It’s almost the New Year and if managing your student loan debt is one of your resolutions in 2016- this post is for you. Student loan debt is the only form of consumer debt that has grown since the peak of consumer debt in 2008. Balances of student loans have surpassed both auto loans and credit cards, making student loan debt the largest form of consumer debt outside of mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of NY.
Below are some actionable items that can help you start off on the right foot when it comes to managing your student loan debt in 2016.
Take Inventory of your Debt. Create a detailed list of all of your liabilities starting with the highest cost debt, first. Private loans are often more costly than federal loans, due to their higher interest rates and less flexible repayment terms. Begin to pay down the highest cost obligations more aggressively.
Alert your Lender and Prepay your Loans. Even if it is a small amount each month, a prepayment will reduce the amount of interest you pay and the length of time you have the loans outstanding. You may need to let your lender know that you want to pre-pay your loan with the extra payments.
Check and See if your Loans are Tax Deductible. In certain cases, student loan debt is tax deductible. Your deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $2,500 subject to income limitations. Remember, the student loan interest deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income.
Consider Consolidation. If your goal is to purchase a home this year, you may want to lower your monthly student loan payment to qualify for better mortgage terms. Consolidating your loans and lengthening your repayment schedule can help improve your mortgage approval prospects.
Live Below your Means. A sound financial plan begins with spending less than you make. This can be difficult to do- but once you are free of debt imagine the possibilities of what you can do with the extra cash- savings, vacations, etc.
Consider Borrowing against Home Equity while Creating a Repayment Plan. If you own your home, you should consider a “cash out refinance” to benefit from potentially lower cost debt that may be tax deductible. You should also consider a home equity line of credit as you may qualify for a lower interest rate and tax deduction.
Whatever you decide, make sure the approach you take is a methodical one. Write down a list of your financial obligations and think measurable objectives. You have options and help is here.
For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.