Whether you just got married or you’ve been with your spouse for years, you may be thinking about combining your finances.
Doing so can be challenging, especially if you both have different perspectives on managing money. But it can also help simplify your financial plan and potentially even help you save money.
With an average of $37,172 in student loan debt per borrower , it’s more important than ever to find ways to simplify and accelerate the debt repayment process. Refinancing student loans with a spouse could help you achieve both goals.
Consolidating Through the Department of Education
If you have federal student loans, you can consolidate your loans with a Direct Consolidation Loan .
If you do, the Department of Education will take the weighted average of the interest rates from all of your loans and round it up to the nearest one-eighth of a percent.
This means that consolidating your loans with the government may help simplify your loan repayment, replacing several monthly payments with just one.
Consolidating student loans with a spouse isn’t an option through the Direct Loan Consolidation program. You can only combine loans with your name on them, making it impossible to add your spouse.
Refinancing Your Student Loans
While the federal government won’t let you consolidate student loans with your spouse, a private student loan lender, like SoFi, will.
The process isn’t always straightforward, though. Typically, you would apply for a refinancing loan and add your spouse as a cosigner. Not only would this help you combine your finances, but it could also help you spend less money in interest on your new loan.
That’s because your interest rate is typically determined by your creditworthiness and income, and adding a cosigner with a strong credit history and solid income can help you secure a lower rate, even if your credit history is strong on its own.
To give you an idea of how much you can save on interest, let’s say your (not consolidated) federal student loan debt is $30,000 with a weighted average interest rate of 6%. (For the record, the 6% interest rate is a hypothetical based on a federal graduate and undergrad loans, which currently have fixed interest rates of 5.05% on the low end and 7.6% on the high end, depending on the loan.) On a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan , your monthly payment would be around $333, and you’d pay about $9,967 in interest over the life of your loans.
Now, let’s say you were to refinance your student loans with a private lender and qualified for a 5% fixed rate with your spouse as a cosigner. If you were to keep a 10-year repayment term, your monthly payment would be about $318, and you’d pay around $8,184 in interest.
That’s a savings of nearly $1,783 that you can use for other financial goals. To see how refinancing could impact your student loans, you can take a look at our easy-to-use student loan refinance calculator.
Considerations to Think About
Student loan debt and marriage may be a challenge, so it’s important to make sure refinancing student loans with your spouse is a good choice for your situation.
The primary consideration is that both you and your spouse as a cosigner would be legally responsible for paying off the debt. This means that if you experience financial hardship and miss payments or default, it could ruin both of your credit histories.
Some student loan refinance lenders offer a cosigner release program that allows you to remove a cosigner after a set number of consecutive, on-time payments.
Another thing to consider is that refinancing federal student loans will result in the loss of certain benefits the Department of Education provides. Specifically, private lenders typically don’t offer income-driven repayment plans. Also, you won’t be eligible for certain federal student loan programs, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
So as you consider the benefits of consolidating student loans with a spouse through refinancing, make sure you also include the drawbacks in your process.
Finding Out Your Potential Savings
Having student loans in a marriage can be challenging, but with open communication, you can stay on track.
If you’re even remotely considering refinancing your student loans with your spouse as a cosigner, check your rate offers to see if doing so can save you money. Whether or not you qualify for a lower interest rate, exploring the option may help make your decision easier.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.