A financial planner can tell you that it is difficult to meet expenses and prepare for retirement if you are saddled with debt. It is especially difficult when you are young and just starting out. In fact, The Wall Street Journal recently recommended people giving gifts to graduates consider giving the gift of financial planning, paying for a “session or two with a financial planner” instead of just writing a check.
As graduation season winds up, many college grads have finished celebrating and now face the harsh reality that they have a lot of money to pay back in student loans. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Families can keep costs down and rely less on loans to fund a college education.
Going Part-Time: For some people it makes more sense to work and attend school part-time. This option means it may take longer to get a degree, but you can leave school with less debt and valuable work experience.
Cutting Living Expenses: Some people just assume that dorm life will be a part of their higher education experience, but it may not be he best choice financially. If you can live at home or with a relative while you attend school, you can cut down on this expense. Living off-campus may also save you money, depending on your financial situation.
Starting at a Community College and Transferring: Because of the increased demand for their offerings, community colleges have become more competitive in recent years. They offer challenging courses as well as extracurricular activities at a fraction of the cost of an undergraduate institution
The time to think about it is before you start, rather than using loans and realizing you are starting out your post-college life with a lot of debt. There are a lot of resources out there to help people figure out ways to make a college education affordable. Here are just a few:
Big Future (website from The College Board)