Want to find the best repayment plan for you?
Use the Repayment Plan Comparison Sheet
I created this spreadsheet to find the best repayment strategy for my situation. Click the link and feel free to make a copy for your own use. You'll notice there are 4 separate tabs for modeling each repayment strategy based on your income and predicted future earnings.
- Update the 'Settings' tab with your interest rate and loan balance.
- Then you'll be able to view the strategies and repayment schedules in the next three tabs: 'Repayment Period', 'Total Interest', and 'Amortization'.
- You'll notice other tabs beginning with Sim1, Sim2, and Sim3. Each of these tabs simulates a different repayment strategy.
- Be sure to enter the four values at the top of each to get an accurate picture of your total loan cost.
- Try all 3 and compare the results of the 2 government repayment plans with the faster 25% of income approach. Look at the total paid over the lifetime of the loan. If they all look like a bad deal, I'd recommend paying them off as fast as possible. I've written extensively on the topic.. If you're realizing you need to make some bigger changes to pay off a large sum of debt or if you're struggling with motivation, please checkout my post, Bailing Water, or my free eBook on Gumroad for in depth strategies that will get you on the right track.
Need help designing the perfect payoff plan?
Use the Student Loan Payoff Tracker
This sheet is perfect for goal setting and keeping track of your progress. You'll find it extremely motivating to update your progress each month. If you fall behind, it's helpful to know how you can catch up to your goal. If you get ahead, you'll be able to bump up your goal sooner.
- Adjust the starting month to match the current one
- Enter each value in the variables section. Enter your loan terms. Then fill in the cells with your income numbers. Primary income is what your household makes in wages or salary. The side income would be an additional income stream that you're using to get out of debt (see Loankit for more). You'll also want to estimate your total tax rate.
- Finally, you'll want to edit the values for the two monthly expenses rows. There's one for household living expenses. Then I'm including a separate one for student loan payments, because it's helpful to think of this as whatever you can afford each month (rather than a fixed amount).
- I recommend playing around with these values a bit to see how it works. Once you get the hang of it, start thinking about your big picture goals and set a target payoff date. You can work your way backwards to figure out how you'll get there.
These formulas are a rough approximation and may not be 100% correct for your situation. It will give you a good approximation of possible timelines and the income needed to get there. This tool was something I created for my own journey to payoff student debt and I always enjoyed updating it with new day anytime I brought home more money and paid down more of my loan balance. I hope you find it motivating as well!