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What an (EXPENSIVE) headache!

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Argh! ((shakes fist at Navient))

I hate beating a dead horse, but here we go…..

Navient just sucks so bad. SOooooo soooo bad!

The latest way they’re trying to screw me over…

I recently mentioned that one of my ACS loans has now migrated to Navient. Only, somehow, in the migration it has switched from being categorized as a subsidized loan to an UNSUBSIDIZED loan. This is a big deal because I’m on income-based repayment and, under IBR, unpaid interest is forgiven on subsidized loans. But unsubsidized loans continue to accrue interest. Right now my minimum loan payments are really low – they don’t even cover the interest! So I’ve been strategically targeting only a couple of my loans and paying minimums on all the rest, with the knowledge that unpaid interest is forgiven and I will just live with paying interest (no reduction to principal balance) until my current target loans are paid in full and I move onto the next loan.

Well, after discovering Navient’s egregious error I gave them a call. Only, they say that their paperwork states that the loan has ALWAYS been unsubsidized. I explain that there’s no way! I carefully track my loans every month and you can clearly see that they HAVE to be subsidized because the balance has always stayed EXACTLY (to the penny) the same! That’s because I’m not even paying enough to cover interest and all unpaid interest is forgiven. Period.

They acknowledge that, yes, they can see how unpaid interest has been forgiven. But their paperwork says the loan is supposed to be unsubsidized. Their hands are tied and there’s nothing they can do. I will need to get the original master promissory note to show that the loan is subsidized. In the meantime, my loan has somehow accumulated OVER THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS in interest!? In only a few days!!!!

Well, of course, getting access to the master promissory note includes several more hoop-jumping exercises not even worth going into here. Just note that it’s been a frustrating experience and I still have not even managed to get ahold of it (though I should hopefully have it this week!)

So let this be yet another in my long string of warnings about the potential pit-falls of student loan debt. And another cautionary tale of why you should be very vigilant about careful monitoring of your student loan account(s) on a monthly basis to make sure you catch these types of errors when they happen to you (notice I said WHEN, not if!)

In the meantime, why not add another task to my mile-long To Do list. I just love it when someone else’s incompetence creates more work for ME to do (can you just hear my sarcasm?)

Hope your Mondays are off to a better start!


Over the Hump!

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In spite of some setbacks personally  and professionally, things are still progressing nicely in terms of our debt payments. And I’m happy to announce that as of this month, we are officially over the half-way mark with paying off our car loan debt! Wahoo!!!!

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We still have a way to go (over twelve thousand dollars!!!), but remember when things were tight and we stayed in a holding pattern for what felt like forever (literally 5 months where we were in the fifteen thousand dollar range)? We’re finally making good progress and it feels GREAT to get to see the car debt thermometer every time I walk into the kitchen! Yay!!!

And in other financial news, I spoke with the business office in my department and had my paycheck corrected to be paid over 9 months instead of 12.  There were a lot of comments from teachers who said they much preferred a 12-month cycle of pay if it was possible. So, initially I was thinking maybe I’d keep it as-is.

But then others pointed out that (1) we’re very used to dealing with irregular income; we’ve been living this way for years! And (2) my car loan is accruing interest NOW! It’d be better for me to get this money up front and try to pay off our debt ASAP (the goal is still to be consumer debt-free before 2016), rather than to get a lesser paycheck every month in exchange for having summer pay. Also, don’t forget that hubs still draws an income and he’s been the main income-earner in our home for years, so if I don’t get paid over summer and we have to rely on his income for those months, we’ll still survive just fine. It would certainly mean lower savings and/or debt payments during that time, but it wouldn’t cause us to go into debt or not have enough money to survive. Additionally, I have one more piece of good news to report….

I (finally) spoke with the department head and officially received permission to continue working my part-time job (adjunct teaching online)!!! YAY!!!!! So I’ll still get paid, at least from my part-time job, and possibly from my full-time job if there are teaching needs next summer. (Side note for those who’ve asked: now that I’ve received official permission, I plan to continue teaching my part-time job as long as possible. I know I won’t be able to continue forever, especially as my job duties and responsibilities increase with my full-time job. But for now I’m planning to continue at least a year – meaning Fall 2015, Spring 2016, and Summer 2016. From that point I’ll reassess to determine if I feel I can continue teaching part-time. I routinely teach 2 classes, but one is much more grading-intensive than the other. So it may be that I ask to drop 1 class but keep the other one for as long as I’m allowed.)

Taking all these factors into consideration, I think we’ll be just fine with the 9-month pay cycle, even if it means I’m double-dinged for insurance payments in the Spring and we have to be a little more careful/cautious with budgeting for summer months.

With some of the bummer things I’ve shared lately, I’m really happy to be able to report some good news!

Have you hit any big milestones with debt repayment lately? Share a piece of good news from your life!


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