Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What to do with my bonus…

I have committed to saving $300/month, paying $325/month towards my credit card debt and not incurring any more debt. My student loans enter repayment in September and I will begin paying the minimum on those which currently includes a mixture of interest only and principal and interest. My hope is to pay off the credit card debt and secure a salary increase in time to account for the increase in my student loan payments to principal and interest.

I am still trying to decide whether to take my annual bonus (if I get one) and put it into savings or whether I will try to tackle Student Loan #1 (see right column). Last year, my bonus (delivered at the end of January) after taxes was about $4k. I am thinking that it will be more like $5k this year since I got promoted to Vice President and my salary increased slightly by $5k. I am pretty certain (90%) that I will get a bump in my salary soon because my discussion with my boss have yielded an understanding and agreement that I am underpaid compared to my peers and for my level of experience and workload.

The problem that I have faced which has led to the increase in the credit card debt is not being prepared for unexpected expenses. When that happens, I am forced to use my credit card. If I have the reserves in saving, I won’t need to use my credit card and I can simply pay cash for those expenses. They have ranged from $1,000 for my car last month to the need for glasses which was $400 in June. All of which are now on my credit card.

I am leaning towards putting the bonus money in my HSBC savings account and leaving it there in case of an emergency and still committing to saving $300/month. If I pay interest only on my student loan debt and continue to save and reduce my credit card debt, I can see an improvement in my net worth next year.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Student Loan Update…

So I called my student loan provider because I submitted an application for interest only on my private loans and the payment seemed much higher than anticipated at $641.00. I applied for the Easy Pay 3 Plan where you pay interest only for 2 years, followed by 3 years of interest and ½ principal and then the remaining term is straight-line amortization principal and interest. My private loans have a 20-year or 240-month term.

I learned that only 3 of 8 private loans qualify under the plan because my payment has to be at least $50.00. So, I am forced into straight-line principal and interest payments on the remaining 5 private loans. The representative was really nice on the phone. Apparently, the student loan company is not budging on the private loans but they are willing to work with borrowers on their federal loans.

Right now, the representative said she is seeing no limit to the time borrowers get to forbear their federal loans. I am toying with the idea of requesting another year of forbearance for my private loans so that I can more aggressively pay off my private loans.

I may also get a salary increase because I am currently not receiving anything close to equal pay for equal work. My responsibilities at work have grown in size and complexity so I am hoping for a salary adjustment in the coming months. This would really help out a lot. My current salary is $72,000 and I am trying to get to $90,000 in the next few years where I will be more comfortable and able to support my entire student debt loan on a principal and interest payment. If I get a $12,000 - $15,000 bump, I won’t consider trying to jump ship to another financial institution. I really like my job, place of work and the people I work with. We’ll see.

For now, I automated payments to my credit card each month at $325.00. The $11,000 balance is fixed ½ at 2.99% and ½ at 3.99% until 5/2011 and 11/2010, respectively. I also automated savings of $300 per month. My current savings account balance is $2,000. My first $641.00 student loan payment is October 5th.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I have credit card debt again. My student loans are entering repayment. I make my first private student loan payment in October. =(

5-year goal:
  • No more debt.
  • Pay off credit card debt.
  • Pay off $60k in private student loan debt (1/2 of my private loans).
  • Pay interest only on federal loan debt.
  • Save $20,000 emergency fund.
  • Save $300/month towards long term savings.


  • $72,000 base salary.
  • $110,000 in federal student loans.
  • $120,000 in private student loans.
  • $11,000 in credit card debt.