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Chasing The American Dream

One of the fundamental tenets of our way of life is the belief that the American Dream is achievable by all citizens who are willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to pursue it. The American dream isn’t reserved only for the rich elite of this country. Anybody from among the 99% of Americans can aspire to work hard to become part of the 1% of the wealthiest Americans in this country, if they so choose to. For millions of Americans across the country, getting a college degree is a stepping stone toward the pursuit of material success, happiness, and the achievement of the Dream.

Has The American Dream Become Elusive?

In case you haven’t noticed, however, the American Dream is becoming increasingly further removed and out of reach from the average person. It is not that people do not have the drive, the ambition, the desire, the will, and the determination to achieve success. The problem is that the economic system is no longer conducive to the upward economic mobility of the middle class. With the rising costs of education, coupled with inflation, and the overall increase in the cost of living for most Americans, while wages and economic opportunities remain stagnant, we are witnessing that education costs are increasing while economic opportunities, vis-a-vis job opportunities, are not expanding quickly enough to keep pace with it.

The Conundrum Of Student Loan Debt

While it remains an unchanging, immutable truth that a college education is an essential stepping stone on your path toward success, many of today’s college graduates are confronting the stark reality of college debt. Those who are fortunate enough to land a lucrative entry level job upon graduation will be faced with the exorbitant burden of sky-high minimum monthly payments towards their college bill. This bill may very well constitute a substantial portion of your take-home pay, taking a bite out of your spending power, for the better part of the first decade and a half of you making your foray into your career. The burden of this debt can hinder you from saving money and otherwise investing it.

The Good News: Student Loan Consolidation Programs Can Help

The good news is that there are options available to help alleviate some of the burden of having multiple, excessive student loans, taken out in various increments throughout your academic career. The most common solution is to apply for what is called a student consolidation loan.

If you have multiple student loans, each at disparate interest rates, with different repayment plans, they can all be consolidated into one single student loan, with a reduced interest rate and lower monthly payments overall.

Some Caveats

There are some caveats: Private student loans must be consolidated using another private loan company. Federal student loans must be consolidated using a federal loan consolidation program.

Student loan consolidation has its pros and cons. One of the drawbacks is that even though you will have lower monthly payments and a lower interest rate, the clock is being reset on your loan repayment period. For example, if you had 9 years left on a 15 year student loan at the time that you consolidate, then your new loan will restart the clock and you will have 15 years to repay the new loan.

This means that you will spend more time repaying your debt, which also means that you will be paying more interest overall. However, the debt relief in terms of lower monthly payments, with the potential for being able to making larger monthly payments later on in life as your income increases, may prove to be well worth it.

The Bottom Line

As more students enter the work force laden with hefty student loan debt, you may find that student loan consolidation is a viable option to ease the burden, and thus free up your cash flow, to be able to achieve upward economic mobility and thus be able to achieve the American Dream.