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When I began taking out student loans for university, I had a fool-proof five-year plan for paying them off. Although being a server in New York City can be wildly lucrative at the right establishments, I was working at the kind of restaurant where breaking 0 during a weekend shift was considered good money, and a “raise” meant helping ourselves to as much beer as we could handle without getting caught by the manager.
This became glaringly apparent 10 years later, when I received an email from the HR department at my company: We are commanded to immediately remit 15% of your disposable pay to the U. But six months later, the only career-related job I’d found was an unpaid internship at a small literary agency.Consolidating your federal loans through the Department of Education is free; steer clear of companies that charge fees to consolidate them for you.When you consolidate federal loans, your new fixed interest rate will be the weighted average of your previous rates, rounded up to the next ⅛ of 1%.Here’s what happens when you default on a student loan, what to do about it, and how to prevent defaulting on student loans if you’re on the brink.Financial hardship doesn’t always enter with a bang.