College Debt, Do you need it? college debt, college debt alternatives, debt, national college debt, save for college

College Debt

Yup I am still paying for it even though I graduated in 2006.  My parents did not contribute to the tuition, this was all on me.  I don’t see that as a problem.  

The big mistake I made though… since I had no idea what I was doing 20 years ago was, I consolidated my federal student loans and made my term longer.  Had no idea that happened, I got BAD advice from someone saying that I must consolidate my loans.  I did just that, I had no idea my term was extended from 10 to 30! I didn’t even get a bill prior to consolidating and I called immediately to consolidate my loans. There wasn’t that many resources to simply google the knowledge that I have now.  Please, whatever you do, research your options before you consolidate.  Look at everything, term, interest rate, whether it’s a federal loan, etc.

I do not feel obligated to pay for my own kids’ college tuition other than a few thousand.  Main reason is.. lack of funds. However, I will help them find ways to get scholarships, go to a community college first and whatever else we can do to reduce this cost.  I recently saw a scholarship opportunity but my daughter is too young.  I told her about it so she is aware of this scholarship for the future. I was pleased to see that she texted back and asked how can she apply and was disappointed that she wasn’t eligible….yet.  Surrounded with super giving friends who feel obligated to pay for college, I feel like someone is missing a point here.  It might be me or it might be them.  

Hey if you have saved up for them all these years as well as for your retirement, it is quite understandable to pay for their college tuition.  Most of my friends are not that fortunate but they are still willing to pay in lieu of possibly retirement savings, taking out a second mortgage, or some other creative way. 

If you have not saved up for your kid’s college, here’s some of what you can do instead:

  • Breath, you are still a good parent, it’s ok. Do not feel guilty, it’s a waste of time.
  • Look up scholarships and help them apply, a lot of hand holding is needed. They have NO idea what they are doing.
  • Check out an app called Scholly, I heard about it on a podcast, but I haven’t used it myself just yet! Give me feedback if you use it.
  • Talk to your student about what they can realistically afford.
  • I heard this tip on Clark Howard’s podcast, and thought it was great advice…borrow as much as you will make the first year after graduation. Ex. If you are going to make $40,000 salary, that’s all the college debt you should have.
  • Your student can be a commuter, go to a community college, etc.
  • The “college experience” should not cost $100k in loans.

Here are some stats:

Outstanding student loan debt is $1.53 trillion in the U.S. (can you count that high?)

Average borrower owes $25,500 (I don’t think that’s too bad, mine was higher)

10% of borrowers have more than $80,000 (holy moly, is this linked to anxiety disorder?)

80% have delayed saving for retirement. Compound interest is pretty significant which these folks are missing out on.

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