If you worry about being able to buy a home because of student debt, you're not alone. More than eight in ten non-homeowners believe student debt has pushed back their goal of home ownership. 1
Just because you're saddled with student debt doesn't mean saving for a down payment isn't possible. With some financial preparation, you can still achieve this life milestone:
FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH HOME YOU CAN AFFORD.
While you may have a sense of the home you want, it will help to decide on size, location and amenities. To make home-ownership feasible, figure out how much of a mortgage you can afford, the duration of the loan and whether the interest rate is fixed or variable.
ADJUST YOUR BUDGET.
To save for a down payment—and the fees and costs associated with buying a home—look for ways to reduce your spending. Can you cut back on major categories such as rent, food, transportation and entertainment? Don't leave any costs unturned—every little bit helps. Your savings plan should include checkpoints to monitor your progress and inspire you to keep going.
FIND WAYS TO MINIMIZE YOUR STUDENT DEBT.
Look into ways to help make your student loans more manageable. Some options include consolidating all your student loans or refinancing them for a lower interest rate. In turn, you could lower your monthly payments and the overall cost of the loan.
Besides looking into options to bring down your student loan debt, you can try to knock out other debt, such as your credit card and car payments. Depending on your individual economic situation, you may consider making higher monthly payments, or explore transferring a credit card balance to another card with a zero percent annual percentage rate (APR).
CONSIDER LIFE INSURANCE.
If you're concerned about taking on a large financial responsibility such as a mortgage, a life insurance policy can help protect your loved ones from being saddled with debt. Should you pass away, life insurance can also be used to pay off outstanding balances or taxes associated with student loans. 2
Keep in mind a permanent life insurance policy has the potential to accumulate cash value which can be borrowed for any purpose. But loans against your policy will accrue interest and decrease the death benefit and cash value by the amount of the outstanding loan and interest, and withdrawals will reduce the available death benefit.
From chipping away at debt to buying a home to planning for your family’s future, life is always changing. We can help.
1 Jacob Passy, “Why Millennials Can't Buy Homes," MarketWatch, October 30, 2017. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/student-debt-is-delaying-millennial-homeownership-by-seven-years-2017-09-18
2 Kelli B. Grant, "If you have student loan debt, you might also need life insurance," CNBC, Aug. 18, 2017. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/18/life-insurance-can-help-protect-student-loan-co-signers.html