Parent, I urge you: DO NOT cosign a student loan for your child.
Today I’m featuring information from an article by nationally syndicated radio host and author Clark Howard. I consider this to be must-read info for every parent. After you read below, you can find articles by Clark Howard, listen to his radio show, view his videos, and sign up to receive his money-saving advice right in your email inbox at ClarkHoward.com.
Are you considering cosigning a loan for an adult child who needs a car, a student loan, or a credit card?
Here are 7 deeply concerning things you need to be aware of before you pick up that pen.
1. If you cosign a student loan, you may unwittingly strain future family relationships.
Nobody likes to think about this, but there’s an almost four in 10 chance that when you cosign a student loan, you will be the one who has to pay off the balance. A CreditCards.com survey found that of the cosigners they surveyed, 38 percent had to pay some or all of the loan balance or credit card bill because the primary borrower did not, 28 percent experienced a drop in their credit score because the person they chose to cosign for paid late or not at all, and 26 percent said the cosigning experience damaged their relationship with the person they cosigned for.
A 10th grader contacted me recently and asked me this great question about taking college classes in high school.
“Jeannie, I know that you strongly recommend dual enrollment college classes in high school for kids who want to get through college debt-free. I want to do dual enrollment full time in 11th and 12th grades so that I’ll have two years of college done by the time I graduate from high school. But my parents are trying to steer me toward doing dual enrollment only just part time. They’re worried that if I take a full load of dual enrollment college classes in high school, I’ll miss out on ‘the full high school experience.’ What do you think?”
Could you one day have your social security checks garnished to pay for your kids’ college?
You may be in danger of having your social security checks garnished and not even realize it.
Parents duped into taking out Parent PLUS loans to pay for their kids’ college can find themselves on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars each month, right at a time of life where they may be wanting to (or worse, needing to) retire.
Your kid’s in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade? It’s time to set him or her free to feel jazzed and excited about college. Plus — as a parent– learn 8 things you can do right now to keep that kid’s future college costs low.
A 35-year-old father of two recently contacted me in desperation, looking for help getting out from under $40,000 in student loan debt. “I’ve been paying $475 a month payments on this debt for years,” he said, “but because of interest piling up, I’ve hardly made a dent in it! I can’t buy a house; I can’t save for retirement; and we’re just scraping by every month, just barely able to pay our bills. Help!”
My advice to him was blunt. “You need to get aggressive,” I said. “Start doing insane, crazy things to pay this debt down as fast as possible.” I talked to him about finding an elderly person who needed a little help with home care and yard work, and moving his little family into one room in this person’s unfinished basement to save on rent. I talked to him about selling his nice car and taking Uber to the grocery store and public transportation to work. I talked to him about getting all of Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette books and adopting a whole bunch of her crazy, outrageous, creative strategies for saving money and paying down the principal on debt.
Parents, don’t let what happened to this man happen to your kid.
Watch this 3-minute movie trailer for the student loan debt documentary “Broke, Busted, and Disgusted.” Then buy or rent the documentary and consider watching it with the teens in your family.
“Broke, Busted, and Disgusted” is guaranteed to light fire in your teens to do all they can to avoid student loan debt, and in you to do everything you can to get your kids through college debt-free and into jobs they love afterward.
To keep debt-free college at the top of your mind as your kids are growing up, subscribe to my “email updates” using the form on this site, and then open it every single time it lands in your email inbox. It always includes a valuable timely article, plus info on my speaking and online specialty classes. (Use the directions here to make sure your email provider always sends my emails straight to your email inbox.)
Don’t let your kids become a student loan statistic.
Buy (or rent) the entire 53-minute “Broke, Busted, and Disgusted” documentary here.
You can see the “Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH,” here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCHevery 1-3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it – especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
Do you have friends who are parenting kids ages 12 – 22? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn right now.
What about you? What jumped out at you when you watched this trailer for Broke, Busted, and Disgusted? What are your favorite strategies for helping kids avoid student loan debt? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, author, speaker, and podcast host. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directlyinto careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, NerdWallet, and US News and World Report.
Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.
This article is part 3 of a 3-part series on what students can do if they’ve left college with student loan debt. You can find the first two (very important) articles in this series here and here.
Every year, frightening numbers of students finish college with massive amounts of student loan debt—and then find themselves completely unable to find employment that pays enough to cover their student loan payments.
Many of these 20somethings work as nannies, restaurant servers, and cashiers, jobs that barely pay enough to cover rent and groceries.
What can be done about this? Simply not paying on student loan debt is not an option. (You can read about the scary consequences of student loan debt default here.)
If you’re a former college student and you find yourself in this position, here are 6 strategies that will help.
This article is part 2 of a 3-part series on what students can do if they already have student loan debt. To read the very important article that was part 1 of this series, click here. To read part 3 of this series (the one about student loan forgiveness), click here.
In the first article in this series I explained the 7 important things that student loan borrowers need do immediately after leaving college.
I didn’t have room in that article for this very important to-do item: