The Pysch-out Factor of Student Loans

Stress about money and finances is more common than ever, but for many people with student loan debt, those stress levels are much higher than any other demographic. According to a survey of more than 1,000 student loan borrowers (Student Loan Hero), many respondents reported experiencing feelings of anxiety and social isolation, as well as physical effects like insomnia and headaches, due to their mountains of student loan debt.

The Breakdown

The survey provided many options of physical and psychological symptoms of stress for the respondents to choose from. The results were rather shocking.

Psychological feelings and symptoms

·         Social isolation – 74%

·         Apprehension or dread – 55%

·         Irritability – 55%

·         Depression – 52%

·         Restlessness – 53%

·         Tenseness – 51%

Average percent of respondents who reported psychological feelings and Worried CoupleThe Pysch-out Factorsymptoms – 56.67%

Physical feelings and symptoms

·         Headaches – 72%

·         Sleepless nights – 65%

·         Muscle tension – 56%

·         Nausea – 50%

·         Jumpiness – 21%

Average percent of respondents who reported physical feelings and symptoms – 52.8%

This means that in either case, more than half of the respondents stated that they had experienced visible, pertinent, significant symptoms of stress related to their student loan debt.

This not surprising, considering that many graduates are leaving school and entering the workforce with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt on average. One last statistic from this survey that does not seem to fit exactly into any of the above categories:

When asked if they feared their worries over student debt were spiraling out of control, 61% of respondents said, “Yes.”

Wow. That’s intense.

While there is no quick fix, there are a few things that many graduates can do to reduce their stress about extreme student loan debt.

Find a better repayment plan.The Pysch-out Factor

For many graduates struggling to enter a sometimes-hostile workplace, income-driven repayment plans are a viable option. These plans can lower your monthly payments to 10-20% of your monthly discretionary income.

In other words, your leftover spending money after your essential bills and expenses is what your new monthly loan payment will reflect.

One thing to keep in mind is that, generally, only federal student loans are able to be applied to these income-driven plans. Private loans often do not qualify for government-provided options like this.

Both federal and private loans can often be refinanced, however. There are several student loan refinancing companies that offer low variable-interest and fixed-interest rates.

Work on your credit.

Student loan debt is bad enough; if you have other damaging credit items in your history, it might be helpful to you to work on those issues in the more immediate term, and free up some other options.

For example, if you can improve your credit by reducing or removing credit card debt, you can free up some extra cash monthly to help you meet your student loan payments. Improving your credit can allow you to seek better interest rates on personal loans, which you could use to reduce your student loan debt by consolidation.

If your credit is in very poor shape, you may want to consider working with a credit repair company. Just remember that student loans cannot be fixed by bankruptcy; thankfully there are plenty of other options available to most consumers. Be smart, work on what you can, and don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. Try your best to keep from sweeping it under the rug; face things head-on, and you’ll make it through.