Introduction

Formulate a Financial Plan

Know Your Net Worth

Manage & Minimize Debt

Accumulate Assets

Budget to Live Within Your Means

Understand Investing Basics

Plan for Retirement

Insure People & Property

Deal with Financial Advisors

Review Your Employment Contract

Make Plans for Your Estate

Make Good Decisions

Conclusion

Consolidation Strategy

Over the course of your schooling you may accumulate several loans, each with its own terms, conditions, and interest rates. It can be both tedious and confusing to manage all these loan payments individually. Having multiple loans may even disqualify you from PSLF (see below) and or some income-based repayment plans.

Instead, you can opt to consolidate loans. Think of that as combining multiple loans into a single loan with a single interest rate and one monthly payment. Logistically this is much easier than managing an entire portfolio of loans. You can easily consolidate federal loans at studentaid.gov. If you plan to pursue PSLF, read eligibility information carefully to ensure your consolidation plan will work as intended.

 

Refinancing Strategy

In past decades many student loans were subsidized, and students could borrow at very favorable rates. Those options are now rare, and instead many borrowers find themselves burdened with high annual loan rates in the 6%-8% range. Such high rates obligate you to assign more of your budget to loan repayment, leaving less for all your other financial priorities. The good news is that you may be able to refinance to lower rates, using private lenders. Some lenders cater specifically to professionals, including physicians. 

If you refinance federal government loans using a private lender, those balances cannot be converted back to federal loans. An implication is that you lose the ability to include those balances in Public Service Loan Forgiveness. 

Some providers who offer student loan refinancing include: Earnest, Laurel Road, Splash Financial, and SoFi. Check carefully to ensure your loans are eligible for refinancing. Be on the lookout for scams which are quite common in this space. I recommend doing an online search for information on the latest scams and how to avoid them. Government sources are the most reliable for federal loan related information.

In recent years students at some schools banded together to seek lower-rate graduate student loans. Some founded companies to offer such deals to larger audiences. You may wish to search online to find out whether such programs are available to students or alumni of your school.


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