In the 1980s, self-driving cars and smartphones without antennas were only things youâd see in movies â unimaginable futuristic goals. Now, these âimpossibleâ inventions are part of peopleâs everyday lives. These innovative ideas were thought to be outlandish years ago until creators like Elon Musk and IBMâs team put their impossible goals to the test.
Impossible goals are things you want to achieve that seem out of the ordinary â ones that feel as if you may never reach them, even in your wildest dreams. These goals could be turning your dream side hustle into a full-time job or building your savings from zero in the next year to buy your dream home.
While the end result seems unreachable, a mix of motivation, determination, and hard work can get you further than you think. To see the strategic process of setting and achieving your biggest life goals, keep reading our jump to our infographic below.
Whatâs an Impossible Goal?
An impossible goal is a goal you think you could never achieve. Becoming a millionaire, buying your dream home, or starting a business may be your life goal, but one too big that you never set out to achieve. Instead, you may stick to your current routine and believe you should live life in the comfort zone.
Becoming a millionaire usually requires investing time, confidence, and a lot of hard work â things that may challenge you. But when you think about the highest achievers, most of them had to put in the effort and believe in themselves when nobody else did.
Flashback to 1995 when nobody believed in the âinternet storeâ that came to be Amazon. While that was considered impossible years ago, Amazonâs now made over $280 billion dollars.
In other words, when you make your impossible goals a priority, you may be pleasantly surprised by your progress. We share how to set hard financial goals, why you should set them, and how these goals could transform your financial portfolio this year.
4 Reasons to Reach for the âImpossibleâ
Impossible goals challenge you to shift your way of thinking â getting comfortable out of the safety zone. They help fine-tune your focus for daunting tasks youâre willing to put in the time and work for. Whether youâre looking to become a millionaire, buy your dream house, or pay down your debts, hereâs why you should set goals for things you think you could never achieve.
1. You May Be Pleasantly Surprised
Everything seems impossible until you do it. When youâre in elementary school, maybe you thought getting a four-year college degree would be out of reach. Regardless, you put in the time and hard work to become a college grad years later. The same goes for your potential goal to write a book. You may think itâs hopeless to write a few hundred pages in the next year, but you may find it attainable once you hit the halfway point.
2. You Check Off Micro-Goals Along the Way
Itâs hard to set your goals too low when youâre trying to reach for the stars. In the past, you may have set small goals like being more mindful with your money. While mindfulness practices are extremely beneficial for your budget, you may need more of a push to save for your dream home. By setting impossible goals, you may find it easier to reach your savings goal this year. You may have no idea how to do it, but your goal is to figure it out. Side hustles, a new job, or starting a business are all potential starting points.
3. It May Not Be as Hard as You Think
It can be uncomfortable to try something for the first time, so to avoid the doubts of reaching your goals, create a strategic plan. Download and print out our printable to breakdown each impossible goal. Start with your big goals and break them down into mini-goals. For example, if you want to start an online ecommerce store, researching the perfect website platform is a good starting point.
4. What Do You Have to Lose?
If you already live a comfortable life, you may only have experiences to gain and nothing to lose. When embarking on this journey, check in with yourself every month. Note all the lessons you learned and how far youâve come. You most likely will face failures, but youâll be failing forward rather than backwards. Your first ecommerce product launch may not have gone smoothly, but you may know how to improve for the next time around.
How To Set Impossible Budgeting Goals in 6 Steps
If your impossible goal is related to finances, your mindfulness, time, and dedication will be required to put you on a path towards your dream life. To get started, follow our step-by-step guide below.
Step 1: Map Out Your Dream Lifestyle
Get out a journal and map out your dream life. Some starter questions may be:
Do you want to afford that house youâve always dreamt about?
Do you want to have a certain amount of money in your savings?
Are you hoping to turn your side hustle into a full-time job?
What do you find yourself daydreaming about?
Track all these daydreams in a notebook and curate the perfect action plan to achieve each goal.
Step 2: Outline Micro-goals to Reach Your Financial Goals
Now, list out mini-goals to achieve your desires. Start with the big âunachievableâ goal and break it down into medium and small goals, then assign each mini-goal a due date. For example, saving $10,000 this year may take more than your current monthly earnings. To achieve this, you may create passive income streams. If that side hustle is to start a money-making blog, you may need to research steps to successfully launch your website.
Step 3: Believe and Act Like Your Future Self
Think of yourself as the future self you want to be. You may picture yourself with a certain home, financial portfolio, and lifestyle, but your current actions may not reflect your future self. Your future self may invest, but your current self is too intimidated to start. To act like your future self, consider doing the research and finding low-risk investments that suit you and your budget.
Step 4: If You Fail, Learn from Your Mistakes
When working towards your dream life, you may hit roadblocks and experience failures. As Oprah explains it, âthere is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.â While failure may happen, youâre able to learn from it and pivot. Every mistake you make, analyze it in your journal. Note what worked, what didnât, and what you want to do better tomorrow to surpass this roadblock.
Step 5: Track Your Results Consistently
Host monthly meetings with yourself to see how far youâve come. Consider creating a goal tracking system that suits you best. That may include checking your budgeting goals off in our app month after month. Find a system that works for you and note your growth at the end of each month. If youâre putting in the time and hard work, youâll get closer to your goals in no time.
Step 6: Be Patient With Your Budget Goals
Throughout this journey, practice patience. Setting goals may be exciting and motivating, but when youâre faced with failures, you may feel hints of disappointment. To avoid a failure slump, be patient and open to learn from your mistakes. If you didnât make what you wanted from your side hustle the first year, youâre that much closer than you were last year.
Why set your sights on hard goals? Everything feels out of reach until you do it. All it takes is motivation and determination to achieve the impossible. To boost your lifestyle, budget, and drive this New Year, consider setting goals that feel out of reach. Keep reading to see why these goals may be perfect for you. Why Set Impossible Goals for 2021? [The Ultimate New Yearâs Savings Hack] appeared first on MintLife Blog.
The best student loans can help you earn a college degree that will lead to higher earnings later in life. They also come with low interest rates and reasonable fees (or no fees), which will make it easier to keep costs down while youâre in school and once youâre in repayment mode.
For most people, federal student loans are the best deal. With federal student loans, you can qualify for low fixed interest rates and federal protections like deferment, forbearance, and income-driven repayment plans. To find out how much you can borrow with federal student loans, you should fill out a FAFSA form. Doing so can also help you determine if you qualify for any additional student aid, and if so, how much.
While federal student loans are usually the best deal for borrowers, many students need to turn to private student loans at some point during their college careers. This is often the case when federal student loan limits have been exhausted, or when federal student loans are no longer an option due to other circumstances. We’re providing the top 8 options, at least according to us, as well as a guide to help you get the best rate.
Apply now with our top pick: College Ave
Most Important Factors When Applying for Student Loans
Start with a federal loan. Fill out a FAFSA form prior to applying for a private loan to make sure youâre getting all the benefits you can.
Compare loans across multiple lenders. Consider using a comparison company like Credible to do so.
Always read the fine print. Fees arenât always boasted on the front of a lenderâs website, so take time to learn about what youâre getting into.
Start paying as soon as you can to avoid getting crushed by compound interest.
Best Private Student Loans of 2021
Fortunately, there are many private student loan options that come with low interest rates and fair terms. The best student loans of 2021 come from the following private lenders and loan comparison companies:
Best for Flexibility
Best Loan Comparison
Best for Low Rates and Fees
Best for No Fees
Best Student Loans from a Major Bank
Best Student Loans with No Cosigner Required
Best for Fair Credit
Best for Comprehensive Comparisons
#1: College Ave â Best for Flexibility
College Ave offers private student loans for undergraduate and graduate students as well as parents who want to take out loans to help their kids get through college. Variable APRs as low as 3.70% are available for undergraduate students, but you can also opt for a fixed rate as low as 4.72% if you have excellent credit. College Ave offers some of the most flexible repayment options available today, letting you choose from interest-only payments, flat payments, and deferred payments depending on your needs. College Ave even lets you fill out your entire student loan application online, and they offer an array of helpful tools that can help you figure out how much you can afford to borrow, what your monthly payment will be, and more.
Qualify in Just 3 Minutes with College Ave
#2: Credible â Best Loan Comparison
Credible doesnât offer its own student loans; instead, it serves as a loan aggregator and comparison site. This means that, when you check out student loans on Credible, you have the benefit of comparing multiple loan options in one place. Not only is this convenient, but comparing rates and terms is the best way to ensure you get a good deal. Credible even lets you get prequalified without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and you can see loan offers from up to nine student lenders at a time. Fixed interest rates start as low as 4.40% for borrowers with excellent credit, and variable rates start at 3.17% APR with autopay.
Compare Dozens of Rates at Once with Credible
#3: Sallie Mae â Best for Low Rates and Fees
Sallie Mae offers its own selection of private student loans for undergraduate students, graduate students, and parents. Interest rates offered can be surprisingly low, starting at 2.87% APR for variable rate loans and 4.74% for fixed-rate loans. Sallie Mae student loans also come without an origination fee or prepayment fees, as well as rate reductions for students who set up autopay. You can choose to start repaying your student loans while youâre in school or wait until you graduate as well. Overall, Sallie Mae offers some of the best âdealsâ for private student loans, and you can even complete the entire loan process online.
Get Access to Chegg Study FREE with Sallie Mae
#4: Discover â Best for No Fees
While Discover is well known for their excellent rewards credit cards and personal loan offerings, they also offer high-quality student loans with low rates and fees. Not only do Discover student loans come with low variable rates that start at 3.75%, but you wonât pay an application fee, an origination fee, or late fees. Discover student loans are available for undergraduate students, graduate students, professional students, and other lifelong learners. You can even earn rewards for having a 3.0 GPA or better when you apply for your loan, and Discover offers access to U.S. based student loan specialists who can answer all your questions before you apply.
Apply for a Loan with Discover
#5: Citizens Bank â Best Student Loans from a Major Bank
Citizens Bank offers their own flexible student loans for undergraduate students, graduate students, and parent borrowers. Students can borrow with or without a cosigner and multi-year approval is available. With multi-year approval you can apply for student funding one time and secure several years of college funding at once. This saves you from additional paperwork and subsequent hard inquiries on your credit report. Citizens Bank student loans come with variable rates as low as 2.83% APR for students with excellent credit, and you can make full payments or interest-only payments while youâre in school or wait until you graduate to begin repaying your loan. Also keep in mind that, like others on this list, Citizens Bank lets you apply for their student loans online and from the comfort of your home.
#6: Ascent â Best Student Loans with No Cosigner Required
Ascent is another popular lender that offers private student loans to undergraduate and graduate students. Variable interest rates start at 3.31% whether you have a cosigner or not, and there are no application fees required to apply for a student loan either way. Terms are available for 5 to 15 years, and Ascent even offers cash rewards for student borrowers who graduate and meet certain terms. Also note that Ascent lets you earn money for each friend you refer who takes out a new student loan or refinances an existing loan.
Get a Loan in Minutes with Ascent
#7: Earnest â Best for Fair Credit
Earnest is another online lender that offers reasonable student loans for undergraduate and graduate students who need to borrow money for school. They also offer a free application process, a 9-month grace period after graduation, no origination fees or prepayment fees, and a .25% rate discount when you set up autopay. Earnest even lets you skip a payment once per year without a penalty, and there are no late payment fees. Variable rates start as low as 3.35%, and you may be able to qualify for a loan from Earnest with only âfairâ credit. For their student loan refinancing products, for example, you need a minimum credit score of 650 to apply.
Learn Your Rate in Minutes with Earnest
#8: LendKey â Best for Comprehensive Comparisons
LendKey is an online lending marketplace that lets you compare student loan options across a broad range of loan providers, including credit unions. LendKey loans come with no application fees and variable APRs as low as 4.05%. They also have excellent reviews on Trustpilot and an easy application process that makes applying for a student loan online a breeze. You can apply for a loan from LendKey as an individual, but itâs possible youâll get better rates with a cosigner on board. Either way, LendKey lets you see and compare a wide range of loan offers in one place and with only one application submitted.
Pay Zero Application Fees with LendKey!
How to Get the Best Student Loans
The lenders above offer some of the best student loans available today, but thereâs more to getting a good loan than just choosing the right student loan company. The following tips can ensure you save money on your education and escape college with the smallest student loan burden possible.
Consider Federal Student Loans First
Like we mentioned already, federal student loans are almost always the best deal for borrowers who can qualify. Not only do federal loans come with low fixed interest rates, but they come with borrower protections like deferment and forbearance. Federal student loans also let you qualify for income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Income Based Repayment (IBR) as well as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
Compare Multiple Lenders
If you have exhausted federal student loans and need to take out a private student loan, the best step you can take is comparing loans across multiple lenders. Some may be able to offer you a lower interest rate based on your credit score or available cosigner, and some lenders may offer payment plans that meet your needs better. If you only want to fill out a loan application once, it can make sense to compare multiple loan offers with a service like Credible.
Improve Your Credit Score
Private student loans are notoriously difficult to qualify for when your credit score is less than stellar or you donât have a cosigner. With that in mind, you may want to spend some time improving your credit score before you apply. Since your payment history and the amounts you owe in relation to your credit limits are the two most important factors that make up your FICO score, make sure youâre paying all your bills early or on time and try to pay down debt to improve your credit utilization. Most experts say a utilization rate of 30% or less will help you achieve the highest credit score possible with other factors considered.
Check Your Credit Score for Free with Experian
Get a Quality Cosigner
If your credit score isnât at least âvery good,â or 740 or higher, you may want to see about getting a cosigner for your private student loan. A parent, family member, or close family friend who has excellent credit can help you qualify for a student loan with the best rates and terms available today. Just remember that your cosigner will be liable for your loan just as you are, meaning they will have to repay your loan if you default. With that in mind, you should only lean on a cosignerâs help if you plan to repay your loan amount in full.
Consider Variable and Fixed Interest Rates
While private student loans offer insanely low rates for borrowers with good credit, their variable rates tend to be lower. This is why you should always take the time to compare variable and fixed rates across multiple lenders to find the best deal. If you believe you can pay your student loans off in a few short years, a variable interest rate may help you save money. If you need a decade or longer to pay your student loans off, on the other hand, a low fixed interest rate may provide you with more peace of mind.
Check for Discounts
As you compare student loan providers, make sure to check for discounts that might apply to your situation. Many private student loan companies offer discounts if you set your loan up on automatic payments, for example. Some also offer discounts or rewards for good grades or for referring friends. It’s possible you could qualify for other discounts as well depending on the provider, but you’ll never know unless you check.
Beware of Fees
While the interest rate on your student loan plays a huge role in your long-term loan costs, donât forget to check for additional fees. Some student loan companies charge application fees or prepayment penalties if you pay your loan off early, for example. Others charge origination fees that tack on a few additional percentage points to your loan amount right off the bat. If you can find a student loan with a low interest rate and no additional fees, youâll be much better off. Since loan fees may not be prominently advertised on student loan provider websites, however, keep in mind that you may need to dig into their fine print to find them.
Make Payments While Youâre in School
Finally, no matter which loan you end up with, it makes a lot of sense to make payments while youâre still in school if you’re earning any kind of income. Even if you make interest-only payments while you attend college part-time or full-time, you can save yourself from paying thousands of dollars in additional interest payments later in life. Remember that compound interest can be a blessing or a curse. If you can keep interest at bay by making payments while youâre in school, you can squash compound interest and keep your loan balances from growing. If you let compound interest run its course, on the other hand, you may wind up owing more than you borrowed in the first place by the time you graduate school and start repayment.
What to Watch Out For
A private student loan may be exactly what you need in order to finish your degree and move up to the working world, but there are plenty of âgotchasâ to be aware of. Consider all these factors as you apply for a new private student loan or refinance existing loans you have with a private lender.
Interest that accrues while youâre in school: Remember that subsidized loans may not accrue interest until you graduate from college and enter repayment mode, but that unsubsidized loans typically start accruing interest right away. Since private student loans are unsubsidized, youâll need to be especially careful about ballooning interest and long-term loan costs.
Getting a cosigner: Make sure you only apply for a private student loan with a cosigner if youâre entirely sure you can repay your loan over the long haul. If you fail to keep up with your end of the bargain, you could destroy trust with that person and their credit score in one fell swoop.
Youâll lose out on some protections: Also remember that private student loans come with fewer protections than federal student loans. You wonât have the option for income-driven repayment plans with private loans, nor will you be able to qualify for federal deferment or forbearance. For this reason, private student loans are best for students who are confident in their ability to repay their loans on their chosen timeline.
In Summary: The Best Student Loans
Best for Flexibility
Best for Loan Comparison
Best for Low Rates and Fees
Best for No Fees
Best Student Loans from a Major Bank
Best Student Loans with No Cosigner Required
Best for Fair Credit
Best for Comprehensive Comparisons
The post Here Are The Best Student Loans of 2021 appeared first on Good Financial CentsÂ®.
How much does college cost? This is a question many wonder. There’s rarely a week that goes by where I don’t receive an email from a student or parents of a student who are looking for ways to cut college costs. That’s why today I want to talk about college costs and how you can create a college budget that works so that you can save money in college.
College is very expensive – there is no doubt about that.
However, I want you to know that it IS possible to get a valuable college degree on a budget!
The average public university is over $20,000 per year and the average private university totals over $45,000 once you account for tuition, room and board, fees, textbooks, living expenses and more.
Even with how expensive college can possibly be, there are many ways to cut college expenses and create a college budget so that you can control rising college costs.
Continue reading below to read about the many different ways I cut college costs. While I was not perfect and still racked up student loan debt, I did earn three college degrees on a reasonable budget.
How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500
How I Paid Off $38,000 In Student Loan Debt In 7 Months
The Benefits of Paying Off Student Loan Debt Early
Should I Ruin My Retirement By Helping My Child Through College?
How To Save Money – My Best Money Saving Tips
1. Take classes at a community college to cut college costs.
Whether you are in college already or you haven’t started yet, taking classes at a community college can be a great way to save money.
Earning credits at a community college usually costs just a small fraction of what it would cost at a 4-year college, so you may find yourself being able to save thousands of dollars each semester.
There is a myth out there that your degree is worth less if you go to a community college. That is NOT TRUE at all. When you finally earn your 4-year degree, your degree will only say where you graduated from and it won’t even mention the community college credits at all. So this myth makes no sense because your degree looks the exact same as everyone else’s’ who you went to college with. You might as well save money because it won’t make much of a difference.
I only took classes at a community college during one summer semester where I earned 12 credits, and I still regret not taking more. I probably could have saved around $20,000 by taking more classes at my local community college.
Also, you are most likely just taking general credits at the community college, so it’s not like you would be missing much by taking classes there instead of a college that has a better reputation for the major you are seeking.
If you do decide to go to a community college, always make sure that the 4-year college you plan on attending afterwards will transfer all of the credits. It’s an easy step to take so do not forget! You should do this before you sign up and pay for any classes as well as to make sure that ALL of the classes will transfer succesfully.
2. Take advantage of high school classes to lower your college budget.
Many high schools allow you to take college classes to earn both college and high school credits at the same time.
This is something I highly recommend you look into if you are still in high school, as it saves time and is one of the best ways to save money on college costs.
When I was in my senior year in high school, nearly all of my classes were dual enrollment courses where I was earning college and high school credit at the same time. I took AP classes and classes that earned me direct college credit from nearby private universities. I left high school with around 14-18 credit hours (I can’t remember the exact amount). This way I knocked out a whole semester of college. I could’ve taken more, but I decided to take early release from high school and worked 30-40 hours a week as well.
3. Take all the credits you can to stay within your college budget.
At many universities, you pay a flat fee. So whether you take 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours, you are paying nearly the exact same price.
For this reason, I always recommend that a student take as many classes as they can if they are going to a college that charges a flat fee tuition.
If you think you can still earn good grades and do whatever else you do on the side, definitely get full use of the college tuition you are paying for!
4. Apply for scholarships to lower your college costs.
Before you start your semester, you should always look into scholarships, grants, FAFSA, and more. You usually have to turn in any paperwork around spring time for the following semester, so I highly recommend doing this right now if you are going to college in the fall.
Another myth will be busted right now. Many believe that all scholarships are impossible to have or it means you have to win a contest. That is just a myth.
I received around $16,000 a year in scholarships to the private university I attended. That helped pay for a majority of my college tuition. The scholarships were easy for me to get as they were all just because I earned good grades in high school and scored well on tests. I received scholarships to all of the other colleges I applied for as well just for good grades, so I know they can be found as long as you do well in high school!
There are other ways to find scholarships as well. You can receive scholarships from private organizations, companies in your town, and more. Do a simple Google search and I am sure you will find many free websites that list out possible scholarships for you to apply to.
Tip: Many forget that you usually have to turn in a separate financial aid form directly to your college. Don’t forget to do this by the deadline each year!
5. Search for cheaper textbooks to lower your college budget.
Students usually spend anywhere from around $300 to $1,000 on textbooks each semester, depending on the amount of classes they are taking and their major.
For me, many of my classes required more than one book and each book was usually around $200 brand new. This means if I were to buy all of my college textbooks brand new, I probably would have had to spend over $1,000 each semester.
I saved a decent amount of money on college textbooks by renting them and finding them used. Renting them was nice because I just had to pay one fee and didn’t ever have to worry about what to do with the textbook after the class was done, as I only had to return them. There was no worrying about the book being worthless if a new edition came out, which was nice! Buying books used was nice occasionally as well just because sometimes I could make my money back.
I recommend Campus Book Rentals if you are looking for textbook rentals. Their rentals are affordable and they make getting the textbooks you need easy.
Read: How To Save Money On Textbooks + Campus Book Rentals Review
6. Skip the high price of living on campus to cut your college budget.
To save more money, I decided to live on my own. I didn’t have the option of living at home after high school and living on campus would have cost me a ton of money.
Instead, I found a very cheap rental house (the house was VERY small and probably could have been considered a tiny home) and was able to somewhat easily commute to work and college from it. I probably saved around $500 a month by living on my own instead of on campus, and I learned a lot by living on my own at a young age as well.
If you can live at home though and want to save money, I highly recommend it if it’s an option for you. You can save thousands of dollars a semester by doing this!
I understand that some are against this because it may impact your “college experience,” but I think most people would be fine not living on campus, especially if it’s not in the budget. You could probably save around $40,000 over the years on your degree by living at home.
How did you cut college costs and control your college budget? How much student loan debt did you have when you graduated?
The post 6 Ways I Saved Money On College Costs appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
The post A Parent’s Guide to Setting a Successful Budget for a College Student appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Â You are getting ready to send your child off to college. Before you start helping them pack their belongings, there is one thing you need to do.
You need to help them create a budget. You need to teach them how to manage their money so they can learn the tools theyâll use long after they graduate.
WHY DO COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED A BUDGET?
The truth is everyone needs a budget. It does not matter your age. If you are dealing with money, a budget is necessary.
Allows you to control your money. Rather than your money telling you what it wants to do, you get to tell your money where it needs to go. You are always in control when you have a budget.
It teaches financial skills. A budget helps ensure that expenses such as rent, tuition, food, insurance, transportation, and housing are paid â before spending money on the fun stuff. (It also helps to make sure you donât spend more than you make.)
Makes you aware of where your money goes. When you use a budget, you see how you spend. It is very simple to see if too much is going toward dining out when you should be building your savings.
Helps you track your goals. You need to cover expenses but you should also work on building savings at the same time. Your budget allows you to not only see those goals but track them in real time.
DOESNâT A BUDGET MEAN YOU CANâT HAVE FUN?
Not at all! If anything, your budget will allow you to have guilt-free fun.
For example, the budget may allow you to spend $50 a week dining out. That means you can go to dinner with friends once (possibly twice) a week and enjoy yourself. You wonât be left wondering how you are now going to make rent.
WHAT TYPE OF BUDGET SHOULD YOUR STUDENT USE?
There are various methods of budgeting such as the 50/30/20 and the zero-based budget. For most college students, the zero-based is the simplest and easiest to follow.
The reason is that you track everything. You give every penny a job. That means if you earn $1,500 for the month that you âspendâ the entire $1,500.
You will first cover the needs (food, shelter, transportation) and then your wants. If there is money âleftoverâ after this is done, it can be added to your savings.
You can use other types but if you have never budgeted before, using this method is the simplest.
WHAT SHOULD A COLLEGE STUDENT INCLUDE IN A BUDGET?
The budget will vary for each person, as the income and expense will be different. However, these are the most common categories that need to be included in a budget:
Car insurance (also saving for annual renewal fees)
Utilities (phone, electricity, gas, water, etc.)
Entertainment (movies, games, concerts)
Emergency fund savings
Again, you may have items that are not included above or see some that you do not need.
However, the most important thing of all is that every penny is given a job. Account for everything you will spend each month so you never have too much month and not enough money.
HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF YOUR BUDGET?
For most college students, apps or digital trackers are the best options.Â But, before you rush and sign up, keep the following in mind.
Cost. Many apps are free and they will work perfectly fine. Other apps have a monthly fee attached to them. If you plan to use one of them, make sure you include that as one of your regular expenses. However, do not let the cost alone be a single factor when it comes to clicking the sign-up button.
Security. Your security trumps all else. You need to make sure the app uses encryption as well as two-factor authorization.
Some of the best apps include:
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
However, your student may also like the traditional paper and pencil method â and that is OK as well.
Find the right one that works best for your student. That is all that matters.
TEACHING THEM TO BUDGET
Knowing you need a budget and where to track it is just the beginning. You need to teach your child how to budget.
Start by looking at each category that they need on their budget. You may already know the cost for each category but if not, you may need to make phone calls or do research to know.
For example, you know the rent for the apartment is $850 a month but how much are the average utilities? Ask the manager for these costs so you can include them in the budget.
Next, decide how much they want to allow themselves to spend on food. Show them how much a meal costs for a single person at each restaurant you eat at so they can create an average.
You will then have them decide how much âfun moneyâ they want to include as well. You can base this on them wanting to go to the movies two times a month, one concert a month, or attending three events.
Now you can see the expenses for your student. Add their income to the budget and deduct the expenses. They will see if they are operating in the black (money left over) or in the red (spending more than they make).
Show them how to adjust the numbers by increasing their savings or lowering the amount they can spend on clothes â until the budget equals zero. Zero meaning they are spending every penny they earn.
And making them keep track now will help ensure they stay on track well into the future.
The post A Parent’s Guide to Setting a Successful Budget for a College Student appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
All articles about college rankings should perhaps be read with a grain of salt and primarily through a lens of what matters most to individuals about the college experience and what theyâre hoping it will be an investment toward.
Prominent publications and people have conveyed a variety of views about whether college rankings matter:
The editor-in-chief of the Science Family of Journals said no in May 2020. âTo any logical scientific observer, the fine distinctions of where schools show up on this (U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges) list are statistically meaninglessâbut try telling that to a roomful of alumni or parents,â H. Holden Thorp wrote.
Ian Bogost, distinguished chair at Georgia Tech, wrote in The Atlantic in June 2020: âThe absurdity of a numerical ranking mechanism for colleges becomes apparent the moment you look at how U.S. News calculates it. The methodology reads like a Dungeons and Dragons character sheet: 8% for class size; 10% for high-school-class standing; 4.4% for first-to-second-year student retention, and so on.â
But just because the consensus leans toward ânoâ doesn’t mean it should be the last word on anyoneâs ultimate decision about where to go to school.
Even U.S. News & World Report says on its best-colleges website: âThe rankings provide a good starting point for students trying to compare schools. â¦ The best school for each student, experts say, is one that will most completely meet his or her needs, which go beyond academics.â
What Are the College Rankings?
There is no single, ultimate, etched-in-stone set of college rankings. All over the world, there are entities using a wide array of criteria to appraise universities.
Rather than expecting a âyesâ or ânoâ to the question of whether college rankings matter, it would be more beneficial to understand why “It depends” could be more appropriate.
If you’re aiming for an education from a prestigious school, and money is no objectâwell, first of all, congratulations and good luck.
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Credit card balances slightly dipped in November, as the COVID pandemic fallouts continued, and with the government continuing to wrangle about a second round of fiscal stimulus measures.
Consumer revolving debt â which is mostly based on credit card balances â was down $700 million on a seasonally adjusted basis in November to $978.8 billion, according to the FedâsÂ G. 19 consumer credit reportÂ released Jan. 8.
In November, credit card balances were off 1% on an annualized basis, after Octoberâs 6.7% drop, which came on the heels of Septemberâs 3.2% annualized gain.
Total consumer debt outstanding â which includes student loans and auto loans, as well as revolving debt â continued to grow and rose $15.3 billion to $4.176 trillion in November, a 4.4% annualized gain.
Card balances had touched an all-time high in February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic started impacting consumer spending and bank lending. They dipped below the $1 trillion mark in May, for the first time since September 2017.
The Fed also reports that interest rates on credit cards were at 14.65% in November, with the rates on cards that are assessed interest (since they carry a balance) at 16.28%.
See related: Paying with credit is getting more expensive in the pandemic
Consumers expect household spending to rise
Consumers expect their household spending at the median to grow 3.7% in the year ahead, the highest in more than four years â even though they donât anticipate much growth in their income (2.1%) or earnings (2%) â according to the New York Fedâs survey of consumer expectations for November.
Moreover, they are less optimistic about their household financial situation in the year ahead, with more of them expecting it to decline, and fewer consumers expecting an improvement.
Even then, more respondents are optimistic about their ability to access credit in the coming year, expecting it will be easier. However, the mean probability of missing a minimum debt payment in the next three months rose by 1.6 percentage points to 10.9%. Even then, this is still below its 11.5% average for 2019.
Less cheer on labor market front
On the labor market front, more consumers expect that the U.S. unemployment rate will be higher in the year ahead, with the average probability of this outcome rising to 40.1% in November, from Octoberâs 35.4%.
However, they were less pessimistic about the prospects of losing their jobs, with this probability down to 14.6% on average, from Octoberâs 15.5% (but still above the 2019 average of 14.3%).Â Those above the age of 60 and those without a college degree were more optimistic about holding on to their jobs.
The respondents were less likely to voluntarily leave their jobs, with the mean probability of this down 1.3 percentage points to 16.6% (a low for the survey). Those 60 and older were at the forefront of this decline. However, respondents on average were more optimistic about the prospects for landing a new job if they lost their current ones.
In the meantime, the government reported that the economy shed 140,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate remained at 6.7%. The jobs lost were mostly in the sectors hard hit from the pandemic, with closures impacting the leisure and hospitality sector, as well as private education jobs.
The retail sector added jobs to aid holiday shopping, mostly in warehouses (which benefit from e-commerce) and superstores.
Although average hourly earnings for private sector employees rose $0.23, this is mostly because of the loss of lower-paying jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, which tilted the average wage for the employed workers to the upside.
In online commentary, Diane Swonk, chief economist at GrantThornton, noted, âThe silver lining to a bad overall jobs report is that the losses were concentrated in sectors that are most sensitive to COVID. Many of those jobs will come back once we get to herd immunity. The challenge is getting there, given the slow rollout of vaccines and poor uptake in some areas.â
Given that it will take a while to more fully open the economy, she is in favor of âaid today and another tranche once the new administration takes office.â
See related: Second stimulus deal provides $600 per individual
Application rates for credit cards plunged on pandemic impact
The New York Fed also reported in its credit access survey, which is conducted every four months as part of its survey of consumer expectations, that most credit applications and acceptance rates fell sharply after last February. Mortgage credit was the exception to this.
For credit cards, the application rate was off a steep 10.6 percentage points since February to touch a survey low of 15.7%. This decline impacted all age groups and credit score categories. Applications for credit card limit increases dropped 6.6 percentage points to 7.1% between February and October, another series low since the survey began in October 2013. The decline was spread across all ages and credit score categories.
Consumers applying for credit cards were also subject to steep rejection rates, with this rate rising 11.6 percentage points from February to touch 21.3% in October. Those looking for higher credit limits also were rejected about 37% of the time, from about 25% of the time in February.
No wonder consumers said they were less likely to apply for a credit card or credit limit increase in the next 12 months, with these figures falling 36% and 34% on average since February 2020. Those with credit scores above 680 led this decline.
When I first connected with Julia and John, the Queens, NY couple was expecting their first child and grappling with some debt, a lack of savings and income prior to the baby’s arrival. The couple was basically living paycheck to paycheck and in need of some advice to break through that cycle.
We reconnected this month to see how they’ve been doing. Julia is now nearing the end of her third trimester. The baby is due to arrive in two months.
I was hoping that with a baby on the way the couple would have found some ways to chisel away their debt or bulk up savings. Unfortunately, fie months later, they’re more or less still in the same money boat.
But they did act upon a couple of my tips and are benefiting from the goodness of New York and their parents, which has their futures looking brighter.
First, John, who lacks a college degree and was struggling to find full-time work, is going back to school. Not to a college or university, but to a 9-month software boot camp in New York that’s going to give him the skills and network to become a software developer. His potential earnings in the first year in the market could be as much as $75,000 (based on some people I know who’ve gone through similar programs in New York.)
The program will be about $15,000, a fraction of what it would cost to earn a bachelor’s degree. John’s parents have agreed to loan him the money. The couple’s decided to place that $15,000 family loan in savings and, instead, take out a small student loan to pay for John’s school. I agree with that strategy, given that their family is about to increase in size and having some cash on hand will be very important.
Once John completes school and finds work, I’d recommend the couple prioritize the credit card debt by paying at least double the minimums each month. Be most aggressive with the highest interest credit card debt first. Their student loan will likely have a smaller interest rate and can be paid over a 10-year period, making the monthly minimums relatively manageable. Automate those payments as soon as possible and benefit from a 0.25% interest rate reduction when they do.
While they’re taking on more debt, I’m okay with it. Investing in John’s education is one of the best ways this couple can get ahead and better secure their finances in the future – so long as they commit to earning more and paying it down.
Ahead of that program starting, John’s also taken on a side hustle (per my advice). He’s been working a few shifts here and there at Julia’s company, working with special needs patients as a social aide, taking them to community and outdoor events.
Some other good news that’s developed since we last spoke is that New York State has enhanced its Family and Medical Leave Act by implementing Paid Family Leave. In the past, certain employers were only required to provide workers with their jobs back after taking a leave of absence for up to 12 weeks. Now, qualifying private employers must provide paid time off and a continuation of health insurance for 8 weeks in 2018.
This came as a surprise bonus for Julia, who was preparing for zero paid time off from her employer.
It would be my recommendation to use part or all of that extra money to pay down their high-interest credit card debt.
Once Julia returns to work after her maternity leave, her mother-in-law will be the go-to caretaker during the day, another huge help.
They’re fortunate to have free childcare from a trusted, loved one. With that very big expense covered and John’s schooling about to start, I feel confident that the couple’s future is a financially bright one.
The post Check-In: Expecting Couple Struggling with Debt, But Future Looks Bright appeared first on MintLife Blog.
You just learned of the passing of a loved one. During this stressful and emotionally taxing time, you also find out that you’re receiving an inheritance. While you’re grateful for the unexpected windfall, knowing what to do with an inheritance can bring its own share of stress.
While the amounts vary greatly, the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances reports that an average of roughly 1.7 million households receive an inheritance each year. First words of wisdomâresist the urge to spend it all at once. According to a study funded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one-third of people who receive an inheritance spend all of itâand even dip into other savingsâin the first two years.
Not me, you say? Still, you might be asking, “What should I do with my inheritance money?” Follow these four steps to help you make smart decisions with your newfound wealth:
1. Take time to grieve your loss
Deciding what to do with an inheritance can bring with it mixed emotions: a sense of reprieve for this unexpected financial gain and sadness for the loss of a loved one, says Robert Pagliarini, certified financial planner and president of Pacifica Wealth Advisors.
During this time, you might feel confused, upset and overwhelmed. âA large inheritance that pushes you out of your financial comfort zone can create anxiety about how to best manage the money,” Pagliarini says. As an inheritor, Pagliarini adds that you may feel the need to be extra careful with the funds; even though you know it is your money, it could feel borrowed.
The last thing you want to do when deciding what to do with an inheritance is make financial decisions under an emotional haze. Avoid making any drastic moves right away, such as quitting your job or selling your home. Some experts suggest giving yourself a six-month buffer before using any of your inheritance, using the time instead to develop a financial plan. While you are thinking about things to do with an inheritance, you can park any funds in a high-yield savings account or certificate of deposit.
âA large inheritance that pushes you out of your financial comfort zone can create anxiety about how to best manage the money.â
2. Know what you’re inheriting
Before you determine the things to do with an inheritance, you need to know what you’re getting. Certified financial planner and wealth manager Alex Caswell says how you use your inheritance will largely depend on its source. Typically, Caswell says an inheritance will come in the form of assets from one of three places:
Real estate, such as a house or property. As Caswell explains, if you receive assets from real estate, you will transfer them into your name. As the inheritor, you can choose what to do with the assetsâtypically sell, rent or live in them.
A trust account, a legal arrangement through which funds are held by a third party (the trustee) for the benefit of another party (the beneficiary), which may be an individual or a group. The creator of the trust is known as a grantor. âIf someone inherits assets through a trust, the trust documents will stipulate how these assets will be distributed and who ultimately decides how they are to be invested,” Caswell says. In some cases, the assets get distributed outright to you; in other instances, the trust stays intact and you get paid in installments.
A retirement account, such as an IRA, Roth IRA or 401(k). These accounts can be distributed in one lump sum, however, there may be requirements related to the amount of a distribution and the cadence of distributions.
When considering things to do with an inheritance, know that inherited assets can be designated as Transfer on Death (TOD) or beneficiary deeds (in the case of real estate), which means the assets can be transferred to beneficiaries without the often lengthy probate process. An individual may also bequeath cash or valuables, like jewelry or family heirlooms, as well as life insurance or stock certificates.
Caswell says if your inheritance comes in the form of investment assets, such as stocks or mutual funds, you’ll want to think of them as part of your own financial picture. âAll too often, we see individuals end up treating inherited assets as a living extension of their passed relative,” Caswell says. Consider how the investments can be used to support your financial goals when thinking about things to do when you get an inheritance.
An average of roughly 1.7 million households receive an inheritance each year.
3. Plan what to do with your financial gain
Just like doing your household budgeting, it’s important to “assign” your inheritance to specific purposes or goals, says Pacifica Wealth Advisors’ Pagliarini. Depending on your financial situation, the simple concepts of save, spend and give may be a good place to start when deciding on things to do when you get an inheritance:
Bolster your emergency fund: You should have at least three to six months of living expenses saved up to avoid unexpected financial shocks, such as job loss, car repairs or medical expenses. If you don’t and you’re deciding what things to do with an inheritance, consider parking some cash in this bucket.
Save for big goals: Now could be a good time to boost your long-term savings goals and pay it forward. Things to do when you get an inheritance could include putting money toward a child’s college fund or getting your retirement savings on track.
Tackle debt: If you’re evaluating what to do with an inheritance, high-interest debt is something you could consider paying off. Spending on debt repayment can help you save on hefty interest charges.
Reduce or pay off your mortgage: Getting closer to paying off your homeâor paying it off entirelyâcan also save you in interest and significantly lower your monthly expenses. Allocating cash here is a win-win.
Enjoy a little bit of it: It’s okay to use a portion of your inheritance on something you enjoy or find rewarding. Planning a vacation, investing in more education or paying for a big purchase could be good moves.
Donate funds to charity: Thinking about your loved one’s causes or your own can continue legacy goals and provide tax benefits.
4. Don’t get tripped up on taxes
When deciding what to do with an inheritance, taxes will need to be considered. “It is extremely important to be aware of all tax ramifications of any decision around inherited assets,” Caswell says. You could be required to pay a capital gains tax if you sell the gift (like property) that was passed down to you, for example. Also, depending on where you live, your inherited money could be taxed. In addition to federal estate taxes, several U.S. states impose an inheritance tax and/or an estate tax.
Since every situation is unique and tax laws can change, when considering things to do with an inheritance, consult a financial advisor or tax professional for guidance.
Make your windfall count
Receiving an inheritance has the potential to change your financial picture for good. When thinking about the things to do when you get an inheritance, be sure to give yourself ample time to grieve and to understand all of your options. Don’t be afraid to lean on the experts to get up to speed on any tax and legal implications you need to consider.
Planning can go a long way toward making the right decisions concerning your newfound wealth. Being responsible with your inheritance not only helps ensure your financial future, but will also honor your loved one’s legacy.
The post 4 Smart Things to Do When You Get an Inheritance appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.