Congratulations, seniors! You’ve made it! You’ve invested in yourself and guaranteed your wages will be consistently higher over your lifetime than those who chose not to go to college. However, now the student loans need to be paid back, without busting your budget.
The first thing to do, financial advisers say, is to figure out how much you owe, from all sources, and whether there is a grace period on each loan. These grace periods vary, even for federal loans. For federal loans, go to the National Student Loan Data System website. Then start a spreadsheet that lists, with payoff dates and amounts, everything you owe.
The normal student-loan repayment time is around 10 years, but depending on the type of loan, that could be longer.
And finally, as you set out to your new job or graduate school, remember to pay yourself first, and take advantage of any 401(k) matching programs your employer might offer, even if it’s only the minimal amount.