Student Loans: IBR Payments and the Long Road Ahead

IBR Payments and the Long Road Ahead

My IBR (income-based repayment) payment on my federal student loan went up this year by $10. My payment is $193. This is a manageable amount and has been manageable since I graduated from grad school in 2014. I don’t have a plan to pay down my student loans in a tangible time frame, and honestly, I anticipate that I will probably be paying my student loans for the majority of my life. And I’m okay with that!

I chose to go into an industry that has a low starting salary and lower than average salaries for manager and upper level jobs. I know this. I chose to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world where the cost of living doesn’t match to the salaries in my industry. I understand this!

(Would I have done things differently if I realized this before starting grad school…maybe, but that’s another post for another time.)

Based on this, I’m not in a position to aggressively pay my student loans. And I won’t be in a position to pay them aggressively in the foreseeable future. Currently, I’m focusing my efforts now on paying my credit card. And in three years (fingers crossed) when I’m done paying it, maybe I can focus on putting that money toward something like my loans. Or I could invest my former credit card payment in the stock market, or put the money in an emergency savings account, or pay for a vacation every once in a while. Student loans will always be a part of my finances and I don’t have a plan to get rid of them unless I have a long lost wealthy family member. It doesn’t make sense to put an effort into paying them off when I can just as easily use the money for something worthwhile.

I feel like this is a divisive topic just because people hold different values to debt. As an adult, I’ve only ever known debt. I can see the value in being debt free, but the amount of student loans is so massive that the payments have become white noise in my budget. That’s not to say that I’ll default or stop paying, I just know that I’ll always owe something so I’m not going to go out of my way to pay more than necessary. How do you feel about student loan debt?

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