I took out 2 private loans and multiple federal loans to finance grad school.
Since graduating 4 years ago, I’ve had steady, well-paying employment.
I went through an emotionally challenging period at the beginning of this time and defaulted on a Wells Fargo student loan.
It wasn’t even due to inability to pay—I simply didn’t take their calls and my head was in the sand. I don’t know how to describe it except I felt I’d reached my limit of things to deal with, and I completely avoided it. I’ve made regular payments on all my other loans and they’re all in good standing.
Is there any way to get this private Wells Fargo loan out of default?
I’m really at a loss. I’m ashamed and scared and the worst part is that I am able to make payments! I can actually afford to pay the entire loan in time. I don’t want to take a settlement, I just want it back in regular standing.
The hit to my credit due to the default is awful and I just don’t know what to do.
You actually have two very different situations here. The first is an emotional desire to make amends and get out of default without any additional pain. The answer on how to do that is pretty simple, pay the amount past due and begin making all your payments on time.
Private student loan lenders typically have none of the second chance programs to get your loan out of default like federal student loans do.
Your second option on how to deal with this situation is based on logic and the facts.
I was just talking to debt coach Damon Day about your situation, he had an interesting observation. He said, “Depending on where Sarah lives, she should think about if her private student loans are nearing the Statute of Limitations. If they are now older or will soon be past the Statute of Limitations she may not have to repay the loans if she raises that as a defense if sued.”
And he’s right if you have not made a payment on the debts in four years.
So from my point of view, the bigger issue here is we need to tackle this situation in a way that looks forward and not back.
For example, if you have not started to save for retirement yet then any delay in starting to save for retirement now will cost you dearly when you are old and unable to work. I’m talking about throwing millions of dollars away.
Do you have a greater duty or responsibility to your 80-year-old self or your defaulted private student loans? Only you can answer that question.
Far too often people say, not paying my creditors back that I defaulted on years ago is not moral. But isn’t throwing away a million dollars of retirement savings that would help to safely care for your 80-year-old self, a moral decision as well?
You can always tackle your old private student loans one way or another and then pay them back as you can afford to as you can.
The credit report is easy to rebuild and that should not be your primary concern.
I know you you you don’t want to settle the loans, but if you could put the loans to bed for half of what you owe with interest-free payments over five years, would you do that? That’s what settlement does. Any lenders settle these types of loans all the time if you are working with someone that knows what they are doing.
Nobody should make these decisions for you. Not even me.
What you need most is factual information and then the ability to make a decision about what is best for you and your unique situation.
So, before you talk to Wells Fargo and accidentally restart the Statute of Limitations, I would suggest you talk to a credit counseling group, a student loan bankruptcy attorney, a debt settlement company, and an independent debt coach like Damon Day.
Then, press pause and let what you learned from that research percolate in your head for a week or so. You don’t need to be rushed to make a decision today. And if anyone tries to get you to do that, they don’t have your best interest at heart. Run!
Finally, there is no need to be ashamed or scared. The fear is created by unfounded concerns over what other people think about you and facing the unknown.
Fear and shame are real, but not reality.
You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.
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