In a previous article, The Daily Citizen reported on Borrowed Future, a new documentary exposing the $1.7 trillion student loan crisis.
Over 43 million Americans are currently saddled with an average of $40,000 in student loan debt. Many feel trapped, like Josiah who was featured in Borrowed Future. “I’m paying all these bills, and I have nothing,” he exclaimed in the documentary.
The Daily Citizen spoke with George Kamel, a Ramsey Solutions personality, who offered advice to those paying off student loans, and those considering taking out loans to pay for college.
The topic is personal for Kamel, who himself graduated college with $36,000 in student loan debt.
“I thought it was normal,” he said. “I thought I would just make minimum payments and hopefully one day, 20 or 30 years from then, I would have my student loans paid off.”
Instead, Kamel got laser focused and paid off his student loans early.
“What I’m seeing across the country, is people my age, millennials, who are held back,” he noted. “They can’t move to where they want to move to. They can’t start families. They can’t buy the house that they want because they’re saddled with this student loan debt.”
That is part of the crisis Borrowed Future highlights. Kamel added that he hopes the documentary will help inspire people to take action and realize they don’t have to live with student loan debt forever.
For those currently working to pay off their student loans, Kamel advises borrowers to first get serious about it.
“This doesn’t have to be a pet that they keep around for 20 years, which is the average length it takes people to pay their student loans down.”
Then, he advises people to pay off their debt using the debt snowball method, where individuals or couples list all of their debts from smallest to largest. They make the minimum payments on each debt except for the smallest, to which they put as much extra money as possible towards paying off first.
Wherever someone’s student loans balance falls in their debt snowball is where they would pay it down.
The average person who follows the debt snowball method is able to pay off all their consumer debt in 18-24 months.
Now, for nearly two years, due to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, student loan borrowers haven’t had to make any payments. However, this period of forbearance is coming to an end on January 31, 2021, when payments will resume.
“The biggest mistake I see people making during this debt relief period is not paying back their loans even when they could,” Kamel said. “Here’s the great news. You can take advantage of this interest free period and you’re actually going to see a lot more progress on the principal balance of that loan.”
“I want you to start now. Don’t wait until the relief is over.”
Kamel also gave advice to those who are seriously considering taking out student loans to pay for college.“Don’t do it! It’s a trap!” Kamel said. “If you’re preparing to go to college and you’re thinking about taking out student loans, I want you to know that it’s not the only path. You can be a student without a student loan.”
Kamel advises potential students to seriously consider what school they choose to go to, and their reasoning behind it.
“Am I going because of the football team and the pretty campus or am I going because this is the most affordable option that I can pay for in cash that matches my goals,” Kamel mused.
“Choose an affordable school. A lot of people overpay for college.”
He also noted that there are other ways to pay for college besides taking on student loan debt. Prospective students can work a job while in college and they can apply for grants and scholarships as a couple of options.
Speaking more about Borrowed Future, Kamel added, “I want this documentary to awaken people into the reality that they can take back control of their money and that they don’t have to live with student loans forever.”
To learn more about or view Borrowed Future, visit www.borrowedfuture.com.
Photo from Shutterstock.