I can name a few things high school didn’t prepare me for or even warn me about when going to college – self-discipline, always separate lights from darks, and loans.

If you’re lucky enough and can help it, avoid loans as much as possible. But if you plan on or have attended college, we all know it is almost inevitable to avoid them. I’ve personally never been so uneducated about loans and how effective they can be for the rest of your payments.

Loans can be a love-hate relationship. Sure, they got you through college and allowed you to get the degree so you could pursue the career you’ve always dreamed of, but loans will also be a financial burden until they are paid off. Student loans can affect your credit score while is valuable when buying a car or house. It is also affecting the economic growth of not only the person with the loan but also the overall economy.

It is easy to agree to take out loans and continue the next four years — or, however, many years your degree takes — like normal, but it will be a rude awakening when you receive information about your loan payments six months after graduation. Interest rates will come at your in full-force. Interest rates can quickly start effective your future, especially when it comes to retirement.

Retirement is something many look forward to and has a positive connotation. It shows that the time and hard work you put into your job is now allowing you to relax and enjoy the ride. With loans, retirement can no longer be as relaxing. You will be giving more money to your loans and less into your retirement fund.

There are some simple rules to learn when taking out loans. First, know the amount of your loan in full. This means to figure out and incorporate your interest into the total cost. Second, when given the option, always choose federal. Third, take some time to do research on loans before agreeing to take one out. Lastly, have loans be your last option.

Before taking out loans, review all of your options. If your only choice is to take out loans, do your research; you’ll thank yourself later. To find out more information about student loans, click here.

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