In This Article
Are you struggling with managing student loan debt? Don’t worry, you are not alone! Dorethia Kelly is here to help. In this episode, she shares her valuable insights on how to stay informed and prepared for when your student loan payment pause ends.
From consolidating loans to staying up to date on current loan forgiveness programs, Dorethia provides the knowledge and tips needed to get ahead of your student debt. Get ready to take control of your student loan journey and start planning a brighter future today!
About Our Guest
Dorethia R. Kelly, MBA, is a nationally-recognized and award-winning financial expert and coach, specializing in helping ordinary people conquer their worst fears on the way to becoming debt free and financially independent. She is a personal finance and business coach, author, and CEO of #MoneyChat. She is also the Founder and CEO of Work • Space • Spark, a career growth subscription box.
Known for her charismatic, no-nonsense personality, Dorethia empowers people to reach their financial, entrepreneurial, and career goals with her coaching, keynotes, and online courses. A vibrant personality who takes the shame out of money convos, Dorethia explains financial terminology and complex financial concepts in easy-to-understand language—directing you each step of the way as you build a workable financial plan that guides you through every stage of life.
Dorethia’s financial advice has been featured on Black Enterprise, CNBC, U.S. News, USA
Today, Experian, and more.
Connect with Dorethia
Facebook: Dorethia Kelly Speaks
Other Resources and Links
Intro/Outro: You know what it is. That’s right. It’s time to talk money with your money nerd and financial coach. Now tighten those purse strings and open those ears. It’s the Money Talk with Tiff podcast.
Tiffany Grant: Hey everyone. I am. So excited because I have one of my cousins, not my real cousins, but my financial cousins, um, on the line and her name is Dorothea Kelly, and she is here to talk about the student loan thing, cuz you know, student loan payments might restart. So we wanted to give you all some tips on how to actually pay those off or get those under control.
So, hey Dorothy. How are you? Hey,
Dorethia Kelly: Tiffany cousin.
Tiffany Grant: Right. Um, so let’s go ahead and jump right in for the audience. So let’s just talk about the current state of student loans and then some tips that they can use or steps that they can use to get those under
Dorethia Kelly: control. Under control. Absolutely. So we know that a lot has been going on.
I have been telling everybody to make sure that you are following this student. Loan situation. So you all definitely want to make sure that you’re email@example.com because as you see, it changes every day. There’s a new alert, you know, and that right now it’s on a pause, but the pause might be, uh, about to end.
So we wanna make sure that no matter what is happening in the government, that we are managing our student loans and staying on top of it. Don’t think that you’re not going to have to pay them back once the pause is over because until your loans are forgiven, you have to pay those back for real.
Tiffany Grant: Mm, yes, yes,
Dorethia Kelly: yes, for sure.
Absolutely. So we just wanna make sure that you’re on top of it. It’s, it’s important that no matter what is going on in I, I say this all the time, no matter what is going on in the government, that you are the economic master of your own household. You manage the economy in your household. So be mindful, watch it, but be prepared to pay back the loans when the pause is over.
Tiffany Grant: Yes, definitely be prepared. Cuz you never know. Like everybody was panicking when they said, oh, at the end of the year last year. Mm-hmm. Then they was like, oh, June, now here’s June. Then they like, oh, maybe later this year. So you never know. And you really don’t wanna be in a situation where you caught with your pants down.
Dorethia Kelly: Exactly.
Tiffany Grant: So let’s just give. The audience, some tips on, or some steps that they can take when it comes to their student loans, let’s say if the pause ends. Absolutely.
Dorethia Kelly: So number one, I. Everybody should look back because it’s been a while, right? Mm-hmm. How were, what was your payment agreement previously?
Nine times out of 10, whatever your payment agreement was with your lender before, all the pausing and, and everything, whatever that was, that’s going to reinstate probably exactly how it was. So you want to take a look? And say, okay, what was it before? Can you still do that? For instance, if you were maybe on an accelerated plan, you were, you were really ambitious and wanting to pay them off really quickly.
Maybe you were on a plan that your finances doesn’t support right now. So you wanna call your lender when you wanna be prepared to call your lender so that you can tell them what your new arrangement needs to be. Right now there are all types of different payment plans that you can get on when it comes to your student loans.
There are income driven, there’s deferment, there’s forbearance, and then you also wanna take a look at, do you need to consolidate your loans? So it’s been a while. So let’s look at what your situation is right now financially and be prepared to either change your payment arrangement and maybe you can increase the amount.
You never know, whatever your situation is, and you’re like, you know what? I’m sick of this. I’m gonna just go ahead and accelerate payoff. Make sure you’re in in a position to where you can have that conversation and begin to make those payments when the time comes. But I will say this. As far as it is to accelerating the payoff, you may just wanna continue to watch student aid.gov and make sure, you know, just kind of watch that for a little while before you go into any payoff Acceleration.
If you have pri, if you have federal loans, nine times outta 10, you are going to qualify. If you have private loans, talk to your private lender and find out what’s available for you and, and what they know, because they’re gonna get the information way before it’s made public way before we get it.
They’re going to get the information, so you want to make sure that you are. Checking in with them to say, okay, what’s new? What can we do? I know this is a private loan, but are, what are you hearing as it relates to loan forgiveness? Don’t think that just because you have a private loan, it can’t be forgiven.
Tiffany Grant: Yes. Yes. And I just wanna hit on something with your, um, first point, and that is make sure you call your student loan office. Like I did that when we were preparing, you know, thinking that they was gonna pause it a little while ago. And I called and she was like, well, Tiffany, you were on, I think it was like an income base.
And so she was like, you don’t need to worry about. This deadline because yours is actually gonna be extended. And I was like, you sure? And she, she was like, yeah, like, um, you know, I think originally they were gonna end it, and y’all don’t quote me. Let’s say May, I’m just throwing out dates. Let’s say May.
They were like, you really won’t have to pay until like September, so make sure you call whoever. Services your student loans to see what your individual circumstances are. Um, cuz that’s what happened to me. So I just wanted to throw that out there as well. I
Dorethia Kelly: love this. I love it. And I’m gonna tell you something else when you call and, and you’re just asking about yours, ask this question.
Um, are there any other opportunities? For me to have my loan forgiven or are there any other, um, benefits that I could take advantage of? Because remember, they learn about it way before you do.
Tiffany Grant: Mm. See you making me wanna call again? You should.
So, yes. So let’s, what’s another tip or something else that people should be thinking about when these student loans become
Dorethia Kelly: unpaused? I, I think that, um, for the most part, And we, you know, we talked about looking at your financial situation and staying on top of it, but the consolidation piece. What is available that you could possibly consolidate?
Say you have several loans. What is a what benefit? Find out what benefit there could be for you to consolidate your student loans. What is out there and what is available. Because if you’re like a lot of us, you may have had your student loans for a while and every year new legislation comes out, new opportunities.
So just ask if there is a benefit to you consolidating your loans, how that might help you lower your payments, and also interest rates. If your, if your credit score or something has changed or, uh, you’ve, you’ve been able to, uh, make some financial moves that could make your credit score, that has made your credit score better, what kind of interest rate can you get on your student loan?
Always ask about your interest rate because the, the le you wanna pay the least amount of interest is possible.
Tiffany Grant: Now, let me ask you a question in regards to that, um, and the co consolidation piece, if someone has a federal loan mm-hmm. Should they be consolidating into a private loan? No.
Dorethia Kelly: Or no? No, because we’ve got this loan forgiveness pending.
Tiffany Grant: Right? Right.
Dorethia Kelly: No, and this is around federally funded student loans, not private. Mm. So it’s until, in all honest, un because so many, because there’s so much, um, around this and we’re trying to get student loan forgiveness passed, you want your loan to be a federal loan because private loans are not forgiven.
Tiffany Grant: is it possible to refinance a private into a federal?
Dorethia Kelly: There may be. That’s why what you just said about calling your private lender is so important. Everybody at the sound of our voices should, if they’re in a private, if they have a private lender for their loans, should call today and ask, is there any opportunity for me to consolidate to a federal loan now?
If you have a good lender, they’ll tell you the truth, right? They’ll tell you everything you need to know. But if they kind of hit and haw a little bit, go to that student aid.gov. See what kinda information you can find out. You need to talk to somebody because you might be able to consolidate that private loan into a federal loan, which will help you get access to any loan forgiveness that may be available to you in the future.
Tiffany Grant: Mm, interesting. Yes, yes, yes, yes. And I think that whole consolidation piece is important to talk about. Cuz I feel like a lot of people don’t even consider that when they have student loans. They’re just like, uh, they either, like, I’ve had clients where they’re like, I don’t care about these students loans.
They not get paid. I know, I know, I know. I don’t recommend that, but, But, um, you know, people don’t really think about consolidating either out of a private loan or just consolidating into another federal loan, you know, so on and so forth. I. It’s important to talk about that and I’m glad you brought that up.
Yes. Now moving on, is there another thing that some people that are listening should be talking to, we’ve already covered? You need to call your peoples today? Yes.
Today. Um, but what else? Like when they call, is there anything else that they need to ask or get more clarification on?
Dorethia Kelly: I think that, I think that, um, we’ve given them what they need to call. I’d like to, when they call, we’ve given them what they need to say though. That is enough. Write that down. I’d like to touch on what you, something you just said.
All the people who are like, I’m not fooling with these student loans. I’m not paying them. It’s on the back burner. Now I’m not mad at that to a degree because there was a time in my life when I had so much going on, I couldn’t think about ’em either. Right? But here’s what I, I, I want everyone to think about student.
Some people have already gotten their student loans forgiven. If you are not paying any attention, you may be missing out on an opportunity to have yours forgiven. So I’m not saying you gotta jump. I’m not telling anybody what to do if you don’t wanna pay them, boys. Hey, that’s up to you. Not a good financial decision in my opinion, but if you, that that’s your choice.
But listen at least know what’s going on so that you have less outstanding to pay back. Cuz one day you’re gonna wake up, you’re gonna try to be going to go get something, do something and they’re gonna see this student loan debt that’s in, uh, a bad situation and you’re going to be forced to take care of it cuz the people are going to get their money one way or another.
Tiffany Grant: they’re, yes, they’re
Dorethia Kelly: but, but don’t waste this time where you could have been taking advantage of student loan forgiveness and all these opportunities. I know. I know so many people who have already gotten some of their loans forgiven. So yes, be sure just, okay, you might not be planning to pay it right now, but you do want to know what’s going on so you can get some of it forgiven, and then it makes it easier for you to pay whatever’s left.
Tiffany Grant: Yes, for sure. And actually one of those people was my mom. Like I, I was like, mommy, you know, you need to look into this P S L F, you know, the public service loan forgiveness. And come to find out, she put in her paperwork. I mean, granted, she was running around last minute, but she did it, she find right, she put it in.
And she sent me a message like a month or so later, and she was like, it’s gone. And mind you, these are student loans that were around since I was little. So that just tells you how long she’s had them and was able to take advantage of this whole covid opportunity, um, with all the different things that was going on and had those loans forgiven.
So now she has zero student loans now. Granted, she’s back in school again. Oh. I don’t think she’s taking loans this time. Good. But um, but it’s like, you never know. Yeah. So that’s why it’s so important to, uh, Dorothea’s point, to stay in tune if you do have them lingering around.
Dorethia Kelly: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes.
Tiffany Grant: So I love that. I’m like, we done dropped so many gyms and we are not even 15 minutes in. Uh, but do you have, let’s say one more, one more thing that people can be thinking about, about
Dorethia Kelly: the student loans. I’m trying to think. It’s so there, there really is so much I think that, uh, It’s, I think that we just have to be careful with how we think about our loans.
I think one thing I would like to touch on is the mindset of it all. And you mentioned something about, um, your mom going back to school. I did the same thing, so not, not the same thing necessarily, but I went back to school, but I went back to school before my, so I got my master’s degree. Before my bachelor’s degree student loans were even paid for, right?
Mm-hmm. So I just want to encourage everybody that while they’re going to school, and especially if you’ve gotten your student loans forgiven, I love the fact that you said your mom is not taking out more loans. Like she took that blessing and now she is, you know, paying for it, paying cash for her, for the education.
I just would like to encourage everybody to, you know, be careful as you think about education. And make sure that when you’re going back and you’re taking out all these student loans for a second degree and a third degree, and I know people with more degrees than that, that you have to weigh whether or not the money it’s going to generate by you having that degree is going to justify the student loans that you’re taking out.
For me, I was a single mother with two little girls. I didn’t have cash to pay for school, so it was a blessing to be able to take out a student loan. There’s no way I was gonna pay cash. I wouldn’t have never been able to accelerate my income without my degree getting a bachelor’s degree, not the master’s, the bachelor’s, so that I could make more money to take care of my, take care of my children.
That was important. So I was going to take out the student loan. Now, when I got the master’s degree, I. Did that again, it was a decision so that I could increase my income in my field. I feel like when you’re in corporate, you need a degree if you’re planning to climb, and I, I’m very ambitious. I plan to climb, so I needed the degree so, You must have a plan.
If you’re going to take those loans out, have a plan for paying them back. There are all kind of things, even without, this was before student loan. Forgiveness was even a hope wish or a dream. There’s all kind of plans to pay them back. You know, you can do it by your income, you can do it by, um, you know, they have this graduated plans.
So just have a plan, just like with any debt for how you’re going to pay it back. And when you finish school or, or get the increase, don’t spend so much of it so that you’re strapped. And these student loans really, really are a burden versus being the tool. Yes. I love that.
Tiffany Grant: That is a gym right there.
Y’all make sure that you’re only taking what you need if you’re currently in school, and then also make this a priority. Um, you know, if it’s important to you, it, it will not go away. Like I said, my mom had him since I was little. Yeah. You know, uh, forbearance, then able to pay it off. Then another forbearance, so on and so forth, but they never went away.
Dorethia Kelly: I did a couple forbearances, the ferments. I did whatever they would let me do because mm-hmm. You know, things happen in life. You’ve got bills to pay, got children to take care of, and all these other kind of things. Yes.
Tiffany Grant: I love it. So I appreciate you coming on and talking about these student loans with my audience.
Now I wanna hit on one more thing before we hop off, and that is the hashtag money chat book now. Yes, I know you just came out with that book. Yes, it. Congratulations. I’m excited. Uh, but I wanted to just talk about that real quick. Um, what are some things that you cover in the book? I know student loans is one of them.
Yes, yes. Uh, but what else do you cover in the book?
Dorethia Kelly: So the book I cover, I cover a lot. So there’s four sections. And it’s based on where most people are in their lives when it comes to money. You, there’s, there’s a progression. Number one, you’ve gotta get out of the hole. You’ve gotta stop digging that hole.
So I talk about getting out of the hole, what you can do to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then after you do that, okay, how do I get on solid ground? How do I get to the point where I’m managing my money successfully and I am not, the bill collectors aren’t calling anymore and I am not stressed like I used to be so stressed when I would go to this grocery store and I’m like, please go through.
Please go through, please go through. It’s been many years. I’m swiping freely. So let’s get to the point we’re swiping freely because we know what we’re spending. We’re not overspending and we’re monitoring it. And then growing your money. That’s investing, that’s understanding the basics of investing. So there are two chapters.
Number one, on investing. I didn’t wanna overwhelm people. I I did this thing. Tony Morrison says, if there’s a book you want to read, but you can’t find it, then you have to write it. And that’s exactly what I did with Money Chat. I wanted a, a book that. I need it. So the investing section, I didn’t wanna overwhelm people.
So there’s the basics. We do a one-on-one and then we dive in. So no matter where you are on the journey, you can learn, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. So that’s part of the section of growing your, your money. There’s more in there, retirement, all kind of things. And then we talk about protecting the money that you’ve grown as well.
It’s like the full circle. And that’s what I wanted to provide everybody, a money book that could be like the last money book you ever read, honestly, because it’s got everything in it that you could possibly need to start with and, and that way you’re able to get on the good foot and get started with without being overwhelmed and having a guide.
And because it’s called Money Chat. I founded Money Chat. It’s all about what you say and what you do with your money because the two are so closely aligned. So of course there are money mantras in the book. So, um, not only in the book, but everybody who buys the book, I have a ton of bonuses. So everyone who goes to money chatt book.com, once you buy the book and you put your information in, you get access.
To a page full of all these great downloads, and that includes mantras that you can download, put on your refrigerator, on your wall so that you can be reminded of how wonderful you are and how financial success is possible, and if you are already crushing it in your money, how you can keep going. So that’s one thing I have at the end of each chapter, and I also have action steps.
We can’t just talk about it. We have to be about it. We have to do the work that it takes to get to be financially free. And that’s what it’s all about. So that is Money Chat, the book. I am very excited about it. Thank you so much for, um, sharing about it and talking about it. And I hope everybody runs out and gets it goes on.
You can get it anywhere. You buy books, Amazon, all the places, Barnes and Noble. So please do that. Write a review and you know, stay connected with me. Yes,
Tiffany Grant: yes, and I will make sure that I add all of that information in the show notes as well. So if you didn’t catch it, long story short by the book, the link is in the show notes.
But thank you so much, Dorothea, for coming on now, if people were interested in finding out more about you or connecting with you, maybe on social or offline, how could they find you?
Dorethia Kelly: Absolutely. I am Dorothea Kelly on all social media. And also you can visit dorothea kelly.com as well.
Tiffany Grant: Awesome, thank you.
And I’ll make sure to put that in the show notes as well. So I appreciate you once again for coming on and talking about these student loans because, you know, time is ticking, time is of the essence. And so we need to go ahead and start working on these things now. Uh, thank you so much and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.
Dorethia Kelly: Thank you for having me. Right.
Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening, joining and being a part of the Money Talk with Tiff podcast this week. You can check Tiff out every Thursday for a New Money Talk podcast, but if you just can’t wait until next week, you can listen to previous podcast episodes at Money Talk with t.com or follow tiff on all social media platforms at Money Talk with T.
Until next time, spend wise by spending less than you make a word to the money wise. Is always sufficient.
Are you struggling with managing student loan debt? Don’t worry, you are not alone! In this episode of Money Talk with Tiff, our guest, Dorethia Kelly, shares valuable insights on how to stay informed and prepared for when your student loan payment pause ends.
Staying Prepared for Student Loan Payments
It’s crucial to be ready for your loan payments to resume once the student loan payment pause ends. Dorethia recommends the following steps:
- Contact your lender: Discuss any changes in your financial circumstances and inquire about new payment arrangements.
- Research consolidation: Consolidating loans can potentially lower your interest rate and help you better manage your student debt (but be careful).
Loan Forgiveness Programs
There are various loan forgiveness programs available, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Stay informed on these programs and check to see if you qualify. Keep in mind that there may be future opportunities for loan forgiveness, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date.
The Importance of Mindset and Planning
Dorethia emphasizes the significance of having the right mindset when taking out student loans. Understanding the long-term effects of student loan debt on your financial future is key. Create a plan that includes paying off your student loans as efficiently as possible.
Start planning for a brighter financial future! Don’t let your student loan debt define you. Subscribe to the Money Talk With Tiff podcast to keep up with valuable tips and information on managing your finances and share the knowledge with others who may be struggling with student loans.