Recent College Grad? Learn How to Successfully Juggle Student Loans and a New Mortgage

Recent College Grad? Learn How to Successfully Juggle Student Loans and a New MortgageIf you recently graduated from college and are about to become a homeowner, you’re in a somewhat unique position. You’re about to embark on a great journey, but at the same time, you’re also taking on an awful lot of debt. That said, it is possible to successfully manage a high debt load if you’re careful.

So how can you make sure you can pay your mortgage, your student loans, and your mortgage expenses – all without losing your mind? Here’s what you need to know.

Make Sure You Have An Emergency Fund

Managing a high debt load isn’t necessarily a challenge if you have a consistent income stream. But if interest rates rise on your floating mortgage, if your portfolio doesn’t do as well as expected, or if you lose your job, you may find yourself unable to pay your expenses without dipping into your savings. That’s why you’ll want to establish an emergency fund – a spare supply of cash you can live on for 6 months or longer, if necessary.

Extra Cash At The End Of The Month? Attack High-Interest Debt

Mortgage rates are at a historical low right now, which makes now a great time to become a homeowner – but if you’re going to carry a mortgage and student loans, you’ll need to be smart about how you repay your debts. High interest rates can quickly add up and eventually crush you, which is why your debt with the highest interest rate should be your primary priority. This is most likely your student loan – so if you have some extra money left over at the end of every month, put it toward your student loan first.

Never Roll Student Loans Into A Mortgage

Some young people seem to think that getting a mortgage is the answer to student debt. By rolling your student loans into a mortgage, you can worry about just one monthly payment instead of two. The problem with this thinking, though, is that your student loan is probably the size of the principal on a mortgage – and you’ll have to stretch your loan term out farther in order to afford the monthly payments.

This means that you’ll pay more money in interest over the long term. Your mortgage loan is also a loan with more severe consequences for missing a payment. If you miss a mortgage payment, you can get evicted from your home – but if you miss a student loan payment, they’ll just take your tax return.

Paying off a student loan and a mortgage at the same time is a daunting task, but it is possible. Talk to a mortgage professional near you for more repayment strategies that work.

How to Give the Ultimate Christmas Gift: Paying Off a Family Member’s Mortgage

How to Give the Ultimate Christmas Gift: Paying Off a Family Member's MortgageChristmas is just around the corner, and if you’re in a position to do it, paying off a family member’s mortgage is one of the biggest gifts you could give this holiday season. A mortgage can be a heavy burden on a young homeowner, which is why paying it off is the ultimate act of charity. But when it comes to paying for someone else’s mortgage, the process isn’t entirely straightforward.

So how do you pay off a family member’s mortgage? Here’s what you need to know.

Be Wary Of The Gift Tax

Under US law, you can provide a cash gift to someone else – entirely tax-free – as long as it doesn’t exceed the annual limit for that calendar year (for 2015, the annual limit is $14,000). If the gift amount exceeds the annual limit, you’ll need to pay tax on the difference or tap into your lifetime exclusion.

The IRS gives all citizens a unified credit/lifetime exclusion, which allows the transfer of up to $5.43 million – tax-free – over the course of your lifetime. If you exhaust this amount, you’ll need to pay taxes on all financial gifts you give thereafter.

Make Sure You Write A Gift Letter

If you plan on paying off a family member’s mortgage, you’ll want to include a gift letter with the payment – otherwise, the bank and the government may believe the money is a loan. A gift letter clearly states that you are giving money to a relative to assist them with a mortgage. In your gift letter, you will need to plainly state that you have no intention of ever seeking repayment and that you claim no ownership stake in the property in question.

Remember: You Don’t Get To Claim Mortgage Interest

Mortgage interest payments are usually a tax-deductible expense – if you’re the homeowner. But if you’re paying someone else’s mortgage, you’re not eligible to deduct the interest on your taxes – only the homeowner can do that. Even if you feel a personal obligation to assist the homeowner in paying the mortgage, it’s not your debt to pay – and that means you can’t claim interest on your taxes.

Paying off a relative’s mortgage is a fantastic gift that will help your relatives to get out of debt and pursue their life goals. And although it’s a fairly straightforward process, you still need to take the time and care to ensure you process the gift properly. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn how you can give the gift of a mortgage.