There is an abundance of information to absorb regarding managing your finances, and finding the perfect balance between saving, debt repayment, and investing can be tricky. There is no magic formula, or right answer, however making financial decisions in haste can have some long-term consequences that you might wish you had avoided. Carefully break down your personal budget, and identify areas that are fixed, and those that can be reworked. Understanding that the order in which you prioritize your money can make or break you is going to lend itself to making overall financially smart decisions.
If paying off your student loans is a major personal goal, and your primary focus regarding your money is to become debt free, then figuring out how to hit that mark efficiently is your best bet. The quicker you can meet the goal of a zero balance on your student loans, the quicker you can switch your focus towards your next goal, investments. You can refinance your existing student loans with a private lender in order to save money on your monthly expenses. Using this to decrease your monthly payment will ultimately lower your total amount repaid, as it is likely your interest rate will be lowered upon refinancing.
You can use that saved cash to pay off other smaller debts, like credit cards with high APR’s or other personal loans you might owe on. Or you can save those extra funds and use them for future investment plans, or to create a nest egg or emergency savings fund. Refinancing is a smart way to create extra money for yourself because since you are already in the habit of paying out X amount each month towards your student debt, this requires little to no adjustment to your budget regarding money going out each month, only on money coming in.
The stock market is always up and down, so before you invest even one penny you have to understand the risks involved, and that the payoff from investing may take time to pan out. If your life is in a stage where putting any amount of your finances at risk could prove to be very detrimental if money is lost, you might want to reconsider your timing. Retirement is a common budgetary category that should also always be a top priority. Investing in your financial independence is a safe way to spend your money.
If you are fortunate enough to work for an employer that offers a matching program, perhaps maxing out your contributions to that fund while you have that opportunity is a better use of your money at this time. The option to invest is not going anywhere. If you remain investment-focused after analyzing your existing financial responsibilities, you can also always enlist the help of a professional. This does not equate to a sure thing, however calling upon a knowledgeable professional with experience in the stock market can help eliminate some of the consequences that can come with investing on your own with little to know prior knowledge.