To increase your competitiveness in today’s job market; and the job market of the future, you might be considering some time at University or College. This upgrading of your education is for most people viewed as an excellent use of time. The stumbling block for many is the financial cost of doing so; the real or imagined debt load upon graduation, with no certainty of employment and the possibility of some crippling debt for years to come.
Well, first, allow me to suggest you look at the cost of your education from a different perspective. Rather than debt, view this as an investment in yourself; a life-long investment which will pay returns for you many times over down the road. It’s true you know. Yes, you’ll find your education a benefit when applying for jobs where your degree or diploma are the difference between being qualified or not. Then too, you’ll find that promotions and advancing become possible more often when you’ve got some higher learning to qualify you in the view of the employers you seek to advance with. Let me also say the very real and best advantage of a higher education in my mind is the change in the way you think and go about interacting with people post graduation.
Now you might say reframing debt as an investment in yourself is all well and good, but debt is debt in the end. Okay, it’s true that debt of any kind for many is a source of stress; and the degree to stress you feel often comes down to the size of the debt itself and your personal experience carrying loans. I know when my wife and I bought our very first house, that $75,000 purchase price was scary for both of us. Fast forward to the present and we don’t feel the same level of anxiety as we consider homes in the $600,000 range! We’ve had more experience carrying and repaying loans, and we’re obviously in a different point in life to do so too.
Instead of fearing the imagined, the first good thing to do is do some research and find out exactly how much the education you’re considering will really cost. Factors such as the length of the program, where you live, your personal living situation, current sources of income, and more will affect how much you pay. Financial Officers and Guidance Departments are good people and good places to start. Online estimating calculators can also give you some idea of what it might cost you after you enter in the required information. Don’t rely on someone else’s experiences – good or bad. Get the goods from the source.
Now suppose you’ve already done all this, and you’ve already gone to school, received the education and are feeling saddled with the debt. You want to get out from under this mountain, (be it big or small) and cut your stress and anxiety; axe the phone calls to repay your loans etc. Good! Wouldn’t it be nice to stop those calls and when the phone rings think it might be a potential employer instead of someone looking to collect?
Refinancing your loans might be an option if you want to reduce the monthly amount you owe, or you’ve got the desire to reduce the overall cost of the borrowing. Here’s an infographic which you might find helpful:
This came to my attention from Patrick who works at Credible.com Let me assure you I don’t endorse from personal experience, nor am I receiving any payment from this group in sharing the infographic. This organization comes out of San Francisco in the United States, and you can certainly look them up, investigate for yourself if their services are for you, and you can go on to look for other local options wherever you live on the planet.
Refinancing education loans does make sense in many situations. You can pay loans off faster in some cases or pay them out over a longer period but at a much more manageable rate each month if that’s your choice. Yes you would in that case pay more overall, but you’d be able to sleep better every night – and with no harassing repayment calls whatsoever.
Here in Ontario, our provincial government has made tuition costs significantly reduced starting in 2018. You could go for 2 years and have $4,000 to repay upon graduation, as is a specific case I recently heard of. With bursaries and grants, you might eliminate that cost in part or completely too; many students also request some forgiveness of their debts upon graduation which is also a big help. It really does depend on your personal circumstances.
At the risk of sounding cavalier about debt, because it is yours not mine of which we speak and I understand and appreciate that, my general advice would be to not let debt upon graduation stop you from getting a higher education. Learning sticks with you your whole life, much more than the debt of financing a car, a house or a trip somewhere exotic.
There is nothing in this world you can invest in that will provide a better return on your money than yourself.
What’s been your own experience with refinancing student loans? Patrick mentioned in an email that if only 1 person benefitted from this infographic it would be worth it. I tend to agree. I wonder if you might be that person?