Tag Archives: loan


4 Things Teens Absolutely Must Know Before Taking Out a Student Loan

A college degree today is equivalent to a high school diploma 50 years ago. That is to say it’s an expected, if not necessary, level of education needed in order to secure a job in a number of professional fields.

The one major difference between high school and college is, of course, price. But given the importance placed on higher education, many families will do whatever it takes financially to ensure their child can earn that degree.

For most, that means taking out student loans. Before you and your teen go down that road, you should both be aware of the implications going forward.

These are four things you and your teens absolutely must know before taking out a student loan:

  1. Almost 71 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients will graduate with a student loan.

As a parent, you might think loans aren’t necessary since they weren’t when you were looking into college. According to a 2015 Wall Street Journal article, your memory doesn’t deceive you — less than half of students graduated with student loans two decades ago and about 64 percent did 10 years ago. These days, however, roughly 3 out of 4 students will need to borrow money to graduate.

  1. The average 2015 college graduate with student loan debt will have to pay back a little more that $35,000.

If your teen is one of those three students who will take out a loan, they can expect to be saddled with $35,000 upon graduating. That amount is more than double what borrowers had to pay back two decades ago, even after adjusting for inflation. So not only are more students taking out loans, they’re also paying more in loans.

  1. Only borrow what you need.

It’s generally thought the biggest loan you can get is the best. This is not true. A loan should strictly serve to cover the cost of college — this includes spending costs in addition to the basic costs of education, room and board. When taking out a loan, look at what the averages are and then apply yourself and your situation against those. This is one of several tips you should consider during the process.

  1. Know what types of loans are out there

When applying for financial aid, loans are normally included in the school’s offer. Some student loans are made through the federal government, while others come from private sources like banks for financial institutions. Generally speaking, federal loans offer borrowers more ways to pay the money back along with a lower interest rate.

Make sure your teen has a basic idea of what they’d like to study and what they hope to achieve while in college. They can figure it out while already there, but that’s a costly deliberation period. Getting some real world experience first either through a job, volunteering, or even traveling can help hone their interests and formulate a plan for a worthwhile college experience.

Remember to remind your teen to speak to someone in his or her desired college’s financial aid office. They’re there as resources to help you!


5 Tips for “Spring Cleaning” Your Finances

When you hear the word “spring,” uttered for the first time after months of dreary winter, what kinds of images are conjured up in your head?

Warmth. Sun. Birds. Flowers. Cleaning?

It may not be the most alluring aspect of the new season, but according to the American Cleaning Institute, 72 percent of people will likely engage in some sort of spring-cleaning this year. So if cleaning is top of mind when you think of spring, you’re not alone.

But don’t limit spring-cleaning to only your home. This is also the perfect chance to give your finances a nice tidying up. Here are five financial spring-cleaning tips that will give your finances a fresh new shine for the rest of the year:

  1. Form a realistic plan for getting out of debt

Without a strategy, you could suffer from the fiscal strain of debt for years. Apply a simple plan for your debt, and you’ll be able to mark a date on your calendar when you’re free from the shackles. Start by spending less than the amount you earn each month, and then decide on an amount you’ll put toward debt each month and stick to it.

  1. Do your math before taking out a loan

Whether you’re planning for your teen’s education or considering furthering your own, loans are often part of the equation. Make sure you understand the commitment before accepting a loan or you’ll be in for a rude awakening. A $100,000 loan at 6.8% interest will demand monthly payments of $1,100 for the next 10 years.

  1. Save for retirement

And do it now! The sooner you start putting in money for your golden years, the shinier those years will be. Once you’re retired, you won’t have a source of income to support yourself. Seems obvious, but then again so does saving now for retirement, yet plenty of people neglect to do so.

  1. Make a budget

Putting your plan on paper in the form of a budget will help make the first three tips easier. If you don’t know where to start on a budget, follow the 50/20/30 rule: 50 percent to essential expenses, which includes housing, transportation, utilities and groceries; 20% to financial priorities, which are retirement, savings and debt (in that order); 30% to lifestyle items, which are gifts, travel, dining out, shopping and everything else.

  1. Check (and understand) your credit report and credit score

A good indicator of how tidy you’re keeping your finances is your credit report and credit score. They will determine if you’re eligible for big savings when you make major purchases like a car or house (anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands in some cases). Additionally, make sure there aren’t any mistakes on these documents as that can have serious effects on your credit and your ability to borrow money.


5 Questions to Ask Your Teen before Lending Them Money for a Big-Ticket Item

As children become teenagers and begin growing both physically and mentally, parents begin to find their “little ones” get too big for more than just their clothes. A developing teen with tastes and preferences all their own is a teen who will inevitably want to make bigger, more expensive purchases.

Gone are the days of giving little Billy a $5 bill to spend on comics and candy. Teenaged William is interested in buying a car, and he’s looking to you for financial assistance.

But before you throw a chunk of change right in Billy/William’s lap, it’s important to use this opportunity as a teaching moment. Parents should feel encouraged to lend their kids money and be paid back as part of a financial exercise in credit, lending, and timely payments.

As a parent, you should ask yourself these five questions before lending your teen money for a big-ticket item:

  1. I can’t believe my baby is all grown up!

Technically that’s not a question, but children do grow up fast. Try not to get too emotional… let’s move on to the next question.

  1. Does my teen need this item or is it a luxury good?

While even necessary items can cost a pretty penny, it’s those luxury items teens should really learn to budget for. Responsible adults have to weigh all factors when making purchase decisions, often deciding not to buy a luxury item in favor of necessities.

  1. Will this item help my teen advance their education or career?

If your teen needs an item to advance their education or career, it doesn’t necessarily make it a necessity — luxuries can exist within necessity. But purchases that directly link to income (i.e., car for transportation) or education (i.e., text books) are obligations that should warrant a loan. Just make sure your teen actually uses these items once they’ve been purchased!

  1. Can my teen realistically pay back the loan?

It’s difficult to pay off a loan without an income stream. If your teen doesn’t have a part-time or side job, think about implementing an allowance-for-chores system. This will teach them the value of a dollar. If your teen does have a job, encourage them to start saving some money with each paycheck and begin budgeting for loan payments.

  1. Can I establish a payment process that will actually teach my teen something?

The point of the parent/child money-lending exercise is two-fold: it gives teens a taste of adulthood while introducing them to all the intricacies of money management. The exact process you set up for your teen is up to you. Will you set a payment due date? Will you add interest? It’s all up to you. Remember not to distort the reality of the process though, which can provide your teen a false sense of potential consequences.