Featured Image Here at Virginia Credit Union, we believe that by educating ourselves in finance it will help us better serve and relate to the financial experiences of our members. Each year, VACU offers its employees a one-on-one meeting with a financial advisor. In my first meeting I reluctantly made the decision to extend my student loan payments to 25 years versus the standard 10 years, even though I had never missed a payment. I use the word “reluctantly” because I was determined to pay my student loans off in 10 years. In my current position, I was able to cover the payments but decided to extend to 25 years anyway. Honestly, I was shocked a financial advisor would suggest an extended repayment plan. I could picture in my mind those interest dollars racking up, but his logic made perfect sense. His advice was to extend the payment period to 25 years but continue paying the 10 year (higher) payment amount. By maintaining my current monthly payment, if I happen to fall on hard times, I can resort to paying less or even skipping a couple payments until I’m back on my feet. It takes discipline to make more than your payment due but the amount of money you save on interest can be substantial. I’m happy to report I’ve maintained my 10 year payment amount and never had to miss a payment. But having that option in my back pocket has saved my sanity more than a couple times. Audra F. Hi, I’m Audra! I’m a marketing specialist here at VACU. I joined VACU right out of college at VCU 5 years ago. In that time, I got engaged, married my college sweetheart and had two babies; a girl and a boy. I’ve learned a lot about finances working at the credit union, but even more from navigating these life changes. So I’m excited to share my personal financial journey with you and what I’m learning along the way. Other stories by Audra F.