Posts tagged: debt

Why choose federal student loans?

Students loan debtStudents with a financial need for managing their education would opt for a student loan and the best amongst all of them is the federal student loans. There are a lot of supporting factors for this particular loan which make it a huge success amongst students. More than 80% of the students in the country opt for a federal student loan for their education. Of this, more than 50% of the students seem to be undergraduate students. An overview of why to choose a federal student loan is explained in detail as follows.

There are different types of federal student loans offered, few of those include Perkins loans, Stafford loans, PLUS loans etc. Each and every student would be able to obtain the loan of their choice easily. Federal student loan is offered for both undergraduate and graduate students. Being eligible for a federal student loan is one of the easiest things to do since, most of the students would be eligible for the loan and there are no restrictions placed on them apart from the requirement that the borrower should be US citizen and should have no criminal record against their name.

Eligibility & Interest rate charges

Being eligible for a loan would make the job easy for the borrower since they need not worry about the complications that might occur during loan application. Application procedure is also simple and easily understandable. Coming to the most important aspect of any particular loan program, which is the interest rate charged on the loan. All the federal student loans carry lower interest rate charges. Considerably lower interest rate charges would mean that the borrower would be able to manage their repayment in a better manner.

Repayment terms

Due to lower interest rate, the amount of monthly payment that has to be made towards the loan repayment would be lower and manageable. Apart from the interest rate charged on the loan amount, federal student loans would not have any other costs associated with the loan. Subsidized Stafford loan offered to undergraduate students would help the borrower with the repayments since the interest rate charged at the time of schooling would be paid by the Federal government directly and the borrower need not pay them.

Repayment period would be initiated only after 6 months from graduation and so this would allow enough time for the borrower to secure a job and start earning money to pay for the repayments. In case of unemployment or any other financial stress situations, the borrower would be able to opt for a deferment period which would allow them to postpone their repayment period for a fixed period of time. This time period can be utilized by the borrower to recover from their bad times and gain some finances.

Suppose, in case the borrower files for a bankruptcy or forbearance, he or she would be forgiven for the amount of money they would have to make towards the loan repayment and this amount would be paid by the federal government themselves.

How To Decide If You Should Focus On Saving Or Paying Off Debt

Saving or paying off debtThere’s no shortage of personal finance information on the Internet. You’ve probably lost count of how many times you’ve read that it’s important to save money every month. While that sounds great in theory, when you have a cloud of debt hanging over you, focusing on saving becomes even harder.

Regardless of how good your intentions are, it’s hard to convince yourself that funneling money into your savings account is the best course of action when you’re receiving daily phone calls about payments that are past due.

Since this is a dilemma that millions of Americans face, you’re not alone in wondering how you should deal with it. And as you may have guessed, there’s not just one answer to this question. Instead, it really does depend on your individual situation. To decide which option is right for you, there are several factors that you need to take into account:

Rainy Day Fund

While it’s obviously important to think about the future and take steps to help secure your retirement, in terms of what currently matters most for you and your family, that would be having a sufficient rainy day fund. Also commonly referred to as an emergency fund, the reason having one is so important is you simply never know when a significant expense may come up. Although you can plan and project your budget all the way down to the penny, if an emergency situation arises, the last thing you want is for it to also be a financial catastrophe.

Given the importance of this fund, if you don’t have one yet or it’s not even close to the amount you actually need, it’s worth focusing on this type of saving before you begin dealing with getting rid of your debt.

The Real Cost of Your Debt

One important calculation to make is comparing the true cost of your debt to how much you can earn from saving. As an example, let’s say you have $8,000 in credit card debt with 9% interest. By multiplying the two, you can see that specific debt is costing you $720 a year. Then once you decide how much you either want to pay off or put in savings, you can calculate the savings yield you’ll receive and then determine which option will put you in a more favorable position.

Your Short-Term Financial Goals

The other factor you need to take into account is what your priorities are in the short-term. If you’re doing something like starting a business, it makes sense to prioritize saving so you’ll have the funds necessary to get your venture off the ground.

As previously mentioned, although there’s not a definitive answer to this question, you now have all the information you need to make the right decision for your specific situation.

James Freemont is a freelance writer who blogs about income tax planning and financial advice.

Live Debt Free In Eight Baby Steps

live debt freeIf you want to stop relying on lenders and creditors to get you through the month, then it’s time to learn about debt free living. Follow these eight steps to live debt free. Many of the steps are small and can make a big difference.

1.       Create a budget and stick to it.

Financial experts recommend that you spend a certain percentage of your monthly income on the necessities, leaving the remainder for savings and incidentals. Reserve 35% of your budget for housing, 15% for transportation, and 15% for food.

2.       Pay more than the minimum on your credit cards.

If you only pay the minimum on your credit card debt, you might only be covering the interest. Pay more than the minimum to achieve debt free living.

3.       Check your credit report.

The last thing you want is to have your credit ruined because of a forgotten debt or because of identity theft. Take a peek at your credit report every 12 months to make sure all things are in order.

4.       If you want something, save money for it.

Need new siding on the house? Want to take a trip to Paris? Wishing you could give all the kids their own iPads? Save money for the extras and pay for in full right away.

5.       Look at all your debts and pay them in order of size.

List every debt you have in the order of size. Pay off the smallest debt first and work your way up.

6.       Have a rainy day savings.

It’s recommended that you have 9-12 months of income in a savings account just in case. If you are often tempted to dip into that rainy day account, move the funds to an interest bearing account at a different bank where you do not have a checking account or debit card.

7.       Call and ask for lower interest rates and payment plans.

Many lenders and creditors will lower your interest rate or create or adjust a payment plan, but you have to call and ask. You may also have to prove your facing financial hardship.

8.       Ask for help.

Along with asking for lower interest rates and payment plans from creditors and lenders, ask a financial advisor to help you get on the path to debt-free living. Many professionals charge a fee for this service, but you might also find free help from organizations such as the Salvation Army. They will show you how best to handle your existing debt and give you advice on other money-saving tips such as health savings accounts, IRA contributions, and more.

This is a guest post by Allison Murray. Allison recommends finding more information about debt free living at Dialog.Scarborough.com.

You Want Money For What?

Some of us work hard, pay our dues, but are still flat broke at the end of the month. Then there are those who seem to cruise through life and they are always doing the things we cannot afford to, despite the fact that they have a worse job and yet still drive a more expensive car than that which we drive. It is okay to feel aggrieved, but when you realise those people are bouncing from one loan to another and are rapidly reducing their spending power, it is also okay to feel a little happier. The problem is that those kinds of people always seem to manage to scrape their way out of a financial mess right at the last minute, but is that any way to live your life.

money_bags_300b

What is a Good Reason?

We all know the answer, nobody wants to dread letters coming through the door because they don’t know if they are going to be able to pay them or not, that’s why it’s important to make sure we use loans responsibly. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get ridiculously in debt for a family holiday to Cancun, it just means we shouldn’t do it twice in a year, although many people do just that. On a less serious note, some people have come up with some crazy reasons for loans that are definitely worth sharing.

Top Five Mad Loan Reasons

1. I want to buy a pet snake, Spider, Monkey or other exotic animal

Fair enough, exotic animals need the correct environment and a great deal of care. Bills at the vets are liable to run into thousands if animals lack proper care, but borrowing a few thousand pounds to kit out a spare room like a Brazilian rainforest is a little eccentric. It’s a little more worrying when there is not spare room and the person states that they live in a one-bedroom flat.

2. A loan for a Friend

One sure way to lose friends is to lend them money. Well, that’s not strictly true. Lending the money is fine; it’s asking them to make repayments that often cause the arguments. If someone cannot get a loan, it’s usually for a reason so you are well advised to leave them to deal with their own problems. Things come to a head when repayments are late and the friend is out on the town every weekend.

3. Borrowing to Invest

In all fairness, most businesses borrow to invest, but that is a lot different from someone taking out a personal loan to invest in a business venture or worse, the stock market. There is no safe investment out there that provides a better income than the cost of a loan; otherwise, the loan companies would put their money into those investments instead of risking it with customers.

4. A loan to pay off  a loan

This is not to be confused with a debt consolidation loan, which in certain circumstances is very useful. The type of loan that is not useful is the kind that people use to cover missed payments, late payments or any other short-term problem. People are far better off when they speak to the company they have a loan with and explain the situation.

5. A loan for Cosmetic Surgery

This is a new one, but both men and women are becoming so conscious of their appearance, they are prepared to take out huge loans to achieve a certain look. The problem is they are rarely satisfied even after spending thousands and of course, the cost rises even higher when interest is on top. Most plastic surgeons offer finance solutions to customers and this is nice little side earner for the practice who already rakes it in with the surgery costs.

Most people are not silly enough to get themselves in a great deal of debt because of something as stupid as the five reasons here, but we are all guilty of putting the odd thing on a credit card when we know it’s not a necessary purchase. The important thing to do is make sure you stay within your means. In other words, live the life you can afford to live and avoid plastic surgery, exotic pets and high maintenance friends if you want to protect your credit record.

William Bancs is a writer who enjoys blogging about his financial experiences and often writes interesting articles to offer advice to help loan companies communicate better with customers.

Debt Management Plans – First Step To Recovery

Recovery from Debt problemsFalling into debt is a stressful situation for anyone. Due to unforeseen circumstances it can sometimes be an inevitable consequence that we have to come up with an effective debt management plan to combat these perilous financial pitfalls before the situation worsens.

Seeking Help

While we can do our share to cut down on our expenditure, it is not always enough and you should not be afraid to seek outside help should the strain of debt become too much. Seeking expert financial advice from professionals can help to alleviate the strain in ways you had not previously considered.

Planning the Future

Preparing a debt management plan is an essential step on the path to financial recovery and can demonstrate a significant willingness to address your finances for the better, which can go a long way when dealing with your creditors. The peace of mind which comes with the knowledge that you on the way to financial recovery is priceless and can heavily relieve the stress that goes with the heavy burden of repayment obligations.

Every Debt is Different

Each person’s financial situation requires its own personal plan, there is no use seeking generic advice when it may not suit your individual needs. Working with a professional to devise a debt management plan will take into consideration all of your needs and nuances in a way which was previously inaccessible. Putting this plan into action is your responsibility however and can take significant work and effort to ensure that payments are being met. Debt is a serious, crippling threat to anyone’s lifestyle, and one which must be cut out and eliminated as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, a debt management plan may mean an increase in your repayment periods, but it is a necessary action when making repayments manageable. There is no point having a shorter repayment period if you are unable to meet these deadlines, which could lead to serious complications down the line.

My Name is – and I have a Problem

Admitting that you might need professional advice to solve your monetary woes is an important first step, with many people choosing to be stubborn to their own detriment. Formulating an effective debt management plan may not have been something you had previously considered, but it is highly unlikely you wanted to be in such a perilous financial situation in the first place.

A non-lending solution from a professional debt management advice agency can be the turning point on your road to getting bank statements back into the black and out of the grisly red. Taking the solo route of attempting to circumvent the road to recovery without professional help can be extremely risky and ultimately damaging to your credit rating.

As the debt management agency will contact your creditors, it can take a major load off your back, as their negotiations will be conducted on your behalf. Of course, the decision is ultimately yours and all avenues should be explored to find the best way for you to resolve your monetary issues – there is no need to feel pressured into agreeing a deal you are not comfortable with. Comfort with a debt management plan is paramount to its success, so be sure to find an agency and a plan that is perfect for you. It is your money and ultimately, your future livelihood you are trusting them with, so be sure to consider all options before committing to anything.

Get them Working for You

Debt can be devastating, so correctly managing your repayments is extremely vital. Having a debt management agency on your side can be advantageous when dealing with creditors, with many choosing a debt management plan in order to receive the additional support and security a specialised debt management company can offer.

Getting your life back on track without the daily worry (and hassle) which debt brings about is an obvious plus point, the sooner your finances are under manageable control the sooner the anxiety will pass. Nobody wants to be in debt, but with the correct management, it is possible to make the transition into a positive bank balance a smooth and painless one. Signing up for the correct debt management plan for your circumstances is but the first foray into a debt-free lifestyle, but once you are out of it, you will never want to look back.

Clint Hazard is a writer whom believes strongly in planning when it comes to your finances. Before committing to a debt management plan, remember to consider all possible options and whether the deal is right for you.