student loans http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5885/all en-US 4 Things You Need to Know About Deferring Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-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/iStock-528499384.jpg" alt="Man learning about deferring student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finding a way to pause your student loan payment can be a lifesaver when your financial life goes sideways. And trust me, this can happen to anyone at any time.</p> <p>For me, the financial roller coaster ride started in June 2010. I was expecting our first child when my husband accepted a job in another state. I'd had to quit my teaching job when we moved, and I knew I was not going to be bringing in a paycheck for at least a year.</p> <p>On top of this reduction in income, we bought a house in our new city, but it took nearly a year to sell our old house. We were stuck paying two mortgages for 11 months.</p> <p>Between the two of us, my husband and I also had about $35,000 in outstanding federal student loan debt. To help get a better handle on our monthly budget, we decided to explore the option of deferment until our financial situation became more stable.</p> <h2>What is deferment?</h2> <p>Deferment allows you to pause the monthly payments on your federal student loans for a set period of time. For subsidized loans (these include Federal Perkins loans, Direct Subsidized loans, and Subsidized Federal Stafford loans), interest will not accrue on your loans while they are deferred. Unsubsidized loans, on the other hand, do accrue interest during the deferment period. If you have an unsubsidized loan that you plan to defer, you are allowed to pay the interest to keep it from being capitalized and added to your principal, but it is not a requirement for your deferment.</p> <p>Deferment can make a huge difference in your bottom line, but it is not necessarily a cure-all to your financial problems. Here is what you need to know about deferring your student loans.</p> <h2>1. You might not be eligible for deferment</h2> <p>When we applied for a deferment of our student loan payments, our first big surprise was the discovery that we were not eligible. Borrowers are eligible for, and have the right to take, deferment in the following circumstances:</p> <ul> <li>During at least half-time enrollment in postsecondary school;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>During full-time enrollment in an approved graduate program;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>During enrollment in an approved rehabilitation training program if you are disabled;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>During a period of unemployment (limited to three years);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>During active duty with the military, or within 13 months of when your active duty occurred;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>During periods of economic hardship, as defined by federal regulations (also limited to three years).</li> </ul> <p>My husband and I had assumed that going from two family members to three, from two paychecks to one, and from one mortgage to two, was sufficient enough to meet the economic hardship requirements. But federal regulations only allow for <a href="http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/self-help-EconomicHardshipDeferment.pdf" target="_blank">economic hardship deferment</a> if you are either on public assistance, or the salary from your full-time employment is no more than 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline for your family size and state. His salary was too high to qualify.</p> <p>Instead of deferment, we had to apply for a discretionary forbearance, which is the option available to borrowers who aren't eligible for a deferment.</p> <h3>What's the difference between deferment and forbearance?</h3> <p>The biggest difference between the two processes is that interest will accrue on your loans if they go into forbearance, even if your loans are subsidized. This means that unless you pay the interest during the forbearance period, the accrued interest will be capitalized (added to your principal).</p> <p>In addition, deferments are granted in six-month increments, and you may keep applying for the next six-month increment of deferment as long as you qualify for it. Forbearance, on the other hand, is granted in 12-month increments, and you may only apply for it three times over the life of your loan.</p> <p>In some situations, forbearance is mandatory, which means your loan servicer must offer forbearance to you. You can receive mandatory forbearance in any of the following situations:</p> <ul> <li>During a medical or dental internship or residency program;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>During economic hardship wherein your total monthly student loan payment is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>During service in a national service program, such as AmeriCorps;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You are a teacher who is eligible for teacher loan forgiveness;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You meet the eligibility requirements for the U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You are a National Guard member who has been activated by a governor, but who is not eligible for a military deferment.</li> </ul> <p>For student loan borrowers who do not meet any of the eligibility requirements for a mandatory forbearance, the only other option is applying for a discretionary forbearance. As the name implies, these are granted to borrowers at their lender's discretion, and generally borrowers apply for them because of financial hardship or illness.</p> <p>In 2010, my husband and I were granted a discretionary financial hardship forbearance. My unemployment was nominally my choice &mdash; although I was actually unemployed because of my baby's insistence on a Virgo birthday that coincided with the beginning of the school year. If I had been unable to find full-time work, that would have potentially made us eligible for a deferment, rather than a discretionary forbearance.</p> <h2>2. Accrued interest can pack a mean punch</h2> <p>Unless you are lucky enough to be eligible to defer a subsidized loan, you are likely going to deal with accrued interest. The problem with accrued interest is that it's like the inverse of compound interest: The interest that you accrue on your student loan is capitalized, which generates even more interest.</p> <p>For instance, between the two of us, my husband and I paid about 4.5 percent interest on our outstanding $35,000 student loan debt. By putting our loans into forbearance and not paying the accrued interest, we added over $1,600 to the $35,000 principal over 12 months.</p> <p>Not only does capitalized interest increase the total amount you owe, but it can also potentially increase either your monthly payment or your repayment term.</p> <h2>3. Be prepared for paperwork</h2> <p>Neither deferment nor forbearance is an automatic process, even when they are &quot;mandatory.&quot; You will always have to apply for either deferment or forbearance.</p> <p>If you are applying for deferment, you will need to submit a request to your loan servicer. For deferments while you are enrolled in school at least half-time, you will need to contact your school's financial aid office as well as your loan servicer. This process is relatively simple, but you will need to go through it every six months to maintain your deferment.</p> <p>For forbearance requests, the paperwork can be a little more onerous. Like deferment, you will need to submit your request to your loan servicer. In some cases, you will need to submit documentation to support your request, especially if you are requesting a discretionary forbearance. For instance, my husband and I were required to prove we were paying two mortgages at once to be granted our forbearance.</p> <h2>4. You must continue paying until your request is granted</h2> <p>After you have made your request for deferment or forbearance, you are required to continue making your monthly payments until your lender informs you that the request has been granted. Generally, this process takes about 10 business days, but it can take as many as 30.</p> <p>Not making payments during this time can be serious. If you skip a month after submitting your request, and your request is denied, then your lender will consider you delinquent and you risk defaulting.</p> <p>Both the paperwork and the necessity of continuing payments means that deferment and forbearance are options you have to plan ahead for. If you have a sudden financial downturn with no emergency fund, then you might be scrambling to request a deferment or forbearance, which may not be immediately granted.</p> <h2>Postponing your student loan payments doesn't erase them</h2> <p>Anyone can fall into an untenable financial situation. Your student loan servicer wants to work with you to help you stay afloat, but deferment and forbearance are not instantaneous processes nor are they a given. Putting your student loan payments on hold can help you get back on your feet financially, but you need to be prepared to handle the costs and be ready to get back to paying off your loans as soon as you can.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-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-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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-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/what-to-do-when-you-cant-afford-your-childs-college-education">What to Do When You Can&#039;t Afford Your Child&#039;s College Education</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training capitalized deferment financial aid forbearance interest monthly payments student loans subsidized loans Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1932491 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do When You Can't Afford Your Child's College Education http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-cant-afford-your-childs-college-education <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-when-you-cant-afford-your-childs-college-education" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-168249072.jpg" alt="Learning what to do when you can&#039;t afford college education" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>First comes the joy: Your child receives the thick packet from a dream university, the sure sign of an acceptance.</p> <p>But then comes the reality: that sky-high price tag.</p> <p>The college your child has just been accepted to might be asking for $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 or more in tuition each year. And if your child doesn't receive much, or anything, in merit-based scholarships from that school, you and your child will be responsible for covering those costs &mdash; often in the form of student loans that can haunt your child's finances for decades after graduation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a>)</p> <p>What if you haven't saved nearly enough to help cover these costs? What if you haven't managed to save anything at all? What can parents do when they can't afford their child's college education?</p> <p>The choice usually comes down to taking on tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt or attending a less expensive alternative school. And if you can't afford the tuition at any school, there are still options in the form of scholarships, grants, and community college. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources?ref=internal" target="_blank">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a>)</p> <h2>Rising costs</h2> <p>Tuition rates continue to rise every year. Especially at private universities, this means that tuition that is already intimidating becomes a bit more of a financial burden with each passing year.</p> <p>In its 2016 report, the College Board said that the average annual sticker price &mdash; including tuition, fees, and room and board &mdash; stood at $20,090 for in-state students at public colleges, and $35,370 for out-of-state students. The average for private colleges was $45,370 in 2016.</p> <p>There is a glimmer of good news here: Many students don't pay this full price. That's because many students receive scholarships (many offered automatically by the schools that accept them) and grants. According to the College Board's 2016 report, the net price of college &mdash; the price showing what students <em>actually </em>pay after they receive financial assistance &mdash; was $14,210 a year for tuition, fees, and room and board for in-state students at public colleges, and $26,080 for students at private colleges.</p> <p>The fact still remains that after financial assistance, paying for college is no easy task, even at more affordable public universities.</p> <h2>Student loan burden</h2> <p>Student loan debt is a financial burden for many college graduates. According to Student Loan Hero, the average college graduate from the class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt, a record high. But for many students, there is no other way to pay for college.</p> <p>If you can't afford to help pay for your child's college education, student loans are an alternative. The loans, though, are far from a perfect solution. First, students can only borrow from $5,500 to $12,500 in federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/federal-student-loans?ref=internal" target="_blank">Federal student loans</a> are the best option because they come with the lowest interest rates and most favorable repayment terms.</p> <p>Students who must borrow more each year will have to take out private loans. Their parents can also take out private student loans for their children. Those often come with higher interest rates and less favorable terms.</p> <p>Relying completely on student loans could also set you or your children up for a tough financial future after they graduate, especially if they struggle to land a decent paying job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>A more affordable school</h2> <p>Your child might dream of attending that elite private school, but an in-state public university might be a more affordable choice that can provide your child with an equally strong education.</p> <p>Explain to your children that an out-of-state private school might be a dream destination, but might also negatively affect their financial health for decades after graduation.</p> <p>Students might also attend an in-state public school for two years, taking the general education classes that they are required to complete. They can then apply again to their dream university for the final two years of their undergraduate career. This can make their entire college career more affordable.</p> <p>There's also community college. Community colleges are a far more affordable alternative to both private and public four-year colleges. Attending a community college for at least two years could leave graduates with far less student loan debt after graduation.</p> <h2>Sources of additional help</h2> <p>Many colleges automatically provide merit scholarships to incoming students, which students never have to repay. Colleges will automatically provide this financial assistance to the students they accept; students don't have to do anything to apply.</p> <p>Merit scholarships can make private universities far more affordable. Private schools generally pass out more of this aid to attract students who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford tuition at these schools.</p> <p>If your child is accepted at a school but doesn't receive any or enough merit aid directly from the university, you can always contact the institution's office of admissions or financial aid. Often, schools will allow you to fill out a hardship form as a way to request additional financial support. Colleges aren't required, of course, to provide more aid, but some might. A phone call could make a difference.</p> <p>Also search for scholarships. Your child might qualify for hundreds of scholarships, some offering significant financial help. Winning these scholarships isn't always easy, with many attracting thousands of applicants. But even earning one or two scholarships can help cut down the expense of a college education. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college-without-loans-where-to-find-scholarships?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Where to Find Scholarships</a>)</p> <p>Your children can also work on a part-time basis to help afford tuition. Colleges usually offer their own work-study programs that can help defray expenses. Students who volunteer to serve as residential advisers at campus dorms might receive free or discounted room and board.</p> <p>You might even be able to significantly reduce your child's yearly college costs by convincing your child to attend a school close enough to home so that your student can continue living with you. Room and board generally costs about $10,000 a year; if your child lives at home, he or she can eliminate this cost.</p> <p>College education remains an expensive proposition. But you and your child do have options, if you look for them.</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-to-do-when-you-cant-afford-your-childs-college-education">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-10"> <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-great-sources-of-financial-aid-for-switching-careers">7 Great Sources of Financial Aid for Switching Careers</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-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover">6 Things Financial Aid Might Not Cover</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/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year">8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year</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/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training college costs community colleges financial aid grants private schools public schools scholarships student loans Wed, 12 Apr 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1922478 at http://www.wisebread.com It's Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-637362030.jpg" alt="Fixing money mistakes from his past" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making mistakes is part of life, and this is particularly true when it comes to finance. Since money is such a taboo topic in our culture, we often have to learn good money behavior through trial and error.</p> <p>The problem is that our culture also considers errors as something to regret, rather than opportunities to learn. This can land us in a shame-filled cycle of inaction.</p> <p>Forgiving yourself for financial mistakes is not the same as condoning or ignoring them. It's simply giving yourself the opportunity to move on from the past. Stop beating yourself up over these common youthful money mistakes and take action to fix them instead.</p> <h2>1. Taking on too much student debt</h2> <p>Taking out a student loan has become the default method for the majority of college students to pay for their education. According to a 2016 Market Watch report, &quot;about <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-growing-student-loan-debt-crisis-2016-01-15" target="_blank">40 million Americans</a> hold student loans and about 70 percent of bachelor's degree recipients graduate with debt.&quot;</p> <p>With the near ubiquity of student loans, however, comes the problem of students taking on more debt than they need or can comfortably pay off once they graduate. Student loans can feel like an easy way to pay for more school than you can afford, or even a way to fund things you don't <em>really </em>need, like your own apartment or spring break vacations.</p> <p>This can be exacerbated by the fact that college students and their parents don't always completely understand the differences between types of student loans, which can leave them all the more susceptible to overwhelming debt.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>If you are kicking yourself for running up a student loan tab that you can't afford, start your journey to self-forgiveness by investigating your repayment options. The first step is to call your lender and explain the situation. If you have federal student loans, you may be eligible for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most?ref=internal" target="_blank">modification of your repayment plan</a> based on your income. Even if you have private loans, talking with your lender can let you know what <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans?ref=internal" target="_blank">options are available</a> that will give you more breathing room.</p> <p>Once you have made whatever changes you can to your repayment plan, then take the time to write down everything you got for the money you borrowed. For instance, in addition to your education, you might list the friends and connections you made at college, the experiences you had, the insights you gained about yourself and your area of study, and the way the loans allowed you to focus on college instead of tuition.</p> <p>This exercise will give you a chance to feel gratitude for the loans. You are now the beneficiary of your younger self's choices &mdash; both the good and the bad. Recognizing all of the benefits you got from your student loans will help you move from being angry at yourself, to looking at your current loan payments as a gift to your younger self.</p> <h2>2. Not budgeting or building an emergency fund</h2> <p>I don't know a single person who did not immediately begin spending money hand over fist after landing their first well-paid job. That means anything from immediately purchasing an expensive car to relying on restaurants for meals rather than cooking. Even people who carefully budget their money when working for low salaries have a tendency to start making it rain as soon as their paychecks get bigger.</p> <p>This can cause problems in two ways. Sometimes, the good salary doesn't last forever because of a layoff or other change in your financial circumstances. And sometimes, you keep making good money, but your lifestyle continues to inflate &mdash; which means you can never seem to get ahead.</p> <p>In either case, the lack of a budget and an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">emergency fund</a> means that a financial blow can turn into a crisis, leaving you cursing yourself for every unnecessary purchase you made when the money was good.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>Budgeting may be the last thing on your mind when the lack of money hits the fan, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">creating a budget</a> is exactly what you need to do in an emergency. Don't waste your time beating yourself up for the spending choices you made before the financial crisis &mdash; just sit down with your bank statements, credit card accounts, and bills, and figure out your income and outflow. Learning to budget in the middle of a crisis might be painful, but it will ultimately help you feel in control of your money.</p> <p>Once you have a budget system in place, it's time to start looking back on your spending habits. What did you buy that you now regret? Why do you regret it? Do you feel regret now only because an emergency came up and you didn't have the funds, or do you actually feel the purchase itself added nothing to your life? If you truly regret the purchase, why did you make it?</p> <p>It can hurt to ask yourself these questions, which is why it is important to regard your past purchases with curiosity and compassion, rather than guilt or anger at yourself. But once you have answered these questions, you will have a better understanding of why you made those unnecessary purchases &mdash; which will help you avoid the same spending traps in the future. Understanding the reasons behind your bad money habits can help you develop financial mindfulness to make better choices going forward.</p> <h2>3. Not saving for retirement</h2> <p>Most people don't think to start <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">putting money aside for retirement</a> when they are young. In your 20s and 30s, not only does retirement seem too far away to worry about, but you've got plenty of competing needs that seem more important.</p> <p>Of course, if you read <em>any </em>advice on retirement, it's clear that saving as much money as you can when you are young is the best route to a secure retirement. Unfortunately, this advice can feel like it's meant to shame anyone who didn't start funding their 401(k) on the day they started their first job. That's not helpful to late funders.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>When it comes to retirement, we should all save early and save often. Unfortunately, financial advice tends to beat the &quot;save early&quot; drum so much that it's easy to believe that there is such a thing as &quot;too old to start saving for retirement.&quot; But as long as you are bringing in an income, you can save for your retirement. Write down your future goals and your vision of retirement, so you can get excited about saving. Then you can let go of the anger at your younger self, and start putting money in your retirement accounts today, tomorrow, and beyond. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>4. Racking up credit card debt</h2> <p>I got my first credit card in college. Though I tried to pay off the bill every month, it got away from me pretty quickly. Sometime in my senior year of college, when I realized that there was no way I could pay off my bill, I made the decision to just let the debt rack up, since I'd have a good-paying job after graduation and could take care of it then.</p> <p>Of course, after I graduated, I was unable to find a job for about three months, and the first job I did land was working retail for $8.25 an hour. My credit card debt crept up even more.</p> <p>My youthful problems with credit card debt are incredibly common. When you get your first sweet taste of credit, it's pretty hard to stop using the plastic even when your budget can't handle your charges. The fact that you're not required to pay off the cringe-inducing full amount allows you to assume the problem will take care of itself, as I did.</p> <p>Then, one day, you realize that you are in debt up to your eyeballs with nothing to show for it, and you are kicking yourself for your youthful credit card spending.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>Start by recognizing the fact that humans are not wired to be able to handle the combination of instant gratification plus delayed payment. Young adults are particularly susceptible to this, which is the very reason why credit card companies have been banned from college campuses.</p> <p>Once you recognize this, it becomes much easier to start digging yourself out of the hole. You can much more easily leave your credit cards at home and remove them from your favorite e-tailer sites when you realize the cost of their convenience. Sending extra money to your credit card each month also starts feeling like steps toward freedom. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Buying too much car</h2> <p>Buying a new car for yourself can be one of the most satisfying moments in young adulthood. You can finally choose the car <em>you</em> want to drive, rather than making do with a beater or your parents' minivan. So it's very easy to go hog-wild when you're in a position to buy a new car. You can get the horsepower, or the luxury, or the bells-and-whistles you've always dreamed of having.</p> <p>But the monthly payments end up being a bigger deal than they seemed when you were in the showroom, and your high-end car keeps needing expensive maintenance and insurance. When you realize how much you could have saved if you opted for that reliable low-key sedan instead, you want to kick your younger, flashy self.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>Once you have forgiven yourself for putting too much emphasis (and money) on your car, you can start thinking more rationally about your transportation needs. If your vehicle is just a means to get from point A to point B, then what do you really need from it? What's the minimum that would be acceptable for your transportation?</p> <p>Going through this thought exercise allows you to think about what you really need, and will help you do the research necessary to find the right car for your life. Then you can trade in your too-much car for something more appropriate, or drive something that meets your barest of needs until you have paid off the mistake of buying too much car.</p> <p>And don't forget &mdash; you can always put some racing stripes on &ldquo;Old Reliable&rdquo; if you want it to represent you. Loving your car doesn't have to be expensive.</p> <h2>Let it go</h2> <p>Feeling shame over things you did in the past is a way of letting your mistakes continue to hurt you. Yes, you may have screwed up when you were younger and it might be hurting your bottom line right now. But you give that old mistake far more power over your future if you continue to beat yourself up for it instead of simply accepting it and doing what you can to bounce back from it. Step out of regret and into action today.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">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/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</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-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</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/4-new-year-budget-resolutions-you-should-make-now">4 New Year Budget Resolutions You Should Make Now</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/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</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-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting debt emergency funds forgiveness missteps money mistakes retirement savings student loans young youth Fri, 31 Mar 2017 09:00:15 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1918286 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503389404.jpg" alt="Man paying certain bills when money is tight" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is your money situation a little tight this month? It happens to the best of us. What if you don't have enough money this month to pay every bill by its due date? For the time being, you might need to prioritize your payments.</p> <p>This isn't the ideal solution. Far from it &mdash; paying any bill late could result in a late fee. But thanks to a bit of leeway when it comes to credit reporting, paying bills <em>just a bit late </em>might not hurt your all-important FICO credit score.</p> <p>This makes it a bit easier to determine which bills you absolutely <em>must</em> pay on time, and which bills you can more easily tackle after their due dates pass.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage</h2> <p>It's important to keep the roof over your head. And not paying your mortgage payment on time can send your credit score plummeting by 100 points or more. Credit scores are important: Lenders rely on them to determine if you qualify for a loan and at what interest rate.</p> <p>There is some leeway, though, with mortgage payments. First, lenders can't report your payment as late to the credit bureaus until you're at least 30 days past due. This means that paying your bill one, two, or three weeks late won't hurt your credit score.</p> <p>Second, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, lenders usually won't start the foreclosure process until three to six months after your first missed mortgage payment.</p> <p>Even though these safeguards are built in, you don't ever want to take the chance of losing your home. Make sure to pay your mortgage as soon as you can.</p> <h2>2. Rent</h2> <p>If you're renting an apartment, do everything you can to pay this bill on time. Your landlord can send you an eviction notice if you're just one day late with your rent payment. Now, actually evicting you will take time, and most landlords probably won't file a notice that quickly. But you don't want to give your landlord any excuse to start this process in motion.</p> <h2>3. Car payment</h2> <p>As with your mortgage, there is a grace period before your late car payment starts to affect your credit score. Your auto lender can't officially report your payment as late to the credit bureaus until that payment is more than 30 days past due.</p> <p>However, you need to be aware that if you stop making car payments, your vehicle can be repossessed. If this happens, your credit <em>will </em>suffer the consequences &mdash; by up to 100 points. Auto lenders can repossess your vehicle quickly, too. In fact, in most states they have the legal right to repossess your car as soon as you miss a single payment. It's unlikely that your lender will move to take your car that quickly, but why take that risk? If you're prioritizing your bills, this is definitely one to move to the top of your list.</p> <h2>4. Utility bills</h2> <p>Typically, you'll receive plenty of advance warning before your utility providers shut off your services. But you will have to pay these bills eventually to keep them on. Put these bills at the top of your priorities list.</p> <p>If you are struggling to pay these bills, don't ignore them; call the utility company. Utilities will often work with homeowners who are struggling financially. They might lower your bill for a period of time or defer your payments for a few months to allow you to rebuild your finances.</p> <h2>5. Student loans</h2> <p>Student loan debt is a financial burden for many, but you might be able to work out a new repayment plan with your lender if you are struggling. This is usually easier to do with federal student loans. You might qualify for a deferment, depending on your financial situation. But even if you are struggling to pay private student loans, call your lender. The company issuing your loans might be willing to work with you to keep you from falling into default. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>6. Credit cards</h2> <p>Yes, your credit card issuer can hit you with a late fee if you miss a payment. And yes, your card's interest rate might then soar. But credit cards don't need to be at the very top of your priorities list if you are struggling with critical bills like your mortgage.</p> <p>Your credit card provider can't throw you in jail if you miss payments, and it can't take your house or car. So paying this provider <em>after</em> making your mortgage and car payments is OK in a financial pinch.</p> <p>It typically isn't a smart move to pay only the monthly minimum on a credit card, because it's often such a small amount. However, if you're really struggling with money, this is another temporary option you can take. This will keep you current on your bill, and you can always boost your payments back up again once you've regained financial footing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">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-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score">5 Financial Mistakes That Won&#039;t Hurt 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/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash">Prioritize These 5 Bills When You&#039;re Short on Cash</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-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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/you-missed-a-student-loan-payment-now-what">You Missed a Student Loan Payment. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management bills car loan credit score late fees late payments mortgage rent repossession student loans utilities Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:00:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1915858 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things Financial Aid Might Not Cover http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_books_piggybank_626639020.jpg" alt="Guy learning things financial aid might not cover" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most students and parents realize that it's crucial to apply for financial aid, regardless of what your financial status may be. However, many families don't realize how expensive college can be, even if you receive a great financial aid package. It's important to recognize what items financial aid may not cover so that you can be better prepared for the school year ahead.</p> <h2>What Is Covered</h2> <p>Every student's financial aid package is different, so there are no exact expectations on how much you will receive and what will be covered. The package is based on the full cost of college, which includes tuition and fees, room and board, and sometimes, things like books and school supplies. Financial aid may also cover a summer session, but again, it all depends on how much is included in your particular package.</p> <p>If you live at home or off-campus, your package may include an allowance for things like transportation, housing, and food. If you live on campus, the dorm room and required meal plans may be covered.</p> <h2>What Isn't Covered</h2> <p>Students should be prepared for unexpected charges, which can quickly become overwhelming. Some of the most common college costs not covered by financial aid include:</p> <h3>1. Transportation</h3> <p>Some schools offer aid for transportation, but it's rare and something you should budget for. You'll need to find money for gas or public transportation. There may also be parking fees, campus shuttle fees, and transportation costs to travel back home during the summer and winter breaks.</p> <h3>2. School Supplies</h3> <p>Books may or may not be covered by a financial aid package, but you will still need to find money for pens, pencils, notebooks, and any other school supplies you may need for the semester. You may also be charged extra for art supply fees or other course necessities. You may also need to purchase things like a new laptop or printer for your dorm room.</p> <h3>3. Dorm Supplies</h3> <p>If you'll be living on campus, you'll need to buy items for your dorm. This can include everything from a mini fridge and television to new sheets and beanbag chairs.</p> <h3>4. Lab Fees</h3> <p>There are frequently lab fees, equipment charges, and other fees associated with certain courses.</p> <h3>5. Activity Fees</h3> <p>If you're planning on participating in sports, clubs, sororities or fraternities, or other on-campus activities, there will be additional fees.</p> <h3>6. The College Experience</h3> <p>Part of the fun of college is going out and meeting new friends, which will result in costs for eating out, going shopping, going to concerts or sporting events, and paying for other forms of entertainment.</p> <h2>How to Fill in the Gap</h2> <p>According to Damian Rothermel, a CFP who specializes in college funding, it's possible to <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2014/03/24/9-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-financial-aid-for-college/2/#7c72a39223a1" target="_blank">negotiate your financial aid package</a>. He says that once you receive your financial aid package, you can contact the school to appeal for more money.</p> <p>For instance, if the Expected Family Contribution is too high, you can appeal the offer. You can also provide documentation to support your request for increased funding.</p> <p>If a student needs more funding for the school year, then there are a number of options available.</p> <ul> <li>Grants and scholarships. There is no limit on how many scholarships you can apply for, so it's best to get into the routine of searching for and applying for scholarships whenever possible.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work-study jobs. Students can earn money through work-study jobs either on or off campus.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Part-time jobs. There are endless part-time jobs available to students, which can help them earn the extra money needed for items that aren't covered by financial aid.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Payment plans. The school may have payment plans available, allowing you to spread the remaining costs you owe throughout a semester.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Student loans. Student loans should be your last resort, as the last thing a student wants after graduation is to be saddled with debt. Your best bet is to first apply for a federal loan, which offers flexible payments if you don't find employment after college. There are also private or alternative loans available to students. Many banks also offer special student loan rates that you may not have to begin paying off until graduation.</li> </ul> <p>If you still have questions about how to fill in the gap, the school's financial aid office is available to help however they can. You may want to call and speak with them about how you can receive more funding. They may be able to help you find scholarships, part-time work, and good private student loans.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover">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/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/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</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/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges">A Better Way to Rank America&#039;s Colleges</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/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for">9 College Expenses You Aren&#039;t Saving For</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/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training college financial aid higher education not covered room and board student loans students transportation tuition Tue, 24 Jan 2017 10:30:36 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1876850 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_graduate_debt-450067439.jpg" alt="Millennials dealing with student loan debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many Millennials are wracked with student loan debt and don't see a way out anytime soon. Fortunately, there are some unique opportunities available to you &mdash; both while you are in school and after you graduate &mdash; that can help you deal with this obligation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans?ref=seealso">Why You Shouldn't Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a>)</p> <p>According to Debt.org, student loans account for <a href="https://www.debt.org/students/" target="_blank">over $1 trillion in debt</a> in America, and among those who borrow, the average debt load is about $30,000. However, with the right plan of action, you can tackle this debt in less time and with a smaller overall effect on your life and financial well-being.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most?ref=seealso2">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most?</a></p> <h2>1. Take Advantage of Income Share Agreements</h2> <p>Purdue University was the first to offer such a program (theirs is called &quot;<a href="http://purdue.edu/backaboiler/" target="_blank">Back a Boiler</a>&quot;), which provides funding to students who are willing to repay the foundation a portion of their salaries for up to10 years following graduation. These are often referred to as Income Share Agreements or ISAs.</p> <p>With an Income Share Agreement, there is less risk for the student because payments are based on a percentage of your income. (If you earn less, you pay less; when your income increases, you pay more, up to a defined maximum.) Conversely, with a traditional loan, there is a set loan repayment amount that you must find a way to pay every month, even if you don't have a job (although you may be eligible for a variety of deferments or other payment plans; check with your lender).</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan?ref=seealso2">The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn</a></p> <h2>2. Find an Investor</h2> <p>Some schools offer programs where an &quot;investor&quot; buys &quot;shares&quot; in a student's future. This is similar to an ISA, but can also be agreed upon privately. If the student does well financially after graduation, then the investor profits, but the student may end up paying even more than they would have on a private loan. On the other hand, if the student doesn't make much money during the repayment period, then the investor loses. As an added bonus, by selling stock in themselves, students may have even more motivation to do well after graduation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?ref=seealso">Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>3. Plug Your Venmo Account</h2> <p>Once you've opened a Venmo account, you can begin accepting payments from friends, family members, and concerned strangers who want to help you pay off your student loan. Ask for money to be deposited into your Venmo account for your birthday, graduation present, and during the holidays. Loved ones may be willing to contribute even more if they know the money is going toward your student loan.</p> <p>You can share your Venmo account via email or social media. Better yet, you can even make signs with your Venmo account on them, which you can hold in front of the camera at large events or in the background of your favorite news shows. There have been two successful instances where someone <a href="http://www.abc-7.com/story/33099003/what-the-tech-money-app-and-student-make-money-after-stunt" target="_blank">holding a sign</a> with their Venmo account received more than $20,000 in payments from amused viewers. While these feats pulled in 2013 and 2016 weren't for noble purposes, it just goes to show that this quick stunt can really pay off.</p> <h2>4. Volunteer More</h2> <p>With organizations like <a href="http://www.sponsorchange.org/" target="_blank">SponsorChange</a> and <a href="http://www.zerobound.com/" target="_blank">Zerobound</a>, you can volunteer your time and skills to meaningful organizations and your student loans will also reap the benefits. While you accumulate good karma from volunteering your time, the organizations will contribute toward your student loan debt as repayment. Organizations like <a href="http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps" target="_blank">AmeriCorps</a> and <a href="https://www.peacecorps.gov/" target="_blank">Peace Corps</a> also offer partial loan cancellation incentives to volunteers.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. Find the Right Employer</h2> <p>More companies are now offering student loan payoff programs as a perk to new employees. This is becoming especially common with new startups. When you are meeting with a potential employer, you may want to ask if their benefits program offers student loan repayment options.</p> <h2>6. Consider Student Loan Forgiveness Programs</h2> <p>There are various <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness?ref=internal" target="_blank">student loan forgiveness programs</a> available, but only to select people. While most borrowers won't qualify for these programs, it is worth looking into.</p> <p>For instance, with the <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service" target="_blank">Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program</a>, people working in public service can have their loans forgiven after 10 years of payment. There are also income-driven repayment plans, which can forgive your loans after 20&mdash;25 years of repayment. You may also qualify for special federal student loan forgiveness programs if you work in low-income schools or in public service jobs, such as for a nonprofit or the government.</p> <h2>7. Explore Traditional Methods</h2> <p>Traditional means of student loan repayment are always a great option. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big?ref=internal">Debt refinancing</a> or debt consolidation can help lower the interest you pay in the long-run. You can also take advantage of automatic debt payments, make payments twice per month, or trim your budget so there's more left over for repayment. These methods will all help you to pay off your student loan faster and can save you a great deal of money in the long-run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">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-4"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover">6 Things Financial Aid Might Not Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management Education & Training college income share agreements investors loan forgiveness millennials repayment student debt student loans tuition volunteering Thu, 15 Dec 2016 10:30:31 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1853983 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-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/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan 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/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/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-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/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</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/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</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/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</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/you-got-a-raise-now-what">You Got a Raise! Now What?</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-11"> <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/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</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/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most?</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/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> 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-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/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-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/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/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</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-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> </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/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover">6 Things Financial Aid Might Not Cover</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/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 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-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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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/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 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&nbsp;<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&nbsp;<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-12"> <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/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</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-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-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-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</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-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-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/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</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/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-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/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</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-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-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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</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/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With 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/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