CliffsNotes Graduation Debt: How to Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life / 9780470506899 / March 2010 / 240 pages / $14.99

Graduation Debt is different from the competition because it provides a step-by-step road map for effectively managing student loan debt and having a successful financial life. Yet, it’s completely positive. The focus is less on sacrifice and more on not wasting money, so readers can live better lives while paying off debt.

The book’s content is divided into small subsections geared toward those neck-deep in student debt. The brevity of each section makes the book digestible to those who aren’t inclined to focus on their finances. Readers are encouraged to take action steps such as finding long lost student loans that may have gone into default, discovering payment plans they can afford, consolidating loans when it makes sense to do so, saving money on eating out and groceries, improving credit scores, tweaking their debt-to-income ratios that’s needed to buy a home, discussing their student loan and non-student loan debt with their significant others.

By the end of the book readers will be on the road to managing all their debt and having extra money for vacations and other fun stuff, too.

How to Miss Student Loan Payments Without Hurting Your Credit
Amazon-exclusive content from the author

Worried your credit will take a nose dive if you miss federal student loan payments? Your credit won’t be dinged if you call your loan servicer and qualify for a temporary payment reprieve.

What steps do you need to get approval for an excused absence from making payments?

1. Write down your monthly expenses and your monthly income on a piece of paper. Your loan servicer is going to want to know why you need a break from student loan payments.

2. Peruse the Department of Education’s or your servicer’s Web site to see if there are special reasons you might qualify for a payment break such as military service or you’re returning to school. You’ll find the words forbearance and deferment. These are the terms used for an approved temporary break from payment. The difference between the two is that in deferment the government will pay the interest charged until your deferment expires.

3. Write down circumstances that apply to you that you found on the same piece of paper as your finances.

4. Find the contact information for all your student loans. If you don’t have your paperwork for all your loan servicers, contact the department of Education or pull up your loan list by logging in to the National Student Loan Data System Web site.

5. Click on each loan that shows a balance in the Outstanding Principal column. Scroll down to the contact chart and write down the name of your servicer and the contact number. Repeat for each loan on which you still have a balance.

6. When you call each of your servicers, tell them you need either a deferment or forbearance. Then tell them your circumstances as to why you need a payment break. There may be a brand new type of forbearance or deferment that may work better for you.

7. Don’t accept more time than the maximum you could need at once, especially if you qualify for forbearance instead of a deferment. Why? Your interest still accrues if you are granted forbearance. For example, let’s say you have $60,000 in student debt at a rate of 5 percent. You decide to take a six-month payment break. Six months later, your loan has grown to $61,500 because of accrued interest and no payments made.

8. Fill out any necessary paperwork asked for by your servicer (s). Wait a week after you submit paperwork to call and verify paperwork has been received.

9. To protect your credit, wait to stop making payments until you’ve received a notice in writing from each servicer with the exact date your deferment or forbearance will begin and end. Call each servicer to verify this date and the date you should start making payments when your deferment or forbearance ends.

10. Keep your loan information in a folder in a place where you will be able to easily find the information later.

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July 14th, 2017

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