As the new year approaches, I’m thinking about what I’ve accomplished in 2017 and what to accomplish next year. Like most people, I have a million and one thoughts running through my mind at any given moment. My increasing interest in personal finance has only added to that.
This year alone, I’ve learned about investing in stocks, blog monetizing, and using credit cards to earn travel rewards. While gaining new financial knowledge is always a plus, it has also put my brain on information overload at times. My biggest task for 2018 is going to center around focusing on ONE major financial goal to work towards. Knowing myself, this will be easier said than done, but that’s what personal challenges are all about, right?
The one financial dilemma that sticks in my mind is—you guessed it—my student loans. I’ve mentioned before how intimidated I am about setting up a plan to pay them off. Whenever I think of working on other financial areas in my life, thoughts of my loans pop back up. Could I aggressively invest most of my money into a Roth IRA so I can have a comfortable retirement? Sure, but the 10-14% interest on my loans essentially cancels out the gains I would earn from those investments. Could I strategically use my credit card to earn points and take awesome trips for little to no cost? Hell yeah, but once I return from my trip, that ugly loan balance will be staring me in the face.
I finally got some fire under my ass to pay off my loans after downloading the Mint budgeting app. Mint links all of your accounts so you know how much money you have (or don’t have). I decided to link my Navient account along with my checking, savings, and retirement accounts. Whenever I log into Mint, I see the loan interest increasing, and I get a sick feeling in my stomach. This student debt is the proverbial monkey on my back, and I’ve got to shake it off. The sooner I do, the sooner I can do things I enjoy, like investing and earning travel rewards.
Starting January 2018, I will pay a minimum of $460 a month towards my loan with the highest interest rate. I used a loan calculator and this will allow me to pay it off within four years. That’s still a longer amount of time than I wanted, but it’s the best that I can do for now. I graduate in May, and if my degree lands me a fancy new job, I will pay more than $460. Having more income will also allow me to make payments on my other loans, which I won’t focus on now. This goes back to the information overload thing; if I think about how much to pay on all my loans, I won’t pay anything at all. To keep myself focused, I’m channeling all my energy towards the one costing me the most.
So that’s my plan for 2018. It’s going to suck, but I know that I’ll feel much better being proactive in paying on my loans. Plus, having my goal here on the blog will (hopefully) make me more accountable in following through with it.
What is your master plan for 2018? Do you have any major debt payoff or savings goals? Let me know in the comments!