Can You Apply “The Secret” to Your Student Loan Payments?

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Have you ever heard of the wildly popular book The Secret? The book is about the law of attraction and promotes the idea that positive thinking can change the course of your life.

If you’re a natural skeptic and pessimist like me, this warrants a big eye roll and sigh. Yeah right.

Though I’m still skeptical of the whole idea behind the secret, I’ve changed my relationship to the idea of positive thinking. Shifting my thinking ended up changing the course of my life, and the secret turned out to be a great source of student loan advice.

Life after college

After I graduated from New York University in May 2011 with my master’s degree, I had so much hope. I did well in school, worked part-time, and was proud of my work as a theater teacher at an after-school program in Harlem.

I did everything I was supposed to and thought because I worked hard, good things would happen. I figured I’d be able to pay back the $68,000 student loan debt I had in no time.

Six months later, I still hadn’t secured any full-time employment. The hope I had quickly diminished and my student loan payments were coming due.

I quickly learned that I couldn’t afford to live in New York City anymore and pay my student loans back. So I made a tough decision. I decided to move across the country to Portland, Oregon to live with my boyfriend and take advantage of cheaper rent.

Struggling to make ends meet

I thought I’d be a big fish in a small pond in Portland, but I soon learned that the economy was even worse there. I went from going on regular interviews in NYC, to hearing practically nothing at all in Portland.

I was able to secure temp work as an administrative assistant for $10 per hour. But since the job was part-time, I ended up taking home about $800 per month. It was barely enough to survive. To supplement my income, I went on food stamps.

This was not how I imagined my life after NYU. I thought I’d snag a decent job after graduation and live it up in New York. Instead, I moved to a city I didn’t necessarily want to be in, was struggling to bring in money, and was living on food stamps to survive.

To say I was disappointed and depressed would be an understatement. After dealing with this situation for over a year, I was frustrated and utterly lacking in hope. I didn’t know how in the world I was going to pay my student loans back.

Using the secret to change my mindset

By January 2013, a year and a half after I graduated college, things weren’t much better. I was in a low place financially and emotionally. But, I knew something had to change. I was sick and tired of being depressed about my life and my student loans.

After searching online and finding out about personal finance blogs, I decided to start my own. At the time, I had $57,000 left in student loan debt. And so, I proclaimed in my very first post that I would pay off my student loans in four years.

At this point, I was making $12 an hour at yet another temp job. Given my financial situation at the time, there was absolutely no way I could pay back my loans in four years. But, regardless, that’s the goal I set for myself.

Months later, when I was still struggling financially, my mom encouraged me to write a check to myself with my desired salary. Fun fact, this was also a tactic used by Jim Carrey, who wrote himself a check for $10 million.

So I wrote myself a check for $50,000. Given my low-income at the time, $50,000 sounded like an astronomical amount of money to me.

Embracing the secret and looking towards the future

I kept the check by my desk to look at every day. Between my blog and this check, I had set myself two larger-than-life goals: get out of debt in four years and earn a $50,000 yearly salary.

However, setting these big goals for myself shifted my thinking immensely. It gave me something proactive to focus on, instead of just complaining about my situation.

I realized I had let myself become paralyzed by my student loan debt. I felt ashamed and guilty for getting into so much debt — for an arts degree no less — and having no way to pay it all back.

I wanted a miracle — with a snap of a finger, my loans completely gone. But, I realized after much emotional turmoil, that nobody could help me get out of debt. It was up to me to figure it out.

Once I accepted this difficult truth, I started shifting my mindset. There was no other option but to become debt-free.

The secret as student loan advice

Once I set my goals and knew what I wanted, my mindset started to shift. I started to believe I would be debt-free in four years and that I would eventually make $50k, even though my current circumstances didn’t reflect that.

Over the next few years, I worked my butt off. I took on every side hustle opportunity I got my hands on. I eventually did find a nonprofit job that paid $31,000 per year. Not quite my goal, but a step up from $12 an hour.

As I continued my side hustles, I built up a full-time income and was able to become self-employed. Within two years, I went from struggling to find full-time work to creating my own job.

As I continued on my self-employment journey, one day I looked at some trinkets on my desk. And there was my check. Shocked, I realized I had made more than the $50,000 I wanted just a few years earlier.

What’s more, I had boosted my income significantly from what I was being paid in the nonprofit sector. And instead of paying off the last of my student loans in four years, I paid them off in three.

How the secret can help you pay off student loans

The secret, also known as thinking positively and attracting good things in your life, can play an important role in paying off your student loans.

But here’s another secret: you can’t just positively think your way out of debt, or anything else for that matter. You must do the work.

Our mindset is so powerful it can inhibit us from taking action, or even recognizing the right course of action. If you’re looking for unconventional student loan advice, try shifting your mindset.

It’s like what one of my favorite quotes from The Alchemist says,“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Once I committed to paying off debt, despite my circumstances, despite all obstacles, things started to change. And once I started to look for solutions and started to think positively, rather than just dwelling on my situation, the path ahead became clearer.

While the idea behind the secret can seem like new-age nonsense, it’s actually more than that.

Thinking positively, shifting your mindset, and setting larger-than-life goals can have a positive impact on your student loan repayment. It can sustain you during the long journey ahead, and fuel your motivation when you want to give up.

Typical student loan advice is all about the money. However, your mindset plays an important role in helping you achieve your goals.

Even if nothing happens, thinking positively is still better than being paralyzed by doubt and depression. And even if you don’t reach your goal, you’ll likely be further along than if you hadn’t set a goal at all.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.