- Reading the financial lingo at 18 was overwhelming, so I just signed off on everything I needed to start classes.
- Unlike federal student loans, private loans are not covered by student loan forgiveness plans.
- I fear I may never be able to own a home because of my student loans, but I remain optimistic and focused on solutions.
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When I was 18, I was already overwhelmed with the amount of choice I had to make.
What career path should I pursue? Which school will I choose? Do I go with the school that has given me the most scholarships or the one that offers programs that interest me the most? How am I going to prepare myself mentally, emotionally and physically to leave my parents’ house for the first time?
With all that to think about, looking for student loans was the last thing I wanted to think about. All I wanted was to start building a career and a life I was passionate about as soon as possible. According to my school, I was eligible for federal student loans, but they weren’t enough to cover my tuition.
Fortunately, my mother helped me by co-signing my student loans. However, reading the financial lingo at 18 was really overwhelming, and I just signed off on everything I needed to start classes.
Here’s how signing a private student loan changed my life.
I barely made a dent in the loan principal amount 10 years later
For a very long time, I was too ashamed and guilty of my situation to even see on my Navient account. Once I finally checked, I realized that the principal balance had actually increased, even though I had made regular payments.
Because I went through financial difficulties, I suspended my loans for a few months. During this time, my loans have accumulated capitalized interest. To be honest, if my mom’s credit wasn’t on the line, I’d choose not to pay my Navient bill just to build up a healthy emergency savings fund.
I’m afraid I’ll never be able to save for the big milestones
Because my monthly payments are so high, I’m afraid I’ll never be able to buy a house or start my own family. Every time I make my monthly payments, I fantasize about how I could use that money for family planning instead, especially since fertility treatments for LGBTQIA+ people are sometimes not covered by insurance. sickness.
Because I don’t have good credit, I feel trapped in a cycle of paying off debt and seeing my savings dwindle because I can’t afford to deal with emergencies. Unlike federal student loans, private loans are not covered by student loan forgiveness plans. Even if President Biden gave Americans nationwide student loan forgiveness, I would still pay private loans.
Once I realized how predatory the student loan system was, I decided to focus on solutions
Earlier this year, I learned that 89% of borrowers who work full time don’t have enough financial security to repay their student loan. Seeing that number – 89% – helped me realize that I’m not the only one struggling with my student loan debt and that the big student loan companies don’t really care about our quality of life.
Once I stopped blaming myself for signing those papers without reading them, I was able to focus on solutions. In 2022, I plan to start refinancing my student loans for a shorter repayment time and lower interest rates. I will also work with a financial planner to build an emergency fund and start taking control of my finances.