Tag Archives: student loans

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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

college

Only half of college alumni think their university education was worth the cost, but a lot fewer think it's worthwhile when taking on a lot of student loan debt, according to a new survey.

The national Gallup-Purdue Index found that in the face of mounting debt, 50 percent of alumni "strongly agree" that their college education was worth the cost. Graduates of public universities agreed with that the most at 52 percent, followed by 47 percent at private nonprofit universities. Only 26 percent of graduates of private for-profit universities agreed, possibly because they were more likely to take on higher levels of student loan debt.

The survey found that 63 percent of alumni who graduated from 2006-15 used student loans, with the median loan at $30,000. ...continue reading

interest rates

Predicting if and when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates is a fool’s game, though plenty of people try doing it.

The recent inaction by the Fed to hold interest rates where they are may prolong global uncertainty, though it’s a global uncertainty that has been around since the last time the Fed raised interest rates in 2006. Its main interest rate has remained practically zero since then.

The Washington Post reported that some Fed officials expect interest rates to be raised sometime this year — which leaves only four months. Its top officials are scheduled to meet twice more in 2015: October and December.

3 ways to beat the Fed

If interest rates do rise this year, there are some financial habits worth starting now in preparation for the rise. Here are three: ...continue reading