When you go to the gym, you might bring your significant other along to hold you accountable in your workout. Or maybe you have a co-worker you always want to collaborate with because they push you to produce your best work.
Whether it’s at home or work, we could all use accountability partners. Having a friend to keep you in check while you’re repaying your student loans could help you pay off your loans in the best way for you.
What Is an Accountability Partner?
While a boss or a parent is a hierarchical relationship, an accountability partner is an equal relationship. You keep tabs on each other to ensure you’re both hitting the goals you set.
When it comes to paying off your student loans, your accountability partner could help you make sure you’re setting goals and achieving them. They might check in often to see how you’re doing and, if you need to reset, they could help you re-evaluate your vision. Having an accountability buddy keeping an eye on you might help motivate you to work toward your goals.
Why Would Someone Need an Accountability Partner?
It’s easy to say you’ll independently hold yourself accountable, but if you fail to follow through, there may not be any consequences. And if you keep putting something off, you might have a hard time achieving your goals.
If you’re a self-starter, or you hit the goals you make for yourself, then you might not need an accountability partner. But if you’re struggling to finish what you start and you want someone to keep an eye on you, having a buddy could be helpful.
Finding a partner or buddy who’s there to talk out your issues with could be an excellent step to reviewing and revising your current strategy for hitting your goals.
Finding an Accountability Partner
Your partner should be your equal—you’ll both be setting yourselves up to stay in line and crush your goals. If you aren’t sure who your accountability partner should be, you could look for the people you’re closest to, like a spouse, friend, co-worker, or even a relative. If you’re okay with your parents keeping tabs on your repayment goals, you could consider them as an option, too.
Author Susan Cain has a few suggestions on how to find an accountability partner, no matter your goals; we just applied them to student loan repayment here:
1. Finding someone you trust. They don’t have to be your best friend, but they can be a good friend, relative, or significant other. Different personalities might be better, too.
2. Reviewing your goals. When it comes to your student loans, it can be helpful to have a clear target in mind, like increasing your monthly payments by a certain dollar amount, or paying the full balance off by a set month or year.
3. Being specific about your action plan. Share your student loan repayment plan and what consequences might occur if you don’t meet that goal.
4. Setting up regular check-ins. Once a month or every few months, you could have a date set to meet up for coffee or a phone call to catch up on your progress. This could be a good way to set little goals — by achieving them before your check-in.
5. Revisiting goals. Remember, your goals can be fluid. It’s okay to shift and change as your strategy evolves. Maybe you get a raise and can tweak your contributions. Maybe you get a side hustle, and you could meet your original goal sooner. Don’t be afraid to make changes if what you’re doing isn’t working.
Will an Accountability Partner Help You Repay Your Student Loans?
While you wouldn’t expect your financial accountability partner to gift you money to repay your student loans, you can expect them to give you a figurative kick in the butt to keep your repayment goals on track.
If your goal is to increase your monthly student loan payments, you could set an amount you’re comfortable with paying. If you find after a few months that your goal is easily attainable and want to contribute more, that’s when you could revise your goal and increase your amount.
You might want to talk with your accountability partner about this change, too. They might be able to offer a different perspective.
Are you taking that money away from something important, like a credit card bill or your future retirement? Your accountability partner could help shift your thinking. The change might not be as good as you thought.
Having someone to help you along the way to student loan repayment success might get you to hit your goals you wouldn’t otherwise have managed. A person who has your best interest in mind but also treats you as an equal instead of a subordinate could be a great way to stay on top of your student loan payments.
Refinancing Student Loans
One thing you and your accountability buddy might discuss is the possibility of refinancing your student loans. You could potentially end up paying lower interest over the life of the loan and save money in the long run.
Refinancing with SoFi could mean serious savings, with low interest rates, no hidden fees and no pre-payment penalties.
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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.
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