NSights Blog

How students can turn 'Game of Loans' into a roadmap for success

Nevada Mentors will be holding 'Game of Loans' on April 10 to help students chart their financial plan for paying for school

Did you hear that? It's the faint sound of the cello in a minor key.

"Winter is coming."

There is no doubt, Game of Thrones is one of the most epic television series of all time. It's a grand journey of captivating despair filled with fantasy, bloodshed and scandal. It lures viewers in at astonishing levels, leaving us craving more.

The complexity of the series is remarkably amusing, and yet at times, also very confusing. From names like Aerys Targaryen, to diseases called grayscale, and cities named Qarth I think it's almost as puzzling as the convoluted world of student loans.

And, for those playing the Game of Loans, it's that time of year ... interest is coming. Deciphering terminology such as Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized, Deferment, Exit Counseling, and Repayment Plans such as: Standard, IBR, Graduated, PAYE, & REPAYE ... to name a few ... it almost feels tortuous.

For many of us, student loans and personal finance can feel overwhelming due to the jargon and immense amount of options. This can lead us to feel stress, guilt, shame, and even fear. Not only are we feeling emotionally taxed by the weight of debt, but our future life choices are being put on hold. Student Loan Hero released a report on the burdens of student loans, and according to their study, "one in seven Americans with student loan debt have delayed marriage due to the crushing burden of student debt, over 40% have postponed buying a home, and 44% of Americans have postponed traveling the world."

Although that is astounding, we could debate that not all debt is necessarily bad. For example, investing in your future through higher education or home buying are building blocks for economic mobility. According to CNBC Money, "Mortgages and student loan debt is considered "good" because it serves a bigger purpose with equity or earnings potential in the future. Paying down a mortgage results in equity in a home as well as potential tax advantages, while student loans are generally a low-interest investment in your future compensation."

We need to ensure our students especially understand their debt and then make sure they manage it correctly. It's when we don't know or monitor our total indebtedness, the terms of our student loan, or how we will pay it back when we are at risk of serious financial trouble. I think that when we have a better grasp and understanding of our own borrowing patterns, where to go for help, and start planning for repayment early we could see improvements in student retention, completion of more credits, quicker graduation rates, and maybe even a reduction in the amount borrowed.

So, do you know how much you owe? When your first payment begins? Who will you pay (loan servicer)? And, approximately how much will you pay monthly? The National Student Loan Data System for Students or the U.S. Department of Education's Student Loan Website are great resources to examine your loans and are accessible anytime during or after college. To ease your money strains and empower you with financial knowledge, I also encourage you to seek out, Nevada Money Mentors. On-campus resources like Nevada Money Mentors and the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships should not be feared like Wights (1) they are real humans and financial gurus who are ready and willing to help.

Before you graduate and enter into the workforce full time, equip yourself with the Dragonglass (2) of financial knowledge. Slash your debt and inspire triumph not just in your financial life, but your life as a whole. As one Game of Thrones fan said, "With fandom comes many burdens." But with student loans, if we simplify the complexities and feel confident financially, I think we can lift that burden.

To learn more, join Nevada Money Mentors for Game of Loans on Wednesday, April 10 at 12:30 p.m. in The Center (third floor of the JCSU). And, if you can't make it to the presentation, please reach out when you are ready and Nevada Money Mentors will offer you some greensight (3) into your finances.

April is the perfect time to start conquering your financial fears because as a nation we celebrate Financial Capability Month. It is a month long initiative to improve your financial future and shine a spotlight on the importance of economic and financial education.

www.unr.edu/nevada-money-mentors

END NOTES:

1. Wights definition: (GOT Terminology) reanimated corpses like zombies who are under the control of White Walkers (a humanoid creature and supernatural threat to mankind)
2. Dragonglass definition: (GOT Terminology) material used to make weapons to fight off wights
3. Greensight definition: (GOT terminology) the magical ability to see past and future events in dreams

Amy Nelson

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