Monday, March 23, 2015
Free at Last!
It's a big day for me today. I no longer have any student loans!! Way back in 2009 I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology and with my 8 X 11 piece of paper, I had roughly $25,000 in student loan debt. At the time, I had two loans. One was around $8,000 with a high interest rate of about 5.50% and the other was about $17,000 and an interest rate of 2.25%.
Luckily I had about $15,000 in savings so I paid off the $8,000 loan the week after I graduated. The loan never accrued any of that high interest since it was deferred until 6 months after graduation and it was a huge relief to get that off my shoulders. The other loan however, I have been paying on for 6 years... holy cow, that's a long time!
With such a low interest rate, and the tax write off come March/April every year, I decided to use my hard earned cash to start investing. I've talked about my early investing habits briefly on my About Me page but needless to say, I'm glad I invested instead of paying it off. I might have never been to where I am today, reading blogs on investing, a Portfolio over $100,000 and overall, a great sense of satisfaction.
With that being said, it was time. It was time to get rid of the loan and lift some more weight off my shoulders. I never had a set plan on how to pay off the loan. Some months I would pay $500 towards it or some months I would just pay the monthly minimum of $77.07. About 3 months ago, I decided to start paying $1000 towards the loan per month. At that rate, I would have been able to pay the loan off by September of this coming year... Yes, if you did the math, I still had roughly $10,000 left on my loan in December 2014. Think about that, in 6 years, I only managed to pay off $7,000 on the loan and this included extra payments throughout the years. I had paid off enough of the loan to not make any payments until year 2018 haha. To this day, I still do not know exactly how long the loan was for but it does not matter anymore.... I'm Free from that debt!
The decision was an easy one. For the past 5 years, I was able to write off the interest on my taxes every year. On my 2014 taxes however, my wife and I combined now make more than the threshold to receive that benefit. I started paying $1000 per month but the next bill came in and I am tired of it. I looked in our savings account, realized that we have enough in there currently to pay it off, so that's what we are going to do. My wife is all on board even though we will be down to roughly $3000 in savings (our lowest total ever) but she came into this marriage with no debt of her own so she is ready to get rid of it. This only leaves us with our mortgage to pay off! I'll have a post coming up in a week or two to discuss the mortgage more in depth so stay tuned for that.
So there you have it, no more student loans! $8,000 poorer than we were yesterday but the weight over our heads is that much lighter!
So what do you think? Would you have done the same or would you have continued to invest instead?