By John Drachman

If you and your young one are concerned about the rising cost of student debt, you are not alone.

than 44 million Americans are grappling with a kind of “mortgage” on their children’s’
future to the tune of more than $1 trillion dollars, according to a 2018 Sallie
Mae survey.

That means the
average student’s slice of the debt pie is about $37,000.

of the most effective ways to pay down your own student debt is to accelerate
the payments, even if it’s only a little bit. Or use the occasional, well-timed
windfall, for a job bonus or a gift, to chisel away at loan principal. Meanwhile,
a cornucopia of online tools wants to make it easier for parents, children and
financial advisors to stay of the same page when it comes to managing college debt.

  • Challenge
    #1: Getting started
    Sometimes just automating payments and keeping track can be
    a challenge. Fortunately there’s an app for that. Check out Sallie
    Mae’s award-winning, free mobile app
    that lets you manage and make your
    Sallie Mae payments right from your phone or smart watch.
  • Auto-check
    for lowering payments
    The app from FedLoan
    Student Loan Servicing
    adds a cool feature: the ability to upload your income
    verification requirements to apply for reduced, income-driven repayments.
  • Pick
    up the pace
    Do you and your career-bound eager beaver want to
    aggressively pay down your college “mortgage?” The Debt
    Payoff Planner & Tracker
    makes it easy to customize your pay-off
    plan with step-by-step planning, pay-off summaries, and colorful charts for
    visualizing your debt-free future. Your offspring can also use the app to
    pay down their condo mortgage, car payments and anything else their heart
  • Spare
    change anyone?
    While some graduates may check the seat cushions for spare
    change, the digital generation is using another approach. The ChangEd app charges
    $1 per month to round up your everyday purchases to the nearest dollar so
    that loose change is automatically credited to a student loan account
    every time the balance hits $100.

While apps can help, a singular focus on savings
strategies or debt reduction won’t be enough to meet the wide variety of family
expectations. Over the last 20 years, enormous changes have taken place across
the college cost and funding landscape.

Today, many are finding that they need approaches
that won’t compromise their retirement savings goals or other objectives
on their way to sending the kid off to college. Fortunately, a growing segment
of advisors has developed specialized capabilities in crafting wealth
management strategies that incorporate college planning into holistic,
personalized strategies for clients grappling with other planning challenges.

At the end of the day, there are two very different
prices for a college education: the one that prepared, well-informed buyers pay
and the one that everyone else pays.

a contributing writer to, the premier
matchmaker between investors and advisors .John is an IABC award-winning writer, who applies his 30 years of financial marketing
experience toward empowering the dialog between investors and investment