If you’re like most people, you didn’t pay anything on your student loans since March of 2020 when the federal student loan repayment pause went into effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And you may have even borrowed more during this time. GoBankingRates reported that people took on an average of $1,500 more in student loan debt during the period from 2020 to 2023.1
But whether it’s your old student loans or your old loans mixed with some new ones, starting payment on them doesn’t have to be scary. Just like with anything else, all it takes is a little planning.
First of all, you need to know some important dates outlined by The Motley Fool:2
- The student loan freeze came to an end as of August 30.
- Interest begins accruing on your loans again on Sept. 1.
- Some payments will be due again on Oct. 1 (but check in with your servicer to see if yours are due on a different date).
Second, it’s important to know you’re not alone. About 40 million Americans have student loan debt and most of them are gearing up to start paying them back after the pause. Here are some things to do now that the time has come to pay them back:
- Review your loans with your servicer. Ensure you know how many you have, what the interest rates are on them and the specific date you need to start making payments. Even though many payments will resume on Oct. 1, we have clients who don’t need to start paying until January 1, 2024.
- Know where you are financially. Take a look at your spending by pulling your bank and credit card statements. Figure out what you are spending on needs, wants and debt repayment. From there, you can figure out what wants expenditures to cut out to make room for your student loan payment.3
- Determine if you need a supplemental income stream. Figure out your cash inflows and outflows – including your projected student loan payment (which you can get from your servicer). Then if there is a shortfall, you can determine if you should add some supplemental income from freelance work or side gigs.
Lastly, the good news is you have us. Give us a call and we can rework your budget to accommodate your student loan payments.
Are We Getting Angrier?
You may have noticed an uptick in rude and angry behavior from people. At least one restaurant owner who was quoted in The Atlantic has. He told author David Brooks that he’s recently had to kick a customer out for being rude at least once a week. He never used to have to do that. Brooks also reported that nurses are leaving the field because patients are rude.4
In 2021, “unruly passenger” incidents rose 47 percent globally between 2021 and 2022, reported NBC News, citing a data from the International Air Transport Association.5 We’ve all seen the social media videos of people being horrible on flights and heard the news stories of passengers being zip tied to their seats for violent and threatening behavior.6
In a National Public Radio survey back in 2019, 84 percent of respondents said that Americans are angrier than they were a generation ago.7 Henry Ford Health reported that the continued rise in anger and bad behavior is likely due to the prolonged stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.8
But constant anger can be detrimental to your health. SELF reports that there are six ways that anger can harm your body:9
- More inflammation in your body
- Heart disease
- Reduced lung function
- Chronic pain
- Digestive problems
- Skin issues
Henry Ford Health notes that if you’re experiencing increased anger, you can deal with it any of by using the STOP method:8
- Take a break
- Proceed thoughtfully
And if you’re not one of the angry ones, here are some tips from Psych Central to deal with an angry or rude person:10
- Respond rather than react. Remain calm, listen and offer measured response. Avoid becoming angry yourself.
- Don’t take it personally. Somebody else’s anger likely isn’t about you. Not taking another person’s outburst personally can help you feel less upset about it.
- Create distractions. Help the person reset by providing a distraction.
- Look for solutions. Ask the person if they want a thought partner or if they just need to vent. If they are looking for a thought partner, help them find a positive solution to their issue.
- Set boundaries. Set your own limits by deciding what type of behavior is unacceptable for you to handle and stick to them.
Other people’s anger isn’t your problem to solve, but if you are feeling angry yourself, you can take steps to work on it. Seeking therapy or counseling if you feel your anger is distracting to your life could be a helpful step. If your money situation is contributing to your frustrations, give us a call and we can help!
The Versatile Non-Noodle
There’s nothing better than a versatile vegetable – or fruit – that you can swap out for carb-heavy noodles in many recipes. Well, maybe a versatile vegetable – or fruit – that can be prepared quickly. This recipe from Home Cooking Memories can be a fast dinner for two:11
What you’ll need:
- 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
- ½ to one cup of preferred pasta sauce
- ½ to one cup shredded mozzarella cheese (adjust according to preference)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Optional spices: fresh garlic, fresh chopped basil, dried oregano or Italian seasoning
How you’ll cook it:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare the baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or applying a thin layer of olive oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
- Spoon out the seeds and dispose of them. Position the spaghetti squash with the cut side down on a baking sheet.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the shell can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. With a fork, loosen and separate spaghetti squash strands from shell. But save those shells!
- Place strands in a bowl and mix with pasta sauce (and the optional spices, if you took that route). Adjust the amount of sauce you use based on how much you like.
- Spoon mixture back into the empty shells and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly browned.
- Spoon and serve directly from shell.
This recipe is vegetarian, but to make it vegan, simply swap out the shredded mozzarella for a vegan cheese product, like Daiya dairy-free mozzarella-style shreds. But if you’re jonesing for more protein of the carnivorous variety, you can add some rotisserie chicken!
The Student Loan Quiz
Let’s test your knowledge on some student loan statistics:
- What is the average student loan debt of people who were 50 and older in 1989?12
- What is the total student loan debt for Americans age 60 and older in 2023?12
c. $125 million
d. $125 billion
- What percentage of employers currently offer student loan repayment benefits?12
- True or false: Both public loans and private loans both defer interest when borrowers suspend payments.13
- B – $10,000
- D – $125 billion
- B – 17%
- B – False
DEAN, JACOBSON FINANCIAL SERVICES
Securities and Retirement Plan Consulting Program advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. Other advisory services and investment advice offered through Dean, Jacobson Financial Services, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor, and separate entity from LPL Financial.