I am lawyer hear me roar!!!! So what does that mean? I spent many years in school developing a wealth of knowledge, and like many of my black and just middle class counter parts, an even wealthier wealth of debt. I graduated law school at 26 and well over six figures in debt. Luckily unlike many of my peers with advance degrees, I had a job waiting for me. I was ready to live like a pauper and pay down all those damn loans! While speaking to a mentor of mine and informing him of my plan, and he told me something that shock all my views, “well make sure you got some money in the bank, cause Sallie ain’t giving you a refund if life decides to happen.” So here are the things I considered (as should you) when deciding whether to save or pay Sallie?

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Where do you live?

If you are living at home with your parents and are in no rush to move out, now may be the time to put your head down and pay off those loans. A big part of the size of your nest egg depends heavily on your monthly living expensive. For most people our age the majority of our living expenses are loans and, the dreaded RENT!  So if you are lucky enough to be home, and enjoying it, you can definitely direct most of your attention to student loan repayment.

pay student loans

How stable is your employment?

Now, if you are working for corporate America at any job that does not have a union, that means your employment is at the whim of someone who isn’t you. Therefore, it would behoove you to have a nest egg for the worst case scenario. Sallie will not be giving you back that extra $1,000 because your company downsized.

How many other factors can contribute to unexpected expenses?

Do you live in a city where you need your car to get to work? Do you have a pet? Are your parents above 60? How many of your close friends are about to get married or pop out a child? Are you subject to the black tax (ie. Only person in your family with expendable income, so you may be called upon to save lives)? If any of these are relevant to your life, having a sizeable nest egg may be important to you. Financial experts suggest that you should have 6 months of your expenses in savings. That means if it cost you $2500 a month to live, you should have $15,000 in savings. (easier said than done… I know)

pay student loans

Based on your payment schedule, when are you anticipated to be done paying off your loans?

It is shocking how many people don’t know the answer to this question when asked. This is a very important factor in determining if you should focus on savings or being debt free. If you are on a 5-7 year repayment model, you may feel more comfortable devoting a year or two to building up your savings. If you are on a 10-12 year repayment option or a the it’s so bad I had to give Jesus the wheel repayment schedule, you may want to consider making more principal payments so you don’t end up paying your actual loan amount twice. Once in principal and once in interest.

Will the extra money you have a month, be worth more as savings or as a loan payment?

So let’s say your loan payment is $700 a month and you have an extra $100 a month. If you don’t have any savings, in just a year that extra $100 can go a long way to building your nest egg. Whereas an extra $100 a month (depending on loan amount and interest rate), may only amount to about one or two less loan payments. This will mean a lot when those unexpected issues come up. Savings will help you to not have extra debt, especially bad debt. Although it doesn’t feel like it, student loan debt is considered “good debt” so it looks better on your credit report than credit card debt.

pay student loans

So what does this all mean?

When making all your decisions, keep in mind, money is for paying bills, preserving your life and happiness. So figure out what your happiness is (once you pay them damn bills of course). Is your happiness a huge saving account, being debt free, or materialist things (including trips) Then find a balance, because unfortunately when in debt you have to make tough choices.

**I am not a financial advisor and this is not legal advice. Simple one millennial sharing with others how she keeps pockets lined.

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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.