College expenses continue to soar and students are increasingly turning to student loans to finance their education. But the mistakes you make as a young college student can affect your later life so always make sure you understand the terms you are agreeing to. Keep reading to learn other ways to avoid costly student loan mistakes.
Know what kind of grace periods your loans offer. The grace period is the period between when you graduate and when you have to start paying back your loans. Having this knowledge of when your payments are scheduled to begin will avoid incurring any penalties.
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.
Know what you’re signing when it comes to student loans. Work with your student loan adviser. Ask them about the important items before signing. These include how much the loans are, what kind of interest rates they will have, and if you those rates can be lowered. You also need to know your monthly payments, their due dates, and any additional fees.
Pick out a payment option that you know will suit the needs you have. Many loans offer payment over a decade. If this won’t work for you, there may be other options available. If you take a loan at a higher interest rate, for example, you can extend your time to pay. You might also be able to pay a percentage of your income once you begin making money. Certain student loan balances just get simply forgiven after a quarter century has gone by.
Paying your student loans helps you build a good credit rating. Conversely, not paying them can destroy your credit rating. Not only that, if you don’t pay for nine months, you will ow the entire balance. When this happens the government can keep your tax refunds and/or garnish your wages in an effort to collect. Avoid all this trouble by making timely payments.
Knowing all of the pitfalls of student loans is the best way to avoid them. Don’t be afraid to ask a what all of the terms and conditions are and how they will affect your finances in the future. So keep the advice from above in mind and always borrow wisely.