Teachers and Student Debt: How advisors can help

There are over 3 million teachers with student loan debt. Unfortunately, many find it difficult to manage their payments along with other financial responsibilities. The average teacher salary in the U.S. is just over $58,000. Financial advisors have a tremendous opportunity to help and play a positive role in the lives of teachers repaying student debt. With the high cost of education,particularly when adding graduate studies, student loan payments can make it difficult to purchase a home, save for retirement, and deal with unplanned expenses. For undergraduates, the average student debt load for teachers was $34,000 and for those who received Masters degrees it was almost $62,000. 

Reducing the burden of student debt on teachers

Fortunately there are remedies that can reduce the burden of student loan debt on teacher's. "Teach" Grants are still available but go nowhere near the typical cost of an undergraduate degree and have their own set of problems. 

Aside from grants, some groups of teachers can receive loan forgiveness if the rules are followed. That's where many are making mistakes while filing documents for the PSLF programs or simply being in the wrong loan program. These are all correctable but if one waits till they believe they are in the later stages of forgiveness, it can be tremendously disappointing and with no recourse.

Incorrect filings for public service loan forgiveness

Sadly, 91% of recent filings were rejected because of errors. To help financial advisors provide guidance to their teacher clients, we created a new module in the CSLP Program on Teacher and Student Debt Management. It's available to all existing CSLP participants.

CSLP Program Module on Teacher Student Debt Management

The new new module explains the specific rules that apply to loan forgiveness for selected teacher jobs and locations. Available programs include: PSLF, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Perkins Loan Cancellation, some states offer forgiveness. The module explains each program, their respective rules, and limits of amount forgiven. It's important to note that not all loan program types can be forgiven. 

The module also addresses how employee benefit programs can relieve payment pressure and assist with retirement. It covers how common benefit programs such as 403B (tax sheltered annuities), 457B (deferred compensation), and Section 125 tools can provide substantial benefit to teachers in reducing payments and investing for retirement. 

Financial advisors have tremendous opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of teachers if they will take the time to gain the necessary knowledge.

 

About The CSLP Program

The CSLP Program is an online course with a series of presentations, quizzes, and other resources for financial advisors. It is a self-study program available for use through an annual membership. If the exam is completed, the participant earns the CSLP designation.  Watch a course preview here.

Jantz Hoffman, MBA

Written by Jantz Hoffman, MBA

Mr. Hoffman is a Registered Investment Advisor and has been assisting clients with student debt since 2010. He has appeared on PBS Nightly Business Report and been cited in the NY Times as well as other publications as an expert in student loan repayment. Mr. Hoffman received a bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University and a master’s degree in business from Colorado State University.

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