(NewsUSA) – Millions of Americans whose federal student loan payments were paused during the COVID-19 pandemic will see this monthly expense resume this spring. Around the same time, the first student loan payments will come due for the graduating class of 2022.
If you are among either of these groups, you may be wondering how to prepare yourself financially. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional can help you plan ahead and make sure you don’t fall behind in your student loan payments.Here are four benefits of working with a CFP® professional to manage your student loans:
1. Get and stay organized. When you have a student loan, it’s important to know the name of your loan servicer, loan terms, estimated payment amounts, and payment schedule. If you plan to use auto-debit to make your payments, you need to provide your loan servicer with the correct account number. A CFP® professional can help you get this information in order and keep track of payment details.
2. Ensure you have sufficient cash flow to cover loan payments. A CFP® professional will help you incorporate student loan payments into your monthly budget. This means not only adding your payment amount to your fixed monthly expenses, but also identifying opportunities to save money elsewhere. That may involve cutting back on discretionary spending, consolidating other loans or refinancing high-interest debt.
3. Choose your best repayment strategy. There are multiple repayment options available to federal loan borrowers. Some allow you to double the length of your repayment term; others base monthly payment amounts on your discretionary income. Students with private loans may have different repayment options to consider, and private loan repayment plans may vary by lender. A CFP® professional can help you evaluate all of your repayment options and determine which one is best for your financial situation.
4. Avoid the consequences of default. Missed payments can lead to a lower credit score, garnished wages and tax refunds and a possible loss of access to future student aid. But your chances of default will be lower if you take the time to prepare your finances with the help of a CFP® professional.
Visit LetsMakeAPlan.org to learn more about preparing for your student loan payments as well as how to find a CFP® professional near you.College is expensive, and managing student loan debt can feel overwhelming. A CFP® professional can help you figure out a plan for timely repayment while balancing your other financial goals.