student loans http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5885/all en-US How Trump's Presidency Might Change Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_college_fund_544603158.jpg" alt="Learning how Trump&#039;s presidency might change student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you were a Trump supporter or not, the $1.3 billion student debt issue is one that needs to be tackled. Trump called student debt an 'albatross' around the necks of borrowers. While he didn&rsquo;t spend a lot of his election talking about student loans, he did offer several plans to solve the debt problem.</p> <p>All of the President-Elect&rsquo;s student loan plans are still just that &mdash; plans. However, here is how Trump&rsquo;s presidency might affect your current or future student loan (or your children&rsquo;s loans).</p> <h2>Cap on Maximum Repayment Amount</h2> <p>Trump addressed the ever-growing student loan debt dilemma in his rally in Columbus, Ohio, on October 13. One of his proposed solutions was to cap how much a borrower would have to repay. He said, &quot;We would cap repayment for an affordable portion of the borrower&rsquo;s income, 12.5%, we&rsquo;d cap it. That gives you a lot to play with and a lot to do.&quot;</p> <p>Currently, the Revised Pay As You Earn, or REPAYE, plan allows borrower&rsquo;s to cap their monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income. However, this is only applicable for federal loans, and the plan requires borrowers to extend the length of their loan, meaning they will pay for their debt longer.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s plan to cap loan repayment at 12.5% might look higher initially, but depending on how he enforces the plan, it could save a lot of money for borrowers. If Trump allows the monthly cap to be applied to private loans, then this plan will benefit many borrowers.</p> <h2>Student Loan Forgiveness After 15 Years</h2> <p>Trump added to his speech in Columbus, Ohio, &quot;And if borrowers work hard and make their full payments for 15 years, we&rsquo;ll let them get on with their lives. They just go ahead and they get on with their lives.&quot;</p> <p>Currently loan forgiveness is available through special forgiveness programs, such as the public service loan forgiveness plan and the teacher loan forgiveness plan. The income-driven repayment plan will also forgive student loan debt after 20 or 25 years of payments, depending on which plan you qualify for.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s 15-year forgiveness plan would drastically cut the length of loan repayment and finally offer solutions for individuals weighed down with private loan debt. Trump did not give exact numbers to how much this plan would cost or save Americans, but it was said that it would be paid for through reduced federal spending overall. Also, it is believed that this plan would save the government money through fewer defaulted loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life?ref=seealso">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>Cut College Costs</h2> <p>Trump also addresses the root of the student loan dilemma &mdash; costs set by colleges. On his site, Trump wrote that he plans to, &quot;work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good-faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for the federal tax breaks and tax dollars.&quot;</p> <p>Colleges have no incentives to lower costs, so why should they? If Trump were to offer significant tax breaks, then students might see lower tuition bills, too.</p> <h2>Aid for Non-Traditional Schools</h2> <p>Right now, federal aid is for students attending schools that are accredited through the Department of Education. This means that if a vocational school or nontraditional school program is not accredited, students cannot receive federal aid to help them attend. Trump said on his campaign website that he would help make it possible for any student to attend and complete whatever school or program they wanted.</p> <p>According to his website, he wants to &quot;ensure that the opportunity to attend a two- or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway?ref=seealso">What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway?</a>)</p> <h2>So What Does Trump&rsquo;s Plans Mean for You?</h2> <p>If you are already paying student loan debt, then there is a possibility that the plans will not fully be developed and implemented for another year or two. Taking on something as big as student debt and bloated college costs is not an overnight job.</p> <p>However, if you are currently in college or are a parent with a child attending college in the next three years, then there is a possibility that Trump&rsquo;s plan will benefit you. For the rest of America, it is hard to determine just how much Trump&rsquo;s plans will cost.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training college debt donald trump federal aid loan forgiveness president trump REPAYE school student loans vocational school Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1844379 at http://www.wisebread.com Be Careful Who You Owe: Here's Who Can Garnish Your Wages http://www.wisebread.com/be-careful-who-you-owe-heres-who-can-garnish-your-wages <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/be-careful-who-you-owe-heres-who-can-garnish-your-wages" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/handling_cash_money_64609483.jpg" alt="Learning who can garnish your wages" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Benjamin Franklin once said, &quot;In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.&quot; Nowadays, some people would want to update that famous quote to include &quot;debt.&quot;</p> <p>From student loans to alimony, there are several instances in which your employer must withhold a certain amount from your wages and send it to your creditor. Let's review which creditors can do this, and when they are legally allowed to claim part of your hard-earned dollars.</p> <h2>1. Issuers of Student Loans</h2> <p>With the average student loan for Class of 2016 graduates at $37,172 (up 12.64% from two years earlier), many Americans entering the workforce may feel like the main character in &quot;Game of Loans&quot; (Interest is coming!). Since one estimate claims that 76% of Americans are <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/">living paycheck to paycheck</a>, you could assume that it's just a matter of time until some of them start missing some monthly payments on their student loans.</p> <p>After failing to make payments for <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/default">270 days</a>, your federal student loan is considered to be in default. The period is 330 days for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans. The consequences of student loan default are very severe, including:</p> <ul> <li>Losing eligibility for additional federal student aid;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Damaging your credit history;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Having the federal government request your employer to withhold up to 10% from your paycheck to pay back a federal student loan;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Having up to 100% of your federal tax refunds seized through the Treasury Offset Program; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Having <a href="http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_ID=SGA">authorized state guarantee agencies</a> take up a portion of your state income tax refund.</li> </ul> <p>Uncle Sam is legally allowed to withhold not only your paycheck, but also your tax refund! To prevent your student loan from being considered in default, stay in constant communication with your student loan issuer. If you are planning to miss any payments, read the fine print of your loan agreement to minimize consequences. If you're going into default, talk with your student loan officer in advance to discuss alternatives to wage garnishment, including consolidating your federal education student loans.</p> <h2>2. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)</h2> <p>When the taxman cometh and you don't answer his call, he'll seize part of your wages each pay period and send it to the IRS to cover your unpaid back taxes. Unlike other creditors, the federal government doesn't require a court order to levy your wages.</p> <p>Once your employer receives a notice for wage garnishment (usually Form 668&ndash;W (ICS) or <a href="http://www.americanpayroll.org/pdfs/fpi/08j09668-w.pdf">668-W (C) DO</a>) from the IRS, your employer must return a Statement of Exemptions and Filing Status to complete and return within three days. It's critical that your employer submits this form on time because it may help you to exempt part of your wages from garnishment according to the schedule of its <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1494.pdf">Publication 1494</a>.</p> <p>For example, if you file your return as married and joint, and are able to claim four exemptions, you can exempt $951.92 from garnishment. If were to not return the statement in three days, your exempt amount is figured as if you were married filing separately with one exemption ($640.38).</p> <p>Keep in mind that other income sources, including one-time bonuses, wages from additional employers, and commissions, may be <a href="https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/information-about-wage-levies">levied at 100%</a>. Besides when you pay back the remaining balance in full, the IRS will stop withholding part of your wages when you make other arrangements to pay your overdue taxes, including setting up an installment agreement, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/filed-an-extension-heres-what-you-need-to-know">payment extension</a>, or offer in compromise.</p> <h2>3. Spouse Demanding Child Support or Alimony</h2> <p>Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, until your spouse calls its quits and obtains a court order to automatically withhold child support or alimony moneys from your paycheck.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs30.pdf">Federal Wage Garnishment Law</a> sets the following limits on wage garnishment on your paycheck for child support and alimony:</p> <ul> <li>Up to 50% of your disposable earnings if you're supporting another spouse or child;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Up to 60% of your disposable earnings if you're not supporting another spouse or child; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>An additional 5% for support payments more than 12 weeks in arrears.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Other Creditors With Court Orders Against You</h2> <p>Last but not least, private creditors, including credit card companies and health care institutions, and federal agencies other than the IRS, can obtain a court order to start garnishing your wages. Without a court order, &quot;take it all&quot; threats from pushy reps from creditors are absolutely empty. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-annoying-things-bill-collectors-cant-do-and-how-to-stop-them?ref=seealso">4 Annoying Things Bill Collectors Can't Do &mdash; And How to Stop Them</a>)</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.dol.gov/ocfo/media/regs/DCIA.pdf">Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996</a> authorizes federal agencies and collection agencies under contract to garnish up to 15% of disposable earnings to repay defaulted debts to the U.S. government. For private creditors, the Act sets a limit on wage garnishment of up to 25% of disposable earnings or up to the amount that your earnings are greater than 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is lower. In case of economic hardship, you may be subject to lower limits for potential wage garnishment.</p> <p>Besides garnishing your wages, some creditors with a court order may want to go after your personal assets. Depending on your state of residence, you may be eligible for protection exemptions on vehicles and real estate property. For example, states New Mexico and Hawaii have collection exemptions on motor vehicles of $4,000 and $2,575, respectively. Contact your State Labor Office for more details.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Inform Yourself!</h2> <p>Wage garnishment is scary. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to minimize how much can be seized from your paycheck. For additional information, visit the <a href="https://www.dol.gov/whd/">Wage and Hour Division</a> website from the U.S. Department of Labor or call its toll-free helpline 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243), available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone. Also, you can find the contact information of your <a href="http://www.dol.gov/whd/contacts/state_of.htm">State Labor Office</a>for specifics on the rules in your state.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/be-careful-who-you-owe-heres-who-can-garnish-your-wages">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-defaulted-on-your-loan-now-what">You&#039;ve Defaulted on Your Loan. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Debt Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-grow-your-savings-without-a-steady-paycheck">5 Ways to Grow Your Savings Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance alimony back taxes child support court orders default paychecks student loans wage garnishment Tue, 25 Oct 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1819782 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/debt_piggy_bank_71881857.jpg" alt="Finding ways to stop student loans from ruining your life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Student loans have become a huge problem. According to an analysis of government data from Edvisors, some 70% of recent college grads have education debt, and the total amount borrowed works out to an average of more than $37,000 per borrower. So burdensome is this debt that more than 40% of borrowers are behind on their payments or have stopped making them altogether, according to the U.S. Education Department.</p> <p>What can you do to avoid that fate? Here are four ideas &mdash; two geared toward families of high school students who haven't taken out student loans yet, and two aimed at college students who <em>have</em> borrowed.</p> <h2>Before You Borrow</h2> <p>Of course, the best way to keep student loans from ruining your life is to avoid borrowing in the first place. Here are two steps that can help.</p> <h3>1. Get Clear About What You're Going to Study</h3> <p>One reason why college costs so much for so many students is that so few graduate in four years. According to &quot;Four-Year Myth,&quot; a report from Complete College America, the four-year graduation rate at public universities ranges from 19% to 36%. Some who fail to graduate in four years drop out, others flunk out, but many others end up with extended stays on campus because they change majors.</p> <p>College is a very expensive place to &quot;find yourself.&quot; It's far better to enter school with as much clarity as possible about what you want to study.</p> <p>For high school juniors and seniors, there are numerous online assessments designed to help connect their skills, interests, and temperament to a number of possible careers. Some to consider include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.youscience.com/">YouScience</a>;</li> <li><a href="https://careerdirect-ge.org/">Career Direct;</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.mymajors.com/">MyMajors.</a></li> </ul> <p>Knowing what you want to study can help you avoid the five or six-year college plan and its associated costs.</p> <h3>2. Take a Gap Year</h3> <p>Taking a year off in between high school and college has been a popular practice in Europe for many years and is rapidly growing in popularity in the U.S. So much so that there is now a <a href="http://www.americangap.org/index.php">gap year association</a> as well as <a href="http://www.interimprograms.com/">consulting organizations</a> that help families (for a fee) determine whether a gap year makes sense for their children, and if so, how to best structure the gap year. Some schools will accept students and then allow them to defer enrollment for a year. The University of North Carolina even offers a <a href="http://admissions.unc.edu/explore/enrich-your-education/global-gap-year-fellowship/">global gap year fellowship</a>.</p> <p>A gap year can be used to earn money for college or explore career interests. Either way, it can help lessen the need for loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year?ref=seealso">8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year</a>)</p> <h2>After You Borrow</h2> <p>If you have already taken out loans to pay for college, here are two practical steps for minimizing the burden of such borrowing.</p> <h3>3. Create a Post-College Budget</h3> <p>Numerous surveys have found that students with education loans have little idea what they've gotten themselves into.</p> <p>A recent survey by Lendedu, a company that helps students refinance their education loans, found less than 10% of student borrowers understood how long it would take to pay off their loans or what interest rate they were being charged. Less than 30% understood that if they fail to repay on time, the government could garnish their wages or withhold their tax refunds.</p> <p>A couple of years ago, a study by the Brookings Institute found that among first-year students who had students loans, 17% said they didn't realize they even <em>had</em> loans.</p> <p>If you're going to borrow, you need to know <em>that </em>you owe, <em>what</em> you owe, and what it's going to take to repay. One of the best reality checks is to calculate the monthly cost of your loan payment while you're still in school. Then create a detailed post-college budget using a monthly <a href="http://www.mattaboutmoney.com/resources/">Cash Flow Plan</a> form.</p> <p>Creating a budget that includes student loan payments may motivate you to avoid taking on more debt. At very least, it'll help you understand how much you can afford for housing and other expenses after you graduate and may persuade you to avoid taking on other debts, such as a car loan.</p> <h3>4. Prioritize Accelerated Repayment</h3> <p>Under a standard loan contract, a student loan is to be paid off in 10 years. But you don't have to take that long, and the sooner you can be done with debt, the better. Especially since there are no penalties for paying off a student loan early, commit now putting your debt on an accelerated payoff schedule.</p> <p>The monthly cost calculator mentioned above enables you to run some what-if scenarios based on adding different amounts on top of your required payments. Seeing how much more quickly you could be out of debt may motivate you to live well beneath your means after graduating in order to prioritize accelerated debt repayment.</p> <p>Today, the burden of student loans is causing many young people to delay getting married, put off starting a family, and give up on buying a home. But it doesn't have to be that way for you.</p> <p>Whether you're a high-school student who's just thinking about college financing options or a college student who has already taken on debt, these simple steps should help you keep student loans from taking over your life.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loans-how-to-make-post-college-decisions">Student Loans: How to Make Post-College Decisions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training bills borrowing budgeting college degree gap year loan repayment planning school student loans Tue, 11 Oct 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Matt Bell 1810486 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_diploma_94435335.jpg" alt="Woman making the most of her student loan grace period" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Graduating from college with your degree in hand is exciting. But the thought of paying back your students loans? Not so much. But, depending on the type of student loans you took, you're probably eligible for a grace period, or a set number of months after graduation in which you don't have to start repaying your loans.</p> <p>During this time, you can take financial steps to prepare yourself not only for your looming monthly loan payments, but also for your entire financial future. Take advantage of this grace period to begin building your savings, building a solid credit score, and building a budget.</p> <p>Don't skimp on these steps. After all, that grace period doesn't last forever.</p> <h2>How Grace Periods Work</h2> <p>The federal government doesn't always expect you to begin repaying your student loans as soon as you leave college. Instead, most federal student loans come with a grace period. The goal is to give recent graduates a chance to start earning money and settle their finances before they have to start making monthly student loan payments.</p> <p>The grace period varies depending on the type of federal loans you are repaying. Direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, subsidized federal Stafford loans, and unsubsidized federal Stafford loans come with a grace period of six months during which you won't have to make payments. Federal Perkins loans come with a grace period of nine months. Depending on when you took them out, the interest on some loans might continue to grow even during the grace period.</p> <h2>1. Select a Repayment Plan</h2> <p>It's during your grace period that you'll need to select a repayment plan for your student loans. For federal student loans, you'll automatically be entered into the Standard Repayment Plan. This plan gives you at least 10 years to repay your student loan debt, and is usually the most affordable choice. Under this plan, you'll pay the least amount of interest.</p> <p>There are exceptions, though. If you haven't been able to find a job or if your job pays you little, an income-driven plan might make more sense. These plans come with lower monthly payments that are designed to be affordable to you. However, you will end up paying more interest over the long run.</p> <p>As your grace period ticks away, make sure to stay in contact with the servicer that is handling your loan repayments. Your servicer can answer any questions you have and help you find the best repayment option. You can find the servicer of your loan at <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/?login=true">My Federal Student Aid</a>.</p> <h2>2. Create a Budget</h2> <p>Once you enter the workforce, it's essential to create a budget. Simply list all of the money that you earn during the month. Then list all of your expenses, including estimated costs for items such as groceries, dinners out, and entertainment. Now you'll know how much extra money you should have every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso">Build a Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>Make sure to factor in your estimated monthly student loan payments in this budget. This will help you determine whether you can repay your loans under the Standard Repayment Plan or if you'll need to consider an income-based option for tackling your monthly loan payments.</p> <h2>3. Start Building Your Savings</h2> <p>It's tempting when you get your first paychecks to spend everything you've earned. Resist. Instead, start building your savings. It's important to have an emergency fund that you can tap into whenever a financial emergency pops up. And these emergencies will happen. Your car might suddenly need expensive repairs. If you've built up an emergency fund, you won't have to rely on your high interest rate credit cards to cover these unexpected financial hits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Transfer Balances to These Low Interest Rate Cards</a>)</p> <p>It might sound good, but your grace period is a great time to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start putting money away for your eventual retirement, the better off you'll be once you leave the workforce. Retirement might seem like it's ages away. But if your employer offers a 401K plan, enroll in it and start saving at least some of each paycheck for retirement. If your employer doesn't offer a 401K plan, consider opening an IRA on your own.</p> <p>Of course, this assumes that you'll have enough money to save and meet your monthly financial obligations, including your upcoming student loan payment. If you can't, put retirement savings on hold.</p> <h2>4. Build Your Credit</h2> <p>You need a strong credit score today. Lenders rely on this score when determining who qualifies for auto and mortgage loans and at what interest rates. Fortunately, you can start building a good credit score as soon as you graduate (or before, really). Pay all your bills on time. When you use credit cards, only charge what you can afford to pay off in full when your payment is due. If you take out a car loan, make your payments on time every month.</p> <p>Taking these simple steps will help you build a solid credit score. And when it's time to start making your student-loan payments? Every time you make one of these payments on time, you'll be taking a small step to building your score, too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training budgeting college federal loans grace periods loans planning repayment plans savings stafford loans student loans Wed, 05 Oct 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1805246 at http://www.wisebread.com CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can't Afford to Overlook http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student_graduation_cap_72466853.jpg" alt="Student learning about CSS for college financial aid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to applying for financial aid for college, most families know about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is important for all college-bound individuals to apply for FAFSA, but there is also another important financial aid program to apply for alongside the FAFSA &mdash; the College Scholarship Service Profile, a.k.a the CSS PROFILE.</p> <p>The CSS PROFILE application is created by the College Board, the same people who create the SAT, and used by over 300 colleges and universities nationwide. Where FAFSA is an application for federal aid, PROFILE is for nonfederal financial aid, usually money that the school has control over doling out. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college?ref=seealso">What to Do if You Didn't Save for Your Child's College</a>)</p> <h2>When to Apply to CSS?</h2> <p>Individuals can apply for CSS as early as October 1st. The College Board encourages applicants to fill out their PROFILE no later than two weeks before their school's priority filing period.</p> <h2>Does the CSS Cost Money?</h2> <p>Yes, the CSS PROFILE application costs $25 for the initial application, and $16 for each additional report. However, there is a fee waiver available for low-income students, as well as individuals who have received a fee waiver for the SAT. Typically families who make less than $40,000 a year or individuals under 24 years of age who are orphans and wards of the court will qualify for a fee waiver. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts?ref=seealso">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a>)</p> <h2>Should You Apply for the CSS or FAFSA?</h2> <p>It is very important to note that the CSS does not replace the FAFSA. Instead, it is an additional application required for some colleges. You should apply for both financial aid programs if your school is one of the 300 <a href="https://profileonline.collegeboard.org/prf/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet.srv">listed by College Board</a>. If your school is not on the list, then you will not have to fill out the CSS. The list is made up of mostly private schools, and the only state college on the list is Colorado State University.</p> <h2>What Are the Differences Between CSS and FAFSA?</h2> <p>The two applications have quite a few differences that families should be aware of. First off, the CSS calculates family assets and income a little differently than the FAFSA does. This can potentially hurt applicants, causing them to receive less aid.</p> <p>For example, the FAFSA considers gifts made to the parents, including monetary gifts grandparents give to parents for the use of college, as assets. This allows the student to remain eligible for aid. However, CSS considers the same type of gift as income, which would reflect in the aid package.</p> <p>On the plus side, CSS does collect a more in-depth look at your family's finances. For example, the FAFSA does not take into account if you are paying medical expenses or tuition for younger children's schooling. CSS looks at a wide range of circumstances in order to determine what your family can afford.</p> <p>Another important difference to remember is that some schools require divorced families to fill out an additional form. The list of the 300 schools will also inform you if your school wants the details of the noncustodial parent's financial information. If so, you will need to fill out an additional Noncustodial PROFILE.</p> <h2>How Does the CSS Benefit Families?</h2> <p>In many cases, the CSS PROFILE will allow families to receive a financial aid package for 90% to 100 percent of the money they need to attend college. However, it is important to note that this aid package is not always free money. For most families, the financial aid package will also include loans, most likely a mix of private loans and Parent PLUS loans.</p> <p>Families considered high needs, usually those who make less than $40,000 per year, are more likely to receive aid packages that do not have loans in them.</p> <p>Financial aid packages might be presented to families as one lump sum. It is important to sit down with an adviser and know the break down for the aid given. Know what is free aid (aid that never has to be repaid), and know how much of the aid is in the form of loans. It is also important to know what types of loans they are offering to you. You don't want to accept loans at a higher interest than you can get on your own.</p> <p>For more information on the CSS PROFILE, visit the&nbsp;<a href="http://css.collegeboard.org/">College Board</a> website for an interactive tutorial, as well as a list of recently asked questions. You can also talk with your child's college adviser for more information and resources.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training college College Board css profile FAFSA federal student aid financial aid student loans students Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:30:12 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1801998 at http://www.wisebread.com What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_student_books_21091679.jpg" alt="Parents should know about the new college financial aid rules" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While school just started for many, if your child is college-bound or in college, it's already time to start planning for the next school year. Many families rely on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to help shoulder the costs of college, and there have been many new changes to the program. These new changes go into effect this October, so listen up.</p> <h2>New Application Start Date</h2> <p>In the past, families would submit the FAFSA form at the beginning of the new year. However, the new start date is now as early as October 1, 2016. This is a huge change, and if you are in college or have a child in college, you will want to fill the application out that day, or at least in the first few weeks of October.</p> <p>For some states, FAFSA aid is distributed on a first come, first served basis. Individuals who apply earlier have a better chance of receiving aid, including grants, work-study, and federal loans.</p> <h2>Change Tax Information Submissions</h2> <p>Another big change is that individuals will not be required to submit the previous year's taxes, but instead tax information from two years prior. This means for the 2017&ndash;2018 school year, families will send in 2015 information. For families that filled out the FAFSA for the 2016&ndash;2017 year, this means you will be sending in your 2015 tax info two years in a row.</p> <p>This change will make filling out and submitting the FAFSA on time a lot easier, since families used to begin the application process at the beginning of the year. Many families would have to estimate tax information and fix it later on.</p> <h2>Less Asset Protection Could Mean Less Aid</h2> <p>When parents report their finances for their child's FAFSA, a portion of their assets, including savings and investment funds, is not calculated as part of the <a href="http://www.finaid.org/calculators/finaidestimate.phtml">Expected Family Contribution</a> (EFC). This was good news for families with healthy investments but not a lot of liquidity to pay for college.</p> <p>However, the dollar amount of assets exempt from the EFC will drop this year, and will continue to drop in following years. This change could mean less financial aid for many families. This will affect middle-income families that were relying on financial aid the most. However, families with lower incomes will most likely not feel the change.</p> <h2>Don't Fall for These FAFSA Myths</h2> <p>Even though there were three major changes to the FAFSA this year, it is still a free form that all families should fill out. Don't fall for these common FAFSA myths and leave money and aid on the table.</p> <h3>1. My Child's Grades Are Not Good Enough</h3> <p>While some schools use FAFSA applications to award merit-based aid, most aid is needs-based. A good portion of financial aid is awarded based off a family's income and size.</p> <h3>2. I Make Too Much Money to Qualify</h3> <p>Many families often forgo applying for financial aid because they believe they make too much. Even if your income makes you ineligible for aid, colleges give out federal student loans through the FAFSA process. If you plan on taking out federal student loans, which are preferable to private student loans, then you must fill out the FAFSA.</p> <h3>3. I Didn't Qualify Last Year</h3> <p>It is wise to apply for FAFSA each year, even if you didn't qualify for aid the year before. There could be unseen changes to your family that you might not have accounted for, such as two children in college rather than one. Also, with the new changes happening this year, you might qualify for aid.</p> <h3>4. The FAFSA Is Too Confusing to Fill Out</h3> <p>This year, you are now allowed to skip questions that do not relate to your family's financial situations. This should make the process a little easier and streamlined. If you are still having issues with your application, there are many free resources online and offline that can help. Please remember that you should never have to pay someone to file this application, nor should you pay for information regarding the process.</p> <p>Circle October 1st on your calendar and have your tax information ready and easy to access. Even if you don't think you will qualify for aid, apply anyway. And remember: You must apply each and <em>every</em> year your child is in college. This isn't a one-time thing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training changes college FAFSA free application for federal student aid loans rules school student loans students Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1801616 at http://www.wisebread.com Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends http://www.wisebread.com/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/calculator_pencil_math_82097885.jpg" alt="You should refinance 4 common debts before year end" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The year is almost over, which gets many people thinking about New Year's resolutions. Perhaps you are recalling the resolutions you made at the beginning of this year and getting down on yourself for not saving more money and paying off more debt. &quot;Next year,&quot; you promise yourself.</p> <p>But if you refinance these four loans, you can get a head start on your financial goals and even sail into the New Year with a little less financial burden on your shoulders. Here are the top loans you should refinance, as well as a few tips to decrease your debt burden altogether.</p> <h2>Credit Cards</h2> <p>Does your credit card debt seem like it never goes down, even when you throw extra money at it each month? It's the interest rate. There are two ways that you can refinance your credit card balance and save money each month. The first is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-lenders-for-personal-loans">refinance your debt</a> with a low interest personal loan, like one through<a href="https://sofi.com/wisebreadpl">SoFi</a> or<a href="http://prosper.evyy.net/c/27771/27132/994"> Prosper</a>.</p> <p>This works well for individuals that have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt">high interest credit card debt</a>. A low-interest personal loan will allow you to pay off your credit card debt faster, but be aware that your monthly payments will be higher. This is because credit cards only require a minimum payment each month, which can be very low, depending on the debt. Keep in mind, however, that those low monthly minimum payments are what keep you in debt for so long. Therefore, when you switch the debt to a three- or five-year personal loan, you will be required to pay more each month.</p> <p>Another popular way to refinance credit card debt is to transfer it to a promotional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">0% balance transfer card</a>. This will allow you to transfer your debt to a card that does not charge interest for the promotional period. To use this transfer to your advantage, divide the amount of debt you have by the number of promotional interest free months offered. For example, if you are transferring <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt">$10,000 of debt</a> on a card that offers 15 months of 0% interest, then be prepared to pay about $667 each month to avoid interest charges at the end of the promotion. Do not use this card to accumulate new debt.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">When Should You Transfer a Balance to Pay Off Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Mortgages</h2> <p>Mortgage rates remain historically low, but recent news shows that <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-mortgage-rates-climb-to-post-brexit-high-2016-09-15">rates are slowly rising</a>. If you are still battling with a mortgage rate higher than 5% or are paying PMI, now is the time to refinance.</p> <p>Refinancing your mortgage can extend the life of your home loan, but it can also save you dramatically each year, especially if you are paying<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">pesky PMI fees</a>. Research the cost to benefit ratio, knowing how much money you will save each month. Also research to know if a 15-year mortgage makes financial sense. In many cases, switching to a 15-year loan is riskier for your budget, but other times it can be a small monthly increase that will pay off big time in reduced interest payments.</p> <h2>Car Loans</h2> <p>Americans owe a lot on their car loans. USA Today reports, &quot;The total balance of all outstanding auto loans <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/09/06/car-loans-now-top-1-trillion-delinquency-rates-rise/89911210/">reached $1.027 trillion</a> between April 1 and June 30.&quot; If you secured your auto loan through a dealer, there is a good chance you are overpaying for your car loan. Contact your local credit union for rates, and don't forget to research online for the best rates.</p> <p>I have used two credit unions in the past to successfully secure an auto loan for less than 2.50%, and those credit unions did not have an actual building within 100 miles of me.</p> <h2>Student Loans</h2> <p>The burden of student loan debt is crippling millions of Americans. You don't need to live with your student loan forever. As long as you have good credit and are not in default with your loans, you have options. If you have federal student loans, then I strongly recommend looking into the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-careers-that-offer-student-loan-forgiveness">forgiveness programs</a> available. It might mean taking a less than desirable job for a few years, but if that job forgives a large portion of your student debt, then it could be worth more to you than a higher paying job. Other options include income-sensitive repayment programs, such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan">PAYE and IBR</a>, which peg your monthly payments to your income level. Thus, if you're struggling to make a standard monthly payment, these programs set your monthly outlays at a more affordable level.</p> <p>If you are not eligible (or a fan) of the forgiveness programs, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan">refinancing your student loans</a> is your next best option. Note that if you refinance your loans, you will be switching them over to a private lender. This means that if you have federal student loans, you will no longer be protected for federal loan repayment programs if you suddenly lose your job or face financial hardships.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p><a href="http://sofi.com/wisebread">SoFi</a> is one company that offers student loan refinancing and also offers unemployment protection for borrowers that lose their job at no fault of their own. The company says, &quot;In fact, members who refinance with us save an average of $316 a month &mdash; and $17,208 total.&quot; Other notable companies to consider include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.earnest.com/">Earnest</a></li> <li><a href="https://commonbond.co/choose-your-loan?referrer=b75172e7076c5472bed5baec5e28309c&amp;referred">CommonBond</a></li> <li><a href="http://lendkey.7eer.net/c/27771/187810/3276">LendKey</a></li> </ul> <p>Refinancing these common debts can help you pay less each month, as well as less overall. Use these refinancing strategies to get out of debt faster and take control of your finances.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management car loans interest rates lenders loans mortgages new year's resolutions personal loans refinancing repayment programs student loans Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1798863 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 of the Fastest Ways to Go Broke in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/4-of-the-fastest-ways-to-go-broke-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-of-the-fastest-ways-to-go-broke-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_piggy_bank_66171067.jpg" alt="Man finding the fastest ways to go broke in retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, retirement. The golden years. Time to kick back and enjoy a little well-earned rest and relaxation.</p> <p>Not so fast. For many older Americans, their later years are filled with financial worry. And much of it is self-inflicted.</p> <p>Here are four key mistakes retirees make that can leave them living on financially shaky ground.</p> <h2>1. Investing Too Conservatively</h2> <p>I still remember my high school golf coach stressing the importance of hitting <em>through</em> the ball instead of <em>to</em> the ball. Something similar can be said about investing in retirement.</p> <p>It would be a mistake to think of your retirement date as something you invest to, after which you shift dramatically into an ultra conservative investing mode.</p> <p>Play it too safe with your nest egg and inflation will wreak havoc on your hard-saved money.</p> <p>With the odds increasingly stacked in favor of living a long life, it's important to continue investing in a way that you're likely to at least outpace increases in the cost of living. That usually means maintaining some level of exposure to stocks.</p> <p>One way financial advisers suggest minimizing the fear of stock market investing in your later years is to develop a <a href="http://beta.morningstar.com/articles/714227/bucket-portfolio-maintenance-theres-more-than-one-.html">healthy cash savings account</a> before retirement &mdash; a very healthy savings account.</p> <p>More specifically, they recommend having one-to-two years' worth of living expenses in savings. During times of market decline, the idea is to withdraw from that savings account for living expenses instead of drawing on your investment account, thereby giving your investment account time to recover.</p> <h2>2. Investing Too Aggressively</h2> <p>Of course, the opposite is true, as well. You don't want to hit retirement, realize you don't have enough in your IRA or 401K, and try to make up for lost time by investing like you're a 20-year-old with plenty of time to ride out the markets ups and downs.</p> <p>The time-tested principles of asset allocation still apply. Take a good <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire">risk tolerance questionnaire</a> and set your stock/bond mix accordingly.</p> <h2>3. Carrying Too Much Debt Into Retirement</h2> <p>Ideally, you want to retire your mortgage by the time you retire from your job. Having to continue paying on what for most people is their single largest expense can be burdensome, especially with health care expenses looming as a great unknown.</p> <p>Today, however, more seniors than ever are still making payments on their homes. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about 30% of homeowners age 65 and older have mortgages.</p> <p>And not only that. Many seniors are still paying off student loans. In 2014, about 17% of outstanding student loan debt was held by borrowers in their 50s, according to the New York Fed. Some of that debt was incurred for the borrowers' own education, perhaps because they went back to school later in life or they refinanced earlier loans. Some of it was for their kids or grandkids.</p> <p>If you still have mortgage, student loan, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">credit card debt</a>, it can be helpful to your sanity and your solvency to delay retirement until such debts are paid off.</p> <h2>4. Keeping the Bank of Mom and Dad Open</h2> <p>According to a Merrill Lynch study, 68% of parents age 55 or older have provided some form of financial support to their adult children in the past five years. That support included helping to make their rent or mortgage payments, pay their cellphone bills, cover their car payments, or pay their health care costs.</p> <p>Many other parents stand ready to help. According to a study by BMO Harris Premier Services, nearly 50% of parents said they'd be willing to put off their retirement if their adult children needed financial help. Some 25% said they would take on debt, and 20% said they'd raid their retirement accounts if necessary.</p> <p>However, in their classic book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2chE54U">The Millionaire Next Door</a>, authors Thomas Stanley and William Danko said many parents mistakenly assume that soon after providing some financial help, their adult children will be financially self-sufficient. Instead, they found that recipients of so-called &quot;economic outpatient care&quot; all-too-easily become dependent on such help, making it bad for the adult children and their parents alike.</p> <p>Far better, they said, to &quot;teach your children to live on their own.&quot;</p> <h2>No Mulligans</h2> <p>My high school golf coach didn't let us take do-overs, or &quot;mulligans,&quot; during practice rounds. He said it was a bad habit. After all, there would be no second chances in a tournament.</p> <p>The same can be said about managing money in retirement. When we get older, we simply won't have time to recover from financial mistakes. So take these lessons to heart as you plan for a financially secure retirement.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-of-the-fastest-ways-to-go-broke-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire">5 Financial Moves Now That You&#039;ll Regret When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement">5 Ways to Strengthen Your Finances Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement adult children cash savings conservative investing debt kids Mistakes mortgages nest egg out of money student loans Mon, 19 Sep 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1794235 at http://www.wisebread.com Student Loan Debt in Collections? Try These 5 Steps http://www.wisebread.com/student-loan-debt-in-collections-try-these-5-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/student-loan-debt-in-collections-try-these-5-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_bills_87593851.jpg" alt="Woman using 5 steps with student loan debt in collections" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We are all too familiar with the stats when it comes to student loan debt. American borrowers owe more than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">1.2 trillion in student loan debt</a>, and more than 70% of U.S. college graduates have student loans of some sort. This staggering amount of student loans has far surpassed credit card debt, which now stands firmly in second place behind mortgage debt as the largest source of U.S. debt.</p> <p>But the less-mentioned student loan debt problem is the rising default rate. According to the National Student Loan Data System, 12% of subsidized loans, and 25% of Family Federal Education Loans (FFEL), were in default in 2015.</p> <p>If you're in this situation, and your student loan is on the brink of default, here are five steps to handle student loan debt in collections.</p> <h2>1. Check Your Credit</h2> <p>If you haven't bothered to open up your student loan statement recently, it might be time to check your credit report. Many people don't realize that their student loans are actually in default and spend years thinking the loan must've magically disappeared, or the student loan fairy came and paid off the debt.</p> <p>Once your loan goes into default, it is handed over to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it">collection agency</a>. An account in collection significantly <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score">affects your credit score</a>. While this might not matter to you now, if you're thinking about buying a house or a car or applying for a credit card, you might find yourself out of luck with a low credit score.</p> <p>It's easier than ever to check your credit fast and easy. There are loads of apps you can use, like <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10809829-1284618439000">Credit Karma</a> and <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-12336153-1455123184000">Credit Sesame</a>, that will show your credit score and give you tips on how to better your score. You can also check your credit for free at <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> &mdash; you'll receive your credit report, but will need to pay a small fee if you want to get your actual score.</p> <p>Also, many credit card companies now include your credit score on your monthly statement with some detail about your score.</p> <h2>2. Rehab Your Loan</h2> <p>The next step is to get your loan in a rehabilitation program. Contact the collection agency handling your loan and ask them how to enter the rehabilitation program.</p> <p>Rehabbing a loan is critical because once your student loan is in collections, there are many adverse consequences that extend beyond your credit score. Some collection agencies will garnish your wages to recoup the balance that is owed. Not only can your paychecks be tapped, but also your highly-coveted tax return money.</p> <p>Rehabbing a student loan is just like any other form of rehab &mdash; you've got to get super committed to the process to see results. Rehab brings your loan safely out of default, which will help repair your credit score. It's a process, so make sure you understand exactly what you need to do with each collection agency to bring your loan back to life.</p> <h2>3. Always Pay on Time</h2> <p>Once your loan is in rehab, paying on time will be your best ally in winning the war against student loan default. Rehab offers you a chance to get right with your loan, often through small monthly payments based on your income.</p> <p>The key to loan rehab is to make nine consecutive monthly payments on-time while in the program before your loan can be taken out of collections and sent to a new loan servicing company. At that point, your default status will be removed, and you'll also have access to programs like deferment and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">forbearance</a>.</p> <h2>4. Get It in Writing</h2> <p>As with most things in life, getting something in writing is your best defense. The same goes for student loan rehabilitation. Once you've made your nine monthly on-time payments and your loan rehab is complete, kindly ask the collection agency for a nice letter stating that all related negative marks from your student loan record have vanished.</p> <p>Now, this is the tricky part. Collection agencies aren't known for their excitement over supplying a letter in writing, which again is why you need to ask in your nicest voice and use a lot of &quot;pretty pleases.&quot;</p> <p>This letter is worth its weight in gold to you, though. It is what you will send to the three main credit bureaus &mdash; Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax &mdash; to ensure that the marks are removed. Make sure that the letter includes your name, the name of the collection agency, the account number that the letter is referencing, and the date the loan rehabilitation process was completed.</p> <h2>5. Stay on Track</h2> <p>The last step may seem like an obvious one, but staying on track is the best way to keep your student loans out of collections. Once you've gone through all the work of rehabbing your loan, the last thing you want to do is undo that process by neglecting your student loan.</p> <p>Here are a few steps to stay on track:</p> <ul> <li>Select a new payment plan that works with your budget. There are countless payment plan options like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan">Pay As You Earn</a>, which adjusts with your salary.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put your new student loan payments on auto-debit each month so that you make sure it's getting paid.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Create a new monthly budget that includes your student loan payment and scrub through your bank statements to find ways to save money each month. There are lots of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">mobile apps</a> to help you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Regularly check your credit score to ensure that you're not missing any payments and that your credit score is improving.</li> </ul> <p>If your student loan debt is in collections, it's not the end of the world. It happens to thousands of people each year, so you're not alone. However, you'll want to make sure that you follow these steps, rehab your student loan, and find ways to make your student loan payments work in your budget.</p> <p><em>How are you doing with your student loans?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loan-debt-in-collections-try-these-5-steps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big">4 Times Student Loan Refinancing Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-mistakes-while-rebuilding-your-credit">Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes While Rebuilding Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash">Prioritize These 5 Bills When You&#039;re Short on Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training collections credit score forbearance past due paying bills rehab student loans Mon, 12 Sep 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Shannah Game 1788933 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Debt Faster http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_grad_debt_100645843.jpg" alt="New grad finding ways to pay off student debt faster" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Plenty of us face student debt payments every month. In fact, in the United States an <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-growing-student-loan-debt-crisis-2016-01-15">estimated 40 million people</a> have student loan debt. With the rising cost of education, loans are becoming an increasingly common way for people to pay for school.</p> <p>While compounding debt may feel overwhelming, paying off your student debt isn't impossible &mdash; and you may be able to pay it off faster than you think. There are a few advantages that come along with paying off your debt faster. The sooner you reduce those balances, the sooner you'll stop paying interest on them. And once your debts are all paid off, you can feel good about putting that money toward something else.</p> <p>Here are some easy steps you can take that will help you pay off your student debt faster, saving you money in the long run.</p> <h2>Refinance and Consolidate Your Loans</h2> <p>If you've never <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=student">refinanced your student loans</a>, consider that it may be a good way to save a lot of money and help you to pay off loans faster. With <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=student">online lenders like CommonBond</a>, you can save thousands through lower APRs.</p> <p>You may also want to consolidate multiple loans so that you're making a single monthly payment. This will simplify your payment process, and you'll further benefit from a lower APR when it applies to all of your loans &mdash; not just one of them.</p> <h2>Pay Off Your Student Debt With a Credit Card</h2> <p>You can actually put your monthly loan payment on a credit card and earn rewards for cash or travel. But don't do this if you can't pay off your balance in full each month. You'll end up paying more in interest than any amount of rewards you could earn. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=student">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <h2>Make an Extra Principal Payment</h2> <p>This is an extra payment that you can make on a schedule that you determine &mdash; every two weeks, for instance. If you're making extra payments, it will reduce the time it takes to pay off your loan in full.</p> <h2>Set a Goal and Stick to It</h2> <p>It's really important to figure out a budget that makes sense given your personal situation. You'll need to take into account monthly expenses, like rent, food, a car payment, etc.</p> <p>From there, consider how much money you can put toward paying off your student debt. Remember that the more money you pay toward your loan, the faster you'll be able to pay it off. So you should also consider how much time you'd like to take to pay off your loan. Then you can factor in the money you'll save in the long run by paying off your debt sooner rather than later.</p> <h2>Get a Second Job or Side Hustle</h2> <p>If your budget falls a bit short on cash, you can always look into getting a second job and put those funds toward paying off your student debt. The more time you spend working, the less free time you'll have to spend your money, anyhow. And the effort and discipline you expend on acquiring or perfecting a second income stream will serve your career path and finances well in the future.</p> <p><em>How are you paying off your student loans?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/goats-on-the-road">Goats on the Road</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans">6 Ways to Travel When You Have Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training APR consolidation debt interest monthly payments online lenders principal side jobs student loans Thu, 01 Sep 2016 09:30:34 +0000 Goats on the Road 1783722 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thinking_pencil_86188509.jpg" alt="Woman borrowing student loan money from Amazon Prime" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Amazon Prime has several money-saving benefits for students, including discounted student memberships and textbook rentals. Now, Amazon Prime is offering discounted student loans to its list of perks.</p> <p>Hold up &mdash; Amazon is selling student loans right alongside a <a href="http://amzn.to/2b3wvM0">yodeling pickle</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2bzCWDg">unicorn meat</a>? Is that even legal?</p> <p>Amazon is not the actual lender of these loans. Instead, Amazon is partnering with Wells&nbsp;<a href="https://welcome.wf.com/amazonstudent/">Fargo</a> to offer Student Prime members loans at a discounted rate of 0.5%.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-amazon-prime-perks-youve-forgotten-to-use?ref=seealso">7 Amazon Prime Perks You've Forgotten to Use</a></p> <h2>Is There a Catch?</h2> <p>Both Amazon and Wells Fargo are for-profit businesses that are continually looking for creative strategies to increase profits. It was a smart move for both companies, since Amazon will be able to use this perk to increase student prime membership to $49 a year, while also gaining free media coverage. Wells Fargo also benefits from being connected to the largest e-commerce business and its loyal customers.</p> <p>The partnership will allow the bank to have better access to student consumers who can be targeted for many banking products. Overall, it is a win-win partnership for both companies, but will these loans actually benefit borrowers?</p> <h2>Are Student Loans Through Amazon a Good Deal?</h2> <p>Don't get too distracted by the discount Amazon is offering. The loan is still a private student loan through Wells Fargo. Private loans are not eligible for debt forgiveness programs like many federal loans, and sometimes federal loans even have better rates.</p> <p>Private student loans shouldn't be your first choice when seeking to finance a college education. Students should exercise all of their options before driving into debt, including the following:</p> <ul> <li>Federal aid through FAFSA;</li> <li>Scholarships;</li> <li>Grants;</li> <li>Accomplishing the first two years of their degree at a community college;</li> <li>Choosing a state university rather than a private university;</li> <li>Work-study programs;</li> <li>Employment tuition reimbursement programs;</li> <li>Paid internships.</li> </ul> <p>After all of these options are exhausted, then it is best to apply for federal student loans, which have more flexible payment options after graduation. Of course, federal loans have limits on how much a student can borrow, which is why many students turn to private loans.</p> <h2>The Problem With Amazon's Student Loans</h2> <p>Don't be blinded by a discounted interest rate. The 0.5% discount is subtracted from Wells Fargo's usual rates, which are not the lowest among private lenders.</p> <p>Many credit unions will offer discounted rates for being members and enrolling into autoplay, so if private loans are something you are considering, shop around before settling for the Wells Fargo loan.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know?ref=seealso">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></p> <h2>What You Need to Know About Private Student Loans</h2> <p>After graduation, many uncontrollable issues can come up. For example, graduates can struggle getting a job, make less than they expect, or even have a period of illness or disability that does not make work possible. Graduates with federal loans are granted forbearance or deferment. Federal loans can also be eligible for income-based repayment plans to make the monthly payments affordable for each borrower.</p> <p>Many private lenders have forbearance programs in place for cases of unemployment or disability, but acceptance to the program is dependent on the lender. Also, most private lenders will limit the duration of forbearance for unemployment and some might even charge forbearance &quot;fees.&quot; And income-based repayment programs are limited to federal loans.</p> <p>Is foregoing these benefits a risk you're willing to take?</p> <p>UPDATE (September 02, 2016)</p> <p>Just six weeks after announcing their partnership, Amazon and Wells Fargo have ended their private student loan program. Although specific reasons were not given, the end of the partnership was announced shortly after Wells Fargo revealed it had agreed <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/wells-fargo-to-pay-4-million-to-settle-student-loan-servicing-probe-1471899134">to pay a $4 million penalty</a> to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to allegations of illegal student loan servicing practices.</p> <p>For more information about private student loans and how to find the best financing for your college degree, please see the following helpful articles:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-every-college-student-must-know-about-private-student-loans?ref=internal">6 Things Every College Student Must Know About Private Student Loans</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans?ref=internal">3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans?ref=internal">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></li> </ul> <p><em>What do you think of Amazon and Wells Fargo's partnership to offer discounted student loans?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training Amazon amazon prime college private loans student loans students Wells Fargo Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1777930 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Travel When You Have Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_backpack_travel_87628739.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to travel while paying student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Student loans are a reality for millions of recent graduates and even some of us who have been out of school for a while. Americans alone have <a href="https://commonbond.co/blog/average-student-loan-debt-and-student-loan-refinancing/">1.36 trillion dollars</a> of student loan debt. That's second only to U.S. mortgage debt.</p> <p>Don't worry! There are plenty of ways to manage your student debt and continue doing what you love. With these tips, you can get out and spend your time traveling while making all of your payments on time!</p> <h2>1. Take a Look at Your Loans Before You Go</h2> <p>Getting ready for a big trip is actually a very good time to re-evaluate your student loans (and the rest of your finances), especially because it has the potential to save you a lot of money. By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan">refinancing your student loans</a> you could save thousands. That's because you may be able to get a better APR, and you can also change the terms of your loan so that your monthly payment feels more manageable.</p> <p>Even a small difference in the interest rate can make a big difference over the time that you're paying off your loan. With <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">online lenders like CommonBond</a>, you can get an APR starting as low as 2.14%. It only takes minutes to fill out the application, and you're under no obligation to change your loan once you get your free quote.</p> <p>That cash you're saving can easily go into your travel fund!</p> <h2>2. Consider Consolidating Your Loans</h2> <p>This second tip is closely linked to the first, since in the process of refinancing your loans, you may also want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation">consolidate your loans</a>. This means that if you have multiple student loans, instead of paying, let's say, three separate bills every month, you can combine all of your existing loans into one.</p> <p>Consolidating your loans will help to simplify the payment process for you and reduce the time you spend every month administering and worrying about your loan payments.</p> <p>This is an especially important point for people planning to travel, since you're already going to have a lot of logistics to keep straight. The simpler you can keep your loan payments, the better.</p> <h2>3. Put Things in Perspective &mdash; And Into Your Budget!</h2> <p>It can be paralyzing to think about the total amount of money that you owe, especially if you know you're going to be spending the next 20 years of your life paying it off.</p> <p>It's more helpful to put things in perspective, so once you've refinanced your loans and you have a manageable monthly payment, treat that like you would any other monthly bill that you have to pay.</p> <p>Take it on a month-to-month basis and you won't feel as limited by the amount of money that you owe. When you're making your travel budget, simply factor in the monthly payment that you'll be making into your overall budget for the time you'll be traveling, and set aside that money before you go. That way, you won't feel like you have to scramble for funds at the last minute.</p> <h2>4. Start a Travel Fund</h2> <p>Figure out how much money you can commit to setting aside for travel every month. Then you can set up an automatic transfer into a special bank account that is dedicated just to travel expenses. Even if you're only putting in a few hundred dollars a month, you'll be surprised at how fast these funds can add up over time.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=travel">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a></p> <h2>5. Create a Realistic Budget</h2> <p>You should think about how you like to travel and be honest with yourself. Frugal travel is not for everyone, so you should consider what your priorities are; maybe you will be just as satisfied going on a shorter trip and putting more emphasis on higher-end accommodations and fancy restaurant meals.</p> <p>If these types of comforts or luxuries don't matter to you, you can probably get by with a smaller budget, but on a longer trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/savor-your-trip-and-save-big-with-these-5-slow-travel-tips">Save Big With These Slow Travel Tips</a>)</p> <p>Budgeting is all about striking a balance that works best for you while being realistic about how much you can afford to spend on your trip. By weighing these decisions before you leave, you'll eliminate a lot of money-related stress so that you can just enjoy your trip, knowing that you've already budgeted in the funds to cover your student loans.</p> <h2>6. Earn Extra Money for Travel</h2> <p>You're probably already getting excited to go, so if you want to speed up the process you can always consider earning a little extra money to cover your travel expenses.</p> <p>It's up to you what skills you have and what kind of work you enjoy, but maybe you want to consider getting a second part-time job and putting the money you earn right into your travel account!</p> <p>Depending on your professional skill set, you can also consider taking on some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">freelance gigs</a>, since they can be very flexible and add a little something extra to your normal paycheck. While you'll have less free time, this also means less time to be out spending money which can be a big help when you're trying to save money. There are also ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">make money while you&rsquo;re traveling</a>.</p> <h2>Don't Let Debt Stop You</h2> <p>There's no reason to let student debt paralyze you, and there are simple steps you can take if you're passionate about traveling. It will take a bit of good strategy, combined with some hard work and a proper execution of your plan, but if you're willing to put in the time you can really reap the rewards on your next trip (and even at home).</p> <p><a href="http://www.inklingafar.com/"><em>Amanda Gokee</em></a><em>, a writer at </em><a href="http://www.goatsontheroad.com/"><em>Goats On The Road</em></a><em> contributed to this article and helped with some student loan specific information.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/goats-on-the-road">Goats on the Road</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Debt Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Travel APR budgeting consolidation debt refinancing strategy student loans travel funds trips Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Goats on the Road 1775891 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_woman_thinking_74303951.jpg" alt="Woman not ignoring things before refinancing student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average American with student loans has approximately $30,000 in debt, and makes a monthly payment of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/06/19-typical-student-loan-debt-akers">nearly $250</a>. With interest rates sometimes reaching as high as 8%, many people struggle to bring down the balance. One popular solution is to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan">refinance your loans</a>, getting a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment with a different repayment term. For some people, this can be an excellent way to make progress on eliminating their debt. For others, it can be a short-term option that ends up causing more problems later on.</p> <h2>What Is Refinancing?</h2> <p>If you have federal or private student loan debt at a high interest rate, you can refinance your debt by taking out a new loan from a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-every-college-student-must-know-about-private-student-loans">private lender</a> to cover your entire current balance. You use that money to pay off your current debt, then make payments at a lower rate or different repayment term on the new loan.</p> <p>If you have high-interest debt, refinancing can be a way to save you thousands over the course of your loans. When you are researching your options, it is important to look at offers from multiple lenders to ensure you are getting the most competitive interest rate and terms. <a href="https://lendedu.com/">LendEDU</a> is a site that allows you to compare multiple offers in one place to get the most attractive loan that meets your needs.</p> <h2>4&nbsp;Factors to Consider Before Refinancing</h2> <p>While refinancing student loans is a good decision for many people, there are factors you need to consider before you sign any agreement.</p> <h3>1. Interest Rates</h3> <p>When refinancing your debt, you will have the option of choosing a variable or fixed interest rate. Variable rates as low as 2% are available. However, they can change every year and can go as high as 8% to 10%. While fixed rates are often slightly higher than the initial variable interest rate, (usually they are about 3%), that interest rate is guaranteed not to increase over the course of your debt. If you have a small amount you can pay off quickly, a variable rate can make sense. However, if you need five to 10 years to pay off your loans, a fixed rate is more secure.</p> <h3>2. Deferment Options</h3> <p>If you have federal student loans, you have the ability to defer your debt if you run into economic hardship, such as if you lose your job. When you refinance with a private lender, you may end up losing that benefit since some companies do not offer deferment options. Make sure you understand their policies regarding economic hardships to ensure you're prepared for the worst-case scenario.</p> <h3>3. Loan Terms</h3> <p>When you refinance, your monthly payment can be cut in half. While that looks great on paper and it frees up money in your budget, you actually will end up paying much more over the length of your loan. To get the payment so low, your repayment term is extended from the standard 10 years to 20 or more. Over the duration of your loan, you can end up paying thousands more in interest. If you opt for an extended repayment term, assess your budget every year. As you move up the corporate ladder and get a better salary, you can increase your monthly payments and pay the debt off more quickly, saving yourself money.</p> <h3>4. Prepayment Penalties</h3> <p>Some private lenders have prepayment penalties, meaning you will owe a fee if you pay off your new loan early. In some cases, the fee may be small, but for some companies, the cost might be prohibitive. Make sure you check if there are any prepayment penalties ahead of time.</p> <p>For some, refinancing student loans can be a great way to save money and pay down the debt faster. It can be a good strategy to get a lower interest rate or to get a more affordable monthly cost. By considering these four factors, you can ensure you are informed and empowered to make the best decision for you.</p> <p><em>Have you refinanced student loans? Has it worked out for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big">4 Times Student Loan Refinancing Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cancel-student-loans-to-save-and-receive-an-interest-free-120-day-loan">Cancel Student Loans to Save — and Receive an Interest-Free 120-Day Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training deferment interest rates penalties private lenders refinancing repayment student loans terms Thu, 18 Aug 2016 10:00:16 +0000 Kat Tretina 1774333 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coins_growing_plants_67145371.jpg" alt="Finding money moves to make before you start investing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a staunch advocate for investing &mdash; especially if the alternative is piling up money in a savings account just to have &quot;savings.&quot; Savings are great, but you only need so much in that offensively low-interest account. Put the excess to work, hopefully making even more money out of your investment. Before you take that plunge, however, there are a few financial matters you need to mind.</p> <h2>1. Organize Your Budget and Expenses</h2> <p>If you're considering making an investment &mdash; whatever it may be &mdash; you should have a solid handle on how much money is coming in and going out on a monthly basis. You want to make sure you can afford the investment without teetering on the edge of debt, but this also is a good time to find any weak spots in your budget so you can address them accordingly. Online money-tracking services like Mint.com can make this task much easier on you, and help you stay on track over the long term.</p> <p>&quot;When you know where your money goes, you are in control and can be thoughtful about aligning spending with priorities,&quot; says Carla Dearing CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service. &quot;Mint, for example, gives you complete access to your data through the website and your mobile device, whether you use iOS or Android. Better yet, Mint keeps an eye on your money for you. It even sends alerts to remind you to pay your bills or when you go over budget.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Get That Emergency Fund in Order &mdash; Stat!</h2> <p>In almost every &quot;money moves&quot; article I write, the &quot;emergency fund&quot; usually pops up somewhere. That's because it's a critical and indispensable part of your overall financial picture. You should have a sizable cushion in the bank to cover life's little mishaps, and that &quot;should&quot; becomes a &quot;must&quot; when you add investing to the equation. If you don't have an emergency fund, you have no business investing &mdash; bottom line.</p> <p>Just how much dough are we talking for an emergency fund to be considered satisfactory? Six times your monthly expenses, according to Dearing.</p> <p><strong>&quot;</strong>Be disciplined about saving a little every month until your emergency fund is where it needs to be, even if it means sacrificing little luxuries once in a while,&quot; she says. &quot;Remember to replenish the account every time you use it. Having your cushion ready whenever you need it will give you a great sense of security and freedom. It will also free you up to work on other savings goals without getting derailed by unexpected expenses.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your High-Interest Debts</h2> <p>You don't need to be completely out of debt before you start investing. Many financial advisers argue that you should be debt free before you start investing, but that's just not true. Most people don't pay off their homes for up to 30 years, and you wouldn't want to wait that long before you start a retirement fund.</p> <p>You should, however, pay off your high-interest debts. They'll drag you down faster than the Titanic.</p> <p>&quot;Whether it's a credit card or student loan, it doesn't make any sense to invest and make a market average return of 7% annually while you're paying 20% on credit debt,&quot; says Nick Braun, founder of a pet insurance company. &quot;Pay off your high-interest debts first, then start using excess income to save for the future.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">Fastest Way to Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>4. Contribute to Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>Retirement savings <em>is</em> an investment. It may not seem like it now, because what you're funding seems so far away &mdash; but you'll see it as such when you reach retirement age. Which is why, before you start throwing money at other investment opportunities, you need to invest in yourself. If you don't have a retirement account set up yet, make that a priority. If you have one currently, like a 401K, for instance, take advantage of free, pretax contribution opportunities where available, like matching funds from your employer. Then max those contributions out so you don't miss a single cent.</p> <h2>5. Contribute to an HSA</h2> <p>If you have a health insurance policy that comes with a qualifying Health Savings Account, take full advantage of it and fully fund it.</p> <p>&quot;Most contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals to pay qualifying medical expenses &mdash; at any time in life &mdash; are tax-free,&quot; explains Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Freedom Financial Network in Phoenix. &quot;These accounts are essentially emergency funds devoted to health care costs, and so savings have a double benefit of tax relief and savings.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Refinance Your Student Loans</h2> <p>Are student loans holding you back from building your savings or investment accounts or from making other types of investments? Free up some of your budget by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?ref=internal">refinancing your loans</a> for a lower monthly payment.</p> <p>&quot;The average Class of 2016 graduate owes more than $37,000 in student loan debt,&quot; says financial expert Michael Blattman, professor at University of Maryland. &quot;With 43 million borrowers nationwide, Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Individually, this crushing debt delays borrowers' life decisions, such as getting married, investing in the stock market, buying a house, or having children. Collectively, it's hampering the U.S. economy.&quot;</p> <p>You don't, however, have to be part of these statistics. Take back some of your financial freedom by making a call to your loan provider(s) to discuss refinance options that are right for you.</p> <h2>7. Get Started on a Taxable Investment Portfolio</h2> <p>After you've maxed out your retirement accounts, Dearing suggests starting a taxable investment portfolio. You can get started investing with just a few simple steps.</p> <p>To get set up, call one of the high-quality, low-fee money management companies, like Vanguard, Fidelity, or T. Rowe Price, tell them about yourself, and ask them to tell you what type of account or fund you need, and what minimum investment requirements apply. These companies, which are the gold standard in the financial services industry, are extremely knowledgeable and committed to serving their clients (who, in the case of Vanguard, are also their shareholders).</p> <p>&quot;Companies like this get you started with a comprehensive, diversified, low-cost fund that will serve you well as a beginning investor,&quot; says Dearing. &quot;Follow their recommendations and you won't go wrong.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Set Savings Goals for Your Taxable Investment Portfolio</h2> <p>Once you have your taxable investment portfolio established, set goals &mdash; $10,000, then $25,000 and, eventually, $100,000.</p> <p>&quot;When you are just starting out, choose one or two tax-advantaged funds, like the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF or the Vanguard Small Cap Index ETF, or similar index funds,&quot; Dearing suggests. &quot;These passively managed funds do a minimum amount of buying and selling &mdash; what the industry calls 'churning' &mdash; which translates into significantly less taxable investment income for you to deal with each year. They also tend to outperform most actively managed mutual funds over time.&quot;</p> <p>Revisiting the goal aspect of this equation, it helps to have a contribution target in place so you have a solid idea of what you're trying to achieve. Likewise, make sure that it's a goal that you <em>can</em> achieve. $10,000 may take a while to reach, but you can do it. If that goal is too steep for you right now, start smaller. There's no harm in that. The most important part of this is that you set the bar just high enough to accomplish it and be motivated by your success to continuing striving further.</p> <p><em>Do you have additional suggestions on money moves to make before investing? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-invest-in-the-worlds-biggest-companies">The Easiest Way to Invest in the World&#039;s Biggest Companies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice emergency funds health savings account money moves Paying Off Debt portfolio retirement savings stock market student loans Wed, 17 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1771628 at http://www.wisebread.com What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway? http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/education_costs_graduation_17985755.jpg" alt="Learning what student loan forbearance is" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Struggling to make your student loan payments each month? You're in good company. According to a May story by CBS Moneywatch, members of the class of 2016 who took out student loans left college with an <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/congrats-class-of-2016-youre-the-most-indebted-yet/">average of $37,173</a> in student loan debt. That's the highest average ever, and an increase of 6% from just one year earlier when such students graduated with an average debt of $35,051.</p> <p>If you're struggling to pay your student loans each month, you can apply for either forbearance or deferment of your federal student loan payments. Deferment and forbearance both put a temporary halt on your payments. That sounds good, and it can provide you with relief. But both programs come with limitations and neither does anything to <em>reduce </em>your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt" target="_blank">student loan debt</a>.</p> <p>Deferment and forbearance are worth investigating if your student loan payments have become a burden. But before you sign up for either program, here are the facts you need to know.</p> <h2>What Loans Qualify?</h2> <p>You can only apply for forbearance or deferment of federal student loans. Private loans are not eligible for these programs. If you are struggling to pay private student loans, you'll need to work directly with the lenders behind them.</p> <h2>Deferment</h2> <p>Deferment is the preferred option for a temporary halt on your payments. That's because in deferment, not only are your payments delayed, but the government might even pay the interest on your loan during this period if you are paying off Federal Perkins loans, direct subsidized loans, or subsidized Federal Stafford loans.</p> <p>The government won't pay interest on any of your unsubsidized or PLUS student loans. But even if the government doesn't pay this interest, you do not have to make interest payments on your own during the deferment period. If you don't, though, the interest that accumulated during the deferment period will be added to your principal balance when you do begin making payments again.</p> <h3>Who Qualifies for Deferment?</h3> <p>You are eligible for deferment if you are unemployed or have been unable to find full-time employment. You might also qualify if you are suffering through an economic hardship, such as a reduction in your full-time income.</p> <h3>You Will Have to Apply for Your Deferment</h3> <p>To start the process, call the loan servicer to which you mail your loan payments, unless you need deferment for Perkins loans. In this case, call the school you were attending when you took out the loan. You'll most likely have to fill out a form detailing the reasons why you can't afford your monthly payment.</p> <h2>Forbearance</h2> <p>In forbearance, your federal student loan payments will again be temporarily halted, usually for up to 12 months. But in forbearance the government will not pay your interest during the temporary halt, no matter what type of federal loan you are paying off.</p> <p>You can make the interest payments on your loans during forbearance or you can temporarily stop making these payments, too. Your interest will continue to accumulate during the forbearance period, though, and will be added to your principal balance when this halt ends. This means that the amount you owe after your forbearance period ends will be higher than when you started forbearance. This could make paying off your student loan debt even more challenging.</p> <h3>Who Qualifies for Forbearance</h3> <p>You can qualify for a discretionary forbearance because of illness or financial hardship. Again, you will have to start the process by contacting the lender to which you are sending your student loan payments each month.</p> <h3>Mandatory Forbearance</h3> <p>There are times when the federal government requires your lender to grant forbearance. This is known as mandatory forbearance. You might qualify for this if you are serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program, the total you owe in student loan payments is more than 20% of your total monthly gross income, you qualify for the U.S. Department of Defense's Student Loan Repayment System, or you are serving in a national service program.</p> <p>You might also qualify for mandatory forbearance if qualify for the teacher loan forgiveness program or you are a member of the U.S. National Guard and have been called to duty but don't qualify for a military deferment.</p> <p><em>Are you struggling to repay your student loans? Have you considered these options?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Debt Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loan-debt-in-collections-try-these-5-steps">Student Loan Debt in Collections? Try These 5 Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training deferment federal government financial hardships forbearance interest principal student loans unemployed Tue, 02 Aug 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1762586 at http://www.wisebread.com