Tag Archives: student loans

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college educationThere are many ways to fund a college education. Loans, scholarships, working between classes and saving during high school are some of the ways students can afford college.

There's also another reliable way to pay for it — hit up your parents.

The average cost for an in-state public college for the 2015-16 academic year averaged $24,061, and was $47,831 at private colleges, according to a survey by College Data.

Graduates may eventually cover those expenses with future earnings, but that's years after leaving college and doesn't help at all before starting school.

For parents who are generous enough to pay for some or all of their children's college education, it can require some sacrifices. And I'm not just talking about taking out a loan, dipping into a retirement account or taking out some equity in your home.

Cutting vices

Some families have to make life changes to be able to afford college. These can go well beyond stopping smoking or not going out for coffee every weekday. Getting rid of your vices makes sense for more than monetary reasons, but some pleasures in life are worth keeping, even if your kid has to get a college loan or two.

Liberty Bank of Chicago recently put together a graphic (at the bottom of this post) that lists simple vices that can be cut to help struggling families save for college. The bank based the total savings amount for each item on putting the money in a savings account for 18 years that earned 3 percent interest.

It's interesting to see how much can be saved by not doing something for 18 years — all of your child's life.  ...continue reading

student loanWells Fargo was cited $4 million Monday for illegal private student loan servicing practices that cost student borrowers more money in fees, leading to a host of solutions the bank must implement to improve its practices.

Most of the money to be paid by Wells Fargo through the order by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau goes to the CFPB with a $3.6 million penalty. The bank must provide $410,000 in relief to borrowers.

The federal agency found that the bank failed to provide important payment information to consumers, charged illegal fees, and failed to update inaccurate credit report information.

How Wells Fargo erred

The consent order includes a number of things Wells Fargo must do, starting with providing at least $410,000 to compensate consumers for illegal late fees.

To get their refund for such fees, students shouldn't have to do anything. The refunds include payments for the bank failing to disclose its payment allocation practices across multiple loans in a borrower's account, as well as for not informing consumers that they could instruct the bank to allocate payments in a different way.

Refunds will also happen for illegal fees that were charged because the bank didn't combine partial payments made in the same billing cycle, and for fees improperly charged when borrowers made a payment on the last day of the grace period.

Misinformation on partial payments

As any borrower can do with a loan, a partial payment can be made — though they'll likely have to pay a late fee. Still, a partial payment will help a borrower avoid some interest charges, and is better than no payment at all.

For students with multiple loans from a bank, a partial payment can satisfy at least one loan payment in an account, meaning they'd be late for other loans but not the one where the partial payment was made. ...continue reading

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worst financial mistakesAnyone can make a mistake. They're part of everyday life. Financial mistakes, however, can lead to problems for years to come if not corrected soon.

After talking to financial experts and others who have either experienced or seen other people make the worst financial mistakes of their lives, we compiled the following list of 25 of them. Many are common after graduating from college and starting a financial life on your own, but they can still happen to anyone at any age.

We should also note that these worst financial mistakes aren't listed in any order. We'll leave measuring their importance to you:

25 Worst Financial Mistakes

1. Not going to college

The average starting salary for a high school graduate is about $28,000. That figure almost doubles to $48,127 for college graduates in the class of 2014 with bachelor's degrees, according to a salary survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers. Starting your working life by being that far behind in pay is one of the worst financial mistakes you can make.

2. Not paying off student loans fast

The average student loan debt for a college graduate is $28,400, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

For a college grad who is earning some real money after four or more years of living like a student, it can be tempting to spend much of their new income before paying off debt. That's one of the worst financial mistakes a graduate can make, says Alfred Poor, a college speaker and author of books about problems young people are having in the workplace.

"If college graduates tighten their belts and lower their expectations, and live like they only have the high school diploma, they will rapidly pay off their average $27,000 in student loans," Poor says. "If they spend their whole salary on a more comfortable lifestyle, they could be struggling to pay off that debt for decades, and end up paying much more in interest."

3. Paying off student loans too quickly

Paying off student loans quickly can also have a downside, says Steven Fox, a financial planner in San Diego with NextGenFinancialPlanning.com. If they use all of their extra income paying off student loans, they could be in financial trouble if they don't put some in an emergency fund and lose their job or get in a car accident and have unexpected medical expenses, Fox says.

"They should really think about whether they should pay off their student loans as fast as they possibly can once they get their first job if it means that they're doing so at the expense of not saving or investing anything," he says. "Ending up with zero debt is good, but ending up with zero savings is very bad."

An emergency could lead to borrowing money at a higher rate than what they were paying on student loans, says Fox, who reminds graduates that student loan interest is tax deductible for up to $2,500 for individuals making $80,000 or less without having to itemize.

4. Using max credit card limit

"Just because a bank offers you a credit card that allows you to spend money doesn't mean you should," Fox says.

This goes for all debt, he says. Being approved for a $20,000 auto loan doesn't mean your budget for a car is $20,000. ...continue reading