A hot-button topic during this year’s presidential election, mounting student debt is triggering concerns on many levels, not only for students themselves, but for the housing industry and the economy at large.
According to the most recent National Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey, while surveyed households still believe now is a good time to buy a home, roughly half of young adults with student debt disagree. The HOME survey revealed that existing student debt is making many young people uneasy at the thought of taking on additional debt to buy a home. According to the survey, roughly two-thirds of non-homeowners and half of respondents under 35 with student debt said they aren’t comfortable also having a mortgage. They also believe they’re less likely to even qualify for a mortgage due to their debt.
The student debt dilemma is particularly troubling for parents who want to see their children take flight after working so hard to earn their college degree.
Here are a few ways parents can help their graduate get out of debt and on with life faster:
-Encourage your child to move back home…temporarily. While you might have gotten used to the empty nest, having your child move back in to save money makes sense in many scenarios. Set up some ground rules and have them contribute to household expenses, but make it clear that paying down their student loan is priority.
-Whether living with you or on their own, help your child create a budget and teach them where they can trim expenses and how to live within their means.
-If downsizing to a smaller home is in your near future, you might want to consider shortening the window and making the move now, sharing some of the profit to help your child pay down their debt.
-Sign up with a rewards program like Upromise, which allows you to earn cash back on purchases like travel, restaurants, groceries, online shopping, and more. You can cash out your rewards via check or use them to pay down an eligible student loan directly.
-Ask family and friends to consider giving your children cash instead of gifts for holidays and birthdays. This money can help pay down student loans faster.
-Encourage your children to look for side projects that can bring in additional income that goes directly toward their loans. Child care, catering gigs, freelance writing, home maintenance jobs—whatever your child’s talents happen to be can be put to good use to earn some extra cash.
Most of all, be emotionally supportive and keep the lines of communication open—advise, don’t lecture, and assure your child that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
For more tips to successfully help your child with student debt, contact our office today.