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Getting rid of your student loan debt also gives you a lot of freedom — the freedom to take a lower-paying job that you care about more, the freedom to travel, even the freedom to take on other “good” debts — like a mortgage for your first house.

It’s also important to note that defaulting on your student loan can have serious consequences; in fact, not repaying student loan debt can be worse than not repaying other types of debt.

Defaulting on your loans can ruin your credit score, making it difficult to do everything from signing up for basic utilities to renting an apartment.

Your debt could increase thanks to accruing interest.

And if you have federal loans, the government can add fees or even garnish your wages, forcing your employer to withhold money from your paycheck and send it directly to the government.

I know — when I was graduating from college and trying to find work and a place to live in an entirely new city, the thought of also having loans to pay back made me terrified. You might even be able to do it faster than you expected. Let’s say you have a ,000 loan with a 4.5% interest rate that you pay off over 20 years — you’ll pay ,550 in interest.

Pay Attention to Details and Paperwork Make sure you read everything you receive about your loans and understand your loan terms.

For example, are your interest rates fixed (meaning that they will stay the same for the duration of the loan) or variable (meaning that they can change, possibly making it harder for you to budget your monthly payments)?

Understanding the terms of your loans will help you avoid potential complications.

See If You Qualify for Income-Based Repayment If you have a federal loan (other than a Perkins or Parent PLUS loan), and you are on limited income, the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan allows you to pay based on what you earn, not on what your loan payments are supposed to be.

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