Meet a SoFi Member: Christin Gomes
Name: Christin Gomes
Alma Mater: University of Miami
By Day: Regional Integrated Marketing Specialist
SoFi Member since: 2015
What’s your student loan ‘origin story’?
I loved the private school I attended for undergrad. I had a great time, and I feel like my PR and marketing studies really prepared me for my current career.
However, my school was also extremely expensive. When I took out student loans, I didn’t fully grasp what I was signing up for. I assumed I’d get a great job after graduation and paying my loans back would be a cinch.
Fast forward to graduation, which for me happened at the tail end of the financial crisis when the economy was still recovering. The job market was rough—I didn’t even have a stable job when my loans came due. Here I was, just starting my life, with no idea how I was going to pay off these loans. It was depressing.
What made you want to do something about your student loan debt?
Realizing how much I was spending on interest was a huge wake-up call. The interest rate on one of my loans was over 13%, and interest had been accruing while I was in school. Even with the extra payments I made each month, it took four years just to get my balance down to the amount I’d originally borrowed.
Frankly, I felt defeated. I was killing myself to pay these loans each month, but barely making a dent in the principal. I wondered if I’d ever be able to buy a home or have children—all the things I assumed I’d be able to afford eventually. At one point I even questioned my decision to go to college. How sad is that?
How did you learn about student loan refinancing?
A couple years ago, my husband read a Forbes article about SoFi and how it was offering different lending opportunities for people with student loans. I had looked into refinancing student loans in the past, but I was apprehensive about leaving Sallie Mae because most banks didn’t offer loan deferment if you lost your job. When I learned that SoFi had unemployment protection, refinancing seemed like a no-brainer.
The process of refinancing was super easy—I was even able to check my rate before starting the application. The whole thing took a couple of weeks, and by my calculations I’ll save almost $40,000 in total interest. I also shortened my term so I’ll be done with my loans much sooner.
What did you gain by refinancing student loans?
My biggest regret is that I waited so long. Clearly the savings aspect was huge, but I also really appreciate the network I’m connecting with through SoFi. I couldn’t imagine going to a happy hour with my lender before finding SoFi, but now I look forward to connecting with other members.
I also feel like a huge burden has been lifted. Seeing a good chunk of my monthly payment going to the principal, I know I’m making progress and I feel in control again. My student loans were causing me so much anxiety—I don’t miss that at all!
Any advice for borrowers considering refinancing?
My biggest advice is – don’t wait! The longer you wait the more interest you are accruing. If you can save money through refinancing, you honestly have nothing to lose. Don’t settle. Also, do your research. Find the lender that works for you and has your back. Check reviews from credible website and ask your friends and family members.
Trust me, you won’t regret the decision.