Student Loan Refinancing
There are multiple relief options for federal student loans. But what if you’ve got private student loans? Well, those are a whole different beast. Most private lenders are only out to make money—not help you stay on top of your payments.
But one thing you can do if you’re having trouble keeping up with your private student loans is to refinance your student loans.
When you refinance your private student loans (or a mixture of federal and private loans), your new lender pays off your current loan and gives you a new loan with new terms. The goal is to get a better interest rate or monthly payment. Sounds nice, right?
But refinancing your student loans isn’t for everyone. It depends on your specific situation.
You should only refinance your student loans if:
- It’s 100% free. Application or origination fees could cancel out any savings you might get in the end.
- You can get a lower interest rate. You don’t want to get saddled with a higher interest rate than you already have.
- You can keep a fixed rate or trade your variable rate for a fixed rate. The last thing you want to do is give your lender the option to jack your monthly payment way up without notice!
- You don’t have to sign up for a longer repayment period. If the new loan shortens the term of repayment, that’s even better! Anything that pushes your debt-free date further into the future is an absolute no-go.
- You haven’t recently declared bankruptcy. Most lenders aren’t as willing to offer a refinance after bankruptcy. If that’s you, you’re probably hurting in more ways than one. The good news is, the debt snowball is a tried-and-true method for getting out of debt, regardless of the interest rates.
- You don’t need a cosigner. Cosigning for a loan is always a bad idea—for both the person seeking a loan and the person cosigning. Why? Because it mixes money into relationships. That’s usually a toxic mess. Imagine getting your Uncle Ralph to cosign for your refi, then hearing him bring it up at every family gathering until it’s paid. That could get real ugly.
- It will actually motivate you to pay off your student loans faster. Just because you get a lower interest rate and a shorter term, don’t let it be an excuse to slow down. This isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it sort of thing. Even if you refinance, the goal is to pay off your student loans ASAP.
Remember, refinancing your student loans is only one part of the solution. You still need to work the debt snowball method and do what you can to throw as much money at your student loans as possible. It takes more than just changing up your payments—you’ve got to get angry enough at your loans to attack them with everything you’ve got!