If you are part of the 84% of medical students who graduated with student loan debt, the good news is, you’re not alone. But the reality is, the average amount of debt new physicians have as they leave medical school is a staggering $183,000 – though many physicians have larger debt burdens. Often these loans were taken out over multiple years and have multiple servicers (payment processors – which means many bills), making it a challenge to manage your loans and ensure that you are making payments on time.
Although at first it can feel overwhelming, the best way to reduce the stress and anxiety of your medical school loans is to get organized and create a repayment strategy.
Know What You Owe:
If you’re like most physicians, you have a number of different loans with different loan servicers, so different payment amounts are due at different times. One way to get organized is to create a Google spreadsheet that tracks all the important information - lenders, the amount borrowed from each, payment amounts due each month, payment due dates, and login information. Once you have all your loan data organized, simply add automatic calendar reminders to ensure you don’t miss any payment dates.
Chances are your medical school loan payments aren’t the only bills you are paying every month. One way to make sure you pay everything (not just your medical school loans) on time is to set up automatic payments from your checking account. If you set up ACH payments, it minimizes the chances of missing a loan payment, and lenders typically offer a 0.25% interest rate discount for doing so.
To ensure all your monthly expenses aren’t withdrawn on the same date, it’s a good idea to stagger payment dates. Some budgeters even set up a separate account just for their loan payments. This can be done by dividing your paycheck between two direct-deposit accounts.
Establish Your Goals:
We all want to reduce the burden of our student loan debt, but what is the best way to do it? The answer depends on your personal goals. Some medical professionals want to pay off their debt as soon as possible and may choose one of the government’s standard repayment plans, while others are looking to minimize payments during training years and will choose one of the government’s income-based repayment plans. For medical professionals looking to reduce their interest rate, minimize monthly payments and ultimately save money on interest, refinancing their loans is a great option. This means you replace your existing loans with a new loan that tends to have a lower interest rate.
Your medical training years are undoubtedly some of the busiest years of your life. Managing all of your priorities, in addition to your student debt, can feel overwhelming. In reviewing these 4 easy ways to get a handle on your medical school loans, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Most of your peers are in the same position, but nobody talks about it because it’s often difficult to open up about personal finances. But don’t hesitate to lean on your friends for support, chances are they are going through this too and they may have discovered some tactics that could help you manage your debt. Remember, the sooner you get organized and create a strategy for repaying your medical school loan debt, the sooner you can get some financial relief and the freedom to make better life choices throughout training.
Let's find the right loan for you.
Splash is a finance company that provides an online lending option for medical residents and fellows who are looking to refinance their student loan debt, while keeping career and life options open. Splash has a unique loan refinancing package that gives borrowers the option to make minimal monthly payments during their residency and fellowship. This allows them to retain more of the money they earn, giving them flexibility in their monthly budget they won’t get from anyone else.