Consolidating loans with your spouse

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I made a spreadsheet with all of my student loans, their balances, monthly payments, and interest rates.I then set up automated monthly payments through each student loan servicer’s website.This is another reason I prefer hanging onto extra cash and investing instead of paying off a student loan early.There is, however, one big advantage to Investment B: The return is guaranteed.Although you might squeeze average annual returns of 12 percent or more out of the stock market, you can’t count on it.This is where the decision gets tricky: It all depends on the average annual return you expect to earn from your investments and how that compares to your student loan interest rate.What they’ve done seems cool so far; I’m not sure it’s necessary if you only have a couple of loans, but if you have a half dozen or more this may definitely help keep them straight. You probably know by now that if you stop paying a credit card bill, your credit score goes down and it will be difficult to get new credit when you need it.

There’s lots of talk about the calculus of return on investment in education.But first things first: When you’re starting down a big student loan balance, you want to be sure to do two things: The best way to deal with your student loans is to make a plan, get organized, automate your payments and forget them.Loan consolidation can help if you’ve got lots of different lenders, but it’s not necessary if you’re organized.The bottom line is that repaying student loans is an obligation. Fortunately, if you’re having trouble paying, there are built-in protections like reduced payment plans, grace periods, and forbearance—an extreme program in which you may be able to suspend payments for a brief period of time. “Bad” debt is bad because it either has a wicked interest rate or is designed to pay for depreciating assets like a car.In some cases, you may also be eligible for partial or complete loan forgiveness if you work in public service. However, in an effort to make sure everybody “gets it,” we’ve oversimplified the equation. “Good” debt is “good” because it’s used by appreciating or income-producing assets like a business, real estate, or an education.

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