Student Loans for College

June 22nd, 2012

Student Loans For College

Students who want to attend a college program should always consider the cost

of a program before attending college. Contrary to what an academic

advisor may tell a student, a student should consider what he or she

will use a degree for upon graduation. That person should consider

whether a degree program will give him or her a marketable skill in

the business world or other world. Here are a few of the important considerations:

Cost of Tuition

A student may need to make a college choice based on the tuition for

the school. If the tuition for a state school is $10,000 while the

tuition for a private school is $40,000 to $50,000 a year, then the

student on a budget may need to choose to attend the state school. A

student on a budget may want to choose to attend a state school for

the financial freedom it will ultimately provide the student upon

graduation. A student may be stuck paying back $200,000 in loans

after graduation from a private school with high tuition

fees.

Filling out the FAFSA

If students are wondering how to pay for college, they should definitely

fill out the FAFSA in order to apply for loans from the

government. The FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Student

Aid.” The FAFSA is the official way to apply for student loans.

College students can qualify for loans from the government without

having to depend on the credit history of their parents. Some

students are worried that the credit history of their parents will

impact their ability to take out loans. These students do not have to

worry because the government now allows them to apply for loans as

independents.

Private Loans

For students who need to take out additional loans during college, a

private loan may be the only option that he or she has. A student

should check with a college to see whether the college offers small

loans for students who need to purchase a computer, textbooks or

other supplies. Some colleges will allow students to take out

additional disbursements from the institution. For colleges that do

not give these additional disbursements, students should seek private

loans from reputable banks. Students should try to get the lowest

interest rates possible for these private loans.

Taking out student loans may be the only way that a student is able to attend

college. Student loans can open up many doors for students who need

additional opportunities for success in life.

Guest Post


3 comments

Getting Out Of Debt

January 31st, 2012

Having too much debt can have negative consequences on all aspects of your life. Putting all of your money towards your debt means that there is little left over for yourself. Creditors could call your place of employment and put your job in jeopardy. The moral guilt that you might feel for not being able to pay your debts usually adds to the stress that you are already feeling. How do you manage to get yourself out of your debt nightmare?

Reduce Your Debts Quickly

Contact your creditors and see if there is anything you can do to reduce the amount that you owe on your debt. A debt settlement can be the compromise that you need to start getting ahead. A debt settlement will allow you to pay a fraction of the amount that you owe without harming your credit score. Creditors usually accept the deal because an easy settlement now is a lot better than having to fight for a share of the money in court. Debt consolidation loans could also be a great way to organize your finances to get you out of debt faster.

Gain Access To Lines Of Credit

It might seem a little strange that you would consider opening new lines of credit when you have had troubles with credit in the past. However, you are going to increase your credit score by opening these new lines of credit. This will allow you to qualify for better rates on loans and products that can help you get out of your debt faster. Lenders specifically offer secured credit cards for people with bad credit all the time. Secured credit cards are lines of credit that a borrower secures with a security deposit.

Raise Funds Or Cut Expenses

Reducing your debts and gaining access to credit lines are just methods of stabilizing your debt situation. The next step is to continue on the path of debt reduction. Sell off as many assets as you can to cut expenses or raise more funds to pay off your debt. Making more than the minimum payment each month will allow you to pay down your balances faster while avoiding as much interest as possible.

Make Permanent Lifestyle Changes

Make sure to never get back into debt once you have gotten yourself out of that hole. Stop spending so much on credit while cutting down on the spending in general. Taking fewer shopping trips or cutting back on Internet shopping should help you out. Understanding your spending habits and making changes for the better will only help you lead a more financially stable life.

Getting out of debt requires planning and a willingness to change. The best course of action is to settle whatever debts you can right away, pour as much money as you can into making debt payments and then make sure to never get into debt again. One day you will look back at this time in your life and wonder what you were thinking.

Guest posts do not reflect the views of this site.  Lemme know what you think of these ideas in the comments!

Guest Post


5 comments

The Slippery Slope of Freedom

January 18th, 2012

“Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.”Benjamin Franklin

“… God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950)

“If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained _ we must fight!”  Patrick Henry

“Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God?  Thomas Jefferson

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

Patrick Henry

“The citizens of the U.S. are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society”

“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”  Thomas Jefferson

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.”  William Pitt in the House of Commons November 18, 1783

“We must all hang together, or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”  Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity.  Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address.

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”  George Washington

Highlight all the text to be inspired, then link through to our friends at Google and Wikipedia and take action against SOPA & PIPA.

Politics ,


3 comments

Making Financial Resolutions for 2012

January 9th, 2012

The holiday season is over and New Year’s has come and gone. It’s time to look ahead, now, to the year that is laid out before us: 2012. For many people, this means making resolutions to which they hope to adhere throughout the year. People resolve to lose weight, spend more time with their families, travel to someplace new, find and better job, and to be a better friend, sibling, or spouse. The list of possibilities goes on and on.

While all these resolutions are certainly valid ones, there is another that you may want to keep in mind: a resolution to better manage your finances in the upcoming year. This commitment can be further broken down into several smaller resolutions, such as those related specifically to investments, savings, spending, and budgeting. A resolution in any of these areas is probably a beneficial one to make.

Before you make a financial resolution, however, it’s important to keep certain considerations in mind and ask yourself several questions:

-How would you label your financial situation? Are you secure? Content? Satisfied with your investments? If yes, you may want to make a budget that attempts to simulate your earnings, spending, and investments from last year. If not, you should identify areas of potential improvement and resolve to change them.

-Are any major events happening in your life this year? If yes, how do they stand to impact your finances? These events could be anything from a new job to a new car to a child going away to college. Almost every major personal event will have some sort of impact on your money. On that note, it is important to plan ahead. If you plan to get a new car, for example, now is a good time to start finding cheap insurance quotes and adjusting your financial resolutions accordingly.

-Do you have balance in your financial life? Do you save too much or too little for retirement? Do you spend too much or too little on something like food or clothing? As with everything else in life, having a financial balance is crucial for your monetary security. It probably also can contribute to your happiness and well being.

These are the major and most basic questions to ask yourself before making any finance-related New Year’s resolutions. The year ahead of us is full of promise and opportunity, but it is important that we go into it with a plan and a sense of purpose on even a purely financial level.

Guest Post , , ,


3 comments

Want An Affordable Mortgage? You Must Repair Your Credit Score First

December 8th, 2011

A big part of the American Dream surrounds the ability to purchase your own home. Unfortunately, for many prospective homeowners, owning a home is not even within the realm of possibility. Since the recent and many changes that have come into the housing market and related mortgage industry, fewer consumers are eligible or able to meet the criteria necessary to secure a mortgage. For those select able to meet the qualifications of a mortgage lender, there are still many issues to consider even with guaranteed loan approval.

Qualifying for a Mortgage

A lender may initially qualify you for a mortgage and you may be ecstatic to learn that owning a home is a possibility. While the lender may give their stamp of approval, the borrower needs to be careful – especially when it comes to the specifics of the loan to be given.

The terms and conditions of a mortgage are much more than just the lender’s approval. Borrowers need to make sure that the loan will cover the purchase price of the home but they also need to ensure that the lender’s interest rate is affordable. While interest rates are considered to be presently at an all-time low, you may not be guaranteed one of those low rates of interest. This will be dependent on your credit score.

Understanding Your Credit Score

Many borrowers do not fully realize the impact their credit score has on their finances. For instance, a borrower can get the nod of approval from a mortgage lender but because of their credit score standing, the mortgage loan may be accompanied by a much higher interest rate than the borrower can reasonably afford.

Potential borrowers should visit their credit score and report information long before they meet with a mortgage lender. Going into a new loan without being fully aware of what credit scores look like can have significant consequences on all of your future financials. When you believe you are ready to purchase a home, it is vital to order copies of your credit report and consumer credit score from the credit reporting bureaus. Once you have received the information, you need to evaluate the strength of your credit score where a loan will be concerned.

For those who maintain credit scores below 700, it would be highly recommended that the perspective borrower work on improving their credit score for six months or longer before seeking a mortgage loan. Lenders may be willing to lend money to those with less-than-perfect credit scores but they will do so taking their risk into consideration. The lender will likely provide the loan at a higher than average interest rate to cover the potential risks associated with a lower credit score.

For those who have a credit score between 700-730, work can still be done to tighten up credit standings to ensure interest rates on a new mortgage are as low as possible. Those with credit scores over 730 are considered to be much less of a risk for lenders. It is those score holders who are most likely to be offered good loans at reasonable interest rates.

How to Improve Credit Scores

Credit score repair is not difficult and all consumers have the right to make the efforts necessary to repair their credit scores. Improving a credit score will take time and there are no other legal ways to speed up the process. The credit score is a vital part of a consumer’s financial life and maintaining a high score will help to ensure that consumers save the most money on loans as well as get the best rates on other financial matters.

Ordering and reviewing relevant consumer credit reports and scores is the first step everyone should make before seeking loan approval or other types of credit. Dispute all mistakes and inaccuracies contained in the report to ensure the information is up-to-date and not otherwise working against you. Improving credit scores involves the on-time, consistent payment of regular creditor bills each and every month. How one pays their monthly financial obligations is a huge factor in the credit score calculation. This is the second place most consumers need to begin their credit repair efforts.

As time passes, it is important that consumers do not apply for new lines of credit or close existing accounts. Both activities can cause a drop in a credit score which can work to the disadvantage of the consumer looking for a mortgage loan. As months move along, the credit score will reflect the concerted effort to improve credit. Consumers should check in with their credit report and score within 4-6 months after efforts are started to reverse negative credit information.

Why Credit Improvement Makes All the Difference

After enough time has passed when care has been taken to improve credit standings, a consumer will likely be afforded a more reasonable, much lower mortgage interest rate. This matters a great deal when it comes to the affordability of a loan.

The interest rate on the loan is calculated over the life of the loan which is typically either 15 years or 30 years. Monthly interest added up over that long of a time span can essentially mean that borrowers will pay almost as much in interest charges for the loan as they did for their home. With a lower credit score and a higher interest rate, some borrowers will find their loan contract will leave them paying more in interest than for the home they purchased.

Of course, paying a loan off early can help reduce the total amount of interest responsibilities a borrower will be charged for provided there are no pre-payment penalties on the loan. But a few months of work to solidify your credit standing can cut out thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest on your loan. In the short-term, this factor can influence which home you can purchase now while in the long-term, the interest rate you pay can have a huge impact on your overall financial stability.

J.D. Roberts is a seasoned writer in personal finance, specializing in credit repair. You can find more of his articles located at CreditRepair.org.

Guest Post ,


14 comments

Streamline Your Technology For Savings

September 26th, 2011
The technological singularity is a foreseen event that is likely to occur sometime in the mid-21st century. It’s when technology is set to become more sophisticated and intelligent than humans themselves. Sounds scary, but in practical terms what it really means is that everything we know of today as individual technology will all come together under one umbrella. We already see this happening today in the form of the television and the computer combining as one and mobile phones replacing Mp3 players, portable game players, and soon the laptop. Those looking to save money need to start thinking about how they can take advantage of the condensation of consumer technology today, since it’s undoubtedly an element of the future.

Right now, countless families are splintering their monthly budget by paying out to several technological investments. The computer needs an Internet connection, the television needs a cable connection, and smartphone needs to connect to a satellite. Then there’s the space and access issues inherent with each technology that cost more. Memory upgrades, DVR, 4G access all separately take their toll on a monthly budget. But most of this can be reduced down to fewer payouts and lead to a cheaper lifestyle.

For instance, Google TV is like having a computer and television combined into one device. Cloud storage can be accessed from the television, therefore giving you a way to store unlimited amounts of entertainment data while not spending money on thumb drives to move the content around. The built-in TV-show finding services can even make cable television itself obsolete. This is especially the case with the emergence of Hulu and the continued success of Netflix (which is built right into Google TV by the way).

The prepaid phone to a home network can act as a mini-computer without the added cost of unlimited data. Anywhere that has public Wi-Fi can again allow such a device to turn into just as worthy and reliable of a port of web entry as a phone attained through a contract. The difference is that it can cost much less.

One day it will be commonplace for everyone to have a device the size of a thin smartphone that can be used as such, but can also project an HD screen onto a wall, access every bit of data that person ever needs, and contain information that ties it directly to that person’s identity and no one else. That day will come before you know it. Starting now can save you some serious cash. So why not? Who knows where you can put those savings? Maybe you can invest it in the singularity.

Guest Post


No comments

How To Prioritize Spending When Your Paycheck is Gone

September 22nd, 2011

In most cases, consumers want to pay all of their bills on time each and every month. But not all situations present the opportunity to do that. There are various circumstances that prevent us from fulfilling all of our financial obligations including sudden layoffs, emergency expenses, and just facing the facts that you’ve spent more than you’ve earned.

Whatever your scenario, the reality of not being able to pay bills is affecting more consumers than ever. Making a paycheck stretch far enough to cover debts, current bills, and having enough for the basics like food and clothing leaves consumers feeling frustrated, guilty, and oftentimes hopeless.

Keeping on the Right Path

When consumers feel down and out about the status of their finances, many will give up without a fight. They figure if they can’t pay all the bills than why bother paying anyone. This is the start of a vicious cycle where credit scores drop significantly and as a result consumers find they not only have no resources for financial assistance such as a personal consolidation loan, they also have to pay even more money for their insurance premiums, utilities, and other services.

The reality is even if you are just scraping by successfully, there may come a time in the near-future where your small cushion is taken away and you are not going to be able to even make the ends meet.

Here are some strategies to help you prioritize the income you are earning when things are getting just too tight:

Food Essentials

Even with a tight budget, you need to be able to eat. Even if the bill collectors are calling during dinnertime, there needs to be food on the table. It is important to tuck away cash used for your grocery purchases and make a concerted effort to save where you can. Consider shopping at discount stores and cut out eating at restaurants altogether. Look for online and newspaper coupons to help you stretch your dollar.

Household Basics

It is not healthy to live without basic household items like laundry soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, and other hygiene products but you can live without high-cost, brand named merchandise. Stick to the basics and look for coupons before going to the store. Check out the local dollar stores that often sell the same items as other retailers but at a significant savings.

Mortgage Bill/Rent Payment

Outside of food, you need shelter to live. It is essential that you keep up with your mortgage bills or rent payments each month in order to prevent complications of foreclosures or evictions. If you have no choice but to be late, speak with your lender or landlord to explain your financial hardship so they at least know you have the intentions of paying the bill, even if you are paying it late. It is important to then save as much as you can to ensure you can afford the payment for the next month. Not all lenders or landlords will take kindly continuous late payments.

Basic Utilities

Be sure to pay for the basic utilities you rely on for daily living including electricity, water, and heat. You certainly can function without cable television, telephones, and Internet if you have to neglect some bills. However, not only is living without the basic utilities hazardous to your family’s health, it may also be a cause for eviction in rental locations. If you are going to be late or unable to pay for basic services in full, contact the company directly to alert them of your current situation. They may be willing to work out more affordable payment options for the time being.

Legal Obligations

If you are required to pay legal obligations such as back tax bills or child support, you can get into serious trouble for defaulting on even one payment. It is essential that you work to keep up with these obligations in as timely a manner as possible. If not, you’ll face large penalties and even the possibility of jail time if you fail to stay on track.

Vehicle Notes

Most people need their vehicle to get to and from work to earn their income. This makes it important for you to pay your vehicle note each month and not fall too far behind or your vehicle may be repossessed. If you have access to public transportation, you may wish to put other priorities ahead of the car note until you can afford to pay up.

Insurance

It can be hard to justify the payments of insurance premium during times when you don’t actually need to utilize your insurance coverage. But losing insurance can make it difficult to get insurance when you have the cash. Lapses in vehicle insurance can mean other insurance companies will not work with you. Health insurance lapses can have a lot of consequences if canceled and then a medical emergency occurs, leaving you even further in debt.

Collateral-Held Personal Loans

If you have a loan that is secured with collateral like your home, your vehicle, or some other important piece of personal property, it would be in your best interest to make the note as timely as possible. Too many late or missed payments may result in your collateral being repossessed. Losing your home or transportation at this point in life could be disastrous.

As mentioned, if you are having financial struggles it is best to be honest and upfront with your creditors. Those who are able and willing may work with you on other payment arrangements until you are more financially stable, allowing you to keep the services you need. However, just because creditors and service providers are willing to help you through a rough patch, does not mean they will always be forgiving.

The biggest lesson one can learn after going through this type of predicament is that budgeting and money management should be made a priority to keep history from repeating itself in the future. After surviving a rough financial patch, it is best to continue improving your money management skills and focus on improving savings goals so money is always accessible when life dishes out the unexpected.

———-

This post was written by Eliza Collins, a guest writer specializing in personal finance topics like savings, debt relief as well as credit score improvement. You can read more of her articles at the debt settlement blog.

Budget, Guest Post


1 comment

Why You Might Want To Think Twice Before Borrowing

August 4th, 2011

There are times when we’re faced with a situation where we desperately need money, but realize that the guy lending the money is aware of this. Desperate times don’t always call for desperate measures. Before you sign away your future to debt, consider some key factors that might change your mind:

Credit Score
Before you try and apply for any loan, you should look at your credit score first. This figure is going to determine what kind of rates you’ll receive. If you have a bad rating, you’re going to get some pretty stiff rates. Sometimes they can be double what someone with a good rating is paying. If you have a low rating, you should think twice before borrowing.

Co-Signer
It your credit rating is so bad that you’ll need a co-signer, this is a big warning sign. If any situation crops up where you miss a payment, then the lender is going right after the person that co-signed on your loan. This is usually a parent or a close friend, and you might wind up losing a relationship while maintaining debt at the same time.

Need Versus Want
What are you using the money for? That’s what you need to ask yourself. If you’re taking out a loan so you can buy a TV or a car that you don’t need, then you need to rethink your approach. Taking out loans isn’t something that should be approached lightly and we can lose sight of what’s important and the need versus the want can sometimes look similar.

Stability
The last thing you need to contemplate is exactly how stable are you, financially speaking. Do you have a good job that you feel secure in? How much disposable income do you have at the end of each month? If you don’t feel secure in your job, then you could find yourself in bankruptcy court or foreclosing on your home. These are things that will follow you for years, and nobody wants that.

So, before you sign, consider the options. If you need money, think about some of the ways that you can take a second job before you take on the debt. It doesn’t even have to be a real-world job. There are tons of ways to make money online by doing simple things like reviewing products for marketers or taking surveys with Survey Head. If you need money, think of the ways you can earn it rather than borrowing, and you’ll thank yourself in the end.

Guest Post


No comments

3 Ways To Use A Credit Card To Avoid Debt

July 8th, 2011

This is a guest post on credit card use from financial blogger Mike Brains.  Do YOU think credit cards are a good option to avoid debt?  Tell us in the comments below.

3 Ways To Use A Credit Card To Avoid Debt

It might seem like an oxymoron – using a credit card to avoid debt. However, it’s not all bad news. Credit cards can offer options if you’re responsible and clever enough to take advantage of them. Avoiding debt in today’s economy is a difficult task at best, and we all need every tool at our disposal to help. Instead of allowing that little piece of plastic to lead us down the debt road, harness its power to pull us out. Yes, it can be done!

Credit cards are a fact of the modern life and have become very useful in today’s financial climate, but only if used carefully. Too many people apply for a credit card and instead of becoming intimately familiar with the accompanying credit card agreement and remembering credit cards are a loan and not “free money”, things can spiral out of control very quickly. The thing to keep in mind is to avoid debt. If you are already enmeshed in a debt quagmire, you need a different strategy.

Here are 3 ways to use a credit card to avoid debt:

1. Don’t purchase anything you cannot afford. A credit card can give you a huge edge on taking advantage of a great price on a big-ticket item, but if you can’t afford it in the first place, walk away. Miss a payment or fail to make the minimum payment at the end of your billing cycle, and you’re looking at steep interest rates and outrageous fees which will eat up any great savings you’re receiving. Buy it and use your credit card only if it’s a fabulous deal, only if you can afford it and only if you can pay it off on time.

2. Observe the limit. It’s not just the limits of your credit cards you should keep an eye on, but also how they affect your credit score. A good credit score is a defining factor in many aspects of your financial life. It can determine whether you get the house, the car, or at what rate. Keep your debt at least 30% below your credit limit. Potential loaners will look at your debt load and this will significantly impact your credit rating.

3. Choose carefully and choose wisely. The type of credit cards you choose should be made according to your lifestyle. The rewards and perks a credit card offers needs to evaluated carefully to determine if they are the best fit for you. For instance, if you travel a lot, then an air miles credit card may be worth considering. If you don’t travel then then rewards such as cashback credit cards might be your best option.

Make smart choices, make your payments on time, and keep your debt ceiling down. These are the best ways to avoid crushing debt while using credit cards.

Guest Post


3 comments

3 Places To Get Debt Advice

July 2nd, 2011

This is a guest post from financial blogger Mike Brains.  What do YOU do for debt advice — use professionals, or do it yourself?  Tell us in the comments below.

3 Places To Get Debt Advice

With a record number of foreclosures and bankruptcies, finding places to get debt advice isn’t much of a challenge. The challenge lies in getting the right advice for a particular situation. Many people struggle with major decisions in this difficult economic climate, from contemplating the differences between balance transfer credit cards to choosing a low APR credit card that best serves their needs. Others are looking for help with balancing bill payment with a reduced income to avoid the worst case scenario.

Professional debt services can help negotiate payment plans with credit card companies and may also be able to reduce late payment fees and high interest rates from the overall balance. They are also able to help consolidate loans, credit card balances and other expenses into one manageable payment. This alone may be enough to help people with a debt problem to get it under some kind of control.

Some non-profit organizations specialize in debt reduction and can aid in formulating a budget to control spending and facilitate bill payment. Many people do not realize where their income goes, and by analysing spending habits they are able to make necessary adjustments which are beneficial to their complete financial picture. Sometimes all it takes is for options to be laid out in an organized manner for a clear outlook.

Specialized debt lawyers can help with more dire situations when bankruptcy or foreclosure seems inevitable. Although there are options for people to handle either situation on their own, the fact is both choices involve complicated laws and actions that may be better left to professionals for an optimal outcome. There are many different scenarios and it can be confusing trying to negotiate the maze of requirements, conditions and laws which impact bankruptcies and foreclosures.

A serious debt problem is difficult to get under control, and it may take a professional to arrive at the best option. Every situation is unique, and presents a different set of challenges. Often, the financial picture can look quite grim until someone from the outside evaluates the entire  financial position and is able to recommend a beneficial course of action. In any case, consulting some kind of professional debt service might be the best decision someone struggling with money problems can make in the first place.

Guest Post


3 comments