Refinancing a student loan, as well as qualifying for any other type of loan, is a straightforward process for most people who have regular full-time jobs with a weekly salary. But when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s different.
Whether you are self-employed or own a small business, your income may fluctuate from week to week, monthly, or seasonally. A financial institution may not want to take a risk on the owner of a business with a short track record. However, in most cases, you can still refinance if you know how to prepare for the process. Here are a few tips to help.
Ask the Lender About Alternative Documentation
Full-time employees are required to provide copies of their last few pay stubs when refinancing student loans and other debts. Unless you’re the owner of a business that is structured to give you a regular paycheck, you won’t have that. Instead, your lender may be willing to accept bank statements and tax returns as proof of regular income. You will need to have a conversation with the lender to find out their policies about this and might need to shop around to find one that is accommodating.
Keep Excellent Business Records
Image via Flickr by 401(K) 2013
All business owners and freelancers should keep excellent records no matter what, but this is even more important if you might be seeking a new loan or a refinance — whether it’s for business or personal reasons. A lender will want to see growth from year to year to make sure your business is profitable and will continue to succeed. Having organized and thorough records also is a good indication that you’re responsible and good at managing finances.
Think Twice About Tax Write-Offs
Nobody wants to pay taxes. Many business owners scour their records for every possible tax credit and deduction they can claim to reduce their tax burden. However, when it comes to applying for a loan refinance, this can work against you. The lower the total income the business reports on its tax return, the less likely its owner will be approved for a loan refinance.
Boost Your Credit Score
Everyone should try to keep their credit score as high as possible, but this is especially important for an entrepreneur. Without a regular source of income, a lender needs proof that the borrower is good at paying bills on time, and the best indicator of that factor is a strong credit score. Experts agree that 750 is a good number to aim for before applying for refinancing.
Obtain a Co-Signer
If all else fails, you can ask a co-signer who has a regular full-time job to help you refinance. Often this is a parent or a spouse who has excellent credit and traditional employment.
If you’re bogged down by student loan debt, not only will refinancing save you a bundle of money, but it can also free up resources that you can invest in your business. If you’re an entrepreneur without a regular salary, don’t give up on the idea of refinancing. The results are worth the extra effort.