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Should I pay off my student loans now or later?
I have been out of college since December 2014, and I am on a 10 year repayment plan which will end with the last payment on June 1st, 2025. So, I've learned that it is good to have a mixture of credit accounts (student loan, mortgage, auto, card, etc...), it's good to have a high average age of accounts, and it is good to have a high credit limit with low utilization. If I pay my student loans off, that will only leave my credit card which I just opened last year. Yes, I know that accounts stay on your credit for 7 years after they are closed, but some scoring systems only look at open accounts from what I've read. My student loans are #1 is 6 years old, #2 is 5 years old, and #3 is 2 years old. I have the money to pay them all off very soon. So I have several questions I would like answered:
• It's not best to pay them completely off so that the accounts close, is it?
• Does the "keep a low utilization rate for good cred" also apply to installment loans such as my student loans?
• Should I pay the 5 and 2 year one off and keep the 6 year one open so that the average age of accounts will go up? Or is it more important to have the accounts stay open so that the utilization rate and credit limit will look even better?
• Should I pay all except a penny (is that allowed?) off on the loans and just keep them all open for the length of the term? Um, would that look good on my credit if I postponed paying off 1 cent on each loan for another 9 years?
• I would like to avoid interest accruing as much as possible over the next 9 years, so is paying all except a 1 cent off an option? For instance, could I pay tomorrow on my loans everything I owe minus 1 cent, and then just keep the loans open for the next 9 years? Or would they just close the account if it were that close?

Thank you in advance for any advice or insight. As of typing this question my gut says to pay loan #1 and #2 down to just 1 cent remaining, and to pay loan #3 off. This way, I keep somewhat of high credit I will keep #1 and #2 open helping with utilization, while not accruing very much interest. Getting rid of #3 completely will help with average age of accounts. However, this plan is based on my limited understanding. Let me know if I'm just totally wrong or what. Much appreciation to anyone who answers. Sorry if this question has already been asked, I could not find it and I really want to know... Just link me to it if it has.

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1) I do not know how student loans are reported, but if like any other fixed loan then no I would not pay them off in your shoes.  it will not help your credit and may hurt it depending on the factors of any other lenders you deal with. You seem to understand the open/closed reporting of average age.

2) If they are considered like other fixed loans, then no they do not count towards the Vantage credit utizillation. not sure about the different FICO's

3)  I would keep all open for the time, if you want to close one then I would suggest only the 2 year old one and keep the other two to keep the agge of credit open, and they pay off sooner.

4) I am not sure how those loans are structured.  My suggestion is to talk to the lender and ask if you paid a good portion of the principle if they can reamoratize the loans.  If so pay off 75-90% and keep the rest as a very low monthly payment.  This can really help when it comes to getting other loans as your minimum monthly due to lenders is low and this makes you a better investement for the lender.  If they will not reamoratize the loan then you can not pay all but a penny. They will still expect the monthly payment and after one month you will pay it off.  Check on the reamoratization or else the 1 penny will NOT work. Well I take that back a little.  If you made all the monthly payments as the monthly payments in advance then it might.  But then you are still paying all the interest.  Again I know this is how it would work with a car loan, and it maybe different for student loan.

5) So in short I would try reamoratize and if failing that then I would maybe only close the 2 year one, small hit on average to some lenders. Without reamoratization, I would also be socking away all that money into a Roth IRA, this way you can maybe earn a decent return and maybe more than you are paying in interest. The priciple can be pulled at any time without charge, so if you choose to pay off, or buy a house you have access. I would work on getting getting some other credit history ASAP non-secured credit card if possible, car loan (again pay a large amount upfront and only finance a little), this way your average age does not take a large hit now (your average is low anyway, and will grow in time. If you can reamoratize pay a huge chunk and keep them open.

Some of this also depends on what your future plans are.  How soon do you project to buy a house, car etc.  If those are not at all in the near future (3 years or more), I would try to get a non-secured card, or two, then close those accounts and just start building the time debt free.

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