You need to know about loans. Student loan nightmare stories are becoming all too common. You may wonder how people get is such a huge financial mess. It’s quite easy actually. Just keep signing on that line without understanding the terms you are agreeing to and it will add up to one big expensive mistake. So keep these tips in mind before you sign.
Start your student loan search by looking at the safest options first. These are generally the federal loans. They are immune to your credit rating, and their interest rates don’t fluctuate. These loans also carry some borrower protection. This is in place in case of financial issues or unemployment following your graduation from college.
If you have extra money at the end of the month, don’t automatically pour it into paying down your student loans. Check interest rates first, because sometimes your money can work better for you in an investment than paying down a student loan. For example, if you can invest in a safe CD that returns two percent of your money, that is smarter in the long run than paying down a student loan with only one point of interest. Only do this if you are current on your minimum payments though and have an emergency reserve fund.
Do not default on a student loan. Defaulting on government loans can result in consequences like garnished wages and tax refunds withheld. Defaulting on private loans can be a disaster for any cosigners you had. Of course, defaulting on any loan risks serious damage to your credit report, which costs you even more later.
Don’t panic if you have a slight hiccup when paying back your loans. Job losses and health emergencies are part of life. Do be aware of your deferment and forbearance options. Keep in mind that interest often continues accruing, so do your best to at least make interest payments to keep from having a larger balance.
If you take out loans from multiple lenders, know the terms of each one. Some loans, such as federal Perkins loans, have a nine-month grace period. Others are less generous, such as the six-month grace period that comes with Family Education and Stafford loans. You must also consider the dates on which each loan was taken out, as this determines the beginning of your grace period.
Keep detailed, up to date records on all of your student loans. It is important that all of your payments are made in a timely fashion in order to protect your credit rating and to prevent your account from accruing penalties. Careful record keeping will ensure that all your payments are made on time.
Take advantage of software such as free management tools for your student loans, calenders and budgeting apps. There are even specific student loan managing tools that help make your life easier. Reminders will help you keep up with your payments and budgeting tools will help you make the most of your student loan money.
Making educated decisions about student loans is the best way to avoid financial disaster. It can also keep you from making a costly mistake that will follow you for decades. So remember the tips from above, don’t be afraid to ask questions and always understand what you are are signing up for.