With the national student loan debt reaching $1.4 trillion, millions of graduates face unique challenges when it comes to managing their loans. High loan balances can even cause borrowers to put off their dreams. In fact, one survey found that 47 percent of respondents put off starting their own business because of student loan debt.
Jessica Yañez, a lawyer specializing in immigration law at Yañez Immigration Law, always dreamed of opening her own firm. But with over $200,000 in student loans, she wasn’t sure she was financially ready to take the leap.
After researching her options, Jessica decided to refinance her loans with CommonBond. With her new loan, she had the flexibility she needed to launch her own business. Learn about Jessica’s experience and how CommonBond helped her reach her goals.
Jessica’s path to a career in law and starting her business
“I always wanted to be a lawyer,” says Jessica. “When I was a kid I would tell my mom that’s what I wanted to do.”
When she was in undergrad, she had an offer to work for a law firm specializing in immigration law, and Jessica found the perfect fit for her that blended all her passions. “[Immigration law] combines politics, culture, and human rights,” she says.
With that insight, Jessica decided to pursue a career in the field and went to Elon University to study law.
After graduating and working full-time for several years, Jessica still dreamed of opening her own firm. But her debt put a snag in her plans. Thanks to interest rates as high as 8.25%, her loans totaled over $210,000.
Jessica had several different loans, which made them difficult to manage. To further complicate things, some of her loans had variable interest rates, causing her payments to fluctuate.
“I had five different loans with five different interest rates,” she says. “I think I was managing my payments well, but right when I decided to open my own firm, I found out my rate was going to increase and my monthly payment would be over $1,500.”
Between starting her own business, managing a high student loan balance, and stressing over a fluctuating income, Jessica knew she needed help.
Refinancing with CommonBond
Jessica had heard of refinancing before, so she started researching her options. While she did some comparison shopping, once she found CommonBond, she knew she had found the right lender for her.
“One of the best things about CommonBond right off the bat was the real people,” she says. “With my old loans, I could never get in touch with anyone to help me. With CommonBond, they were on the phone talking with me, and I could email them and they were super responsive.”
With a new business, Jessica wanted more wiggle room in her budget. So when she refinanced her loan, she extended her repayment term to 20 years. With a new fixed interest rate of 5.4%, she cut her monthly payment down. Now, she can better plan for unexpected expenses or changes in her income.
“I feel better now that I have my loans in one place with one lower payment,” she says.
CommonBond’s Social Promise
Though Jessica is happy with her refinancing experience, she also feels a larger connection to the company.
“CommonBond went above and beyond,” she says. “My loan application mentioned my social justice career, and they sent me a handwritten thank you note for my service. Those are the little things that make them stand apart.”
Because Jessica is so focused on giving back to the community, CommonBond’s Social Promise resonated with her. For every loan the company funds, they also fund the education of a child in need. That’s impactful for Jessica, and it led to a meaningful experience for her.
“CommonBond had a contest where you had to submit a video about how education changed your life,” explains Jessica. “I ended up winning along with four others and they sent us to Ghana to see their work.”
Jessica had the chance to meet the students that are receiving an education because of her loans, meet the teachers that educate them, and even had the opportunity to help build a school.
“Their 1:1 model is amazing,” says Jessica. “I can’t speak more highly of CommonBond.”
What makes CommonBond different
If you’re thinking about refinancing your student loans, it’s important to do your research and work with a lender you can trust.
Refinancing does have some risks, particularly if you have federal student loans. If you refinance federal loans, you lose out on benefits and protections such as access to income-driven repayment plans or the ability to defer your loans.
But CommonBond helps alleviate that risk by allowing you to postpone your payments. If you choose to go back to school or are facing an economic hardship, such as unemployment or a medical emergency, you can enter a temporary forbearance and pause your payments for a set time period.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, CommonBond users who refinance their loans save $24,046 on average over the life of the loan. That’s a huge savings that you can use to boost your retirement fund or build up your emergency account.
In addition, if you have a side hustle, you may be more likely to get approved for a loan from CommonBond than many other lenders. They are currently one of the few refinancing companies that allow you to include side gig income on your application. Depending on your earnings, that can mean the difference between getting a loan and not.
For Jessica, working with CommonBond was the best choice for her to take control of her debt. Student loan refinancing empowered her to launch her own business and gave her peace of mind.
“Once you’re done with school, don’t avoid [your student loans],” she says. “Address it head on. Figure out exactly what you owe, and your interest rate. Calculate for yourself when you want to be debt-free and how you’ll get there.”
If you’d like to learn more about refinancing and the options available to you, check out your rate with CommonBond.
Sponsorship disclosure: We’re happy to work with CommonBond to bring you this post. We’d share it even if they weren’t paying us.