Finance101: Dealing With Student Debt Now & Later

Presented by STEPHEN LAFRANCE, CFP®, MBA

The last thing on your mind as a college student is saving money, budgeting and managing your debt. But if you are not careful, college can create a future full of debt and angst over bills to pay and credit card debt.  We would like to share some thoughts on managing your debt while you are in college.

  1. Budgeting

Create a budget that is realistic and be disciplined about your expenses. Stick with it as the more you live within your means now, the faster you can move towards your goals in the future.

  1. Get a Job and Start Saving

By sacrificing and working a part-time job on weekends, during breaks and some after class you can begin to make extra money to help pay off those student loans and other expenses you accrue. You will be in such a better spot when you graduate.

  1. Be Smart About Credit Cards

College students are hounded with, what sound like great offers for credit cards. Applying for one credit card in your name helps build good credit; however, using it for purchases that you cannot afford and racking up debt at very high interest rates will jeopardize your financial future. Be smart and put the credit card away!

  1. Cut Costs Where You Can

Buy used textbooks; purchase a coffee maker and reduce the expensive coffees you purchase every day; cut back on your meal plan if you find you are not utilizing the entire plan each year – these are just a few ways you can cut some expenses. The little things will add up fast.

  1. Start an Emergency Fund

It is always helpful to put some of your earnings into an emergency fund, just in case you find yourself with an unexpected expense.

Upon Graduation:

  1. Pick Your Loan Repayment Plan

Each plan is different and is dependent upon your level of student debt. Speak to your financial aid office for direction on your repayment of your student loans.

  1. Consolidate Your Loans

Once you graduate, normally you have six months before you begin paying back your loans. However, just because you have six months does not mean you have to wait. Begin right away paying off your loans as it will easily become a habit.  And, speaking to the right institution and consolidating your loans will make it easier to keep track of what you owe.

  1. Look Into Loan Forgiveness Programs

Some loans will allow you to push the time to pay them off and some careers allow for some of the debt to be forgiven. Make sure you do the research to get the most benefits.

  1. Avoid More Debt

It is natural to want to purchase fun stuff upon graduation; however, taking on more debt when you have student loans to pay off is not recommended.

Keeping on top of your expenses and developing a healthy relationship with money now will pay dividends in the future. Always remember not to take on debt you cannot afford. You will reap the rewards later.

Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.

STEPHEN LAFRANCE, CFP®,MBA is a financial advisor with BLAKELY FINANCIAL, INC. located at 1022 Hutton Ln., Suite 109, High Point, NC 27262. 336-885-2530.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

Authored by the Investment Research team at Commonwealth Financial Network