What’s the perfect gift for a millennial? A gift card to their favorite restaurant? Or perhaps a bottle of their favorite cologne? Those gifts are fine, but if you really want to help them out, consider making one of their monthly student loan payments.
In a survey conducted by Student Loan Report, 69.3% of borrowers would rather receive a student loan payment instead of a gift this holiday season. The survey questioned 1,000 borrowers currently repaying a student loan.
At first mention this may sound like a large investment, but it’s more manageable than you think. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average student loan payment for a 20- to 30-year-old is $351 a month. That said, about 50% of borrowers pay $203 or less every month.
So, if you were going to buy your loved one a pair of Beats headphones ($199.99) or a designer bag (which cost way more than $200), then perhaps a one-month student loan payment would be a better idea.
If you’re worried that gifting money is unsentimental, think again. Chances are, it’s probably what your student borrower really wants for the holidays. In the survey, 58% of respondents said that they plan to use Christmas money to chip down their student loan debt, compared with 41.5% who want to spend it on other things.
At the end of the day, 44.2 million Americans have student loan debt totaling about $1.45 trillion. From that number, about 11.2% of accounts are delinquent (90-plus days late with a payment or in default). Debt is a heavy burden to carry, and helping a loved one lighten the financial load may be the best gift you can give this holiday season.
Brittany is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.