As a parent, it can be disheartening to see your children mired in student loan debt. They’ve successfully completed their degrees and are just starting out, but the financial cards are already stacked against them. Nearly three-quarters of parents plan to help their children repay all or some of their federal or private student loans, according to a 2019 survey from College Ave Student Loans.
You may wonder how you can help your kids pay off their student loans. On one hand, you want to help and do what you can, but on the other, you have to look out for yourself and your own financial well-being, especially as you near retirement age. You’re not alone in this debate.
Luckily, there are small ways you can contribute and help your kids pay off student loans without sacrificing your own financial stability.
- Forget the gifts – do this instead
- Match their student loan payments
- Help out their bottom line
- Sign up for Upromise
- Refer your children for gigs
Consider how much you spend each year on Christmas gifts, birthdays and other special occasions. While everyone loves gifts, many student loan borrowers probably prefer to have that money you spent go toward their student loan payments instead.
Rather than giving cash, you can typically become an authorized payer on your child’s student debt through their loan servicer. That way, you can go directly to the source and make payments. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Let’s say you typically spend $20 on a gift. Instead of buying something your children may not need or even like, you can help them financially by putting that $20 toward their student loans.
That money could eventually lower their outstanding balance by thousands of dollars over time. You don’t have to wait until your child graduates to chip in. Parents can start making small contributions while the student is still in school.
If you want to support your kids year round, rather than putting money toward loans once or twice a year for holidays, consider matching your child’s student loan payments. By matching their payments, you can motivate them to get out of debt even sooner and help make significant financial progress. You also can set up automatic payments to send money straight from your bank account to the loan servicer on a regular basis.
“If parents can afford to double down on payments with their children at least every other month, it’s extremely helpful,” said Tonya Rapley, founder of the personal finance site My Fab Finance and the Banish the Balance Challenge, which helps people get out of debt.
“By doubling down, I mean matching their payment,” Rapley said. “So instead of a $400 payment, they are making payments of $800 at least six times a year. This nudge can significantly speed up the repayment process.”
A 2016 report by GoodCall, a financial education website, noted that 58% of college grads with student loan debt would give up buying a new car to get rid of their loans. Also, 59% would give up a vacation to repay debt, and 46% would sacrifice saving for their future.
Instead of helping out directly with student loan payments, you can contribute in other small, yet effective, ways to boost your kids’ bottom line. This frees up some cash, which they can then put toward their student loans.
To help out, consider the following ways:
- Getting them a gift card to a grocery store
- Helping them buy toiletries
- Purchasing new clothes they need
- Paying their medical bills
- Covering regular expenses, like cellphone bills or utilities
- Treating them to dinner and a movie
A small gesture can go a long way. Buying necessities or treating your children to an occasional night out can help them get what they need while they focus on their debt repayment.
One way you can make money from your day-to-day spending and help your kids pay off student loans is through Upromise. Owned by loan provider Sallie Mae, Upromise allows you to sign up for its free rewards program by linking your credit and/or debit card. You’ll earn cash back on a variety of purchases, including travel, restaurants, groceries and online shopping. You can either cash out your rewards by transferring to your account or use them to pay down an eligible student loan directly.
In other words, you could earn cash back for the spending that you are going to do anyway. Signing up for Upromise is a hassle-free way to help you earn more specifically to help pay off student loans for your child.
One way you can help your kids pay off student loans without spending a dime is by referring them for career opportunities or a side hustle that will help them earn extra income.
When it comes to getting gigs, it’s often about who you know, rather than what you know. As a parent, you can mine your professional and personal contacts to help your child make connections to advance their job search. When your son or daughter picks a target job or industry, you can introduce them to people you know who could be a potential employer or a mentor. Networking will help them learn valuable communication and interview skills. And if it leads to a job, they’ll start earning income to contribute to their outstanding loans.
Another option is for your child to develop a side hustle, which is any gig outside of a traditional day job to make extra money. Hopefully, your kids have steady employment, but even if they don’t, having a gig on the side can be helpful. They can consider jobs like freelance writing, design services, pet sitting, house cleaning, landscaping and more. You may be able to refer your child to friends, neighbors or coworkers who need these services.
Of course, speak to your kids first before recommending them for something and make sure you are both on the same page. Once you both have an understanding of what you and they are willing to do, you can refer them to potential employers or side hustles (or both!) that can help them earn more money and pay off student loans faster.
If you’re one of the many parents who plan to help their kids pay off some or all of their student loans, there are a variety of ways you can contribute from a monetary standpoint and otherwise.
Of course, you want to keep your own financial progress on track first. Using these tips, you can continue to support yourself while helping your kids pay off their student loan debt. Just be sure to never put your own financial life in jeopardy to help your children, as they still have many working years ahead of them while you need to plan for your hard-earned retirement.
The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.
Alli Romano contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.99% – 5.64%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
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|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|1.99% – 5.41%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.