Reduce Your Student Loan Stress (And Increase Your Life Span) [VIDEO]

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Who said the only way to learn about money was to read articles on top of articles? Financial education is all around us—provided you look closely enough. Increase your awareness with the SALT™ Blog video of the week, picked fresh from YouTube.

I’ll admit it: Things got a little tense in our comic strip from earlier today.

And while that ended with a dreaded “to be continued,” we don’t want you feeling like your student loan future hangs in the balance as well. After all, that would be stressful—and, according to this video, stress kills.

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If you feel stressed, you’re not alone. AsapScience published this video less than 2 days ago—and it already has close to 850,000 views. (Possibly because people are excited to use the word “karōshi,” Japanese for “death from overwork,” in their everyday lives.)

While we can debate whether a video like this actually helps people who feel stressed (judging by some of the YouTube comments, it does not), I can’t fault them for trying to teach a lesson. Hey, that’s what the video of the week is all about, and we even have our own Asian word to live by: crisitunity!

So, if you’re having a crisis about repaying your student loans, let us take this opportunity to highlight three things you can to decrease your stress. (We’re also happy to offer up our “cuddle hormones,” if you’d prefer those.)

1. Find out exactly how much you owe. If you’re ducking your debt, don’t. (I’m alliteratively passionate about this, apparently.) Visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) to get the details on all your federal student loans. For your private loans, pull your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. You could be psyching yourself out, with a bigger number in your head than what’s on paper. And if it’s equally huge in real life, that’s fine—at least you know for sure and can create a plan to tackle it. Speaking of plans …

2. Understand your repayment options. Depending on the types of loans you have, you may be eligible for options that can reduce your payments, temporarily pause them, or even eliminate them altogether. For instance, earlier this week, our very own Ashley Norwood discussed different income-focused repayment plans. One of these (income-based repayment) could get your payments as low as $0. In addition, these plans also offer loan forgiveness after you meet certain requirements. However, the key thing here is to “understand” these options. They have pros and cons. Do your research and make an informed decision, like former intern Shane did when he entered repayment. (So proud.)

3. Just ask if you’re confused. As I discussed with last week’s video, even people exposed to student loan rules and jargon can sometimes struggle with the ins and outs. The key is to recognize that there’s help around—you just have to ask for it. I’ll obviously highlight SALT as a great resource for this, but we’re hardly the only ones to turn to. Reach out to your loan holder. If things don’t end up the way you thought they should, be persistent and remember that there are ways to escalate disputes, if you need to.

Have you successfully dealt with student loan stress? Share your tip in the comments.

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