When you have finished paying off student loans, it is time to start building your wealth. It’s also time to achieve some of life’s most important milestones.
But first, I want to talk about the negative effects that student loans can have on your future.
There are many people that go to the bank to buy a home with tens of thousands of dollars of student debt on their shoulders. The loan officer looks at the debt and you can almost see the look of disappointment in their eyes because they are going to have to tell you that the student loans are driving up your debt-to-income ratio.
If you say, “but my loans are deferred” or “my loans are in forbearance,” the loan officer is going to look at you and tell you that it doesn’t matter because the debt has to be paid back eventually. At some point, while owning a home or car, the repayments may begin on your loans. That consumes part of your income. The bank doesn’t want to take the risk of you not having enough income to make your payments to them.
It is devastating, and it happens every day.
To keep this from happening to you, it is best to pay down your student loans as fast as you can so you can enjoy buying a home or new car without receiving bad news while sitting at the loan officer’s desk.
Think About Retirement
Another milestone that student loans can interfere with is investing. When you’re dealing with student loan payments, it’s difficult to put money into anything else. Of course, you can increase your income with a second job or find side gigs like I did. However, I still didn’t have a lot of room for investing until the student debt was gone.
Investing can take many forms. You can invest in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. You can even invest in real estate, the mortgage market, or business ventures. There are many things that you can do with your money when you have the funds to do it. Think about being able to retire early or just retirement in general.
The last thing you want to do is retire and find that you don’t have enough income. There are many senior citizens filing bankruptcy because of pensions that fall short, social security that isn’t enough, and medical benefits that are still too expensive.
Think About Your Family
With student debt gone, it is also easier to expand your family on the financial end of things. When you don’t bring children into debt, you’re able to focus more on the financial needs of your child.
It is difficult to bring a child into a debt situation because so much of your income has to be put into debt while meeting the needs of your family. Of course, it can be done. But do you want to go through that struggle if you don’t have to?
Of course not!
Regardless of what phase of your life you are in, it is important to pay off your student loans quickly. Those high balances are holding you back in more ways than one. Many good people who went to college to do something meaningful and make a good income are plagued with debt for a while after graduation. They make their minimum payments but still pay the collateral consequences of having the debt.
It can be heart-wrenching to struggle or be told “no” by a bank when all you’re doing is what you’re supposed to do.
The fact is that you need to go above and beyond what you’re supposed to do to get ahead as soon as you possibly can.
Even if you already have a family, a strict budget and some discipline can help you pay down the student debt so you can start working on other milestones in life. It’s best to pay off debt as soon as you can, but don’t ever think you are too late. People thinking that they are too late causes them to not be aggressive with their debt when being aggressive can be one of the best things they ever do for themselves and their family.
Jacob runs Dollar Diligence where he blogs about debt repayment, saving money, and side hustles. For more advice and content, follow him on Twitter.