Friday, March 13, 2009

Student Loans: an Argument for Repayment

I paid my first student loan bill today!

Although my student loans now make up a significant chunk of my monthly income, there are a lot of reasons I'm paying at least the minimum - and hopefully will be able to start paying down more than that after April.

I was having a bit of difficulty getting my money into my account back in the US in time to begin payments, and was starting to get pretty anxious. I talked with a friend about it, and he asked why I wasn't deferring payments, as so many I know have done. In terms of straight up income, I would probably qualify for a deferment - especially with the weakening Turkish lira.

For me, financially, it just doesn't make sense.
Right now, over 20% of my income is going towards paying student loans, which seems like an incredibly high number given that I don't really have significant debt. Even with that fairly insignificant number, the interest that I accrued while in school kills me. Every month that I deferred, or every month that I had to pay less, would end up costing me thousands of dollars over the course of my student loans.

I know there are times when it would make sense to defer, but I think it's best to look at student loans as only a tiny step up from consumer debt. It's good debt, sure, and I had an amazing experience at law school, but it's still debt. That being said, paying off student loans isn't my primary focus right now - instead, I'm trying to save as much for my 2008 IRA as possible. After that, I can think about what else I can be doing. For now, though, I'm glad that I can pay the minimum balance, and grateful that I'm able to do it.

Photo by Strevo

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