
Loan 2    $15,497.40    6.80%   108.86    $32,658.00
Loan 3    $7,683.49    3.86%   40.25    $12,075.00
Loan 4    $13,381.91    4.66%   76.28    $22,884.00
Loan 5    $3,224.10   4.29%   17.68    $5,304.00
            $55,874.67              $356.05     $106,815.00

Refi with Sofi:
Total $55,874.67
5 Year- Pmt - $1,064.04 Rate - 5.375% Total Paid $63,842.40
7 Year- Pmt - $809.56    Rate - 5.750% Total Paid $68,003.04
10 Year - Pmt $627.07    Rate - 6.240% Total Paid $75,248.40
15 Year - Pmt $486.42    Rate - 6.490% Total Paid $87,555.60
20 Year - Pmt $424.51    Rate - 6.740% Total Paid $101,882.40

Should we just leave them alone and try to pay off early?  Or should we take one of the refinance options? The only one that would work due to the payment size is potentially the 15 or 20 year. 
I was really hoping to get a better rate from them.
Should I cosign?  Wait a few months to see if he gets a new job making more money?  Any other options I may be overlooking?

rubybeth

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 04:36:28 PM »
Are these federal subsidized or unsubsidized loans that can be consolidated at the federal level? https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/consolidation

What kind of income do the two of you have? Can you just attack them one by one by making large payments? DH and I also graduated (2nd degrees) with a combined debt of about $54k, and we paid them off in four years, just making very large payments each month. If income is okay, and you can avoid lifestyle inflation, I would just pay them off ASAP.

As for consolidation with SoFi--that kind of thing makes me very nervous for a few reasons, especially if you are newly married. Student loan debt can no longer be consolidated with a spouse for obvious reasons--the relationship breaks up, it gets very complicated. But the biggest reason I would caution against this option is that federal loans (assuming that's what these are), come with a variety of protections, like being able to defer while in school, get forbearance during hardship, do income-based or income-contingent repayment, etc. I was offered a few months of forbearance while my loans were being consolidated, but I opted to continue paying. But what there was a medical reason me or spouse couldn't work for a couple months?

Also, how much do you have in other savings? Emergency fund? I ask because DH and I decided we'd live with a minimal emergency fund while paying down the debt, and then as we got very close to paying off the debt, just tapped the rest of the emergency fund (down to about $2k) to pay it all off even earlier.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 04:51:11 PM »
I would sign up for the 25 year, graduated plan with automatic withdrawal. This will give you the lowest possible monthly payment. Next, decide how much extra you will pay every month. When you go to make an extra, you can pick the loan with the highest rate.

dess1313

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 11:09:10 PM »
for now start at the lowest repayment possible if he does not have a job, or does not have a stable job

Use http://www.whatsthecost.com/snowball.aspx  focus on paying the highest interest rate ones first

This can help you see where it is best to snowball/avalance your payments on your debt, and give you an idea of what an extra $100 or $300 a month can do.  you don't say if you can afford more, or just the minimums at the moment.  is he still looking for a job? 

MDM

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2016, 12:22:28 AM »
Any other options I may be overlooking?
In general, if you can get a lower rate for the same length loan it is a good thing.

Can you refinance only the 6.8% loans and leave the others as is?

See http://www.vertex42.com/Calculators/debt-reduction-calculator.html if you prefer spreadsheets to web pages for evaluating options.

I would hope you wouldn't have to hesitate about cosigning with your spouse but that gets beyond mere financial calculations....

rubybeth

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2016, 06:40:18 AM »
I would hope you wouldn't have to hesitate about cosigning with your spouse but that gets beyond mere financial calculations....

Well, in most cases, it's probably not cause for concern, but the thing is, if your spouse dies, you'd still be on the hook for their loans that you co-signed. I don't want to assume everyone is young and healthy. And the OP asked for considerations they hadn't thought of, so I thought I'd add that caveat. I know a number of people who have student loan debt and chronic serious health conditions. Stuff happens.

mlr2016

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2016, 12:22:55 PM »
I had about $23k in private loans I was looking to refinance and I also turned to Sofi.  Like you, I was not happy with the rate provided given my credit history and financial well-being.  Might I recommend you have him look into Earnest?  The application process is a bit more involved but they take a look at your entire financial picture before approving you for a loan.  From there. they let you use a sliding scale to choose your repayment terms (i.e., if you chose a larger payment, you receive a lower interest rate and the term of you loan is obviously shortened and vice versa).  Overall, I received a much better rate and ended up refinancing with them.  I couldn't be happier.

As a side note, if these are not private loans I would hesitate to refinance them as you will lose some of the benefits that Federal loans provide.  If that's the case, there's nothing stopping the two of you from keeping the 25yr repayment term and paying extra each month.  Yes you'll end up paying more interest than if you refinanced, but you'll maintain the Federal benefits.

Regardless of what you chose, be disciplined and pay them off within your means as quickly as possible.  My wife and I have roughly $90k left of student loan debt ourselves and we're on track to have them paid off in the next 4 years.  Unfortunately this means we don't do as much "fun" stuff as we used to... short term pain for long term gain. 

Good luck and if you decide to look into Earnest, feel free to use the referral code in my signature.



Erinbynight

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2016, 07:19:12 PM »
Like everyone else has said... I would not refi with sofi. The rates arent that different. I would keep the smallest payment, which it sounds like you already have with the 25 year repayment. I would automate all debt payments, save an er fund of one onths expenses, and then put extra money as you can toward the highest interest rate. There. Done. Problem solved. No more obsessing.

minimos

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2016, 07:39:42 PM »
Like a previous poster said, why not refinance only loans 1 and 2, the ones at 6.8% rate and leave the rest as they are today with the lower rates?

Also, we refinanced with sofi too.  The first time I refinanced the rate was only slightly better than we were paying initially, but still better none the less.  Then after a year of being with sofi, I re-refinanced and they gave me a much better rate.  It may be because I was already a client, or maybe had nothing to do with that except the loan balances were just smaller after 1 year. But just something to consider that you can refinance again at a later time if they can give you a better rate after clearig up some debt.

Also, there are a handful of other options out there, so you can always apply and see what rates you get from there competitors. 

tomorrowsomewherenew

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Re: Help with Student Loan Repayment Options
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2016, 05:31:30 AM »
I would consider looking at variable rate options for the loans with the highest rates. (Assuming you both have good incomes right now!). Variable rates are somewhere around 2.5%.