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Advice for my student loan repayment plan?

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  • Advice for my student loan repayment plan?

    Hi everyone, first time poster, long-time reader/listener to WCI and other similar podcasts.

    I am a MS4 applying academic internal medicine with a 6-year goal of academic heme/onc. I want to hear your thoughts on my plan for loan repayment.

    I currently have $185,000 in federal loans, no private loans. My wife has $56,000 in federal loans and $9,400 in Sallie Mae loans. We have 1 son.

    I will match academic IM and all institutions are 501c3. My wife is going back to school starting in May, will probably not have an income, and her loans will likely be in deferment for most of IM residency. Our income throughout residency will be between $55K and $65K depending on where I match.

    I plan to apply for REPAYE and have calculated my payments at about $300-$500 per month, which would be affordable.

    Specific questions I have are about the decision to go REPAYE, whether to combine my wife and I's fed loans, and tax filing recommendations. From what I understand, REPAYE is the best option and combining our fed loans would not be a bad idea. Filing jointly seems like the best as well, but I wanted some feedback.

    If you all need more information, please ask. I appreciate your help!

  • #2
    Repaye is good.
    I didn’t know it was possible to combine loans.
    MFJ, although since she will have no income, it doesn’t really matter from a student loan standpoint.


    • #3
      It would be news to me that you can consolidate two persons' loans into one federally - i'm sure you could find someone that'll do that on the privates side, but not federally.

      Taxes likely will benefit you to MFJ - it's A) less tax if she's at $0 going forward B) irrelevant from a perspective of REPAYE since you will be 1 income. You should choose the alternative option to verify your income when it's time to do so because it sounds like your previous year's tax return won't accurately represent your current income (I'm assuming that your wife is working now and has an income that is more than the resident salary - if it's not, then yes, use the most recent tax return - whichever is lowest).