Every single month the same bills roll around. You pay your rent, your utilities, and then the worst bill of all — your student loan payments. According to a Career Builder survey, 4 out of 5 U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck. Not only are student loans financially draining but emotionally draining as well. You might ask yourself “was it really worth it?” or “what return am I actually getting on my degree?” This can lead to a cycle of anxiety, depression, and fear about your future.
Here at IonTuition, we don’t want anyone feeling stress over student debt. We empower employees through a meaningful benefit — assistance paying off their debt. This can mean a world of difference when you struggle to meet your bills each month.
If you find yourself overwhelmed about your student debt, take some time to focus on what is good and keep your attitude positive through the following tips.
#1: Remember That You Aren’t Alone
Sometimes repaying student loans can leave you feeling isolated. It’s common to feel shame over having loans. Especially when you see others who didn’t take out loans use their disposable income.
When you start to feel isolated, rest assured — you are not alone. According to CNBC over 44 million Americans hold over $1.5 trillion in student debt together. You are far from alone. There are literally millions of people in the same situation. Around one in every four American adults is paying off student debt. On average, CNBC reports that recent graduates have around $37,000 in debt.
Realizing that you aren’t in this by yourself can relieve some of the anxiety and pain associated with debt. Like most things in life, struggling alone is much harder than realizing other people are fighting the same battles.
#2: Focus On The Benefits Of Your Degree
Degrees don’t always turn out the way you expected. Many graduates leave college only to find their bachelor’s degree carries little weight in the real world. This causes you to second guess yourself and regret the money you spent on college.
The reality is that your degree probably does have value. According to Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 65 percent of jobs in the US will require education beyond high school by the year 2020. It might not always be apparent, but your degree is often the deciding factor between being employable and not.
No matter your major, your education provides valuable experience. It taught you to think analytically, meet deadlines, organize work, and collaborate as a team. Completing your education shows that you can commit to a long-term goal, something that employers love to see.
#3: Don’t Beat Yourself Up
It’s hard when you struggle to make ends meet. You can start to feel like you aren’t successful and that negativity can impact your judgment. At the end of the day, be kind to yourself. Don’t let it get in your head when you read about Millennials misusing money. Avocado toast and Starbucks aren’t to blame for you can’t buy a house right now, so don’t waste time berating yourself over your financial status.
#4: Splurge On Something Small
Similar to the above, sometimes it is 100 percent worthwhile to splurge on something small to get yourself through the week. While it is undoubtedly true that sticking to a budget is a must and that cutting out daily luxuries helps, everyone needs a break. There are times you simply need to buy that tasty latte to make it through another long shift at work. Your mental well-being is worth the occasional splurge.
#5: Set Manageable Goals
It’s understandable to want financial stability. However, make sure you set realistic and manageable goals. It might not be possible to pay off all your student loans within the first 5 or even 10 years of graduating from college. Landing a job that pays enough isn’t a given.
However, you can create small goals for yourself that are attainable and help put you in a better place mentally. Perhaps you commit to an extra 30 dollars a month towards one specific loan. Maybe focus on paying off a loan with the highest interest rate first. Whatever you choose as your goal, make it something attainable.
#6: Enrich Your Life With Meaningful Experiences
Finally, you might not be able to afford your dream car or house straight out of college due to your debt, but you can still enjoy meaningful experiences that enrich your life. Whether it is saving up for a trip to another country or spending a weekend in the woods, take time to focus on experiences rather than belongings. By turning your focus to the experiences you get to have, rather than on all the things you can’t afford, you can prevent spiraling into self-pity and despair. Surround yourself with good people and good times to help get through the years of paying off your debt.
Here at IonTuition, we want all college graduates to enjoy a healthy and positive lifestyle. If you are facing student debt, talk to your employer about our student loan benefits. This will allow you more financial stability while paying down existing debt.