Should you *still* pay off your student loan debt?

Michael Benjamin

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I’m sure you’re aware of the fact that there will be no interest on student loan debt at least until October 1, 2021. With that being said, I know the value I bring to the market as far as my tips and strategies are concerned with my debt free journey, so I wanted to answer a common question I get a lot as a financial coach: should you still pay off your student loans?

Many of my clients have been asking me how to proceed with handling their student loan debt. This is a very touchy subject, but I will always be an opinionated person that comes with his own opinion of his truth. I say that to say your answer to this question should be centered around your own authenticity and whichever choice allows you to sleep comfortably at night. If paying off your student loans right now gives you anxiety because you’re thinking that Joe Biden will save you with forgiving your loans, then be my guest and proceed that way. If you’re skeptical about the student loan forgiveness because it hasn’t occurred and you would rather pay them off, then be my guest. You might be asking, “Michael, what would you do if you had student loans right now?”

Prior to the October extension of no interest on student loan debt, I honestly would have simply made slightly above minimum payments. When I thought the no interest deadline would end on February 1st, I was a bit hopeful that a portion of student loan debt might be forgiven. I’ll be honest: now that the no interest on student loans has been extended to October 1st, my prediction is there is less likely a chance of the promised student loan debt forgiveness. Given that, if I had student loans right now, I would honestly pay them off the same way I paid off my $32,000 in a year many years ago when I was 23-years-old within one year of graduating from college.

I’m no expert on what’s to come, but I’ve been getting asked this question quite often by my clients, so I figured I would voice it here because someone may benefit from it. I’m of the assumption that the administration will have the perspective that they’ve given student loan lenders many chances to knock out their payments with these extensions of no interest. With that thesis, my personal comfort would rely on making above my minimum payments and eliminating my debt as quickly as possible. Paying off $32,000 in student loans in one year at the age of 23 isn’t something that every recent graduate is thinking about doing (furthermore, even accomplishing).

I think it’s important that student loan borrowers seize the current moment. But who am I? I’m just Michael Benjamin (@michobenjamin on Instagram). I’m just an engineer, author and serial entrepreneur that happens to have accomplished something that piques the interest of a lot of people that’s allowed me to gain a lot of clients, but what do I know? I hope you caught my sarcasm.

With paying off student loan debt, my main priority is doing what makes you feel good. If it makes you feel good to not make your payments, then do that. I don’t want any of my clients or you to experience stress and experience cardiac arrest just because you were trying to follow my advice when it’s the opposite of what you would be comfortable with. Contrary to that, I subscribe to the philosophy to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, so I guess you can say this is my statement to not be liable for any actions you take moving forward.

I encourage you to still pay off your loans as quickly as possible. Obviously there’s a “risk” associated with that given the stipulation that if you pay them off and there happens to be forgiveness, you won’t get that money back. But think about myself and everyone else that’s paid off their loans. We’re not getting it back, but what we learned was making a commitment to ourselves to pay off what we borrowed, and that alone builds character. In my opinion, it’s immature to wait and rely on forgiveness that isn’t guaranteed when you can take matters into your own hands.

Now let me ask you: what if there’s no student loan forgiveness? This is definitely a possibility moving forward, and my prediction is that the administration can conveniently rely on the argument that they gave multiple extensions that consisted of periods with no interest on payments. Take advantage of the no interest period right now! Had I had that, I would be running like I was Usain Bolt.

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Closing Remarks

At the end of the day, the most important thing to do is do what’s best for you. I’m just a regular human like yourself, but I just decided to take action and eliminate my student loan debt in a timely manner. There’s a common misconception that I’m for telling everyone to eliminate their student loans or they’re stupid, which isn’t necessarily the case. My job and satisfaction comes from informing you of the risk of continuing to carry your debt, but at the end of the day, you will do what you do, so I can sleep at night knowing that this is the case. As long as I give you the information with full transparency, I can only hope you make the right decision. Go ahead and pay off those student loans.

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I was blessed to pay off my student loans within one year back when I was 23-years-old so my mission is to help you pay off your student loans quickly through taking control of your relationship with money, while helping you with strategies and tips to pay off your debt quickly.

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