Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:58 pm

I'll probably go through this thread at a later time, but what's the general advice regarding loan repayments? I have about 200k in loans ranging from 3.5%-7%. I am starting at a V100 that pays under market, hoping to lateral to a market firm in a year or two. Right now I'm projected to pay roughly $1900 on a 10 year plan. When are people refinancing? I was thinking maybe in a couple years.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby boredtodeath » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'll probably go through this thread at a later time, but what's the general advice regarding loan repayments? I have about 200k in loans ranging from 3.5%-7%. I am starting at a V100 that pays under market, hoping to lateral to a market firm in a year or two. Right now I'm projected to pay roughly $1900 on a 10 year plan. When are people refinancing? I was thinking maybe in a couple years.


There's a related discussion going on in the personal finance thread, so worth looking there as well. I'm assuming these are federal loans? I'd get on PAYE/REPAYE (is PAYE still available?) to lower your monthly payments and stay on that for a couple of years until you figure out if biglaw/corporate law in general is right for you. Save the difference between the PAYE/REPAYE monthly payment and the 10 yr payment. You probably won't even beat the 3.5% loans in the private market at this point, so your only loss in waiting a couple years is really on those 7% loans. If you have any inkling of an interest in doing government eventually I would not refinance.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:03 pm

I have $26k in loans outstanding. Biglaw 3rd year associate at a below market paying firm (on track to be at $210k beginning in 2019 on our black box payment scale, currently at $190k). Started this job with $75k in loans.

I know personal finance is personal but curious to your thoughts on whether I should pay off my loans. Have about $160k net worth right now. $20k in a rainy day fund and $50k in a vanguard S&P index fund (all other savings in Roth or 401k). My loan is w/ SOFI - it's a variable interest rate loan that has climbed up to about 4%.

I'm thinking of paying off the $26k in loans with a combo of the rainy day fund and vanguard fund - I feel like I may be better off getting rid of the 4% interest and wiping my debt out. I am saving for a down payment but timeline is not certain - may keep renting for the next 3-5 years.

Thank you for any advice.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby clshopeful » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have $26k in loans outstanding. Biglaw 3rd year associate at a below market paying firm (on track to be at $210k beginning in 2019 on our black box payment scale, currently at $190k). Started this job with $75k in loans.

I know personal finance is personal but curious to your thoughts on whether I should pay off my loans. Have about $160k net worth right now. $20k in a rainy day fund and $50k in a vanguard S&P index fund (all other savings in Roth or 401k). My loan is w/ SOFI - it's a variable interest rate loan that has climbed up to about 4%.

I'm thinking of paying off the $26k in loans with a combo of the rainy day fund and vanguard fund - I feel like I may be better off getting rid of the 4% interest and wiping my debt out. I am saving for a down payment but timeline is not certain - may keep renting for the next 3-5 years.

Thank you for any advice.


If I were you I'd just keep the debt as-is, make minimum payments, and get a better return in the market. Your debt interest is quite low, and I think you can definitely get at least that in the market.
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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby gom.sa » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:57 pm

Graduated: 2018 - ADA in NYC
Debt: 214k
Income: $62k (will go up to 69k in January)

I'm planning on consolidating my loans and applying for PSLF. Is PAYE/REPAY better than IBR?

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby boredtodeath » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:36 pm

gom.sa wrote:Graduated: 2018 - ADA in NYC
Debt: 214k
Income: $62k (will go up to 69k in January)

I'm planning on consolidating my loans and applying for PSLF. Is PAYE/REPAY better than IBR?


Yes. Get on PAYE/REPAYE if you qualify and make sure you certify for PSLF every year and never look back.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby JohnnieSockran » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have $26k in loans outstanding. Biglaw 3rd year associate at a below market paying firm (on track to be at $210k beginning in 2019 on our black box payment scale, currently at $190k). Started this job with $75k in loans.

I know personal finance is personal but curious to your thoughts on whether I should pay off my loans. Have about $160k net worth right now. $20k in a rainy day fund and $50k in a vanguard S&P index fund (all other savings in Roth or 401k). My loan is w/ SOFI - it's a variable interest rate loan that has climbed up to about 4%.

I'm thinking of paying off the $26k in loans with a combo of the rainy day fund and vanguard fund - I feel like I may be better off getting rid of the 4% interest and wiping my debt out. I am saving for a down payment but timeline is not certain - may keep renting for the next 3-5 years.

Thank you for any advice.


If I were you I'd just keep the debt as-is, make minimum payments, and get a better return in the market. Your debt interest is quite low, and I think you can definitely get at least that in the market.


I second leaving the loans as is and continuing to make minimum payments. You have the peace of mind of knowing that you have plenty of liquidity to pay them off whenever you want, and you could do that if for whatever reason your variable rate ever significantly increased.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby trramic » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:22 pm

Salary: First year at market firm + spouse's ~100k

Loans: between my spouse & I, we are at about 300k (vast majority of which is federal). My loans (which make up the majority of the amount) range from 5-7% interest with most of them at 6.8%+. My spouse's loans are closer to ~5-6% on average.

Other info: We have one kid (under a year old) so need to start saving for future education at some point. We are also hoping to save for a down payment on a house. We have an emergency/rainy day fund, max out our 401ks (and have substantial savings already due to my job pre-law school and my spouse's work history), but have no other investment vehicles.

Future earnings: I see myself sticking out biglaw for 2-5 years and then either moving into gov or "biglaw" in a tertiary market (substantially below market pay). My spouse has stable job & higher-paying career prospects than current position -- so will continue to make 100k+ w/potential to reaching 150-200k in next few years.

Right now we really want to put as much money as we can toward a combo of loans & savings for a house (though maybe this is a bad strategy?). Regarding the loans, I don't want to give up the possibility of PSLF yet but I'm at a loss as to whether a different gov repayment plan makes sense, if I should consolidate, if I should refinance some part of the loans, etc. Similarly, I'm unsure what the right "balance" is between loan repayment & saving for a down payment. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby clshopeful » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:23 am

trramic wrote:Salary: First year at market firm + spouse's ~100k

Loans: between my spouse & I, we are at about 300k (vast majority of which is federal). My loans (which make up the majority of the amount) range from 5-7% interest with most of them at 6.8%+. My spouse's loans are closer to ~5-6% on average.

Other info: We have one kid (under a year old) so need to start saving for future education at some point. We are also hoping to save for a down payment on a house. We have an emergency/rainy day fund, max out our 401ks (and have substantial savings already due to my job pre-law school and my spouse's work history), but have no other investment vehicles.

Future earnings: I see myself sticking out biglaw for 2-5 years and then either moving into gov or "biglaw" in a tertiary market (substantially below market pay). My spouse has stable job & higher-paying career prospects than current position -- so will continue to make 100k+ w/potential to reaching 150-200k in next few years.

Right now we really want to put as much money as we can toward a combo of loans & savings for a house (though maybe this is a bad strategy?). Regarding the loans, I don't want to give up the possibility of PSLF yet but I'm at a loss as to whether a different gov repayment plan makes sense, if I should consolidate, if I should refinance some part of the loans, etc. Similarly, I'm unsure what the right "balance" is between loan repayment & saving for a down payment. Any advice would be appreciated.


If I were you, I would refinance with SoFi to get a better interest rate, which will save you probably 30k at least over the term of your loan. Next, I would make minimum loan payments and save for a down payment on a house. Renting is death; with a home your monthly "rent" payments (i.e., the mortgage) is all being recouped as equity. After you're in the house, put more money towards whichever has the higher interest rate between your student loans and your mortgage.
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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:34 pm

If I want to go on PAYE, can I always opt out in a couple of years or am I stuck with this program? Also can I pay more than the minimum if I chose too? Finally, can someone explain how interest doesn't capitalize on PAYE? I thought I read that somewhere.

I'm just trying to understand how this program works. Based on the calculator's I've used, I will be paying much more on the 20 year program (as opposed to paying it off in 10 years) and there won't be any forgiveness.

I make $125k in the private sector in a low cost city and have $166k in federal student loans (some from undergrad). I plan to lateral to a market firm in a bigger city in a couple of years. I would appreciate advice on what I should do. The thought of lowering my payments for a couple years to save up doesn't sound so bad.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:11 pm

NYC, Big Law salary at 190k
Debt is about 190k
Payments per month: $2,166
Interest rate, after auto-pay, is 6.03%
Savings is about 30k

Don't plan to stay in Big Law forever, and would like to go to Mid Law/In-House.

Any advice?

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby boredtodeath » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:27 pm

I'd advise both of the anon posters above to look into refinancing. Your debt levels are at or close to your salary level. You won't gain any benefit to going on PAYE or one of the other IBR programs and you'll pay more over the life of the loan with them. If you don't have any desire to ever work in govt, refi with FRB or SoFi or one of the other lenders out there that offers sub-4% interest rates.

To the anon poster asking about how PAYE works - yes, you can always opt out and yes, you can pay more than the minimum. Your debt load as compared to your income isn't high enough to make PAYE worthwhile for you. I would just refi.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:34 am

Combined household income: 230k
Wife and I both paying down our loans but at the same time maxing 401k up to match, maxing HSA, and saving for a down payment on a house. Our EF is also in place in a high yield savings account. It will probably take us around 5-8 years to completely pay off our student loans.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:14 am

I will start working for a firm that pays about $80-90k/year + bonus in a low cost region.

I have been on PAYE, and based on my income, did not need to make any monthly payments. Accordingly, payments of student loan interest didn't factor into my tax planning/deductions in the last couple years.

Now it seems I will have to/be able to really start paying down my student loan debt (about $167k).

Any recommendations on what approach to take? I would like to buy an apartment or house in the near future. Maybe buy a $150k apartment in the next year ($50k down payment). I am single and have no kids (but have a girlfriend). Also may start contributing to 401k.

Any suggestions are much appreciated!

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:30 pm

Class of 2018 and working in fedgov.
Salary: 87k
Debt: 85k
My law school's LRAP program covers PAYE payments for salaries < 100k, so I would not be paying anything out of pocket for a couple of years.

I plan on staying with this agency for at least several years, but am not sure if I'll stay in government long term. It is quite common to go to the private sector after working at my agency for a few years, so that is an option.

Any advice? I really want to get rid of debt as soon as possible, but I don't know if it would be wise to put in payments in addition to what my school's LRAP would cover.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:34 pm

I am a couple years out. Started out making $50k/year in a small firm and now making $230k/year in big law. My wife makes about $45k in government, but isn't sure she'll be doing that long enough to get 10 year PSLF. I have about $275k in debt now (about $210k of which is principal) and she has $115k in debt, all principal. We're both currently on PAYE, shooting for 20 year forgiveness, and understand the tax bomb. Our interest rates are just over 7% (all federal loans), but I'm not sure refinancing makes sense since I have so much accrued interest. In hindsight, I should've been on REPAYE while I wasn't making enough to cover the interest. We are now maxing out 401k and HSA. Not sure how much longer I'll stay in big law and am interested in going in-house or government in a couple years.

Any ideas?

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:59 am

This is a great thread... I wish I truly appreciated how much my student loan debt would impact my life, I definitely would have tried to pay more sooner and take out less.

Background: out of law school for 8 yrs. Tier 2, all law school debt... I graduated when the economy was in free fall and no one had job offer. I HUSTLED to get a job... my first paid 36k... but I used each job as a steppingstone to get a better offer at other firms. This works and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Debt: 185k ( a mix of private and federal). Now-75k.

Salary:180k ( includes bonus) ... I work in house with great benefits and reasonable working hours.

Payment: I had numerous payments... for 4 years I was paying $1,300 ( with a lower salary) but since I got my current job I pour all my bonuses into my student loans, which should be gone in 3 years. I struggled for years but focused on getting better paying jobs. I recommend DAve Ramsey’s advice... live minimalist pay off ASAP!

I hope someone with high debt and no prospects at Biglaw knows it can be done!

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby judgepayne » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:51 pm

Debt: 160k (started at 180k).
Income: 80k (struck out)
Paying it off ASAP with help of parents. Living at home/ no rent. I regularly just deposit my entire paycheck into it immediately. It's an awful feeling.

Had a full ride but then transferred to T10. Be warned - do not do this and mess up your life for many years. Hope to be out of debt within 4 years when I'm 30.

If you think this is a 'good' outcome, that just demonstrates the sordid nature of the educational industrial complex and our acceptance of it. At the same time, I was a fool to put myself in this position and I take full responsibility.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Br3v » Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:00 pm

judgepayne wrote:Debt: 160k (started at 180k).
Income: 80k (struck out)
Paying it off ASAP with help of parents. Living at home/ no rent. I regularly just deposit my entire paycheck into it immediately. It's an awful feeling.

Had a full ride but then transferred to T10. Be warned - do not do this and mess up your life for many years. Hope to be out of debt within 4 years when I'm 30.

If you think this is a 'good' outcome, that just demonstrates the sordid nature of the educational industrial complex and our acceptance of it. At the same time, I was a fool to put myself in this position and I take full responsibility.

Don’t be down on yourself. 80k is still 80k, and I’m you can try and work your way into higher paying gigs if you hustle. How are your hours?

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby judgepayne » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:54 am

Br3v wrote:
judgepayne wrote:
Don’t be down on yourself. 80k is still 80k, and I’m you can try and work your way into higher paying gigs if you hustle. How are your hours?


I just received a State Supreme Court clerkship so things are different now.

At the time of that comment, I made 55k from my 40hr/ week job and made the other 25k through other projects on the weekends/ week nights. Probably around 60 hours per week on average.

The clerkship actually pays more, 65k. Things are definitely looking better now.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:53 pm

Graduated: 2015
Debt: 200K (paid off last week)
Income: 2015/16 - 70K (small law); 2016/17 - 180K (big law), 2017/18 (200K)

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Graduated: 2015
Debt: 200K (paid off last week)
Income: 2015/16 - 70K (small law); 2016/17 - 180K (big law), 2017/18 (200K)


wow, congrats. We graduated same year with about same debt, I went straight to biglaw in a no state income tax state AND refinanced at 4.25% and still have $120k left. I don't know how you did it, but that is awesome!

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Graduated: 2015
Debt: 200K (paid off last week)
Income: 2015/16 - 70K (small law); 2016/17 - 180K (big law), 2017/18 (200K)


wow, congrats. We graduated same year with about same debt, I went straight to biglaw in a no state income tax state AND refinanced at 4.25% and still have $120k left. I don't know how you did it, but that is awesome!


Striking out at OCI put me into a survival mode mentality. I didn't change my lifestyle after moving to Biglaw -- same crappy apartment with a bug problem, no vacations, no toys, eating cheaply. I don't miss my monthly payments, and I won't be looking back.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby Wild Card » Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:56 pm

Debt: $210,000 (T6, after a $50,000 scholarship)
Payments: $2,300 per month
Income: $190,000 (NYC biglaw)
Plan: 10-year
Important info: My parents cannot help me pay any of my loans because they're in a very bad state right now. I have no savings. I'd like to clerk as soon as I can and make my way to bigfed further down the line. How aggressively should I be paying off my loans? I'm in M&A, so I don't think they'll lay me off in less than 2 years, but I'm still living in constant fear of getting shitcanned before I can make good progress on my payments. I was thinking of paying $4,000, $5,000, or even $6,000 per month. The prospect of oweing $280,000 if I stay on the 10-year plan makes me sick. I'd deeply appreciate advice.

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Re: Student loan payments: get advice and actual numbers here

Postby abl » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:18 pm

Wild Card wrote:Debt: $210,000 (T6, after a $50,000 scholarship)
Payments: $2,300 per month
Income: $190,000 (NYC biglaw)
Plan: 10-year
Important info: My parents cannot help me pay any of my loans because they're in a very bad state right now. I have no savings. I'd like to clerk as soon as I can and make my way to bigfed further down the line. How aggressively should I be paying off my loans? I'm in M&A, so I don't think they'll lay me off in less than 2 years, but I'm still living in constant fear of getting shitcanned before I can make good progress on my payments. I was thinking of paying $4,000, $5,000, or even $6,000 per month. The prospect of oweing $280,000 if I stay on the 10-year plan makes me sick. I'd deeply appreciate advice.


Given that you have no parent safety net, and may even have to financially help them at some point in the near future (?), I'd make sure to build some savings as well for yourself. Let's assume you stick around biglaw for two years and then clerk and then do bigfed. I'd much rather be in that position with $104k in debt and $24k saved (assuming ~$4k monthly payments and $1k monthly savings) than ~$80k in debt with no savings (assuming ~$5k monthly payments to debt). The marginal value of ~$20k-30k of savings for your life is almost certainly higher than the marginal value of paying off that amount of debt.

Maybe you know that already. I also think you know this as well: put as much as possible toward these goals. If you can psychologically stomach devoting $6k/m to debt/savings, you'll be significantly better off even after a short stint in biglaw than if you devote $5k/m ... etc. That said, it's NYC and living cheap isn't easy, so that's a personal decision for you. Building a life and career that's sustainable (and the two are related) is also something that has value. You could probably find a $500/m hole in the wall a 3-hour commute away and save an enormous amount of money. But if it results in you being abjectly miserable--and it might!--you're probably likely to either get fired or leave on your own volition more quickly, or even to drop out of the law entirely. Saving $10k or $20k at this stage of the life, if it jeopardizes your 30-40-year career, might not be worth it. But do try to leave as cheaply as you feel comfortable.
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