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It’s a question millions of Americans would love the chance to ask: What should I do after my student loans are canceled?
The Biden administration has already given more than 450,000 borrowers reason to think so, after forgiving the debt of some borrowers with disabilities and others who attended fraudulent colleges.
More than 40 million people, of course, are still struggling with loans, but there are signs that more relief may be on the way.
The United States Department of Education has announced that it will make a number of changes to expand the reach of the civil service loan cancellation program, which excuses the debt of those who have worked for the government or organizations to nonprofit for a decade.
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And President Joe Biden has said he supports wiping out at least $ 10,000 for all borrowers, while Major Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., And the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., continue to pressure the President to erase $ 50,000 for everyone. These proposals would leave between a third and more than 80% of borrowers debt-free.
Canceling your student loans will likely be a turning point in your financial life.
The typical bill is around $ 400 per month, and research shows that the payments make it harder for borrowers to start a business, save for retirement, and buy a home.
“This is a great opportunity to go back and look at your cash flow so you can determine where to deploy the money you previously spent on your loan payments,” said Douglas Boneparth, Certified Financial Planner and President. of Bone Fide Wealth in New York. .
Once a borrower’s loans are canceled, he must ask his lender for a copy of his promissory note stamped “paid in full”, said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Counselors, a non-profit organization.
“It may take a few months,” Mayotte said. “I would keep this, along with the forgiveness approval letter, in their ‘never throw’ files.”
“If not after this period, the borrower should file a credit dispute or contact the loan department,” she said.
Experts recommend that people have enough money in an emergency savings account to cover three months to a year of their usual expenses if other sources of income dry up.
“If you are strapped for cash and could use a bigger cushion, this is the first place I would consider putting my money,” Bonparth said.
To watch your savings grow faster, store your money in a high yield savings account. Experts point out that it is worth shopping around for the different banks to find the best deal: average rate of an online savings account is about 0.45%, while it is only 0.14% with traditional banks and credit unions, according to DepositAccounts.com.
(You’ll just want to make sure that any account you put your savings in is FDIC insured, which means up to $ 250,000 of your deposit is protected against loss.)
If you are comfortable with your emergency savings level, Bonparth recommends redirecting your student loan money to your retirement fund.
If your company offers a 401 (k) match at work, try to salt enough to take full advantage of it. In addition, or if you are self-employed or without an occupational pension plan, you can save up to a certain amount each year in individual retirement accounts.
“If these are maximized, start an automatic monthly investment plan on a brokerage account,” Boneparth said.
If you have credit card debt, experts also advise you to use the freed up money to pay it off faster.
Above all, try to avoid going up another tab, said higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.
“Enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes with being debt free,” he said.