This is the month when many lives change in the US. Whether it is the college graduation that launches the new adults into the real world, or the wedding that unites the lives of two people (formerly single), May is a month of changes in many lives.
I will apologize right now for playing the role of Debbie Downer! Since this a blog related to finances, and especially to YOUR relationship with money... we will talk about the increase in personal debt the month of May brings about: student loans that now need to get paid, wedding expenses that add up to a high balance on your credit card if you didn't plan it right, and maybe even a new mortgage if you timed your home purchase with your wedding.
Since we already learned that we always eat an elephant one bite at a time, we will tackle one of these scary debts in this first post - stay tuned next week for another exciting episode (LOL). Today we will talk about the student loans, and some information that may help you pay them down faster, or at least to plan appropriately for when you can be rid of them.
For those of you who are the parents of students, please think twice before co-signing on the student loans. Now, please don't get offended, and don't accuse me of not being sympathetic to your desire of being a great parent and helping your child financially. If you can provide the capital for them to go to school, by all means, do so. Even if you want to take on some loans to help them out, that is entirely your choice, and I can respect that.
Having worked in the financial industry for more years than I care to acknowledge (since I'm still 25 years old), I have met a lot of people who have put their retirement in danger by taking on loans they could not really afford. If your budget doesn't suffer by adding another monthly payment (such as a student loan payment), then by all means, take on a loan for your child. Otherwise, please consider helping them in other ways that don't risk your ability to retire. One idea for you is to check out some grants offered by smaller organizations in your area. If you are not familiar with such organizations in your town and still have some time before your student goes to college, please consider reaching out to organizations in the community; it will be an opportunity to meet some great community leaders.
One great resource that I came across while watching Shark Tank (valuable resource for entrepreneurs) is an app called Scholly - provides a list of many organizations and companies that provide scholarships. This can cut down on your research time.
Please feel free to share in the comments any resources you have that can help another un-broke woman with money for college and limit the amount of student loans.