Graduating from nursing school is a wonderful accomplishment. Once you have that degree in your hands you can finally get to work doing what you love the most – helping your patients achieve health and wellness.
Many nurses used student loans to finance their education. And while it’s easier and common practice to just pay the minimum payments each month, there are many compelling reasons why you should make paying them off in full as quickly as possible a top priority.
First, let’s look at some startling numbers. According to the Federal Reserve of New York’s 2016 report, student loan balances in the U.S. increased by $31 billion, and stood at a staggering $1.31 trillion as of December 31, 2016.
How much is the average nursing degree? According to CareerIgnitor.com, “the tuition fee for a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), which takes four years to finish, costs anywhere from $40,000 to well over $100,000 each year in private institutions and large universities.” Nursing students attending community colleges pay substantially less with tuition fees ranging from $3,000 to about $14,000 per year.
Whether you have $30,000 in student loans (which is the current average loan balance for new graduates), or $100,000 or more, here are four reasons why you should pay them off ASAP.
1. Save Interest
It is expensive to borrow money. If you only make the minimum payment each month over the course of repaying a standard 10-year student loan, it could cost you thousands of dollars in interest payments. The money you’re spending on interest could be better utilized for an advanced nursing degree, travel, a down payment on a house or other important life goals. Just by increasing your monthly payment, you can decrease the overall lifespan of the loan and save thousands of dollars in interest payments.
2. Freedom to Make Career Choices
The last thing you want is to be chained to a high-paying job you hate because you can’t afford to quit. Being strapped by student loan payments limits your career choices. As long as you have student loans you will be chasing the highest paycheck instead of chasing your passion. Clearing student loans quickly frees you to make better career and life choices.
3. Build Wealth
When income isn’t going toward student loan payments, you have more money available to invest in your company 401(k) plan (and take full advantage of any matching programs offered by your employer), IRA, or other retirement accounts to build wealth over the course of your nursing career.
4. Peace of Mind
Imagine life with no student loan debt. The peace of mind that comes from settling your debt will be priceless.
Paying off your student loan may feel like a daunting task, but making the extra effort to clear your student debt will have a huge impact on your career and overall life.
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