Financial Planning

Looking for a Financial Advisor for Student Loans?

By  Brian Thorp

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Do you have considerable student loan debt? We asked financial advisors specializing in student loans to offer their tips to help you tackle and repay your debt.

The financial health of millions of Americans suffers from the burden of significant student loan debt. According to EducationData.org, more than 43 million Americans collectively owe $1.7 trillion in federal student loans. This equates to nearly $40,000 in federal student loan debt on average.

Especially for individuals and couples early in their careers, this debt overhang can hinder their ability to purchase a house, afford to start a family, and sufficiently save the money needed to retire at an ideal age. For many people, this debt load can also cause stress and take an emotional toll on their mental health as well.

A financial advisor specializing in student loans can help turn feelings of fear and uncertainty into confidence by designing a personalized repayment plan that offers a light at the end of the tunnel.

You’ll likely find dozens of nearby financial advisors well-suited to help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. But it may be more difficult to find a financial advisor specializing in student loans.

Fortunately, many financial advisors offer virtual services so you can meet online no matter where you (or they) live. This means you can choose to hire a specialist financial advisor who lives hundreds of miles away if you decide their knowledge and experience working with clients who have significant student loan debt is a better fit to help with your unique financial planning needs.

Financial Advisors for Student Loans Can Help You Dig Out of Debt

💡 In the Q&A below, you’ll gain insights from financial advisors specializing in student loans to help you make smart decisions with your debt so you can enjoy life more with less money stress.

🙋‍♀️ Do you have questions not answered below? Use the form on this page to submit your questions, and we’ll update this article with answers from the financial professionals and educators in the Wealthtender community. You can also contact the financial advisors featured in this article directly to set up an introductory call or ask your questions by email.


💸 Smart Insights from Financial Advisors to Tackle Your Student Loan Debt

This page is organized into sections to help you quickly find the information you need and get answers to your questions:

  1. Q&A with Financial Advisors Specializing in Student Loans
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions About Student Loans
  3. Browse Related Articles

Q&A: Financial Advisors Specializing in Student Loans

Five Questions with Ben Martinek, CFP®, CSLP®, EA, RICP®

We asked Bismarck, North Dakota-based financial advisor, and student loan specialist Ben Martinek to answer five questions to help people considering hiring a financial advisor make a more informed and educated decision.

Q: For people with considerable student loan debt who are unsure whether or not they should hire a financial advisor at the current point in their lives, what guidance can you provide to help them make a more informed and educated decision? 

Ben: Student loan repayment can either be done via conventional debt repayment (simply pay the debt off as you can according to the terms of the agreement) or through an Income-Driven Repayment plan.

Deciding which way to go can be a nuanced conversation, but generally speaking, the decision to pursue Income Driven Repayment is largely determined by the proportionality of the individual’s income to their student debt level. The more the student loan debt is a “multiple” of one’s annual earnings (let’s say the debt is $200,000 while the individual makes $100,000, producing a multiple of “2”), then there is need for an advanced consultation to determine whether an Income Driven Repayment plan is the better choice.

Usually, if the debt to income level exceeds a multiple of “1,” then a borrower can save money by pursuing Income Driven Repayment and the different forms of forgiveness offered with these plans.

In short, if your student loan debt exceeds your annual income, you should reach out to profressional for advice. See this Morningstar article for further explanation.

Q: How do the financial planning services you offer to tackle student loan debt distinguish you and your firm from other advisory firms? 

Ben: We have service packages that deliver advice specific to these questions. It’s a subject we handle on a daily basis.

Q: When you first speak with someone who wants to discuss their student loan debt with you, what questions do you like to ask to understand their unique circumstances better and determine how you can best help them achieve their goals? 

Ben: We want to know about their current student loan plan. We also want to understand their current and future household income, whether they intend to marry and have children, where they plan to live, whether their work qualifies for Public Service and whether the loans are Federal or private loans.

Get to Know Ben Martinek, Financial Advisor for Student Loans:

View Ben’s profile page on Wealthtender or visit his website to learn more.

Q: You hold the Certified Student Loan Professional (CSLP) designation among your professional credentials. Can you describe how this benefits you and the clients you serve who have considerable student loan debt? 

Ben: The Certified Student Loan Professional (CSLP) is the leading designation for advising clients on student loans. It took over 100 hours of study to acquire (yes, student loans are that complicated!) and it’s ushered me into a community of other professionals who spend most of their time advising student loan borrowers.

Q: What questions do you recommend people with sizable student loan debt ask financial advisors they’re considering hiring to help them decide if they’re a good fit?

Ben: There’s a large number of questions to ask, but since individual tax filings have a significant impact on monthly payments under an Income Driven Repayment plan, a critical question is whether the student loan professional can complete their tax filings or are working with a tax professional who can.

Many times, student loan advising sits in the intersection of student loans and tax filing status, so you need to be working with someone who can provide assistance in both regards to get the most comprehensive advice.

Q: Is there anything that comes up frequently in your initial meeting with people who have sizable student loan debt that surprises you? 

Ben: For most people, a large amount of student loan debt is scary and overwhelming. There are many clients whose lives are overrun with worry about what to do with this item of their finances, even though they are highly educated.

In other words, student loan advising is an emotional matter that many times determines whether a borrower can be at ease with their debt obligations and overall finances. Borrowers are not able to rest easy until this matter is resolved and a plan is put in place.

Are you a financial advisor who specializes in student loans?

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Resources to Help You Choose a Financial Advisor

Top Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

How Much Does a Financial Advisor Cost?


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About the Author
Brian Thorp, Founder and CEO of Wealthtender profile picture

Brian Thorp

Founder and CEO, Wealthtender

Brian and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

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