Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt is a big issue. It is the most common way of funding your college and graduate school education – but doing so has become a ‘Game of Loans’. And since money is my game, you’ll also note it’s my name…. Frank Money that is!…See what I did there?

Before you start to think that getting a student loan is like an alliance with the House Lannister, understanding what you are getting into is an important first step.

In the U.S., the total outstanding student loan debt is around $1.2 trillion dollars with the average student debt for a grad being around $33.000 (2014 figures).

Come off of graduation day with $33,000 in debt that begins to require monthly payments shortly thereafter can definitely take the wind out of your sails – and prevent you from being able to purchase other things you might want, like a car or home.

Perhaps the biggest question you need to ask yourself is what is the return on my investment for the education you are financing. Will the degree you earned ‘pay off’ in giving you enough income over your working life to afford paying off the loan  it required -and- prove you with enough remaining $$$ to actually live the life you want?

As a general rule – try to avoid student loans as much as possible. Look for other monies, some of which is available for little cost to you in scholarships.

It’s sometimes daunting to understand all the facets of the ‘Game of Loans’ – but taking steps to investigate the rules of the game will prevent you from ending up with the dragons.

Your Personal Financial Plan

Attention, now, listen up! It’s important to have a personal financial plan. Here is the top ten list for everyone, that will help you with smart money practices and habits:

1 – Create a Budget – Simply stated, it’s figuring out how much money is coming in and how much money is going out. In fact, click here to download our Budget PDF.

2 – Track how much you spend – For the next seven days, track all your spending – you’ll be surprised on where the money goes!

3 – Live Within Your Means – Every first time college student will tell you how fast they blew through all their money. Don;t spend what you don;t have.

4 – Set Goals for Yourself – Take time to establish goals. Make them realistic and attainable. For example, saving towards a big purchase, or paying down your credit cards.

5 – Credit Card 101 – Speaking of paying down your credit cards, if you have the habit of paying your credit card balance fully, every month, this will go a long way in helping your credit scores!

6 – Student Loan 101 – Don’t take out college loans for anything but educational and living expenses!

7 – Never Be Late On A Payment – Always pay on time. Avoid late fees. This will tremendously help your credit score. If you are going to be late, call and talk to the company, they will always make arrangements.

8 – Create an Emergency Fund – Try to build your savings to three months living expenses.

9 – Be Smart and Save – Pinch your pennies and be smart about your spending and it will save you $$$. Here’s a resource of money-saving tips (

10 – Find Scholarships, Avoid Loans – There is free money for the taking in the form of scholarships. Seek those out first, before you go after that easy-to-get college loan.

April is National Financial Literacy Month, Detective Frank Money’s favorite month! To celebrate the importance of being financially literate, Detective Money is going to post financial literacy tips every day.