Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017: $40,291.38 Paid, $45,016.89 Till Pay Off

Major Life Events

Since last post, two major life events happened: 1) my wife finished her graduate program, and 2) my Perkins Loan was paid in full. To aid in paying student loans faster, I’ve accepted an extra adjunct teaching position. Below is a loan amount update from my NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System) account.  Click on the image for a larger view.

nslds

 

Everything has gone according to plan until I got some bad news from ACS. When I logged into my account, I was greeted by the following image.

acs

Yes, you read that correctly. On the right-hand side of the image reads “Soon to be: Conduent”.

ACS has been the bane of my existence since graduating college.  This company makes the repayment process convoluted by closing and transferring loan accounts at a whim without notice. ACS has delayed adjusting my principal and falsely reported my account as delinquent 3 years ago. These discrepancies would occur even after paying double the monthly payments.

Mortgage Loans & Student Loans

I recently watched the movie, The Big Short. It tells the story of Michael Burry, a board certified medical doctor turned hedge fund manager. Michael essentially predicts the financial meltdown due to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. Prior to the collapse, global sentiment to lending money to Americans was positive.

What happened in 2008 with subprime mortgages is reminiscent to what’s happening now with student loans. Many companies once saw student loans as a guaranteed route to increased profits, just like banks viewed mortgage loans. With the closures of for-profit schools and cancellations of debt, organizations are being more cautious with student loan offers.  Sadly, the damage has already been done: outstanding student loan debt is the second highest U.S. debt burden at $1.2 trillion.

Pieces of Advice

Like many of you reading, student loans were a necessity for me to pay for college– but if you must borrow, keep track of what’s owed and to whom.  One important detail left out of promissory notes is that your lender can sell and transfer portions of your loan amounts. Think of your student loans as a single piece of tissue paper. When you first start out, it’s typically one easily traceable amount with one company.  Over time, what often happens is your pretty little paper gets cut into pieces, over and over again.  Before you know it, your loan amount has become confetti, spread across different entities, in different amounts, and of course… with different website logins to remember.

Even in the face of “loan confetti”, I’m making it my party by paying these babies off. What helps is frequently checking your nslds.gov and studentloans.gov accounts. These websites give you running totals on what you owe, as well as contact numbers if you experience difficulty in repayment. I must admit to reviewing my loan accounts daily– once in the morning and once more at the end of the day. It’s simply part of my routine.

My 2017 Resolution

I will keep my eyes on the prize of one day seeing my loan balance reading $0.00. My 2017 resolution is a prayer for improved leadership skills and good stewardship of resources given to me. Here’s an excerpt from an excel spreadsheet detailing the loan accounts.

loan-accounts

Look there! You see that? It’s progress. No matter how big or small, I’m happy with simply giving my absolute best in this thing called life.

Share some of your resolutions for this year below- here’s hoping we achieve a few!

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