Although the season finale feels long gone and much-recapped, the explosive seventh season of Game of Thrones lingers as a student benchmark, a survey of 500 graduates currently in repayment showed the stress is nothing compared to student loans.
For many of those surveyed, the stress and determination to pay off student loans supersedes nearly all other aspects of life, with 84% prioritizing loan repayment over purchasing gifts for loved ones and 72% choosing monthly loan payments over buying healthy foods.
While more post-grads are forfeiting car purchases, foregoing optimal living situations, and missing out on a social life in favor of focusing on loan repayment, some student debtors are finding life as a working professional more stressful in the fantasy worlds of Westeros and Essos. Over 11% of the polled borrowers said they were more stressed about the outcome of Game of Thrones than their ability to repay student loans. And it’s not just the nail-biting, head-scratching, moral ambiguousness of Jon Snow in season seven’s finale that’s keeping cortisol levels high for these post-grads. Just over 17% cited binge watching Netflix and paying for a subscription as a higher-priority spend over student loan repayment.
Despite the focus on binge watching for some, more students said they prioritized spending money on establishing a credit history and paying off monthly bills over making monthly student loan payments. However, with nearly eight million Americans eligible for lower interest rates on student loan payments, borrowers can lower monthly payments while building credit easily by refinancing a student loan. In fact, the average Laurel Road customer saves $20,000 or more over the life of their loan, helping them find their way to financial flexibility even sooner—and leaving them more energy to stress about the outcome of the series finale next year.