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When is the best time to refinance my student debt?

A recent study found LSU students carry student loan debt at a lower rate than both state and national averages.

The report states that while 48 percent of Louisiana students graduated with debt, the average debt per student borrower was $26,808, making Louisiana the 19th lowest in the nation. Pennsylvania students had the most debt per borrower ($36,139) while Utah had the least ($18,425).

The report showed that 43 percent of LSU students graduated with federal student loans while 7 percent took out private student loans, a 16 percent increase from 2016.

When to rethink your loan buyback strategy

Whether your loan total is $36,000 or $18,000, you need a plan to pay it back. As we grow, our needs change and our ability to pay back student loans also change. Here are some tips on when to re-examine your student loan payoff strategies:

When you get married. The key here is switching your tax filing status from being a single payer to married filing jointly. Single payers often have a loan repayment plan with a cap. Your new tax filing status could exceed that cap. A new loan repayment plan would be in order.

When you get a new job. A new job often means more money that can be used to repay loans in a shorter time. Also, some employers have repayment plans available for their workers and some professions offer tax breaks for loan repayment.

When interest rates change. When interest rates jump, so does your variable rate loan. A change in interest rates may mean re-examining your payment options.

When you get a promotion. When you have more income, look at paying a loan off early. Paying $100 per month more could shave years off your loan repayment schedule.

When you get a divorce. The obvious factor is that your income will change, and thus your ability to repay a loan. If loans are not affordable anymore, consider refinancing them. The other factor is if you live in a community property state (like Louisiana) and your student loans were taken out during marriage, your spouse could be responsible for half of them. Check with a knowledgeable divorce attorney for help.

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